When we first decided to fly back home to VA with Jackson, I started doing research on tips & tricks to traveling with a baby. Because it’s me, I wanted to be as aware as possible. Since Jackson is still pretty small, keeping him busy wasn’t high on the priority list – more so sleep as much as possible (hence the red eye flight)!
In the moment, I failed at getting great pictures of everything because I couldn’t stop thinking I was forgetting something (#firsttimeflyingwithbaby) so here’s what I got! These aren’t necessarily ‘tricks’ to making it easier. More tips & AHA! moments that made sense for us.
Car seat & base
Stroller & car seat covers
Consider flight times & seats
Downloaded movies / baby headphones
– NEEDS –
STROLLER – I found this to be crucial in the airport because it helped haul everything from point A to B with ease. From car to check-in point, we weren’t completely out of breath because I managed to carry J, the car seat, carrier & 2 bags on the stroller 🙌🏽 Also it checks for free so why not!? We adore our BOB Stroller – jogging stroller FTW with its shocks 🙂
CAR SEAT & BASE – The stroller is up for debate when traveling with a baby but a car seat is not. How are you gonna drive around at your destination, let alone get in whoevers car that’s picking you up without it? 🤷🏽♀️ Can’t forget the base too. Surprisingly, it’s a common overlooked item because you shouldn’t really be messing with it so people forget. DON’T FORGET IT!
MOMMY HOOK – I don’t remember my original reason for getting this hook but I was grateful for it on the stroller. It’s basically a giant carabiner that you can attach to the stroller handle & then hang your purse – so it’s not in the seat with the baby or taking up any additional real estate. Mine carried my 2 carry ons & I was eternally grateful 🙏🏽
STROLLER & CAR SEAT COVERS – I didn’t know these existed or were so vital until the ladies in my Mommy group informed me. I was told airlines wouldn’t accept your car seat or stroller unless it was covered & if you didn’t have your own, they’d make you purchase one of there’s for a stupid price. This could have been for a specific airline but American Airlines didn’t seem to care. Fortunately, we were able to borrow some from our friends (that also helped us carry more cloth diapers because I definitely threw at least 6 more in the cover with the car seat) but I did see a few car seats get picked up with no covers. It helps protect your items though so why would you not? We used covers from ZOHZO & they were perfect!
CARRIER – Once you check your car seat & stroller, you’ll need both hands to carry bags. The carrier gives you then hands-free option so you can grab all the things. I would have been struggle city had we not brought our LillieBaby carrier.
DIAPER BAG – Given but this HAS to be one of you carry ons. Mine essentially doubled with some items for me AND contained my wet bag. Naturally, I used my Logan & Lenora waterproof bag 🙂
FLIGHT TIMES / SEATS – I was nervous about our first time flying with a baby being a Red Eye but J slept like a dream. He pretty much stuck to his sleep schedule which was perfect. Coming back, it was a ‘late red eye’ which he was awake for a little bit more but I think the slight rocking & humming from the plane helped him relax. For seats, I’d recommend the person who will primarily be holding the baby be in either a window or aisle seat (given). Both have their pros & cons. AISLE PROS – easier access to bathroom, easier to reach under seat for anything, don’t feel so confined by a wall. AISLE CONS – more likely to get knocked by people walking, in the center of the plane so you’ll hear more commotion. WINDOW PROS – wall to lean against for sleep, baby can look out window, don’t have to worry about items falling out in people’s way. WINDOW CONS – harder to get to the bathroom, more confined. It really depends on how long your flights are.
– EXTRAS ESSENTIALS –
TSA PRECHECK – If you are able to register for TSA Precheck, girl do it. We were able to register myself because Matt is active duty & it was such a blessing. Cutting lines is fun, especially with a baby! I was able to go through security while wearing J & also didn’t have to take off my shoes 👍🏽
DOWNLOAD MOVIES / BABY HEADPHONES – Because Jackson has made it very clear Trolls will grab his attention instantly, I made sure to download it from Netflix before we got to the airport, along with a few others. That way, should he lose his shit on the plane, I could start Trolls & use my Hail Mary 🙏🏽
– TIPS –
NURSING – Probably the most common piece of advice Moms exchange when flying with a baby is to nurse during takeoff & landing. Why? The sucking / swallowing motion helps them pop their ears when the pressure changes. I was actually reminded that a binky will serve the same purpose for those Mommas that do not nurse – genius. I actually forgot to nurse during each landing because we were asleep (a complete different win!) but J just happens to be a baby that either it didn’t bother or he did it himself. Just be ready to nurse or have a binky on hand should your LO not like the change.
TRAVELING WITH CLOTH – I debated traveling with disposables but settled with continuing our cloth journey because there’s not much of a difference. Obviously, you’re not tossing the dirty diapers & I think that was the biggest factor. I’m used to carrying around a few (5 max) from a day out running errands or just hanging at the friends house when it’s not constantly beside me. Closed quarters (plane) with wet diapers that smell TERRIBLE like ammonia & sh*t isn’t the most pleasant but it comes with the territory. Just know people may shoot you dirty looks because that smell will follow LOL
DIFFERENT DIAPER BAG – I realized this during the transit but your traveling diaper bag should be a little different than your everyday bag. In the large portion, I would rather it be stocked with cloth diapers, wipes, 1 toy & his wet bag. Then the smaller front portion, my items because it’s one of my carry-ons & the one at my feet so I need immediate access rather than standing & reaching above me. One of our parenting tactics is limited options. In life, he will have ALL of the options. But when it comes to everything else, he’s gonna get what he gets & be happy with it – thank you minimalist mindset (1 toy). You won’t need all that extra stuff but organize what you do bring!
So there you go! Remember it’s only as stressful as you make it, people know babies need to travel too so you don’t need to impress them & you’ll be fine!