Flying With Baby!
I started traveling with Jamila when she was 8 weeks old, right after her 2 month immunizations. Our first trip was just her and I to visit my family in Michigan, I was nervous as a first-time mom, but let me tell you - it was a BREEZE compared to what I expected. 2 weeks later we went to Miami! Not only was she so easy to handle being so little, everyone was SO helpful and considerate. Since then she's flown about 10 round trip flights and she's almost double that in age today!
The most important part traveling with your mini-me at young ages is all about having a SYSTEM and the right PRODUCTS!
Getting to the Airport, Always Rushing!
Because I like to take early flights (less delays and more time to get adjusted at your destination), getting out of the house must be well planned for me. I always have had 2 car seats, one that stays in her car with the base and then a lightweight travel car seat. When she was an infant we had a Cybex only and I took that without the base. Once she was able to sit up I purchased the Cosco Scenera Next (link below). Have the car packed with the extra car seat and lightweight stroller (or if you’re a city mom taking a taxi then have this all ready at the door). My stroller of choice is the Mountain Buggy Nano (link below) because any car seat can sit on top and straps/buckles right in. It started off as my "travel" stroller and now is my everyday stroller because it's so light and compact. I can easily carry it up & down the subway steps.
Ok we arrived, Now What?
Before you get the baby out of the car, get situated! Unfold the stroller, strap the car seat to the stroller and throw your diaper/carry-on bag on top of the car seat. Wear your baby and then you have two free hands, one to push the stroller and one to push your luggage. I have actually pushed two pieces of luggage with one hand and a stroller with the other for longer trips – or you can be a normal person and gate-check. I just like to show everyone how I can do things the hard way and make them look easy! If your little one is walking already you can just sit them in the car seat on top of the stroller, strap your bag onto the stroller handle, and proceed to check-in. Here is where the first trash bag comes in handy! I check the car seat at check-in and put it in a black garbage bag. The thought of the car seat being exposed and thrown around is gross to me. Yes I KNOW they sell fancy nice looking car seat bags, but why? I once used a black “laundry” bag and it took me forever to untie the knot. So, I figured a trash bag is easy to come by and easy to rip off when we land!
If your mini-me is not walking yet, you’ll see why I suggest baby wearing as soon as you get out of the car. Get all your stuff on the security belt, including folding the stroller. People are helpful to moms at the airport, even if you need to ask, it’s ok! Baby does not need to take off shoes or anything, just keep them strapped on to you. Once you walk through the detectors, get your stroller put together (with help if needed), and keep it moving. Now go get that diaper changed, buy some extra snacks if needed, and get some well-deserved coffee if time is on your side!
Pre-Boarding, YES PLEASE!
You’ve made it this far, you’re almost there! Because I have the Mountain Buggy Nano stroller and it fits in the overhead compartment I have the option on taking it on board with me or gate-checking it. This is your preference depending on how much you can handle carrying and walking through the tiny aisle. Also, there are helpful people walking by, including the flight attendants that can take your stuff off your hands and get them to your seat area.
In the AIR!
Most important part of being in the air with your little one is to have them drink (water, milk, boob) something during take-off and landing to avoid their ears popping. When Jamila was an infant I would not feed her in the airport and wait until take-off to ensure she would take. Now that she’s a toddler, I have a bottle of milk ready and do not show it to her until take-off. The rest of the flight is all about ACTIVITIES. The younger they are, the less you need to worry about keeping them occupied because they will sleep most of the time. Once that phase is over, it’s all aobut your Mary Poppins bag! The number one activity for us has been sticker books! Don’t worry about making a mess with stickers either – EVERYONE will rather have stickers everywhere instead of a crying baby!
YOU MADE IT!
The rest is history. You’ll be so thankful for that trash bag when you get to baggage claim as you’re ripping it off and throwing it away!
- It doesn’t hurt to try to go through the priority lane for security. They are usually sympathetic when you’re traveling with little ones.
- I still have not purchased a seat for Jamila (we have not taken any flights over 3 hours yet, no reason, it's just been a busy year) - and I've gotten lucky with an extra seat for her so many times, even in first class!
- If you have to use the lovely restroom on the airplane you can always ask one of the nice flight attendants to hold your munchkin outside the door while you go.
I hope this helps and safe travels to you! Please leave your mama travel tips and comments as it takes a village!
What you need:
*Baby Carrier (if they are not walking yet)
*Lightweight, Easy-to-Fold Stroller
*Car Seat that fits easily on Stroller
*2 LARGE black trash bags (1 for each trip)
*Small trash bags
*Change of Clothes-Baby
*Extra shirt - Mom
*Stickers, Books, Crayons