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Baby on Board: 5 Tips for Baby’s First Plane Flight

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Since this month’s theme on ediTORIal is “Vacation All I Ever Wanted,” I wanted to share a few tips for momistas whose vacation plans involve a plane. You also might remember that Finn Man recently took his first flight (out of belly) to Mexico. Flying with little babes in tow isn’t always easy, but I have a few tips to make things easier on jet-setting momistas and their little ones.

1. Wait Two Months.
According to Baby Center, it’s best to wait until your babe is two to three months old to fly. Waiting this period will allow you little one’s immune system to grow strong enough to fight off icky airplane germs. But as long as your infant has a clean bill of health and your pregnancy was complication-free, your pediatrician might give you the go-ahead to fly with a baby as young as two-weeks. When you do fly with a baby, protect against plane germs by putting a tiny bit of Neosporin on a Q-tip and gently swabbing it inside babies’ nostrils.

2. Ease Their Ears.
Changes in pressure can irritate baby’s sensitive ears. So since swallowing can help to alleviate ear pressure, What to Expect recommends timing feedings for takeoff and landing (when ear pressure is usually worse). In a pinch, pacifiers will also help.

3. Be a Good Neighbor.
Calming your crying infant is enough to deal with sans angry stares from fellow passengers. That’s why I love the idea of passing out “babe on board bags” to the people seated around you. It’s a nice gesture that will elicit compassion for you and your babe.

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4. Arrive Early.
Getting through airport security with a baby in tow will take a little longer than usual. Baby formula, breast milk, and juice are exempt from the TSA’s 3.4-ounce rule, but be prepared to have them inspected at security checkpoints.

5. Save a Seat.
Airlines allow children under two years old to be carried on domestic flights free of charge. But—and this is a big but—that means your kiddo will have to be on your lap the entire time. If it’s a shorter flight that might not be a big deal. But for longer trips it might be worth the extra cost to book a seat for your baby’s car seat. And if you do decide to go the lap route, make sure you still book a “lap ticket” aka “boarding verification document” for your babe. This is free, but they won’t let you on the plane without it.

Have you flown with a baby before?

Share your own tips and experience below.

Photos: Buzzfeed
  • Sarah A.

    We took the redeye out of LAX on Saturday to come back home after a long vacation. (Bought a sweet little Jellycat Mouse at InvenTORI Friday!) Our 17 month old son was very tired and over traveling. Waiting for the flight was quite a challenge keeping him and his older sister calm and relatively quiet but as soon as we stepped on the plane and they turned off the lights he was fast asleep for the rest of the flight (so was our 3 year old). So while the redeye may be a less than ideal time of day to travel it worked well for us because we knew our kids would almost certainly sleep through it! Happy travels everyone =)

  • Leslie

    Years ago I flew with my 4 yo, 2 yo and 2 wk old kiddos in my father in laws Cessna. The worst part was small plane with no bathroom. We made it safely from Michigan to Texas, fond memories.

  • Wendy Hughes

    I have never heard of the neosporin trick that is awesome. I love the zip lock bag idea. I think I would need to put some xanax, little bottle of alcohol, and a stress reliever ball lol..

  • Jennifer Degl

    The Neosporin suggestion is great. I just had my 4th child who was a micro preemie born at 23 weeks and this is most certainly necessary for traveling with her. I can’t believe this is the first time I heard about this tip. Thank you. After my daughter Joy returned home from 121 days in the NICU I wrote a memoir called From Hope To Joy, which will be published in a few weeks. Please see my website at http://www.fromhopetojoy.com

  • julieallyson

    Hi Tori! This article is full of great tips. Our company, Nanny in the Clouds, is designed to give moms an extra hand when traveling solo with young kids by matching them with a sitter already booked on the same flight! We are the first company of its kind and we are working hard to help moms everywhere have a little extra help on a trip that can be very stressful! I would love to know what your thoughts are on our service since you are a mom of 4!!

  • Mrs. CandyO

    Thank you so much for this!! Just booked our first vacation with baby who is 6 months. Since we live in NY, we wanted our 1st flight to be relatively short, so we booked a trip to West Palm Beach and (not sure if it’s okay to say this) but we are staying at the 4 Seasons there who seem to be SUPER accomodating to those with children. Need all the tips we can get. I’m super concerned about what to bring/pack for baby. Someone said its helpful to use the Baby Bjorn in the airport. Thanks, Tori for a great article!! xoxo

  • Anastasia Peterke

    Great advice. My first flights with baby in tow began when my son was 10weeks old. Cross country. DC to LA. Long before the access of blogs. He was very good, but definitely think goodie bags would have “sweetened” the neighboring passengers!

  • K_Mack

    I still remember when my husband and I took our youngest son on his first flight – all the way across the country with a change of flights in Minneapolis. He had just turned two years old (but we still got to carry him on our laps) and had chronic ear infections. I was kind of dreading the flight but overall it went well. The thing my husband and I really lucked out on was, each time a meal was served, our son was fast asleep!

    One recommendation I have if you are going to be passing through busy, crowded airports is consider buying some type of tether. I’m not saying but your kid on a leash but there are many options these days for keeping your young child connected. I bought an tether that had two wristbands and and a stretchy cord connecting them. It worked well – he got to have some freedom of movement while we were waiting for our connecting flight but he couldn’t go far. The main reason I got a tether is because a few years earlier, my sister, her husband and their three year old son were in an airport. Their son was walking maybe five feet from them when this woman came up to him, grabbed his hand and said “come on, little boy, come with me”. My brother-in-law immediately ran up to her and pulled her hand off my nephew and the lady walked away. They were both really freaked out by the whole thing. They didn’t report her but they should have.

  • K_Mack

    What a great idea! My niece could have used this kind of help when traveling from Germany alone with her daughters a few times while her husband was serving there in the military.

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