Two weeks ago, I took my 10 month old baby on her first airplane trip. Luckily the trip (each way) was two fairly short flights with a three hour layover in between. I decided to bring my baby as a lap child onto the airplane. I brought and planned the following things to make my daughter’s first airplane trip as easy as possible!
1. Ergobaby 360 Carrier
I was able to snag an ergobaby 360 carrier off the Facebook market for only $50 (a huge savings!) just a few days before our trip and I honestly credit this carrier as our saving grace! I wore my baby all through the airport and onto the plane. I strapped her on my chest when we arrived at the airport and kept her there all the way until we sat down in our seats. The carrier made going through TSA a breeze! Having my hands free was super convenient. The ergobaby carrier is designed to be gentle on your back and it was also so easy to put on and adjust by myself.
2. Car seat and stroller gate check bags
I wanted to bring our stroller with us in the airports, and of course we needed a car seat for when we arrived at our destination. I purchased gate check bags from Amazon. The gate check process was incredibly easy. The hardest part was getting the stroller and car seat in and out of the bags at the gate each time. By the end of our trip, the bags were very dirty and even had a couple small tears. I was very glad to have brought them because otherwise, our stroller and car seat would have likely been the ones covered in dirt and possibly with scratches or tears in the fabric.
3. Feeding at takeoff and landing
Ask anyone who’s traveled with children, and they’ll tell you that one of the biggest concerns for baby travel is how to help your child with the changing air pressure. This can cause ear pain, which often is a brand new sensation for a baby. Worst of all, they don’t understand why their little ears are hurting. To mitigate this, I decided to try to time feedings and naps with takeoff specifically. I started nursing my daughter just before both takeoff and landing to help with the pressure changes. Just like adults can chew gum to help their ears pop, a baby suckling helps their ears. This worked like a charm for us!
4. Travel safe toys
The toys that were the biggest hit on the airplane were suction cup spinners. We stuck them to the plane window and let my baby spin them to her heart’s content! This entertained her for 10-15 minutes at a time. She also loved having her soft books with us. This is a win for mom too because they’re machine washable to get rid of airplane germs ASAP!
When all else fails, hand my baby a snack and she’ll be a happy girl. I bring teething crackers and puffs with us everywhere, but I’ve never been so glad to have snacks as I was on the plane! When my daughter did start to get tired of sitting still, out came the snacks to buy us 15-20 minutes of calm.
These are the things that made our first time flying with a baby a good experience. There were still a few meltdowns, and that’s okay! Crying is communication and sometimes the tears just have to come out. I know how anxiety-inducing it is to be the parent of the baby screaming on the plane, and even though it must be frustrating for others, the flight comes to an end eventually. Our vacation was worth the stress of traveling. We’ll be back in the skies sooner rather than later!