February 10, 2018

Tips On Flying With Babies & Toddlers

Flying with a baby or toddler terrified me when I become a mother, so much so that I didn't sleep for a week before our first flight with Abby, who was four months old at the time. And the night before we left, I called my mama friend in a panic. If this story sounds like you, I typed up this blog post for you!

Tip For Traveling With A Baby

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Early Bird Gets The Worm: 
Making a list and checking it twice is a tip I borrowed from Santa. Babies need a lot of stuff! So setting things aside and packing early has really helped me stay organized and not forget anything!  I quickly realized that 80% of the space in my suitcase was Abby’s and that I needed to wear one pair of jeans instead of my planned three. To give you an idea, I normally start cleaning and packing everything four to seven days ahead of our flight.

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It's All About Timing: 
Airline ticket prices can vary across flight times, but if possible, schedule the flight around the baby’s nap schedule. We did this each trip with Abby and our efforts always paid off because we didn't need to adjust her schedule. If you can make this work, wonderful!

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That's A Wrap
Babies need a lot of stuff and we only have two hands. So holding our little one in a sling, carrier, or wrap worked great while checking bags and going through security because it allowed me to keep my hands free.

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Choose Your drink: 
Babies always cry during take-off and landing and now I know why: because of the air pressure changes. So consider bottle or breast-feeding, whichever one you’re doing, your little one during take-off and landing to relieve pressure on their ears. A binky can work too!

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Double Up: 
Our very first flight with Abby included a two-and half-hour delay (on the runway), which meant we were not allowed to stand up or leave. A two-hour flight quickly turned into five hours. (Yes, it was awful.) The terms "frazzled" and "panicked" defined my day, especially when we were two hours from landing and only had one diaper left. I learned my lesson. Now, I always try to double-up on the number of items I think we’ll need for a flight.

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Tag Team 
If you want a "break" for a long flight, sit across from your partner. Steve and I did this once to switch off holding Abby every other hour. It was wonderful! We each had a break on a 6-hour flight. However, on our very first flight with Abby, I needed and wanted Steve by my side. Having him right there next to me was far more important than getting a break! This tip is one to keep in mind as you get more comfortable with your baby flying skills.

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Nothing To Wear: 
Spit up. Do I need to say more? Pack an extra shirt in your carry on and maybe an extra outfit for baby. It's ok! The spit up stage doesn't last forever.

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In the beginning of my baby flying days, I dressed for the destination rather than the flight. But I've found that I’m happier and more comfortable while traveling when I dress for the flight and then change in the airport bathrooms after landing. To make this easy on yourself, while packing, place those clothing items in the top part of your checked bag or carry on so they’re easy to grab once you've landed.

Tips For Flying With A Toddler

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At this age, sometimes she naps while flying and sometimes she doesn’t. The chatter, noise, and TVs on the plane are often too distracting for Abby to fall asleep, let alone stay asleep. Since she’s been turned 1, we’ve tried to schedule flights for when she's already awake.

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It Takes Two Baby: 
I took the advice from a journal article about taking no more than you needed when flying with a baby. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t account for the fact that flights can be delayed or canceled. As I mentioned above, on our very first flight with Abby, we spent just as much time stuck on the runway as we did in the air. I'll never pack for just our flight time again. Double the items you think you’ll need for the travel time and thank me later!

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 More The Merrier 
I was surprised to see how much Abby ate. And ate. And ate. So the more snacks you pack, the merrier everyone will be. To give you an idea, I purchased a twelve pack of organic bunny cheese crackers and Abby consumed almost all of them during our six-hour flight. She didn't cry once!

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Check Please: 
Some airlines ask that you bring a car seat on board, but check online or call to be safe. We have always checked ours because children under two years of age are considered a "lap child" and are generally allowed to fly for free. A good mama friend of mine made me promise to never bring a car seat on board because toddlers won't stay in it and you end up paying for a seat you didn't need to pay for in the first place. We've took her advice and have been very pleased with the results.

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 If you’re comfortable, sit in a seat across from each other on either aisle. It's a cheaper option than having your "lap-child" take up entire seat that they don't really want to sit in and that you paid for. But you know your kid best, if they seem like the type to sit and color in their own seat, go for it! You know your family's needs better than anyone else!

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Back Pack:
I always used a diaper bag until our third trip in with Abby, when I broke down and bought this diaper bag backpack. But since that trip, I’ve only traveled with the backpack. Hands free with my toddler sounds amazing!

In the end, whatever happens is only a moment though the memories you make with family and friends at your destination will last a lifetime. I try to remind myself this on every flight. The greatest gift we can turly give one another is time. 

I hope this helps you as you venture out and fly with your baby or toddler. If you have any questions let me know! I'm happy to help!

Warmly, Steph


  1. These are great! I never would have thought about sitting across!

    1. Oh I'm so glad you found this helpful! If you're comfortable, it's a great way to help you, your husband and your kid have a good flight.

    2. Oh I'm so glad you found this helpful! If you're comfortable, it's a great way to help you, your husband and your kid have a good flight.