7 Tips for Your First Time Flying with a Baby

Our first time flying with a baby!

Beau and I took LJ on her first trip this month! It was our first time flying with a baby and boy was I nervous! What to pack? Would she cry the whole flight? Fortunately it went amazingly. Seems like we have a real mini nomad on our hands. Fingers crossed that it continues this way.

While I was still pregnant, about 8.5 months, we made a commitment to attend a function in Carlsbad California in early January.  We were probably a little naive when we committed to travelling with an infant, she turned 11 weeks on the trip!

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At the Airport

Normally we are last on, first off the airplane, carry-on only, arrive at the airport with the exact amount of time needed and are on our way ASAP. It was an EXTREMELY different experience flying with a baby!

Flying with a baby on the plane

I am certain all her stuff took up WAY more room than our six days worth of clothes. We had a checked bag, Beau’s big travel back pack, my standard back pack, a diaper bag, stroller, car seat, and a reusable grocery bag of snacks.  I felt like we had packed super heavy though the gate agent thought we had packed light! Its all about perspective, ehh!

We chose to fly with LJ as a lap held infant to save on money but I can see the advantages of purchasing a seat for her since I wouldn’t have to hold her the entire flight! A 14 lbs baby gets heavy fast! Since we were flying with a lap held infant we were able to gate check her carseat and stroller.  This was a real lifesaver in the airport!

I discovered on our second flight how useful a sling carrier is! I put it on just after take-off and it took a lot of the pressure off my arms. It was so helpful having some extra support for my 14 pounder.

Our Route

Flying with a baby at the airport

Our trip took us from Kelowna, BC to Carlsbad, CA via Calgary, AB and San Diego, CA.  We had a very early morning flight out of Kelowna and had to change planes in Calgary.  Our layover was just the right amount of time to clear customs, change LJ’s diaper and grab a coffee and bagel. Unfortunately the return flight had us with a 5 hour layover in Calgary and getting back home late at night.

LJ did awesome! She slept for most of the flights both there and back although she was awake for most of our 5 hour lay-over. Our first flight she fussed a bit during the decent but was fine once she took her soother (she tends to fight it and then is happy once she gives in). On the way home she was getting fussy while waiting to take off but I was able to feed her to calm her down and then she passed out again.

Tips I learned Flying with a Baby

1) Check your airlines allowances for a lap-held infant. We were allowed 2 infant items gate checked for free, so we had full use of our travel system while in the airport.

2) Use a soft carrier on the plane. I used a pouch/sling carrier but a ring sling or wrap might be easier. There was a lady on the plane with her baby in a structured carrier (like an Ergo or Lillebaby) but it seemed like it would be awkward. If you are going stroller-less it would probably be a god send

3) Have spare clothes for you and baby handy. Fortunately, LJ didn’t puke while we were on the plane but we did have a diaper change miss hap where I had to fully change her.

4) Pack necessities in your carry-on. You’ll want to pack enough necessities in your carry-on to last a few days in case your luggage gets lost. This is a tip for any one travelling!

5) Keep your soother handy. The soother saved our bacon from any serious airplane meltdowns.  It also helps baby equalize her ears during take-off and decent.  Oh and don’t forget the soother clip! When baby inevitably spits that soother out it won’t hit the deck.

6) Use massive burp cloths. LJ is notorious for finding exactly wrong spot to face when I’m burping her and then I end up with milk all down my shirt. I did NOT want this to happen on the flight so I used receiving blankets as burp cloths while on the plane.

7) Give yourself extra time. When flying with a baby it takes longer to check in, get through security, you’ll be the first ones on the plane and the last off. In the airport, you might need to deal with blow outs or need to nurse your baby. I tried to feed LJ on the plane since it felt more private sitting by the window and having Beau on the other side but that can’t always be planned.

Now that we’ve popped our flying with a baby cherry Beau and I are ready to tackle our next adventure.  We aren’t sure where that adventure will take us but the future is bright for our mini nomad!

Have you flown with your baby before? Do you have any tips?

Check Out My Other Baby Posts!

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Diane Dee

Diane is a lover of all things travel. She and her young family wanted to explore North America from the comfort of their own home so they bought an RV. After fully rehabbing a 1994 Safari Trek, they set out to explore both Canada and the USA.

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