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Anxious about your upcoming long-haul flight with Baby? I can’t blame you – it can be pretty rough if it’s not done right! But don’t worry, I’m going to hook you up with some practical tips and awesome baby airplane gear to put on your flying with infant checklist.
Tips for Flying with a Baby Internationally: Flying with Infant Checklist
1. Plan Meticulously
You will need to plan in detail:
- your flights
- your transport to and from the airport (with your own car seat?)
- which large items you need to bring (stroller, pack ‘n’ play, car seat) and decide if you’ll be checking them at the gate (stroller) or for the entire flight (pack ‘n’ play and car seat.) How will you protect them from being damaged? Will they cost extra?
- what items you need to pack in your suitcases – for yourself and your baby
- which items you need in your carry-on luggage and diaper bag – for yourself and your baby
- be informed about what you can and can’t bring through security. We were able to bring 3 liters of hot and cold water to mix for making formula. We also had liquid medications and baby food pouches on us.
2. Book the Right Flights
If possible, be sure to book your flights around baby’s normal bedtime. An early evening flight leaving at 7 pm is ideal. That way she’ll be even more inclined to sleep on the plane.
We weren’t so lucky flying from Germany to the USA. Our flight left at 5 am and our babies did sleep until their normal getting-up time at 7 am. But they were wide awake after that. They also dozed for an hour or two once they got set up with bassinets on the big flight.
3. Book the Bassinets
I highly recommend directly calling the airline and having them book the flight for you. If your long flight doesn’t offer bassinets, ask if you could get a plane with them if you were flexible in your travel dates. We were in an Airbus 330 and the bassinets were in row 29 right behind the toilet area (perfect for a quick diaper change!). The sweet woman at Lufthansa booked seats 29D for me and 29G for my hubby- and blocked the 2 seats between us so that no one could reserve them. It was a dream!
We were even able to bring our car seats / baby carriers on board so that we had hands-free a lot of the time. Our babies loved hanging out in their car seats and were thrilled to stretch out in their bassinets once we got up in the air. They’d doze for an hour or so and then come back to their car seat or our laps and watch movies with mommy and daddy – or just play quietly with their toys. Having those bassinets were a total game changer!
Questions to ask while Booking on the Phone
Another advantage to booking on the telephone is that you can ask all the important questions you need to ask like:
- Will I be able to check my stroller at the gate?
- Can I bring my car seat on the plane? (Make sure it’s not too wide and that it meets the regulations.) If not, how do I go about packing it so that it doesn’t get damaged?
- How many bags am I allowed to check in without paying a fee? Usually, you can bring one for you AND one for your baby, but I would check just to make sure.
- What liquids am I allowed to bring with me and how much? Although the airline is not responsible for this information, they can usually give you some tips on how to easily get through security. We had over 3 liters of water on us as well as fruit pouches and liquid medicines and had absolutely no problem getting through security.
Yes, you can and should find all of this information online, but it’s always a good idea to have it confirmed by the airline.
Flying with Infant Checklist
4. Be Prepared for the Worst – Create Your Own Flying with Infant Checklist
If you’re like me, what makes you most anxious is that there could be situations on your journey that you just can’t control. Flight delay or cancellation, baby starts to run a fever or vomiting, baby has a diaper blow-out, you get a nasty headache, you have to sit in different seats than the ones you booked, Baby notices your anxiety and starts to get fussy or even starts crying, Baby has gas or sudden teething problems, high-altitude crying…the list goes on and on. All you can do is to plan for those things to happen so that you’ll be prepared (and more relaxed!)
- pack extra everything – especially clothing, burp clothes, diapers, wipes, and formula (if bottle feeding.)
- bring a thermometer
- pack remedies for fever, gas, and teething
- bring headache medicine or peppermint essential oil for yourself
- pack extra clothing for YOURSELF in case baby liquids get on your clothing (happens at home all the time, doesn’t it?)
- relieve ear pressure during start and descent with something for baby to suck on (bottle, breast, pacifier, etc.)
5. Pack Smart
My advice to you is: keep it as simple as you possibly can! You don’t need to pack your suitcase full of diapers or formula when you can buy them at the drug store at your destination.
Forget about packing those fancy baby outfits with all the snaps and buttons. You want to have fun and relax as much as possible. Sweating over silly snaps, ties, buttons, and layers is not what you need.
Pack an extra suitcase for your baby so everything has its place and stays organized. This saves tons of time (and nerves!)
6. Try to Stay Calm
This is probably the most important tip of all. If your baby notices that you’re anxious, she will get anxious too. Keep a positive mindset and think to yourself: “Wow, this is so cool! There’s nothing better than seeing the world with the person I love most.” Your baby will also be happy to have your undivided attention for a whole day – so enjoy the time being together.
Fully ignore the dirty looks from other passengers. Almost every single one of them would be willing to help you if you needed it. You’ll be surprised how many of them will begin to smile at you and flirt with your baby once they realize she’s not going to scream throughout the entire flight.
If she does start crying, stay calm and check for the usual suspects and respond accordingly. Is your baby tired, hungry, thirsty, wet or dirty, cold or warm, bored? Maybe she does have ear pressure issues? Or could it possibly just be you sending out nervous vibes making her feel uneasy?
I hope my advice has somewhat eased your concerns. If you follow these tips:
- plan meticulously – create your flying with infant checklist
- book the right flights (& the bassinets!)
- prepare for the worst
- pack smart
- stay cool
you and your baby are sure to have a laid-back trip.