Have Baby Will Travel.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Now that we have flown with a 3 month old, 10 month old, and taken a few 4+ hour road trips, I think that i'm a pro at traveling with a baby. I'm also pretty sure that i'm not a pro, but it's been such a breeze, that I figured i'd share my tips with traveling with a baby since it was so easy for us! (World's chillest baby not included!)

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a wreck a month out from flying with Beckett when he was 3 months old. We fly Southwest (the BEST!) and the moment I booked our ticket, panic set in. 3 hours and 52 minutes on a plane with a 3 month old? Will he scream the whole time? Will he have a blow out? Will I have a panic attack?

While I can't answer those definitively, I can offer you some tips for pre-flight, check-in, and on the flight! And for road trips too!

Get there extra early. This should be a no brainer. If getting out the door takes an hour, plan on it taking an hour and a half. It's better to be early then late. Plus, security is always hit and miss, and with the amount of crap you'll be lugging with you, it's better to give yourself a little cushion. And since you'll need to go to the desk and check in, you'll need to account for a line there as well. No more checking yourself in and breezing through to the gate!

Babies under 2 fly free on Southwest on your lap, as long as you can prove their age. Once you book your own ticket, you simply call Southwest ( Just in case you want the number it's 1-800-I-FLY-SWA and they are always super friendly!) Let them know that you are traveling with an infant (or baby, whatever) and they will add them to your ticket. Just bring your child's birth certificate or shot record to prove their age. Either works!
When you arrive at the airport, you need to check in at the counter. While you are checking your 2 free bags (take the 2nd, trust me), they will print your boarding pass, and a Boarding Verification Document for your kiddo. It's like a fake baby boarding pass. But you'll need it. 
They have a really great website for any other random issues you may run into.  There is also info on how you can buy a child's seat (Tip: just buy the Wanna-Get-Away seat! It's cheaper!!), tips for flying pregnant, and other information! You can check it out here!

When you are checking in, ask the airline representative if there are any seats available on the plane. If the flight is not full, you can bring your car seat on the plane/ give your child a seat FOR FREE. We have flown 3 times with Beckett, and twice we have been able to leave him in his car seat! It was great having the extra room! If they don't know, you can ask at the desk at the gate. They will let you know!

If you are traveling with a stroller/car seat/car seat base you can buy a $15 Southwest Airlines Travel bag that is big enough to fit said stroller/car seat/car seat base in. You can buy it when you check in and get your boarding passes. You can take your stroller/car seat/ car seat base through security to the gate. If there is a seat available you can take your car seat on, and gate check the stroller/ car seat base in the bag. This keeps it clean and dry! TOTALLY worth the $15... keep in mind the Britax Stroller Travel bag for the STROLLER ONLY is $50, and the Britax Carseat Travel bag for the CAR SEAT ONLY is $70. That's $120 versus $15, just sayin'. 

If you are Traveling alone with a baby, start drinking early. Just kidding! If someone is dropping you off and can be at the airport for a while, have them get an escort pass. When I flew alone with Beckett, my biggest concern was 'How in the world am I going to get checked in with 2 huge suitcases and through security with myself, a baby, stroller/car seat/car seat base, boppy, my purse, and the diaper bag?' The answer? With CL. 

You can ask for an escort pass when checking in. This allows your husband (or whomever is with you) to help you through security, and get you settled at the gate. They can wait until you board to leave. This was such a huge help. They go through security just like anyone else, but cannot (obviously) board the plane. Having an extra set of hands makes it that much less stressful. 

Only bring what you may need on the plane. Multiplied by 3. Hopefully you know your kid well enough to know what you may need during a few hour span. During a 3 hour flight, I packed at least 9 diapers, just in case. A new pack of wipes, just in case. 2 extra outfits, just in case. YOU NEVER KNOW. You may use all of your extras, and you may use none of them. babies are pretty unpredictable when it comes to being 35,000 feet in the air, so it's better to be over prepared, then to have a naked baby on arrival. 

Don't pack a million diapers in your suitcase. Unless you are traveling somewhere where you can't pick up or have Amazon deliver diapers and wipes, don't pack them. Every time we fly, we have my Mom pick up a box of diapers and thing of wipes and have them waiting for us, so that we have extra space in our suitcases or things we actually need to bring, like clothes and toys. If you need to bring them back with you, there is always space for a few extra diapers and a pack of wipes! 

If you are flying Southwest, you can board with Families between A and B boarding (unless you are lucky or buy early check-in and get A boarding, then board then!). You get to choose your own seat, and by the time it's Family boarding, most people choose the seats in row 1-6. I usually like to sit on the wing, but when traveling with B, I sit in row 18-ish. (A little behind the wing). It's nosier back there and close to the bathroom. The sound of the plane should lull your baby to sleep, and if they have a meltdown, its drowned out by the sound of the engine. Plus, it's closer to where the flight attendants hang out, so they will check on you and help you out if you need it. When we have flown with Beckett, we have sat on the window. Now, that may not be best if you need to walk up and down the aisle calming your little one, but it gives you a tiny bit of extra room so if you are lucky and can bring your car seat on, you have that extra width. I just tuck the boppy in between the window and the car seat and buckle him in tight! 
 If you aren't lucky enough to get the extra seat for your child, utilize the boppy! On one flight we didn't get lucky (it was the Sunday at 7pm, peak hours!) so we gate checked the car seat and stroller, and took Beckett on with just the boppy. He laid in my lap-- again the window seat has a little extra width, and he slept the whole time. I'm tellin' ya. Those extra 2 inches of width come in handy!
On take off and arrival, have your little one suck on something. Ha. Give them a pacifier, bottle, or nurse them so that their ears won't hurt them. During our first flight with Beckett our wonderful flight attendant told us that it was more important during descent, and that if they are asleep, let them be. They'll let you know if something is bothering them. I've never been one to force a pacifier in my kids mouth, but for this, I keep my hand on the pacifier while it's in his mouth, just in case.

