Travel Tips for Flying with Your Baby or Toddler Written by Mary Marine, BA, IBCLC, RLC

 

Travel Tips for Flying with Your Baby/Toddler

Your new family can visit family and explore new places. Flexibility and planning is key to an enjoyable trip for the whole family. Many babies are happiest when their days feel like home and routines are consistent.

    Before your trip
    hawaii vacation with baby
  • Schedule flights during a less busy time if possible, like during the week or before and after peak holiday travel dates. Also consider the baby's routine and schedule the flight. If your baby will sleep in plane or car, consider scheduling flights during sleepy time.
  • Consider if you want to purchase a ticket for your child. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that your child is the safest in a child restraint (CRS) seat that is certified for use in aircraft. Ask the airline for a discounted airfare for your child. You will need a window seat to accommodate car seat.
  • You can prepare your toddler for the trip by visiting an airport or children's books about flying or traveling.
  • If you need to use the airline's child restraint seat, need help making connecting flights or would like a special child's meal check with the airline when you make your reservations.
  • Confirm the reservations 24 hours, 8 hours and 3 hours before departure.
  • Choose a family friendly destination, including the hotel and activities that you choose.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance in case something happens last minute that you can't travel.
  • Plan extra time in your trip so you can adjust your schedule to meet babies and your needs for rest and relaxation.
  • Check with your baby's doctor before traveling if your baby may be sick and if immunizations might be needed for your destination.
  • Check with airline or travel specialist to see if you will need a copy of the birth certificate or passport for your destination.

    Packing

  • Bring all the comforts of home. Pack blankets or bedding or favorite toys or stuffed animals. Pack both familiar favorites and new and novel toys.
  • Pack toys that easily packed into diaper bag, make no or little noise and will hold you child's interest. Thinking about activities like peek-a-boo or other baby games and can help relieve your stress instead in the moment you need to entertain your child.
  • Pack plenty of drinks and snacks. If you are breastfeeding your baby, no packing needed for baby. Being in an airplane can de-hydrate you, so plan on drinking plenty of water.
  • In your carry on, pack a change of clothes for your baby and top for you. Also consider a light blanket for baby or you if needed.
  • In addition to packing a stroller, bring a baby carrier that will allow you to hold your baby and have your hands free. Some places are not very stroller friendly and sometimes baby is happier if they have the security of mom's arms.
  • Pack a first aid kit and a basic childproofing kit to use at your destination

    Boarding and in flight

  • Use the time the airline allows for preboarding families of young children to choose a good seat and get organized so that you will have everything you need during the flight.
  • Clean the surfaces around your seat to reduce the risk of you getting sick.
  • If your child has already started solids a snack can help entertain him.
  • The change in air pressure in the cabin may cause discomfort for your child's ears. Breastfeeding, using a pacifier or drinking from a sippy cup can help relieve the discomfort.

Hopefully with all the advance planning your family will be making happy memories of time spent together, seeing new places and doing new things.


Further information

Travel tips for breastfeeding and travel http://www.llli.org/FAQ/travel.html
Tips to travel with infant www.mothering.com/blue-travel-tips-flying-your-children and http://babycenter.com/planning-a-family-trip
Flight travel safety guideline for families www.faa.gov/passengers/childsafety.pdf

Written by Mary Marine, BA, IBCLC, RLC
Mary is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant assisting mothers with breastfeeding concerns. Mary conducts breastfeeding class and assists mothers with breastfeeding at the Nurture Center in Lafayette. Mary is the mother of three children and has lots of experience traveling with her family.

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