Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Traveling with Baby

I’ve flown with all my babies as lap infants and here is what I’ve learned (plus a few of the things that make flying easier.)

Your Survival Kit:
Bottle or Breast Binkie Blanket – receiving Burp cloths 1 toy 2 Ziploc bags, one with diapers and onesies. Wipes

Call Ahead

You need to call the airline ahead to have them adjust your ticket to show an infant traveling with you. You’ll need to bring birth certificates or immunization methods to prove your child is under 2.

Check Your Bag

You’re already traveling with a baby, just accept you aren’t going to be super fast, check that bag. Be organized for once in your life (I struggle.)

Carry On Bag

I use a very large purse packed with baby essentials (bulb syringe, saline drops, wipes, etc.,) wallet, iPod, a magazine, and a little water. Pack minimally. I’m serious. Babies don’t need a lot and you definitely don’t want to be hauling all of it. Your plastic baggies go in here.What about the plastic baggies? Bag one is empty. The other has at least 4 diapers, two onesies, and a small changing pad. Your baby WILL have a blow out at 38,000 feet. You can pretty much count on it. Something about the change in air pressure causes babies to just let it fly. That’s why you need an extra plastic baggie, for soiled clothes. Or, you can accept the fact that one of your baby’s outfits is hopelessly soiled and throw it away in the airport or airplane. Two onesies? Yes. Two plain onesies because I’ve had more than one mile-high blow out and you don’t want to be the mom who shows up at her chosen destination with a naked baby.

Breast or bottle? Maybe both.

While I’ve nursed on almost every airline still flying the friendly skies, there’s nothing wrong with pumping a little extra milk as an option.  I’ve never flown with formula, so if you have ideas and tips, spill ‘em! We don’t do much binkie action in day to day life, but I use a full tool set when traveling. It’s important that baby is sucking on something on take off and landing to help their ears pop.The number one rule?Stay Calm Baby can sense your mood and if you’re freaking out, your baby will freak out. The more you panic, the more baby will panic. It’s OK. Take a deep breath and go to that zen place where you help your baby calm down and stop crying.

What about a little medication?

This is your call. I gave my first Benedryl for his flights with specific directions on dosage from our pediatrician, but after one particularly terrible flight, when my then 17-month-old actually became hyper instead of sedated, I never did it again. It was both scary and awful. No thanks. Not again. Not worth it. Figure out what baby needs Facing out, facing in, a little “sshhhh” whisper in the ear, lifting her up and around, baby is looking to you to calm her in an unfamiliar environment. Play with her when she’s awake so she goes to sleep happily. Call ahead to see if there are extra seats on the plane so that you can bring her car seat. Get up and take a walk if you can.

Don’t Worry About Other People

Most people are truly helpful and kind when you’re traveling with a baby. Accept their help. Their assistance lifting your stroller off the bus. Dress as nicely or as put together as you dare. People respond to others who look like they need just a little help (not a decade’s worth of help.) Even if one of your seatmeates looks like they want to murder someone if you sit down next to them with a baby, remind yourself that they were once screaming babies on an airplane, or once were the parent to a screaming baby. It’s the circle of life, yo. Those are a few of the things I’ve learned over the years of carrying lap babies.

How about you? Any sure fire tricks to keeping babies happy on airplanes?

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Comments (5)

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  3. Deborah 10/13/2011 at 8:48 pm

    You read my mind. I was going to e-mail you begging for strategies. I mean, a twelve-hour flight to Hawaii? Did you bring a pillow to help with breastfeeding? I’m flying solo with my gal next month and am already in a mild panic. She refuses the binky, but I keep trying for flight purposes alone! Maybe Lu can write Annie a letter with her own travel tips . . .

  4. Erica Fehrman 10/13/2011 at 1:46 pm

    I like to keep a light swaddling blanket between my lap and the baby, because arriving at your destination with yellow blow-out poo on your pants is not classy (I know).

  5. Zina 10/13/2011 at 9:37 am

    This is something that no one trying to save money wants to hear, but I’ve heard that to have a baby travel unsecured in an airplane can be nearly as dangerous as in a car, because of the possibility of unexpected turbulence. So if you wouldn’t take your baby in a car without a car seat, you really shouldn’t in a plane, either. In the days before routine overbooking, we used to just bring the car seat and ask if there were extra seats on the flight, and there usually were. But in these days of routine overbooking, we’ve decided not to chance it, so we just shell out the money for a ticket for our under-2s. Yes, it’s hard to do–but I always remind myself that my child’s safety is worth a lot more than the cost of that ticket.

    This also means you’ll never get a window seat, because regulations require the baby’s car seat to go next to the window. (I’m not sure why; probably to make it easier for other passengers to exit.)

    On the plus side, my kids, who are pretty good car travelers, usually also sleep pretty well in their car seats on an airplane, and the familiarity of the car seat seems to help keep them calm.

    Oh, as far as logistics with the bulky seat–we use a car seat that snaps onto a stroller base for our infants, and leave the stroller at the end of the ramp just before entering the airplane. For toddlers we use an umbrella stroller and also park it at the gate, and hang the car seat by its straps on the stroller handles as we navigate the airport. It’s awkward, but it works.