I remember being so terrified at just the thought of stepping onto an airplane with my baby. What do I do if he starts crying? How on earth am I supposed to change a diaper in those teeny tiny bathrooms? What is he won’t stop crying and people get upset? Can you tell I was paranoid about my son crying?
Well, I’m here to ease your fears and tell you that it’s NOT THAT BAD. I promise. Ryder has since turned 2 and he’s already been on 3 cross country flights. 2 of those were just him and I also since my husband couldn’t make the flights with us. So even if you don’t have help and it’s just yourself, it’s totally doable 🙂 My husband and I decided from the get go that having a child was not going to stop us from traveling and visiting new places, and it hasn’t. So here are some things I’ve learned along the way, they will definitely help the experience go a lot smoother…
1. Stroller: Until Ryder was big enough to switch to the lightweight umbrella stroller, I brought our Graco Travel System with us so he could relax and lay back in it until we boarded. Once we could switch to the umbrella stroller, it became sooooo much easier. Either way, before you board, make sure to get your stroller tagged and then leave it to the side once boarding so it can be checked in and waiting for you once you arrive.
2. Car seat: Make sure to bring that car seat with you! Cause if you forget then you’ll be having to shell out extra money to rent one for your trip. What you do with the carseat once you go through security depends on your situation. I would only bring it on the plane if your child is still very young and likes to sleep in it and if he or she has their own seat paid for. Children under 2 can usually fly for free as long as they are in your lap. Which brings me to number three…
3. Seating: Even if you didn’t buy an extra seat for your child, make sure to ask the gate agent if there are any open seats on the flight. That isn’t usually my luck, but if you do have a flight with empty seats, go ahead and take one! That way they can stretch out and lay down (hopefully) and make it easier on you.
4. Diaper Bag: This is an obvious must have! What you fill it with will vary by age, but you will definitely need to pack it with diapers, toys, snack pouches and finger foods, baby wipes!!!, extra set of clothing, bottles/cups, etc. If you have a newborn, I would say keep several extra onesies in the bag. That way if there is an explosive diaper which always seems to happen at the most inopportune time, you can just switch out the onesie and toss the dirty one. These Gerber Onesies from Amazon are super cheap.
5. Entertainment: The last time we flew, Ryder was older and needed to be entertained a little differently than before. We brought these fun headphones and the iPad for him and he liked it a lot. When they’re younger, they really don’t need a lot of toys so I would save space on that. Ryder was more interested in playing with the tray and people watching.
6. People: My faith in humanity was restored once I started flying with Ryder. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little but honestly, I was so shocked at just how nice people can be! When flying by myself, people helped me fold up the stroller to go through security, would pick up stuff for me off the ground that Ryder would drop, etc. I’m sure it helps that he’s an adorable kid but I was so touched. Want to hear a horror story? Ryder was eating out of a squeeze pouch while on the plane once and got a little too rough…the food squirted all over the lady sitting next to us and I was so mortified! I kept apologizing but you know what she did? She just smiled and said what a good boy he was being. She even held him for me when I had to go to the restroom. So please remember …there might be the occasional grump who doesn’t smile back when they realize they’re sitting next to a baby but most people are understanding and will be totally nice! If anyone gives you a hard time or says anything rude about your child, you have my permission to tell them to eff off!
7. Seat Location: Sit near the back of the plane! Personally, I think it just makes more sense to be near the bathrooms in case you need to use it quickly and for just in case if Ryder does get a little loud. I find that most parents with kids tend to gravitate toward the back too, so strength in numbers 🙂
8. Crawl it out: I let Ryder burn off energy before boarding by letting him roam around. You’re going to be stuck on an airplane for hours so the more they can move around and get the wiggles out beforehand the better.
9. Takeoff and Landing: The quick altitude change will mess with their ears and possibly hurt…make sure to give them either a bottle or a sippy cup to drink from during this time, it’ll help a lot. Ryder has never fussed once during takeoff and I’m sure it’s because we do this. Just don’t be like us and give them a lollipop…I can’t even tell you how messy he got!
10. Dress comfortably: I’m talking about us Moms 🙂 I can guarantee you that by the end of the flight, you will be sweaty and covered in food, slobber, and who knows what else. Attractive right?
I really hope these tips were helpful 🙂 I truly believe traveling with a young child is only as stressful as you make it out to be. If you’re a hot mess then they will sense that and become stressed out too. But if you go prepared then you will be fine and will have a great trip! Make sure to check out my product recommendations below and if you enjoyed this article, please make sure to subscribe with your email address below so you can stay up to date 🙂