Baby Traveler On Board – First Time Flight Tips!

Ledger is now incredibly 15 months old!
Time really flies with my fun little buddy around.
In his young life, he has become a seasoned pro when it comes to traveling by plane.
I’ve honestly lost count of how many times he’s been on a plane, but it’s been more than a dozen with another trip coming up next week!
I never expected to travel so much with a baby but it’s how everything shook out so we try to be adaptable and enjoy it as much as possible along the way.
We certainly are using up all our lap infant points… I can’t imagine if I had to purchase all those flight trips for him but if I had he’d be really racking up those frequent flyer miles LOL!!

Many months ago a friend asked me for tips on traveling with a baby on a plane for the first time. I wrote out a document with all my quick tips from our flights.
Since then, FIVE more momma friends have reached out to me and I’ve sent this document their way.
I planned to share these tips on a blog post long ago, but never did.
The inspiration struck me tonight to finally share officially as I was ordering a new book to entertain Ledger on our flight.

If you have any additional travel tips or resources for fellow moms (or dads), please feel free to leave one in the comments!

TRAVEL TIP SHEET:Ā 
*Not all of these may be helpful depending on particular situation with your baby and the age the baby is on the flight, but hopefully some of these tips help!

  • Bring birth certificate – I always keep in a folder to keep it safe and put it in the front pocket of the suitcase so I can pull it out as I get to the ticket counter
  • Go to the desk line – If you are traveling with baby I found out that I couldn’t check in at the kiosk, but had to be helped by an actual agent – This may be different with a child with their own seat, but just something I found out with lap infant and wasn’t expecting.
  • If you’re not bringing the car seat base then you can check this part for free at counter (I think this is only for lap infant – otherwise I think you’ll need the base with you for the seat).
  • I have been able to keep baby in carseat/stroller system until I get to the security point. This has allowed me to check in, drop bags quick before taking him out. If for some reason baby not cooperating you can use carrier possibly during that time.
  • If traveling with breast milk or formula already in bottles (or even baby food), you can get away with them not having to test them as you go through security if they are small enough liquid wise (~3 oz.) They will still open up the cooler still but when they see each bottle isn’t very much they’ll likely let it go.
  • When having security person test your food or milk ask them to change their gloves if you don’t see them do so automatically. I had a very nice TSA lady the first time I was traveling tell me not to be afraid to ask someone to do that and I have every time and each person has be nice about the request without any trouble.
  • After I put my laptop up on security point, get all my stuff there then it is time to take baby out of stroller… I can usually hold him and collapse the stroller system alone but don’t be afraid to ask for help because everyone is very nice to moms traveling with baby (or if husband coming this part should be no problem)!
  • Once you’re through the security check point, assess how much time you now have before your plane takes off. Again if pumping or breastfeeding you’ll want to keep an eye on this and know your expected boarding time. I typically would try to pump 20-25 min. prior to boarding time. There should be a lactation room or a pod station at the airport. If you don’t see just ask and I believe most should have it nowadays. You will want to check out this space prior to the last minute because if there is only ONE spot then you’re screwed if you wait and someone is in there. This all is not so important if you’re going to breastfeed on plane but I was not comfortable doing that so I plan ahead with the pod pumping.
  • If you don’t have to worry about that part or after you are done with that part, go to the ticket counter of your gate. Show them you have your stroller so they can ticket that. This will help you avoid doing so last second as you are supposed to be boarding the plane.
  • I try to keep Ledger awake as much as possible before getting on the flight. I don’t want him to get to the point of being super upset that it causes a meltdown but if I can keep him awake and entertained that’s all the better so he’ll be more likely to sleep on plane!
  • You will be able to board early (one of the first groups) so be ready to do that after they start announcing.
  • When they start announcing that’s when I use the baby bjorn carrier with Ledger in it, put my bag in the stroller. This allows me to push the stroller down the walk path onto the plane.
  • When you get to the bottom of the path just before you board plane, collapse stroller right by door.
  • Tips once you’re on plane – wipe down area with sanitizer wipes. That’s the first thing I try to do when I sit down. Especially now they are both the age where they’ll wanna touch everything – also wipe down the tray table.
  • Bring 1-2 brand new toys. Wait to give to them until they start to get antsy or fussy.
  • I have changed Ledger in my lap when sitting next to nice people who didn’t care (pee only). However just a tip if you do this don’t try to throw out with a plane attendant. I had one be a little snippy (though she was snippy in general so maybe it was just her). But since then I just put the wet diaper in my bag. In all honesty changing in my lap was easier than trying to do so in the bathroom (some have changing tables, but others don’t so ask if you aren’t sure which does). *Update: this also can change as your baby gets larger. The earliest flight I took with Ledger he was two months old – a diaper at two months is much different than one year old! Also I would only recommend changing in lap if the passenger next to me said it was OK.Ā 
  • Try to give bottle or drink or pacifier when taking off. Ledger’s ears luckily haven’t seemed to bother him on flights but I try to do this as much as possible except for the times when he fell asleep right away.
  • I bring baby Tylenol with me. I haven’t had to use it but I would if it came down to it. If crying won’t stop etc it could be ear pain or something so may want to bring this. I was talking with a friend (who is all about the natural everything) and she said she’d do this too!Ā  *Of course always consult doctor on amount, etc.
  • After plane lands I just try to remember everything in the opposite order as far as unloading – put baby in carrier…don’t be afraid to ask for help carrying bag off plane if needed – luckily again people are nice and often offer even!
  • Pick up stroller at ramp way area as you get off the plane… pick up luggage at check and don’t forget the car seat base! That’s the one part I’m always nervous about forgetting because once you get there if you don’t have the base then how can you get in the car?!
  • I would suggest changing baby’s clothes after arriving. This is not something I’ve done consistently, but I am going to try to do this more in future because he’s gotten sick following a few of our travels, so I feel like this may be an extra precaution I could have taken!
  • Lastly have a blast on your trip and don’t forget to capture your little one’s early adventures with a photo (or few) so you can look back on earliest travel adventures together!! šŸ˜‰
Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 9.58.54 PM
Happy as can be after landing to visit family after a successful trip. My parents met me inside the airport (so don’t worry, Ledger was not under the suitcase)!! šŸ˜‰
Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.00.30 PM
One of my favorite travel photos of Ledger. He was being such a good traveling baby while I pumped in a pod in the airport before our flight so i wouldn’t have to on the flight!Ā 
Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.01.27 PM
Frequent flyer baby. He wanted to be upgraded to First Class with this look!! šŸ˜‰

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