Traveling can be stressful. Add a baby to the mix, and anxiety goes through the roof.
We had to travel with our son to go visit some family in Ontario. It was either drive to the airport, take the short two-hour flight and hope for the best, or drive for 20 hours, multiple stops, an antsy 8-month-old possibly screaming most of the way…
You can guess which one we decided on.
The airport was an hour and a half away, the flight was two hours, and then about an hour from the airport in Toronto to my parents’ house.
These were some pretty manageable time slots. Because our son was 8 months old, he had a pretty good schedule going. We knew when the best times to be driving, to be in the airport, and to be flying would be.
So, we did our best to work around those times.
I’m not saying everything went 100% smoothly, but without the planning we did, it could have gone a lot worse.
These are the things we did to make our flights there and back go as smoothly as we could.
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MAKE LIFE EASIER
Who doesn’t want to make their lives easier?
There are so many baby travel items you can buy or even rent! Lots of people try to sell their used items as well because they buy them once and never need them again.
Even if you end up having your baby on your lap for the flight, get yourself a Dockatot.
That way you can put them in their Dockatot on your lap, and still have your hands free to read a book, listen to music or play games on your phone – whatever it is you like to do on flights.
Or sleep. That would be a good idea too.
A cheaper baby lounger like this one would work great too!
You can also use an awesome carrier like this one to keep your baby on you while they sleep and still have your hands free.
Either way, you’re going to want a great carrier to carry your baby through the airport. You can carry them through security as well!
Any of these items, as well as anything you might need at your destination, you can rent from others in the area on BabyQuip.
I LOVE BabyQuip! You don’t have to buy new items that you might not ever use again, and you don’t have to bring the big bulky stuff with you. You can rent any items you might need, from strollers and car seats to cribs and highchairs.
It’s genius if you ask me.
FORGET ALL THE RULES
There are two things I am pretty strict about when it comes to my baby – sugar and screen time.
Like, none of each.
However, any rules you have in place for your baby go out the window when it comes to traveling.
My son definitely got a lot more screen time then I would have liked on this trip. The tv was on more often at my parents’ house than in my house, and sometimes I had to use it on the plane or in the car to keep him happy.
It is what it is, and I am in no way ashamed of it. We parents have to do what we have to do to keep our sanity!
And your kid is not going to die with a little screen time.
So, don’t feel guilty for letting your kid eat the Macdonald’s or watch a few movies. Your sanity will thank you for it.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
This is not only important to get good prices, but also to get good seats and times.
If you know you want your baby’s nap to be on the flight, then book your flight during your baby’s nap time.
If you know your baby won’t sleep on the plane but you want them to be well rested, book your flight so you can either get a nap in at home or in the car first, so they’re awake and rested in the airport and/or on the flight.
You know your baby best, so plan accordingly.
Don’t worry if things don’t work out how you wanted them to. Babies are humans, not robots.
You’ll make it work!
BOOK YOUR BABY THEIR OWN SEAT
If you can or even want to, you can book your baby their own seat.
By doing this, you can give your baby a place to sit and crawl around if they are old enough, or a place to put them down and sleep.
Your baby can play with their toys, watch a movie, or play a game, and you can have some space too!
BE FLEXIBLE AND CALM
My son is one of those babies that does really well on a strict schedule. He thrives on routine and predictability.
I think most babies are somewhat like that, but I know some can be more flexible than others and do fine.
My baby is not one of those.
When we traveled with him his routine was completely off, he was in the middle of a nap transition, and with all the people in and out of the house to see us, he was a pretty fussy baby while we were away.
Regardless, we survived, and he got to spend time with family he never sees. So, it was worth it.
Try to be flexible and calm while you are away. Try to get one good nap in a day, but if some naps are in the car or in a carrier – or if all the naps are – than it’s okay. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
You can return to your normal routine and ditch any unwanted habits when you get back home.
Take the opportunity to get extra snuggles and contact naps in!
DON’T WORRY ABOUT OTHERS AROUND YOU
No one – and I cannot stress this enough – is entitled to a baby-free flight.
There is nothing more stressful to a parent than their screaming child in a crowd full of people. But, no one else matters.
People fly knowing there’s a chance a baby may be on that flight. Try your best not to look around you or worry about others. This will just make you more anxious, your baby will feed off that, and things will just get worse.
The thing is, most people either aren’t paying attention, have headphones they can pop in, or know exactly how you’re feeling because they’ve been there.
You are not the first person to have a baby on a flight.
And I can guarantee, your baby’s crying is a lot louder to you than it is to anyone else.
So, take a deep breath mama.
Calm your baby the best way you know how. Remember that your baby my be overstimulated by all the people and things going on, and their whole routine is being thrown off.
They will survive, and so will you. They need you to reassure them everything’s going to be okay, because it is.
These are my 6 simple tips for flying and traveling with your baby.
The biggest thing I was constantly reminding myself was that it was more important that my son get to be around his family than trying to keep his routine exact or worrying about the little things.
I knew as soon as we got back home everything would go back to normal.
Guess what? It did. It will for you too!