Shepherd had a successful first trip on an airplane. We flew to Texas this past weekend to visit family, and he [mostly] slept like a champ! He's 11 weeks old. I had asked a bunch of mom friends questions to prepare myself for the trip, and so I figured I'd share with you guys on here.
Selecting a Flight
When you're choosing a flight, there are a few things to consider:
- Is this a popular travel time?
- How does the timing work with my baby's feeding/nap schedule.
Typically, early morning or late evening flights mean shorter lines and more empty planes. Two thumbs up for both of those things. That being said, Shep is usually most fussy at night, so we didn't want to do that.
Our flight to Texas was great. Although it was a full flight and we had someone sit next to us in the 3rd seat, the timing of the flight was perfect. I nursed Shep at home at 3:30am (I woke him up to do this), then we drove to the airport. He slept during the drive and through security. He slept while we boarded, and woke up at the perfect time to nurse during take off. I nursed again when we landed in Texas.
The timing of our flight on the way back was not as good. He really should have nursed at 1:30pm, but I tried to stretch him to be able to nurse at take off again. This meant he was pretty fussy when we got on the plane. Once they said we were cleared for departure, I started feeding him, but he was so eager, that he was done before we left the ground. He was a little fussy during take off because without nursing, his ears were probably popping, but I gave him a paci and he calmed down.
All that to say, I might in the future consider his feeding and sleeping patterns more closely when selecting flights. Right now, early morning would probably be the easiest because he's so sleepy at that time.
Lap Child Reservation
I'm not sure if this is true for every airline, but with Southwest, you have to book your flight and then call customer service to add a lap child to your reservation. You can't do it online.
What to Pack for Carry On
I wanted to keep it really simple for myself, so I checked the car seat at the beginning along with my luggage. That enabled me to just have Shep in the wrap and then his diaper bag on my back. Here's what I packed in my diaper bag:
- More diapers than you think you need
- 2 baby outfits
- 1 outfit for you
- Zip lock bags to dispose of diapers
- 2 pacifiers, in case you drop one
- Nursing cover (if nursing)
- Bottle supplies (if you bottle feed)
- Burp cloths
- Changing pad
- Wrap carrier
- Baby birth certificate (need this to prove identity and age)
- Water bottle for you
- Snack for you
- Headphones for you
- Your phone
- Your wallet with ID and whatnot
In Flight Tips
- Feed during takeoff and landing to prevent baby's ears from popping. If you can't feed and they're awake, have them suck on a pacifier. If they're asleep, just let them sleep.
- I would recommend nursing over bottle, if that's a possibility, to keep things simple. Security is easier this way, and there's no clean up after feeding. Shepherd also spits up much less when he nurses vs. bottle feeds.
- Snag a window seat in the back for extra privacy.
- Change the baby on your lap or in an empty seat. The bathroom is so small, it's not really worth it.
- Bring a paci so that you can calm the baby down if they get fussy.
- Ask for help if you need it. People are so willing to help out. A woman tied my shoes for me after going through security because I was wearing Shep in a wrap.
- If you wear the baby in a wrap, you don't have to take them out in security. If you have them in a stroller/car seat, you have to disassemble the whole thing and take the baby out.
- Having a baby added about 20 min to our normal airport routine. Leave earlier than you normally do.
- Southwest requires you to print your boarding passes at the full-service desk so that they can look at your baby's birth certificate and confirm that they're under 2. You can also check your carseat there with oversized luggage.
- Give yourself grace. Even the world's chillest baby is still a baby.
What have you learned from flying with babies? What are your concerns? Leave me a comment below!