Google+ Authentic Parenting: Flying with baby

Monday, August 9, 2010

Flying with baby

Flying with a baby can bring on a lot of anxiety in a parent. To an individual adult, the hassle of flying might already be stressful as such, add a baby to that and you've got yourself one stressed-out insecure and frustrated parent.
What to do with baby on a plane and in the time before and after boarding seems to be of great concern. We don't want to be the parent of the child that screams the entire flight.

Since my daughter and I are frequent flyers ever since she was six weeks old(with as many flights as she is months old, and multiple international destinations, I think the little one can be called a flight expert, really), I thought I'd share some tips with you.

1. Relax
Baby picks up the signals you are sending, so if you are stressed out already, chances are, your baby or toddler will be fussy too. This is the first rule, and probably the most important one. Even when your child gets a llittle uncomfortable, maybe cries a little, don't freak out, don't be bothered by the way people look or what they think. What matters is you and the baby, so just concentrate on soothing the both of you.
Most of the 'stressed flyer syndrome' starts at home, so be sure to have everything packed and ready the day before you fly. That way, you can enjoy your breakfast and getting ready in peace, without running around like a nutjob.

2. Ask for help
In the airport, you can always ask for help from one f your fellow travellers, or a shop attendant.
During the flight attendants are there to help you, even though they may seem to have forgotten that is their job. If you are thirsty, if you need to go to the bathroom, if you need anything really, don't hesitate to ask them.

3. Bring an adequate carrier
A stretchy wrap is my personal choice for a small baby. Baby is close to you while you go through the motions at the airport, and you can use the wrap as a blanket on the plane. The flight attendant might ask you to get the baby out of the wrap while on the plane for safety reasons (not all airlines demand this, so you can still ask to keep your baby in the wrap if you would like to).

4. Strollers are a big nono
A stroller might seem convenient to stash your hand luggage etc, but believe me, they will cause you more grief than actually helping you. When your child decides that he/she does not want to be in the stroller any longer, you will find yourself in a pretty uncomfortable situation (trust me, I've been there), plus it is a mess to fold when you're boarding if you are holding your baby (and passengers or crew are not alwayys very helpful at this point).

5. Take-off/landing
Put them on the boob for takeoff or landing, or take a bottle for these moments. You are allowed to carry a bottle with water for your infant on board. If they have a runny nose, you might want to give them some nasal drops before take off and a little while before landing.

6. Avoid the crowds as much as possible
Baby can get seriously overstimulated and anxious of big crowds, especially if you are already a little on the edge. As much as possible, avoid the crowd. Sit down at the quieter part of the gate, don't go for last minute tax free shopping in crowded shops, walk around in the terminal if there aren't too many people.

7. Don't mind the others
When your baby cries or fusses, don't worry about what others thing. If you get all strung out because 'people are watching', there is no way you will be getting that baby calm. Just create a mental bubble for you and your baby and only focus on him/her. If people are annoyed, they'll just have to get over themselves. Your baby's wellbeing is much more important then their intolerance.

8. Don't forget yourself
Especially if you're still breastfeeding, hydrate yourself adequately. Drink plenty of water and/or juice before you get on board, and don't be afraid to ask for water while on flight.



  1. Great tips, though I've been happy enough having a stroller with me (this may well change with no 2). I found flying with a baby and toddler less hassle than expected, even when travelling on my own. The same applies to ferry and coach journeys, it's always gone fairly well.

  2. I just thought I would add to your comment about carriers...

    before flying check the airlines policy on baby carriers, print it off and bring it with you. Many airlines will not allow you to use a wrap and will stipulate a soft structured carrier only. Whatever is allowed by policy it helps to have the policy to hand as many flight attendants don't actually know what the policy is and may ask you to not use the carrier. Generally you can use a carrier at anytime that the seat belt sign is off.

    Another good tip is to either book early to get a bassinet seat. That way you can put down baby for a nap if you'd like. Even if you chose not to use the bassinet you at least have more leg room.

    If your child is older than the bassinet seat allows (I think its one year) bring your car seat with you. The trick here is to ask at check in if there are any spare seats on the flight. Mostly these days there will be- full flights being virtually a thing of the past. If there is a spare seat ask if you can have the car seat on the seat next to you for your child. All new, in-date car seats are FDA approved and the airline shouldn't charge you anymore than what you've already paid for the ticket. Your child is much safer in their car seat, whilst in the air, esp during take off, landing and air turbulence, than in your arms. You needn't use it if you're happier holding your child but its there if you feel you do need it, and you can use it in the car when you reach your destination!

    Also, after flying many long haul flights from UK to Canada and back, with our son at various ages, I would say that traveling with babies is much MUCH easier than flying with toddlers! Also, I've found that people are a lot nicer than you might think, generally and are more likely to offer assistance than the flight staff!!

  3. Thanks for the tips! I will be flying with my baby in January.

  4. thanks for the tips very interesting, next week I will fly for the first time with my 8 months old daughter and I am bit worried about her ears...hope flight attendants will let me give her the boob

  5. Supergormilla, there isn't anything they can do against you breastfeeding your child.BF is the best thing to do for their ears. Better even then giving them water or other beverages. If she's not congested or doesn't have a cold, generally the ears are not a big problem.


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