We flew from Pittsburgh to Houston and back a few weeks ago, with my (then) 5 month old. The biggest thing I can tell you is to start making lists and keep them handy for everything you think of!
Here are some other tips for flying with an infant that worked for us:
- Clear out your diaper bag and only pack what you need for the flight. We had toys, a few diapers, two burp clothes, 2 bibs, formula, and milk. I also kept 2 changes of clothes in Ziploc bags in case of emergencies. This alleviated having an overstuffed diaper bag.
- Hide toys a few days before or buy some new ones to occupy the baby on the flight. I had some from Easter that she hadn’t seen and they were “new” to her.
- Wear the baby in a onesie. It’s just easier.
- Try to feed around take off for the ears, but a pacifier works just as well. (Feeding didn’t work on either flight as I tried holding her off but it was just too long).
- Pack stuff you may need in a carry on, like extra diapers, wipes, heavier blanket, more toys). I also packed some extra clothes and crib sheet in there in case our bag got lost and I knew we would need these.
- Don’t bother wearing the baby. We had her in the carseat all the way to the gate. We had to take her out and carry her through security whether or not she was in the Ergo or the stroller. We also didn’t have to go through the detector with her. We walked around the side and they swabbed our hands.
- Use the stroller and car seat all the way to the gate.
- Take the bottles OUT of the diaper bag and put them in the separate container going through security. Also take out baby wipes. This will save you from having to have your bags searched. I didn’t know this, had my diaper bag packed so I knew where everything was, and then it was searched and everything moved around.
- If possible, try to plan around naps. We had a 11 o clock flight and that is usually around a nap time. She ended up with a 5 minute cat nap on the way to the airport at 8:30 and then she was up the entire time until we loaded. I fed her when we boarded, only because it was delayed and I couldn’t delay her bottle anymore. She was exhausted and fell right to sleep while we weren’t even taking off yet.
- I tried to pack minimal for us and her. I made sure the video monitor and sound machine were packed in the carry on in case our luggage got lost.
- It was really nice having my parents on the flight so I’d say make sure you at least have someone with you if you can! It was nice to be able to hand her off if I had to go to the bathroom.
- Bring your baby’s birth certificate. United told me I would need it (I didn’t) but doesn’t hurt just in case!
- Talk to the person at the gate and just let the know you have a baby and make sure you can board early. They were super accommodating.
- You can also ask if they have any empty seats on the flight and sometimes if they do, they will move your seat so your baby can have one (for free). Ours was a packed flight but I have a friend who just flew and had this happen with her 7 month old!
- The biggest tip is to have no expectations. Things will happen that you aren’t prepared for and you just have to roll with it. You’ll never see those people again anyway
Honestly, it went way better than I could have imagined. The flight home she was exhausted from the whole trip, but only napped for less than an hour, so she was bored. I didn’t have any layovers, which was nice. I will say it can be a little challenging keeping her occupied but she did great overall! The nice thing is that the noise on the plane is so loud, honestly no one can really hear them crying. There were multiple babies on both of our flights and you couldn’t hear them at all.