Tips for baby’s first flight + Free printable packing list

Happy little flyer at SeaTac Airport's play area.

Happy little flyer at Sea-Tac Airport’s play area.

My sister is flying with her 8-month old for the first time soon and asked me for some advice. While I’ve previously written How to: Fly with a baby, looking back at it there are some things I’d add and change. So here, for my sister’s and your benefit, is a new list of tips on how to fly with a baby, along with a free printable packing list. (See link at the end of this post)

01. Get to the airport early enough that you don’t feel rushed or stressed. Give yourself time to change a diaper, use the bathroom yourself or whatever else you need to do that you’d rather not do on the airplane.

02. Dress baby for easy diaper changes. Cabin pressure does wonders to a baby’s bowels, be ready to change a diaper if necessary. (Changing tables are usually located in the rear bathrooms, but ask if your plane has one when you check in so you can mentally prepare.) Packing one diaper/hour of flight is the general recommendation and pack some extra wipes & clothes too, just in case of a blowout.

03. Wear baby through security. Check any stroller or car seat you may be bringing. TSA generally won’t make you take your baby out of the carrier and will simply swab your hands to test for explosives. You’ll still have to remove your shoes though, I would recommend wearing slip-ons if possible. Also, I think it’s easiest to use a backpack as a diaper bag/carry-on when wearing a baby, but that’s personal preference.

04. Have a plan for hurting ears on landing. Most babies are totally fine with take-off, it’s the landing that stings.  Have a pacifier, bottle or something else to suck on ready just in case. And remember, while it’s super stressful to have a screaming child on your lap and everyone’s eyes on you, landing doesn’t last long and everything will be back to normal soon. (Plus: screaming can help those ears pop!)  If you think Tylenol will help, go for it – our pediatrician actually recommends it – just remember it takes some time to kick in, so try to time it right.

05. Get baby to sleep, if possible. Babies’ schedules are constantly shifting, but if you can get yours to sleep on the plane – particularly for landing – you won’t be sorry. This is much easier said than done, but if adjusting the time of a bottle or feeding, or stretching time between naps works, do it.

06. Bring your own in-flight entertainment. Or something you think will hold your babe’s attention. I like to bring a new paperback book and a few toys to pull out over the course of the flight.

07. Don’t worry about your neighbors. Most parents are afraid of their kid screaming on the plane. That’s fair; it may just happen. Lord knows it’s happened to me. Just don’t overly worry about the people sitting near you, worry instead about keeping your kiddo happy – if your baby’s happy the people around you will be too. And if your kiddo happens to be inconsolable on the flight, remember that you will probably never see those people again.

J&JB Carry-on Packing List Infant

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