So, I’ve decided to give it to you straight. Traveling with baby in the airport sucks. There’s no way around it, you’ve just got to go through it. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t give it the old college try, because family vacation is important, and it can be achieved when you have the tiniest family members in tow, but there are some things you should know. Like be prepared. Oh, be prepared.
1. Forget The Gear
Seriously though, I know you think you need the Boppy, the pack-n-play, the Bumbo, the play mat, the stroller, and the car seat—after all they are essential baby raising tools that every parent needs. Except they’re not.
For heaven’s sake, leave the gear at home.
Even if you plan to check your stuff, it’s still another thing that you have to worry about and must potentially carry in and out of the airport. Plus, be honest with yourself. What are the chances that you are going to remember all the things on the return trip? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a car seat wasn’t left behind once. Made things a tad difficult when we got to our home airport.
The first thing you have to do is decide what’s really necessary. (And I’ll tell you right now that it’s not the Bumbo.) From there, you’ve got two spectacular options:
- If you are staying in a hotel somewhere, call them. They already have a pack-n-play you can use. If you’re renting a car, they have car seats you can use. If you need the stroller, it’s called a baby carrier; pick one of those bad boys up before you leave.
- If you are visiting family or friends, they either have the things you really need or they know someone who can let you borrow some things for the duration of your visit.
If you are in a bind, and I mean absolutely don’t have another option, bring the car seat with you because that’s not something your little nugget can live without.
2. Don’t Overpack
Regardless of where you are going, there will be somewhere you can wash your baby’s clothes, so don’t overpack. I know that you can fit her entire wardrobe in the space your husband takes up packing that pair of basketball sneakers he will never pull out of the bag to go to the gym, but keeping things simple is always best.
A few toys, a book, binkies, and a blankie should really be all you need. Try to bring only the clothes that are necessary and don’t overdo it on things like diaper and formula. Pack enough for two or three days in case of emergency, but plan on making a quick trip to the store when you land so you will have a large enough supply for the entire trip.
3. Bottles And Binkies
If your infant can sleep anywhere, then your best bet is to book a flight around the time of day when she naps or goes down for the night. If you can count on a good feeding to knock her out, then you’re good to go. If she fights sleep and is too much of a busybody to rest when she’s in an interesting place like an airport, try to plan travel around the times of day when you expect her to be the most active.
The most important tip I can give you for traveling on a plane with an infant is always to remember the bottles and binkies. Littles ones experience the sometimes painful sensation of ear popping just like adults do; however, they can’t just start chomping on a piece of gum. If you can manage to wait, feed your baby the bottle or the breast once you are in the air as swallowing helps them pop their ears which will be good for everyone within earshot—so basically everyone on the plane.
You’ve Got This
Don’t be scared. Taking a family vacation with your baby can be a very rewarding experience, and you shouldn’t forego it because the airport intimidates you. Knowing what you’re up against makes a big difference, so now that you’ve been informed, you’ve got this. Go forth and tackle the world, baby.