Flying with babies. Oh, if it were that simple. No matter how much you think you have everything together, every flight is different and presents a new surprise. Projectile spit-up, blow out poop, touching everything in sight, putting magazines in mouth, trying to grab seat mate and his belongings, kicking seat mate while nursing… The list goes on. Of course some things cannot be controlled but others can, including what to pack and how to pack.
To make things a bit more simple, which is what all parents strive for, here’s a list:
- Three words: wear your baby. Repeat: WEAR YOUR BABY. There are a number of baby carriers on the market and mostly any one will work. We have an Ergo that my sister used with her two boys and handed down to us. I love it because it allows you to be hands free, keeps baby close, can be worn on front or back, baby is limited to what he can reach and therefore grab, and there is a zipper pocket where small items can be stored. Wearing your baby allows you to take off your shoes in the security line, wear a backpack or roll a suitcase while still having one or two free hands, purchase iced coffee and drink said coffee with ease, and use the bathroom (yes, it’s possible!).
- Pack an extra set of clothes for baby and for yourself. You never know when spit ups or blow outs will strike. Enough said.
- Pack and organize your carry-on so that items are accessible. Make small cloth drawstring and zipper bags your friend. Use one for toys; one for the extra outfit; one for an emergency pacifier, booger sucker, nail clippers, and bandaids; one for diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream.
- Bring healthy snacks. Snacks that travel well include apples, oranges, trail mix, granola bars, etc. Bonus: one man’s granola bar wrapper is another man’s toy.
- Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up once you are through security. We all know that open containers on a flimsy table with a baby nearby is an accident waiting to happen so make this a priority. Plus, you never know when you’ll be sitting on the tarmac for an hour or more without drink service.
- Pack extra wipes and a cleansing spray to wipe down surrounding areas – tray table, window, TV screens, armrests, seat belts, etc. Make this the first thing that you do. Babies are quick and find the most disgusting things palatable. Except boiled green beans, of course. Why is that?!
- Stash away toys and books. Allow baby to explore the surrounding (now clean) area until he is bored. Then, bring out toys and books one by one so that he doesn’t tire of them all at the same time.
- Wear a scarf that doubles as a nursing cover. While I’m all about the “normalize breastfeeding” movement, nine times out of ten, you’ll be sitting next to a creepy old man that’s hoping for a nip slip, if you will.
- Hope your seat mate likes babies just enough but not too much to the point that he wants to touch the baby’s hands after eating 7-11 chicken wings and licking his fingers.
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight!