I'm planning a ton of trips this summer--and I'm not alone. This year Americans are expected to skip the staycation and travel once again. For many moms that means stepping on a plane with baby for the first time.
Planning your Flight
Book ahead of time. Air fares are predicted to be on the rise this summer with a 22% increase in prices. Scope out a good rate and jump on it when you find a deal. If you find a super-saver rate--it might make sense to give yourself the luxury of a little more room to change a diaper (hey, anything goes up in the sky--those bathrooms are often filthy).
Check the rules. Most airlines will allow a child under age two to be considered a lap child. Be sure to read the fine print--especially on discount carriers. If you opt for a separate seat, make sure your car seat has this label: "This Child Restraint System Conforms to All Applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards."
Get your timing right. The sweet spot of travel is between 3 months and 9 months. Before 3 months if your baby catches a bug and spikes a fever it could require a spinal tap. Why risk it? At age 3 months baby is hearty enough to battle the germs in the fuselage. Be warned once baby is crawling things get trickier. We took both our girls as infants to Europe when they were about 6 mos. it was a dreamy flight and an awesome first vacation. It gest a lot harder as they got older.
What to Bring
Lightweight stroller or sling to get baby to gate.
Approved car seat if baby has a dedicated seat.
Plastic bags for soild clothes, diapers, etc.
A fresh top for mom and a back-up outfit for baby
Snacks (for you and baby).
Bottle and formula if you are not breastfeeding. Here's the FAA rule: "Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag."
A soft toy that can be washed.
ID for you and baby. Get a passport and save yourself the hassle of bringing along a birth certificate every time you fly.
Diapers and wipes x2: Double what you think you'll need in case of delays.
Backup cell phone battery or your charger (see above)
How to Pull it Off
Do board early. Label the stroller and leave it at the gate with a claim tag. Find your seat and wipe everything down with a wipe. Stash your gear--have snacks and a toy handy. Don't sit until you have to.
Make friends. Say hello to your neighbors and apologize from the start if you have a window seat. You might have to get up a few times. I suggest aisle.
Try to feed on take-off and landing. It'll help relieve the air pressure.
Be polite to the flight attendant. 70% of the time they are useless but a charming 30% are gems and will help a mom in need. Ask for water early--I try to bring a empty bottle and have them fill it early in the flight before service.
Momtrends Tips for Surviving the TSA
- Select a carry on bag that can easier by worn over the shoulder.
- Don't wear a belt.
- Have everyone wear flats or Velcro shoes--messing with lace-up shoes is a nightmare.
- Label everything. I like Mabel's Labels for bottles, snack packs, etc.
- Remember your ziploc containers with liquids. This include odd things like deodorant.
- Opt for powdered formula over liquid--it is just easier to deal with.
- Slings are easier than strollers for carrying a baby. We've had two strollers destroyed in transit by airlines. The sling can be slipped overhead with ease.
- Use a carabiner to keep your keys connected to your bag.
- Take your time. Even thought people may give you evil looks. Don't be rushed--you'll only forget something--like the all important pacifier.