I love to travel. I don’t care where I’m going so long as I’m going. When I had a baby though, some of my traveling plans needed some adjusting. Traveling with a newborn, especially flying with a newborn can scare so many new moms. It doesn’t have to though.
I have some tried and true tips and tricks to help make flying with your newborn a piece of cake.
The Best Flight Time for Flying with a Newborn
Choosing what time of day to fly with your newborn will take some planning. The goal is definitely to have your baby sleep as much as possible on the plane, so depending on how old your baby is, night-time could be the best option.
The caveat to that, is if your baby is easily over-stimulated then he may end up just staying awake all night. That’ll just make you both miserable.
I personally always fly with my baby on a morning flight if I can manage it. My guy is more likely to stay up all night on red eye flights and then he’s just a boar the next day. I’d much rather just wake him up earlier than risk him staying up too late.
Arriving to the Airport Early
The general rule of thumb these days is to arrive at the airport two hours before your flight. If you’re flying with a newborn, especially for your first time, I would definitely suggest giving yourself some extra time.
Going through security will take you a little longer than usual since you’ll be traveling with either breast milk or formula.
In the States, TSA guidelines say that you are allowed to bring breastmilk, formula, or juice in reasonable quantities through security. I have no idea what “reasonable” quantities are, but I’ve flown with hundreds of ounces of milk before both with and without my baby and have never had an issue.
The milk or formula also doesn’t apply to the 3-1-1 rule, but anything over 100 ml will have to be screened separately.
Printing out the TSA rules and bringing them with you can be extremely helpful. You never know when you’ll get a rookie agent that isn’t familiar with the policy. I’ve heard horror stories of women having their milk dumped because the agent didn’t know. Don’t let that happen to you!
You can find TSA’s rules HERE.
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Wear Your Baby
I always baby wear when I’m flying with my baby, especially when I was flying with my newborn. I do this for a few reasons.
- You don’t have to take your baby out of the carrier when going through security.
- You won’t have to lug so much stuff through the airport. (I’m looking at you car seat and stroller!)
- Your baby will be better protected from germy strangers getting too close.
- It is more relaxing for your baby and may help him sleep better on the plane.
I am definitely a pack light kind of person when flying, so if I can get away from carrying extra crap then I am all for it.
If you need your stroller and/or car seat, you can always check them. Most airlines will allow you to check them for free. Most rental car companies will rent out a car seat as well. AAA members can even get a free one with their Hertz rental. It may not be fancy, but it’ll do for a few days of vacation.
Helping Your Newborn Adjust to Flying
As you know, takeoff and landing can cause some discomfort and make your ears pop. Your newborn is no different. The easiest way to help him handle this is to feed him during those times.
If you’re nursing, I would definitely suggest practicing under a cover at home a few times before trying it in public. It isn’t as easy as it looks sometimes.
If you can’t, or he won’t eat, then use a pacifier, anything to get him to make the sucking and swallowing motion. That will keep him more comfortable.
The extra sights and sounds of a crowded airplane can also cause your newborn to become over-stimulated. This is where baby wearing really helps. I can’t tell you how many times I just walked up and down the aisle with my baby. And since I was wearing him, I had my hands free for balance.
I’ve also just taken him and stood in the galley with the flight attendants before. They typically don’t mind and it gives you a little peace and quiet to get him calm.
Handling the Stress of Flying with a Newborn
Though flying with a newborn can be stressful, don’t let it overwhelm you. It really isn’t as bad as it seems.
Before my first flight with a newborn, I was so worried about being “that mom” with the crying baby that everyone hated. You know what though? Most people really don’t care if your baby is fussy. Many people are even willing to help out.
I have had some of the nicest people help to distract my baby on flights. I even sat next to one guy that he just felt the need to touch for the three hour flight, just over and over grabbing at the patches on his jacket. That guy didn’t mind at all though. He just talked to the baby the whole time. It was great!
And if your baby is fussy, don’t let it freak you out. He’s a baby, babies get fussy, it happens. The other passengers will be fine. You probably won’t ever see any of them ever again anyway. They can handle the crying for a little while. You just take care of your baby and forget about everyone else.
For a more complete and thorough guide for flying with a baby, check out my post 25 Things to Make Flying with a Baby a Breeze.
Until next time!