Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tips on Flying With a Baby


            Definitely my father’s daughter, I love planning for trips, even ones I may never take. I get into all the details and compile Powerpoint presentations complete with photos, budgets, and even packing lists. (My husband graciously always allows me to plan our vacations and even the more involved day-trips). Now a new mom to a baby boy, I was excited about planning our first trip as a family, though intimidated a bit because it was going to be one of the most intense journeys we’d ever taken. Here are some of the things I learned both from my preparation pre-flight and from my own personal experience.

            Babies come with lots of baggage and you’ll have to accommodate all of that extra stuff when packing. Try to travel as light as possible so as not to incur any additional charges for an extra bag or for excess weight. Plus, your airline may gate check the stroller or car seat (or possibly both) for free. I read up on United’s policy, and it was unclear, so I tweeted the company before our trip to find out if I could have both the stroller and car seat gate checked. (You can!) In addition, United, like many airlines, allows you to have one carry-on bag and one personal item (like a purse or briefcase). However, they allow certain items in excess of your two carry-ons: like a diaper bag. Both of these policies allow parents to avoid having to pay extra fees for all of their little one’s stuff.

I think that I packed the lightest for this trip than I have for any other my entire life, and this was by far the longest one. I managed to get all of my clothes and our baby’s clothes in my suitcase; I just had to put my shoes (only three pairs!) in my husband’s suitcase. Both of those bags were checked, then we each had a diaper bag (his, a backpack) and then I had one carry-on (which I ended up checking on later flights). Fewer bags meant less to pull, which was great considering someone had to push the stroller, and it meant we’d be faster through the security line.    

If you need to bring milk (or juice, water, or baby food) through airport security, read up on the Transportation Security Administration’s policy regarding medically necessary liquids. Normally you are allowed a clear zip-loc bag of 3.1 ounces of liquid, but if you have an infant (or require medicine) you are permitted to bring liquids over that amount, you just have to alert a security officer and take the bottle cooler out of the diaper bag and put it in it’s own tray to go through the x-ray machine.

            Some other things to note when flying with a baby… try to feed your little one during take-off and landing. They can’t chew gum to alleviate ear discomfort, but sucking can help. If you want to be able to use your hands during the flight, either 1) buy a ticket for your infant and put your car seat in it, 2) fly with someone else who is willing to hold them for part of the flight, or 3) bring an infant seat like the FlyeBaby, which is like a hammock that attaches to the seat in front of you and then to your waist for you to set your baby on. Otherwise, be prepared for aching shoulders once you de-plane.

Note Feb 04 2016: This post was originally published online at Family Culture Magazine, but it seems to no longer be active. I previously had only a snippet here on my blog, but because the link to the full article was defunct, you can now read the whole thing right here at Prego to Legos!

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