Tips for Flying with an Infant

07
25

Emily and I took our first flight recently and I thought I’d share a few tips in case you are traveling with an infant soon (or ever!).

I took David, my oldest, on his first flight when he was only a few months old and then took a handful of flights with both boys as well. I’d say we are pretty seasoned travelers, and a lot of those flights were just myself and the kids because Justin used to travel a lot for his previous job.

Traveling with just Emily recently went very smoothly and was honestly a lot easier than traveling with toddlers or pre-school kids to be honest!

I put her in the Happy Baby Carrier for ease while going through security and while we were on the airplane. In my daily life I use both this carrier and a soft, fabric wrap but I chose the Carrier because it was a lot faster to take on and off, and I could easily unclip her while we were taking off and landing as she apparently cannot be in the wrap during those times according to flight attendants.

This carrier was comfortable and super easy to wear once I figured it out. Each carrier or wrap has different features and I was glad that I was told about this video so I could make sure I was wearing the carrier correctly. Once I had Emily in it properly, it was very comfortable and easy. She slept the entire time and I didn’t have to make a single adjustment!

See?

My parents have a car seat and stroller since we visit so frequently, but if for any reason I needed to travel with either of those items I would check them so I didn’t have to hassle with it while getting on and off the plane.

Here are a few additional things that made the experience so easy:

One. Using a backpack style diaper bag. I’ve been using this bag for a few months and have been so pleased with it. It has plenty of room without being too large or heavy, and so many pockets I don’t even fill them all up! Here is a budget option that has thousands of positive reviews.

Two. Bringing a hand pump if you are nursing, or extra formula if you are using that! Emily is on a fairly regular routine but I sort of threw that out the window on travel morning. I nursed her then topped her off with a bottle of pumped milk before we left so she was full and happy. Then she slept the entire way to the airport, through security, and for the majority of the flight. About 30 minutes before we landed she started stirring so I woke her up and nursed her as we were landing. I was glad to have the pump with me, even though I didn’t use it, in case I needed it.

Three. Packing snacks for myself, or baby if he/she is old enough. Between diaper changes and soothing an upset baby, there may not be time to grab a snack for yourself so pack one ahead of time. I always keep a few granola bars in my diaper bag (and purse too!) so I can quickly eat something in case I get hungry.

Beyond these items, the necessities like diapers, wipes, burp cloths, pacifiers, etc. are all things that should go in your diaper bag.

I like to dress comfortably and always bring a sweater with me when I travel. I’ve had this sweater for years and not only is it perfect to keep me warm, but I could also wrap Emily in it when she’s not in the carrier or wrap.

For when you arrive to your destination, bringing along a portable bassinet like the DocATot would be easy. You could put it in the bottom of your suitcase and pack around it, or get a travel case for it. Emily naps in this but doesn’t sleep at night in it yet.

The whole thought of traveling with an infant can seem overwhelming, but as long as you a prepared it can be a lot smoother than you may imagine. I’ve also found that people are so helpful when they see that you are alone with a baby, so don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it, or accept it when it’s offered.

This post was sponsored by Happy Baby.

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Comments (21)

  1. Posted July 25, 2018

    I always admire parents who travel with kids – it’s something I feel is super hard to do! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Allison Roberts Smith says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    KAte ,
    I love your blog and have been an avid follower for years . But as a car seat advocate Mom . I want to post this link to a safer way to travel . These are great tips for preparation. Just want to add that per the American academy of pediatrics and the FAA , infants and babies , should fly in their car seat. Checking it could mean unforeseen damage . I just want to impart knowledge I’ve gained to help keep everyone’s precious cargo safe .
    https://csftl.org/leaving-on-a-jet-plane-the-csftl-guide-to-safe-air-travel-with-children/

    • Kate says
      Posted July 25, 2018

      Thanks for sharing that information!

    • Maria says
      Posted July 25, 2018

      Kate this is not true. My husband is an airline pilot and as a family we fly quite a bit. Your baby does not need a car seat. It depends on the airline. However, typically you’ll need to buy a ticket if the child is age 2 or older. Other than that they ride in your lap for free. If you want to bring an FAA approved car seat you’ll have to buy a ticket regardless of the child’s age. If it was unsafe the FA would’ve escorted her off the airplane

      • Allison Roberts Smith says
        Posted July 25, 2018

        Kate , Maria is incorrect

        Maria ,
        That is false . This is directly copied from FAA.gov , the official site of the FAA
        “Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.
        The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family’s travel plans.”

        It’s still “allowed” because it’s not illegal . And as we all know, laws aren’t always as up to date on safety .
        Just as the other article I shared illustrates what is safest .
        I would like to know what airline your husband works for , and as a parent I’d like to follow up with that airline making unsafe recommendations.
        Sorry to stand my ground , but Keepies kids safest is a big priority for me . I’m a former ER nurse and mother.
        Thanks

    • Jamie says
      Posted July 26, 2018

      You are absolutely correct, Allison. Just because it’s technically “legal” to not fly safely with your child doesn’t mean it’s the best way of travel. We always buy a seat and use a car seat. I wouldn’t drive with her on my lap and wouldn’t fly with her on my lap either.

