Flying with a Six Month Old Baby
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I recently flew to Utah with my son Connor who just turned six months old to attend a family reunion. As a frequent traveler, I wasn’t too nervous about flying with him for the first time but of course I still spent countless hours searching for tips for flying with a baby. I found a lot of helpful advice that I would love to share with you as well as a few things I learned during our travels.
To start, I think its only necessary to say a few apologies. To the lady sitting in front of me that had a beautiful braid proudly standing 3 to 4 inches above the seat on the airplane I am so sorry your hair was the object of my son’s affection most of the flight. Be thankful it was in braids and that he couldn’t actually use his death grip to pull it (yes, he is freakishly strong and has a death grip). To the young man who sat next to me and probably no longer wants to have children, please know it was Connor’s first flight and he was just excited. The bruises you may or may not have on your arms and legs will only be temporary. I hope your feelings about my child are too. Look at this adorable face. You can’t be mad too long right?
Getting to the Airport and Going Through Security:
I decided to drive my car and park in long term parking. If you are considering doing this make sure you give yourself plenty of time. I had to find a parking spot, gather all the baby gear and my luggage and then jump on a bus to get to the airport terminal. You will be a lot less stressed if you leave plenty of time.
Side note: We rode a bus to the airport from remote parking and there were 4 men that got on the bus with me. Not one of them offered to help me. My goal in life is to make sure I raise boys that will quickly offer to help anyone, especially a mom with a baby that is carrying more than double her weight.
One thing that I would have done differently is I would have put the clothes I wanted the baby to wear on before he went to sleep. We had to wake up early and leave for the airport at 4am and I didn’t want him to travel in his footie pajamas. If I had put him in his clothes I could have transferred him from his bed to his carrier with out waking him up, but instead he was completely awake because I changed his clothes.
I was lucky that my husband drove to Utah ahead of me, so I was able to have him take our suitcases and pack n play. If I was flying solo and had to carry large items I would have checked everything curbside. Because of this I was able to just bring my backpack, the stroller and his carrier.
My stroller was able to fit through the x-ray machine leaving DFW airport but when I returned from a smaller airport it did not fit through their machine. The security attendant just took the stroller through the metal detector and then did an inspection. It only took a few extra minutes.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: If you don’t have TSA Pre Check I would highly recommend looking into this if you travel more than once a year. It makes going through security much more painless, especially when traveling with a baby. I was able to get my TSA Pre Check and my Global Entry for free when I signed up for an American Express platinum card. No matter how you go about getting it, it is hands down worth the effort and extra money.
Feeding Your Baby While Traveling:
I recently started giving Connor formula. As a self proclaimed crunchy mama, I was hesitant to supplement with formula but it has made all the difference in having a happy baby with a full tummy. I breastfeed and then follow with a bottle or food about two or three feedings a day. I was given advice not to use a bottle warmer and only use room temperature bottled water when making a bottle. This tip was extremely helpful while traveling because I didn’t have to find hot water. Once I got through security I just stopped at the next store and purchased a bottle of water to carry with me. I know all babies are different and your baby may refuse to drink a room temp bottle, but this has helped me not stress over having the right temperature bottle many times. If you are carrying formula, I suggest filling your bottles with formula before you leave and then all you have to do is add water. I found that using a formula dispenser and even a plastic bag filled with formula was just too messy.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, I highly recommend getting a breastfeeding shirt or sweatshirt. I wore both of these to the airport and absolutely love them. They have become my new mom uniform and make breastfeeding much more comfortable. I always dress warm when I fly because the temperature in the airport and on the plane is often cold for me. I ended up taking off my sweatshirt pretty early upon arrival in the airport and never put it back on because traveling with a baby is a lot more work than traveling alone and I never got cold between wearing or managing my squirmy little one.
Overall, everyone was really helpful. A special thank you to Jonathan, one of the American Airlines flight attendants, for knowing that I might just need that extra cookie and giving me a second one mid flight. He must have known that I love unexpected thoughtful gestures and sometimes a cookie just makes everything a little easier, even flying with a baby.
Here is my packing list and a few additional travel tips!
Thoughtful Travel Tip: If you can, wear the baby. I used my Ergo and Baby K’tan. It may seem like a hassle to bring both but I had only used my Ergo once and wasn’t 100% comfortable with it. I wore my Ergo when I got on the bus, through security and then to my gate. I ended up switching to my Baby K’tan before I got on the flight. I did so because the flight attendant told me I would need to take the baby out of the carrier during take off and during landing. The Baby K’tan is so easy to slide on and off I thought this would be a better option than me trying to unlatch my Ergo.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: If you have bottles that have a lid, bring the lids. This will help keep your bag clean. I loved traveling with Dr. Brown bottles because of their sleek compact size and coordinating lids. I don’t love the extra pieces when I have to clean but I do think the features help with air in the bottle. I mentioned this above but I liked putting the formula in the bottle and then just adding water instead of using a formula container and making a transfer.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: Depending on where you are going and what you will have access to, one thing you might consider packing is soap for cleaning your bottles. We have switched to all non toxic products in hour home and I love knowing that what I am cleaning with is safe for my whole family. I love the honest products and use these almost exclusively at home but I found these Babyganics foaming dish and bottle soap in travel size and purchased these for my trip. I really love the foam and will definitely bring these with me again. I also brought with me these cleaning brushes from OXO. I purchased this on my very first trip traveling without the baby so I could clean my pumping equipment in my hotel room but it works good for bottles too. It is super compact and perfect for travel.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: Wear a backpack. I love carrying my LV extra large tote during the week but I knew I wanted to be functional and have both my hands while traveling. I purchased this inexpensive Graco backpack and really love it. I can fit a lot of stuff in it and I love the wipe dispenser on the side for easy use.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: Bring toys that you can clip onto your backpack so you can leave space inside your backpack. I love these Bright Starts Grab and Stack Blocks Toys. When you are waiting for your flight you can put down a blanket or I really love this Brica Fold n Go Travel Bed. My little guy is too big to actually sleep in this now but if you had a smaller baby and didn’t want the hassle of a pack n play while traveling this is a great alternative. I now use it as a “play pin” when we are out and about and don’t want him crawling all over the floor.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: Board the plane last. I know that most airlines let mothers with young children board the plane first but I really think boarding last was helpful. I would only recommend this if you aren’t carrying much luggage or if you are ok with checking your luggage at the gate as if you board last you most likely will not have a place for your luggage overhead. When they started to call for first class boarding I got ready by changing the baby’s diaper and then feeding him. By the time they said last call I was ready to board with a sleepy baby.
Thoughtful Travel Tip: Try to make sure when booking your flight if you have a connecting flight to leave plenty of time between them. My first flight was slightly delayed which made me late to my next flight. Running with a stroller and my rolling luggage bag is an extreme workout and I highly don’t recommend it. Also, wear some running shoes or your favorite kicks. I wore flip flops on my way home and running in them trying to catch my flight was also not enjoyable.
Other Items on my Packing List:
Ziplock Plastic Bags
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