This is a question I get asked a lot so I thought I’d start with it.
Traveling with a baby!
Living far from both my in-laws and family, as well as a passion for exploring, traveling, and in particular flying, will be the norm for our children. Our first big flight with little O was to Vancouver, guys, it’s a 10 hour flight, for his first flight!! Needless to say, I was so worried, not only about O’s behavior, but about the glares, eye rollers, upset people around us.
But wow, I was amazed! The flight was so awesome! The flight attendants were so accommodating and O was so happy and giggling the whole time, all the passengers loved him and kept telling us how beautiful he was -SUCH a nice surprise!
Believe me when I tell you, I had over planned for the flight, we bought portable baby hammocks that attach to the seat (waste of money) packed numerous blankets, brought expressed milk in case I felt uncomfortable to breastfeed him, brought a carry on full of toys to help keep him entertained, all of which we didn’t need.
But here’s what you do need to survive a long ass flight, or any flight for that matter. First and foremost, an easy going attitude. As soon as we got on the plane O had a huge explosion, leaking on his pants, haha we weren’t able to change him until after take off so this is where I realized, no matter how much I planned, it was out of my control. Aside from the usual diaper bag necessities here are a few things which with help immensely!
Baby banz headphones, they are amazing not only for flying but for hotels too! We didn’t need to use them the whole time, we only put them on when there were other children sitting near us, as they tended to be somewhat unpredictable with melt downs haha. O didn’t hear a thing and was peacefully sleeping while the 2 year old behind us was screaming.
Some kind of white noise. We really like the white noise app on our phones, O really relaxes to the sound of water running so anytime he would get uncomfortable (generally with take off and landing) we would turn on the app and let it do its magic.
A wrap/carrier, we obviously wanted him to be the most comfortable on the plane, for his sake and all of the passengers, and of course he’s most comfortable in our arms, which we were expecting to spend a lot of time walking around with him (it’s what we signed up for when we became parents) so tag team walks around with your partner to make it easier on you both and use a carrier or wrap to help your back out from time to time.
Disposable baby changing pads, this is one I learned after the fact, the change tables in the washrooms are essentially useless, I know they mean well but common, his head was wedged between two pieces of wood haha, it looked so uncomfortable! So what we ended up doing was changing him in the bassinet or on the seat between us, of course, if your child has horribly stinky poop, try to use the washroom for those ones, but for a simple change, the seat/bassinet is fine and much more comfortable for them too!
Try to get the front row with the bassinet option, or ask for an extra seat. Luckily we’ve managed to get the front row from time to time, and if not the front row they’ve given us an extra seat which is so nice to let him stretch out his lets when he needs to.
Snacks for yourself! If your breastfeeding this is crucial, you need to keep up with your calories to avoid your milk supply from dropping. If you aren’t, it’s still important to get energy to keep up with the littles. I brought a bag of snacks and water and it was empty by the time we landed. This is a big tip!
Toy sanitizing baby wipes or something similar. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times O dropped his toys, these made me feel safe that they were cleaned afterwards with something that he can put in his mouth. Also bring wipes for your hands, our son was teething and always wanted to chew on our hands. After washing with the airplane water we didn’t want to let him put them in his mouth (ew) so we would use some of these wipes and bottled water in the sink to wash our hands.
Rest when they rest. Really though, when the baby is sleeping or your partner has them, rest, don’t worry about anything but resting.
And here are some things you don’t have to worry so much about.
Don’t worry about bringing expressed milk, O didn’t even want it and I felt very comfortable feeding him oddly enough, if you’re afraid you won’t feel comfortable you can always ask the flight attendant if you can feed in the back or front of the plane. They are usually really accommodating and try their best to make you feel comfortable, so don’t stress. In the end, most people understand, he’s a human and needs to eat too.
Don’t worry about their ears, O slept through take off and landing numerous times, which makes me think it isn’t as bad as we think it is. I was expecting him to wake up screaming at any point but he was good!
Don’t worry about other passengers, most people understand and even those who don’t get soft when babies smile or laugh at them, so in the end they aren’t upset at all. Justiciable on your baby and everyone will be happy, I promise.
In the end, while flying with a baby is much different than the relaxing ways before (we would watch movies, talk, read and get served), it has its own charm and fun to it. We love experiencing it through his eyes and seeing the excitement at the littlest things. Enjoy it, and remember, you’re making beautiful memories that you’ll cherish forever!