The 10 Best Tips For Flying With a Baby For the First Time

The 10 Best Tips For Flying With a Baby For the First Time

Between weather delays, long layovers, security checkpoints, airlines losing your bags, and ever-changing health requirements, flying can be a stressful experience. And as a new parent, the thought of flying with a baby for the first time on top of all of this is nerve-racking! But what I’ve heard from all you expert mamas and dads out there is there’s no need to waste time worrying about everything that can go wrong when traveling with a baby. Just be prepared with the right mindset, the right prep, and the right baby flying gear and have no fear on that – you know I’ve got you covered! When it comes to flying with a baby for the first time, it’s all about being prepared. So, here are my top Jetset tips as a new mom for what to know when flying with your baby for the first time!

1. Invest in the right travel gear

Again, the best thing that you can do to make your first flight with your baby easier is to be prepared. Not only is it important to be prepared mentally, but it is also important to be prepared in terms of the gear that you bring for your baby. Here are my top recommendations for what travel gear you need when flying with a baby!

2. Choose a flight time that lines up well with your baby’s schedule

When choosing a flight, try to choose a time when your baby is the happiest/the least fussy. Usually, for most babies, early morning or late night/red-eye flights are the best! And if you are flying somewhere that would cause your baby to be jet-lagged, consider time-zone training leading up to your trip. You can do this by having your baby go to bed just a bit earlier or later each day and eat at different meal times until you are closer to the time zone you are going to. Then, when you arrive, do your best to keep your baby on his or her sleep pattern and slowly adjust to the new time zone. This will be much better than shocking his/her system right away!

3. Book an aisle seat near the front of the plane

If possible, try to book an aisle seat toward the front of the plane so that you can easily head to the bathroom for a diaper change or walk up and down the aisle if your baby becomes restless/fussy. Being toward the front of the plane will be helpful when you get to your destination because it minimizes the amount of time that the baby has to wait to get off of the plane with all of the hustle and bustle of other passengers around him/her.

Photo courtesy of The Points Guy

4. Purchase your baby his/her own seat.

Buying your baby his or her own seat on flights such as American, Delta, or United (basically any airline that allows you to choose your seat ahead of time) will allow you and your partner to have a lot more room to spread out and take care of the baby. AND you can put your baby’s TSA-approved car seat  ( like this one ) right on the seat, so they have a comfy area to sit the whole flight (and you’re going to need your car seat once you get to your destination anyway!)

Ideally, you and your partner can get a whole row to yourself! If you choose not to purchase an extra seat, be sure to call the airline in advance to ensure that your baby is on your reservation. 

JETSET TIP: It is also important to note that, in any case, your baby will need a form of identification (including a passport if you are flying international!) Here is a great article by The Points Guy to check out regarding all of the documents you may need.

5. Make a game plan in terms of carrying vs. wearing the baby.

Decide whether you think it would be easier to wear the baby in a carrier or to keep him or her in a car seat. Many people find that wearing the baby is easier so that you can use both of your hands, but, if you are traveling with a partner, it may be better to keep baby in the car seat and just hand him/her back and forth. This is really a personal preference at the end of the day, however, I would definitely recommend that you wear the baby when you are boarding the plane. It’s SO much easier to navigate the aisles this way vs. carrying a bulky car seat!!

6. Get TSA Pre-Check AND Global Entry for Your Baby

Get TSA pre-check and global entry for your baby so that you don’t have to remove your shoes or take out your laptop when going through the security checkpoint. Global Entry is for international travelers (and includes TSA Precheck) is $100 , and TSA Precheck is for national travelers and is only $85, and it lasts five years (a great deal if you ask me!!). Most travel rewards credit cards will reimburse this cost.

As a bonus, you won’t have to take out your bags/bottles of breastmilk if you are pre-checked.

Photo Courtesy of CN Traveler

7. Ask your gate agent if there are any extra seats on your flight.

Once you arrive at your gate, ask your gate agent if there are any extra seats on the flight (sometimes, you can get an extra seat for your baby for free!). It is important to note that most flights are pretty full these days, so although you may get lucky every once in a while, you should go ahead and purchase a separate seat for your baby in advance if you definitely want the extra room. 

8. Feed your baby during takeoff and landing.

Just like adults chew gum to relieve pressure in our heads/ears during takeoff and landing, feeding your baby or giving him/her something to suck on (like a pacifier) will help him or her feel much more comfortable! If he/she is already sleeping, don’t wake him/her up to do this because he/she will probably just sleep right on through. But if he/she is awake, this is a genius trick to keep baby calm!

9. Pack a separate bag for baby.

By packing a separate bag that is only for the baby, you will be able to get what you need in-flight quickly and easily! I recommend this bag – so chic!

10. Dress your baby in clothes that are easy to remove.

Let’s face it – airplane/airport bathrooms don’t have much wiggle room, so it’s important to dress your baby in clothes that are easy to take off/put back on! I recommend these magnetic PJs from Magnetic Me.

Photo Courtesy of Travel & Leisure

Once you are on the flight, it is important to remember that the baby is going to do what he or she is going to do. You can’t control how your baby will react to a flight, and it absolutely does not reflect on you as a parent! Most passengers around you will totally understand because they have been there, so try not to stress.

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Christina is a leading luxury lifestyle and travel blogger with over 2 million readers. Follow her on instagram @jetsetchristina.