If you plan to fly with a child less than one-year-old this Christmas, we salute you! Though you can't entirely control what happens in-flight or at the airport, you can plan ahead. Here are 5 tips for making baby's first flight a positive experience for all!
1. Make a checklist! This may seem obvious, but creating a full travel checklist that goes beyond just the packing needs will help you remain structured and calm throughout the travel process. Do your best to be prepared for any and all conditions as you fly with your infant. From diaper changes to quick snacks for you, travel itinerary and maps of airports, planning ahead will give you the peace of mind you need to be fully present and enjoy the experience.
2. Fear-free feeding! While breastfeeding on a plane might not be as comfortable as breastfeeding at home, it's completely doable. You can pump milk and bring it on the plane in bottles if you're nervous about nursing - the TSA simply scans the milk with a hand-held device, and it's completely safe. Be sure to bring a cooler bag to keep breastmilk cool during your travels. If you're formula feeding, bring bottles filled with pre-measured water and bring formula in pre-measured amounts to simplify bottle-making while on the plane. TSA regulations regarding liquids on carry-ons don't apply to formula or breastmilk, but it's always helpful to call ahead to find out if your chosen airline has guidelines for packing.
3. Be Careful Little Ears! If you've ever been on a flight with babies on board, you've probably heard them wailing during the takeoff and the touchdown portions of the flight. That's because the pressure can cause major pain for babies while flying. Prepare to offer a pacifier, a bottle, or the breast during takeoff and landing. The suckling motion helps to relieve pressure so there will be fewer tears.
4. Choose the Right Bag! An easy way to make life simpler when flying with a baby? Bring gear that cuts down on hassle, whether it's a dual-purpose item that saves space or a handy gadget that makes you more mobile. If you need bulky gear to use once you get to your destination, consider shipping it ahead or rent equipment once you get there. With a limit of two carry-ons per adult, your diaper bag may need to double as your purse! Creative thinking as you pack for travel will make the journey much smoother.
5. Relax! Flying with a baby can do a number on your nerves, and at the end of the day you simply can't control it all. If baby screams, he screams. If he sleeps, he sleeps. Whatever happens, try to keep in mind that many of the people on your flight understand and have been there. Seek out faces that encourage and know that you're doing the best you can!
Tennessee Family Doulas, located in Franklin, TN is a doula agency committed to creating calm and comfort for parents and newborns. From education to placenta encapsulation, our services are built to assist in all phases of birth and postpartum.