Snacks! When traveling with babies, you can bring on formula, breast milk, and juice for your child. It's considered medically necessary, TSA says so. You can bring more then the 3.4 ounces, just let the TSA agents know it's in your bag, and they will screen it. Just FYI, they also took out my wipes and tested the bag for explosives. I know. We have traveled with frozen breast milk, formula, rice cereal and never had any issues. 
We also brought food pouches, and a brand new thing of puffs with us. When in doubt, food always seems to keep babies happy. Happy and full= content baby, but don't forget, what goes in, comes out!

If possible, travel during non-peak days, and during nap time. This gives you that small extra chance of having an empty seat for your kid, and the chance that your baby will just sleep the whole time. All flights we have taken Beckett on have been during nap time, and well, he's been asleep before take off. This last flight he stayed awake for take off, which scared the bejeezus out of me, but fell asleep about 10 minutes after take off. The motion and sound of the plane really is soothing to babies. 

Let the flight attendant know if it's your child's first flight, 10th flight, whatever. Let them know if you are traveling alone. Let them know you may need help. Southwest is notorious for having the best flight attendants, and they will check in on you. They will give you extra snacks. They will comfort you if you have a meltdown, or if you baby has one. During Beckett's first flight, our flight attendant was a grandmother of 3 boys, so she was all ready to help out if needed. Too bad he slept the whole time! If it's your kids first flight, they will even give you a little packet and certificate documenting their first flight! It comes with their first pair of wings, a coloring book and crayons, a Southwest luggage tag and a certificate with their name and date. It was so cute, and perfect for his baby book!

TOYS. Bring a charged iPad. And a new toy or two. And your child's security blanket/lovey/ stuffed animal. I am not above shoving an iPad in my kids hands if he wants to listen to the ABC's at an appropriately quiet volume for the 100th time. If it keeps him happy and quiet and the people around me content, so be it. We try and limit Beckett's screen time to 10-15 minutes, so use this only in an emergency, but it does work! Fisher Price has really great educational baby apps- from piano's to color, shapes, numbers and the alphabet, they have definitely been wonderful for us! 
Bringing a new toy will also keep your child's interest during a long flight. Not that old toys are bad, but something new is interesting and will entertain your child. You can also use it as a prize if they are well behaved for the whole flight. Again, i'm not above bribes! Whatever works!

If you bring their security blanket/ lovey/ stuffed animal, make sure you don't leave it on the plane! Take your time gathering your stuff when exiting the plane. Unless you are in a hurry, sit back, let the masses exit, then leave without being rushed. 

And a few last notes! Some babies cry. A lot. I'm lucky to not have one, but in the event that your child is a mess, you can walk up and down the aisles with them, or hang out in the galley with the flight attendants. They are new faces and hopefully can help you comfort your child. If you wear your child, you can't wear them during take off or arrival (but how would anyone know? Just sayin') But as soon as you hit 10,000 feet, strap that baby on. That closeness may keep your child calm during the flight, and having your hands free is a great bonus! You also can't wear them while going through security, which is a bummer, but as soon as you are cleared, you can can get them back on.

During car travel, all these tips apply, except that whole security thing. Make sure you have a mirror in the back seat so you can see them, and hope for the best! Line your car seat with a waterproof blanket or liner, JUST IN CASE. You don't want to get stuck somewhere random with a poop lined car seat. If you are taking a really long trip, make sure you stop and change your baby's diaper and keep them comfortable and entertained. If you can sit with them, do! It'll keep them feeling safe. Plus you can always take a nap with them!

On shorter trips, don't stop unless you have to! On our drive from Houston to Plano (4 1/2 hours) I didn't stop. Beckett fell asleep, and didn't wake up until 20 minutes out, so I just kept going. Unless they are screaming, it's easier and best to just get your destination. There is nothing worse then taking a cranky baby out of a car seat for a few minutes to just have to put them back in there!

I hope that this is and will be helpful to you! I know that traveling with a baby is stressful, but take it in stride! You won't be the first one with a cranky baby on a plane, nor will you be the last! Do you have any traveling tips that I missed?

Happy Traveling!

((Also, this is not a sponsored post from Southwest Airlines, but if they'd like to throw a free flight or Rapid Rewards points at me I wouldn't complain!))

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, this is such a helpful post! I didn't know you couldn't wear your baby at takeoff and am definitely going to look into the travel bag for the stroller/car seat!


Copyright © 2015 · Designed by Pish and Posh Designs