My daughter and son-in-law work for a large nonprofit in Haiti but come home every three months on furlough and stay at our home in Florida. Typically while they’re in the U.S., they take a weeklong trip to Texas to work at the organization’s headquarters, and occasionally fly to other states to meet with supporters of their ministry.
My grandson was born 14 months ago during a stay at our house, but started traveling with his parents at about eight weeks old. Since then, we’ve all lost count of how many times he’s flown around the country and back and forth to Haiti.
My daughter has learned some great tips for traveling with an infant, many due to trial and error. After talking about a few things that have made the process easier, I knew these ideas could help another mama prepare to travel, and to do so with confidence!
So, here are 10 tips for traveling with an infant:
1. Use a baby carrier, such as a Solly Baby wrap or Wildbird sling when they’re smaller and an Ergo when they’re older. They’re great for walking through airports with your baby safe and secure and also for getting your infant to sleep on the plane. Babies love that secure body contact with their mamas!
2. Nurse or provide a bottle or pacifier during takeoff and landing to help diminish ear pressure, which can cause severe pain to some babies.
3. Use a sleep diaper (the 12-hour kind) the entire travel day. If your baby doesn’t poop, you can leave it on from the start of the trip until you reach your destination.
4. Always carry one or two gallon-size Ziploc bags, because if baby does poop, it’s the perfect airtight container for soiled diapers and clothes.
5. Dress your baby in a sleeper or onesie for flying. The only thing not covered will be his or her hands and head. It’s one piece so it’s easy to change (and less to fuss with), and also is more protective for baby’s health.
6. Travel with a backpack (keeps you hands free) as your carry-on, and only bring necessities like diapers, baby wipes, snacks, bottles, etc.
7. Ask the gate attendant if he or she would be willing to put you in a row with an empty seat (if there are any).
8. Once your baby is eating solids, take plenty of snacks—they’re better than toys at calming and distracting a fussy infant on a plane. A small toy works, though, if they’re not yet old enough to nosh.
9. Don’t be afraid to pull out your phone or tablet and play some videos to distract your baby if he’s fussy.
10. Don’t stress! Worst-case scenario: your baby cries, poops through her diaper, her clothes, and her carrier (yes, my daughter has been there/done that). In a few hours your flight will be over. My daughter claims that even their worst flight wasn’t worth the unnecessary stress she felt going into it.
So there you have it—10 quick tips to help make traveling with a baby easier. Hang in there, mama; you can do it!
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