My first time flying with Stella, we both learned a lot.
I was nervous to be that mom on the plane, you know, the one with the screaming child. But I had decided long ago that part of parenting for us meant that we wouldn’t stop traveling, so Stella is along for the ride. I prepared myself for her first flight with a “come what may” attitude.
To be honest, she did extremely well, and after many more flights, I’ve decided that the 6- to 8-month age range is ideal for infant travelers. They’re old enough that you don’t have to worry about their ears and every germ they touch or somebody who coughs, yet they’re still small enough that they don’t mind being held. Side note: Unless I’m traveling business class, I’ve decided that one and walking is the cutoff lap infant age. In my opinion, they are too active to be held for more than 3+ hours.
Also, there’s still good in the world. The number of people who smiled and played with her far outweighed any negative encounters. Teach them young right?
Traveling with a baby is not easy but here are a few things that can help!
✈️ Check your stroller at the gate! Stella wanted to be carried anyway but the stroller gave me a place to throw my carry on, diaper bag, and everything else to keep my hands free for her.
✈️ Breast milk/formula is not subject to TSAs 3 oz limit so you can have a bottle ready to get you through security without so much fuss. Even better, TSA Pre-Check – the amount of extra work we avoided traveling with kids and a stroll and formula with Pre-check is heaven.
✈️ Have a pacifier, snacks, or a bottle ready for take off and landing to help with ear pain.
✈️ Bring a new toy they’ve never seen before, intrigue is everything.
✈️ Work with what you’ve got! Ask for blankets and set them on the floor for added space to explore. Water bottles are the best toys.
I clapped for the plane during landing so Stella would have a positive association and on our second flight she was clapping with me, excited for the ride-in.
I thought a window seat would be best but she preferred watching the flights attendants walk up and down the isles. At the end of the day you know your baby best so prepare however you think is right.
While I would recommend a short flight or direct flight for your first time, there are a few benefits to traveling international. Now, traveling with a toddler and lap infant, we sure do love a redeye flight. And my favorite thing about long-haul flights with lap infants – the bassinet option. We didn’t buy a seat for Donovan (7 months old)…but did reserve a bassinet. So he essentially received a free first class seat!
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT IN-FLIGHT BASSINETS?
Bassinets are free on many long haul/international flights. Check with your airline ahead of time on policies but most are available for babies who can’t sit up yet or are around 6 months of age. Reserve ahead of time! Call your airline right after booking your bulkhead seats (this is where the bassinets are located.) Or book with my air desk and I’ll call for you!
✈️ There are a limited # of bassinets available. First come, first service to request ASAP (and ask again at the gate). Available in economy, business, & first!
✈️ You cannot use for take-off, taxi, landing, and during turbulence and best for babies around 6 months or younger. Donovan slept for at least 4 hours of our 9 hour flight, giving me (mainly my arms) a chance to rest!
Traveling is always unpredictable but with littles, you need a lot more patience and appropriate expectations for what you can handle. When traveling with connecting flights, build in extra time with layovers to give you both a break.
Let me help navigate the unexpected on your next milestone family trip!
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