It can be a daunting task to fly with your baby for the first time. Even the most seasoned traveler can feel apprehensive about what traveling will look like now that their baby has arrived. Luckily there are some helpful tips you can follow to make your trip as smooth as it can be for both you and your baby! 

1)    Bring your baby’s birth certificate or immunization record with you as a form of ID.  They aren’t always checked, but some airlines do require proof of age, especially if your baby looks like they might not be under two.

2)    When you can, book a direct flight. The less time spent in transit, the less chance of your baby having a meltdown, and the less logistics you have to worry about. If a direct flight isn’t an option, choose one with a longer layover than you usually do to give yourself plenty of time to change a dirty diaper, feed your little one, and get to your next gate with time to spare.

3)    Book a flight during your baby’s best time. Most babies are happiest in the morning and can get fussy as the evening sets in. Whatever the pattern is for your baby, flying when they are in their best mood makes it easier on everyone.

4)    Get to the airport early. Traveling with your baby means more luggage than you usually have, a bit more maneuvering getting through security, trips to the bathroom to change your baby so they start the flight with a dry diaper, and working in time to feed if your baby needs it. To save yourself the stress, get to the airport with plenty of time so you feel as relaxed as possible when you board the plane.

5)    Gate check your baby’s gear. Most airlines allow parents to gate check baby gear like strollers and car seats. Many airlines let you do this for free and it ensures that your expensive items don’t get damaged by going into the cargo hold. Check with your stroller and car seat manufacturer for travel bags for your gear. Some brands offer guarantees if you pack your items with their bags, so you’ll be covered if anything does happen to your stuff.

6)    Bring extra baby necessities on your flight. Pack extra diapers, extra bottles, and a change of clothes for both yourself and your baby. You never know what delays might happen, so it pays to be prepared. Especially when unexpected diaper blowouts occur! Bring additional snacks if your baby is eating solids, or formula if you are using it. Holiday travel comes with weather delays, and when you are stuck on the tarmac for hours it’s important for you and your baby not to get hangry!

7)    Dress your baby for comfort and in layers. The more comfortable your baby is the happier they will be on the plane, and the more layers your baby is wearing the easier it will be to adjust to temperature changes both on the plane and at your destination.

8)    Keep your baby’s ears happy. Sucking can help ease ear pain caused by pressure changes. Bringing a bottle for your baby to drink from during takeoff and landing can help your baby’s ears adjust. Remember, breast milk is exempt from the 3.4-ounce liquid rule. If your baby doesn’t take bottles pacifiers work too.

9)    Keep your baby happy and occupied during the flight. Having a few toys in your diaper bag to occupy your baby on the flight can be a great way to keep them relaxed. If your baby is watching videos or playing games on a phone or tablet be sure to bring headphones so that you don’t disrupt other passengers.

10)  Try to stay calm! Your baby will feed off your energy, so the calmer you are, the better your baby will feel. Remember, people fly with babies all the time and even if your baby has a meltdown, you’ll never see the people on the plane again.

Safe travels, mamas!  You’ve got this.