How to fly with a baby?

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A baby shouldn’t stop you from traveling, but can change the way you travel. With smart planning, a little bit of prep, and a whole lot of patience, any parent can fly with a baby in tow. Accommodations are even made for babies flying by airlines, the TSA, and considerate passengers along the way, so get started planning your next trip with these things in mind.

While most airlines allow for babies to fly free, sitting in the lap of their parents, it is a good idea to purchase a seat for them. An entire seat for the baby means the baby can travel safely and comfortably, as well as increasing your level of comfort and ability throughout the flight. Bring a car seat along, check with the airline to ensure your car seat is approved first, and strap it in once you board the plane.

Because babies require liquid meals, the TSA has made exceptions for parents traveling with children. However, there are still some limitations to what you can pack when you are flying with a baby. The TSA allows for liquids to be carried for a baby, but only as much as will be needed for the duration of your flight. This is more than the 3 ounces rule, but doesn’t mean you can carry enough milk to last your entire time of travel, so plan accordingly.

Packing for the trip involves more than packing clothes and supplies for the time you are at your destination. It is important to pack for the plane travel as well. Items to entertain, feed, and clean up after a baby are necessary. Anything that your baby finds entertaining or soothing should be included in your on flight bag if possible.

It is important to realize that while you travel with ease or discomfort, it is not the same for everyone else, and might not be the same for a baby. As adults we know how to help ease ear pressure, but a baby won’t have the same knowledge or ability. In order to ease a baby’s ear pressure, try to encourage swallowing by feeding near the beginning of a flight.

Having your hands full during travel can be made even more difficult when you fly with a baby, so try to eliminate carry on confusion as much as possible. Pack smart, leaving the most used items on the very top or in pockets on the outside of your bag for easy grabbing. Use ties, clips and cords as much as possible to prevent things from falling away or getting lost. This might seem like a small thing, but it helps when you’re juggling a baby and a half a dozen other items.

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Most airline employees will be more than willing to lend a hand when you need it and have seen thousands of families travel making them a great source of information.