  3. Noelle says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    As a flight attendant myself, I would like to let everyone know you may bring any necessary food (or breast milk–usually doesn’t have to be frozen, but may be) through TSA screening you deem necessary for your child’s AND your special dietary needs. Many people don’t know this. So, if you’re a vegetarian, bring your own food! You may keep it cold with the frozen gel packs, but they have to be frozen solid. If they’ve melted, they will be taken away. The only exception to bringing food would be liquids, like soup or drinks. You may bring drinks as long as they’re frozen solid and I use them regularly as my ice packs for food I’m going to eat that same day. Most carriers don’t board fresh blankets and few give out pillows, except on int’l flights (they’re germ catchers anyway). BYO on those items. Happy Travels.

    • Kate says
      Posted July 25, 2018

      Thank you for sharing this!!

  4. Angela says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    You are so brave to be flying with such a small baby! I think I’d be a nervous wreck. In love with that backpack diaper bag – I hated lugging ours around, it was like a huge gym bag.

    Angela at Blush & Pearls

  5. Claire says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    Love theHappy Baby Carrier! I agree with you that travelling with a newborn is much easier than going with a toddler!

    clairetalksbeauty.com

  6. Chelsea says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    Thanks for the tips! My husband, 6 month old daughter, and myself are flying to Hilton Head next week for vacation and I’m already stressing. We aren’t super experienced travelers, so adding a baby to the mix is upping my anxiety, though I’m sure everything will work out!

  7. Posted July 25, 2018

    Thanks for these tips! We plan on traveling with our newborn and I love hearing all the advice!

  8. Amanda says
    Posted July 25, 2018

    Was the video for the carrier supposed to be linked? I only saw pictures on the website but maybe I wasn’t looking close enough.

  9. Natalie says
    Posted July 26, 2018

    I know that you use the happy baby and the solly on different occasions. The happy baby looks easier, but I’m sure the solly is great with practice. When do you use each?? We are very unexpectedly expecting our third and I’m trying to keep it to just the necessary baby things! We do have two older boys who are both very into soccer and baseball. So we will be at lots of games and practices and outside tons. And then what is best for grocery shopping?!? I didn’t use a carrier at all with my boys but with soooo much going on I feel like it would be a huge help this time around. 🙂 If anyone else has thoughts I would love to hear also!

    • Beth says
      Posted July 27, 2018

      Natalie, I have the happy baby carrier, and it has some awesome features that our other carrier (Ergo) did not. It’s much thinner, lighter so it doesn’t get as hot (especially in this summer heat) and doesn’t require newborn insert. It has purse snaps so that diaper bag or purse won’t fall off your shoulder. And all that extra webbing can be rolled up so it doesn’t dangle.

      We didn’t use an infant car seat (had convertible from the get go), so the carrier was used often– parties, appointments, shopping trips, chores around the house.

      Congratulations on the pregnancy!

  10. Jamie says
    Posted July 26, 2018

    Love the advice but I agree with others what is missing- flying in a car seat is safest for baby. Would love advice on this! My husband is a commercial pilot and this is the only way we’ll fly with babies.

  11. Megan says
    Posted July 27, 2018

    When we flew with our one-year-old daughter, I did a lot of research about the safest way for her to travel. I know a lot of people fly with lap babies, but we bought her a ticket and brought her car seat on the plane with us. Yes, we had to pay for a ticket when she could’ve ridden for free, but being buckled into her car seat meant she would be as safe as possible during the flight, and there wouldn’t be an unforseen damage to the seat during loading/unloading. It was also a good way to contain an active toddler without us having to fight to hold her the entire time. In fact, she slept the whole way! I don’t know if she would’ve done that at that age if we had held her.

  12. Charity says
    Posted July 30, 2018

    Kate, would you provide the link for the carrier video you used to make sure sweet Emily was in the carrier the proper way? I have this same carrier on the way and feel like I’ve watched several videos, but feel like I still could use one more! Thank you!

  13. Holly says
    Posted July 31, 2018

    Hi Kate

    Love this post! We will be traveling to WI in a month with a 5 month old. I see you breastfeed. Did you take an electric breast pump at all on your trip, or just used the manual pump and nursed Emily most of the time? Also, did you bring any bottles of fresh breast milk in your diaper bag on the plane or just nursed her instead? Do you nurse her in the happy baby carrier on the plane or take her out and put on a nursing cover? Do you wear a nursing cami under your shirt? Or is your shirt easy to pull aside to breastfeed? lol Sorry for all the questions…trying to figure out all the logistics to be prepared. Did your bring an extra change of clothes for yourself in case Emily spit up on you?

    Thanks!! Love your blog!!

    • Kate says
      Posted August 2, 2018

      I packed an electric pump and just nursed her on the plane. I didn’t bring any milk along with me. I use a nursing cover and just pulled my shirt up 🙂

  14. Lilz says
    Posted October 17, 2018

    It’s very useful. I’m also planing to fly with my baby, so thanks for the info. I really like the baby carrier you are wearing. Is it a mission critical baby carrier?