Flying is already stressful; here are some tips and tricks to make your first flight with baby easier!
Written by Maureen Ferrin
The day our plane tickets to Hawaii were finalized, I jumped so high I could have reached the clouds. I could already picture us lounging on the beach, sipping ice cold coconuts and eating pineapple Dole Whip from the Dole Plantation. There was just one thing in my way: TSA.
Just when I thought I had this whole “mom” thing down, I realized I was completely oblivious when it came to flying with a baby. But how hard could it be? After researching tips and tricks, I only became stressed and worrisome about our upcoming flight. So let me lay down some first-hand experiences when it comes to flying with your littlest passenger.
1. Call your airline to make sure your baby is on your ticket.
Before your flight, and before you check in, call your airline to make sure they know you’ll be flying with an infant. If your child will be in your lap, you don’t need to worry about extra fees, just let them know. If you want your child to be seated in their car seat, you will need to purchase a ticket for their seat.
2. Food for baby is allowed through security.
If you’ve flown before, you are familiar with the 3 oz liquid rule…forget that! If you’re flying with a baby and need to bring breast milk or formula, you can bring as much is necessary (in moderation of course) for the duration of the flight. You are also allowed to bring baby food in jar or pouch form.
3. Breast milk may be inspected.
For your safety, and the safety of all other passengers, your breast milk may be inspected during your security check. A small portion may be poured out for testing, but that is it. It was way less stressful than the TSA FAQ video made it seem.
4. Strollers and car seats can be checked at the gate as you board your plane.
If you want to have your stroller or car seat available as soon as you land, you can bring it through security and check it as you board your plane. The attendant will attach a pink baggage claim slip with your ticket and seat number on it to the stroller or car seat, and you will simply pick it up as you leave the plane.
5. Forget what boarding zone you are, you get on first!
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that families with children 2 years of age and under, may board first. Because my five month old isn’t necessarily hard to entertain yet, boarding early wasn’t a concern. I had time to find my seat, get situated, and breastfeed him on the plane before taking off. He got acquainted with our confined space, and by the time we took off, he had already fallen asleep.
6. Have something for your baby to suck on during takeoff and landing.
Our pediatrician suggested that we give our son a binky during takeoff and landing. You can also breastfeed, or have your child suck on a bottle, but be careful you are watching and listening for air bubbles, and that your baby doesn’t choke if the landing is bumpy. This helps pop your baby’s ears and avoid painful ear aches. You do not want to spend the first part of your vacation dealing with an infant in pain.
If you feel like you need more in-depth information on flying with your baby, you can check out the TSA website and peruse the frequently asked questions page. It is always being updated and can help answer questions!
Remember that the destination will be worth all of the hassle, and getting through TSA won’t seem all that bad.