5 Sanity-Saving Tips for Flying with Your Baby

Are you planning to fly with your baby and feeling a little nervous? We get it. Even packing up the baby to leave the house feels like a feat. Thankfully, you don't have to go crazy trying to pull it off. We compiled a list of tips and products to help your air travel go smoothly!

Baby with a Busy Baby Mini Mat on an airplane

When Can You Travel With a Baby?

First of all - should you be flying with your baby yet? This is a personal decision, ultimately up to you. It's always worth chatting with your pediatrician if you plan on flying with your child. If you're ready to take on air travel with your baby, it can be done, and we have five tips for you.

5 Tips for Flying with a Baby

1) Add Travel Time (then add more)

Add time to your traveling schedule. Getting to the airport and through security is usually a drawn-out struggle or a breeze. Unfortunately, there's no telling which it'll be until you arrive at the security line (TSA).

There are many aspects of traveling with a baby that will add time to your normal (child-free) travel routine.  First, you'll have more stuff which will slow you down.  Additionally, airports and airlines have certain requirements and protocols for things like baby gear and food, which can add time to the usual process.  You'll also be spending time getting your baby in and out of car seats, strollers, or other carriers.  Unexpected crying fits or dirty diapers will eat up time too!

2) Stick to your baby's schedule (as much as possible)

You know your child best and tuning into that established schedule is a great place to start when planning travel times. Some babies will fall asleep on the plane ride, and others will have too much FOMO to sleep!

Try to keep sleep and feeding schedules as close to usual to avoid any extra fussing.         

3) Know Your Airport and Airlines

Information about airports and airline requirements and accommodations can be found on their respective website, or the TSA website has more on federal law. Look to find out what is allowed on planes (or not allowed), as well as what airports offer, like nursing rooms or kids’ play areas.

Baby using Busy Baby Mat on carrier

4) Decide on Baby Gear

Depending on your family's needs and the age of your children, there are a few pieces of gear you may decide to, or need to, bring.

Many families bring their car seats, strollers, pack and play, and other baby gear on vacation. Before you pack any baby gear, check out airline rules and check with your accommodations to ensure they don't have gear you can borrow instead.

You will decide if you'd like your child under two years old to have their own seat or not. Children under two can sit on your lap for free or have their own seat with their car seat. Some parents prefer the extra space and ability to put their child down, but it is also an extra expense. Check out this article by What to Expect for more information about plane car seats.

If you purchased a ticket for your child, check with your airline regarding car seat regulations. Some rules will differ between airlines. If you're bringing a car seat for travel at the destination and not on the plane, you can check it with the rest of your luggage (we recommend putting on a car seat protector).

When it comes to a stroller, you will need to check it with your luggage or at the gate. It is helpful to have a stroller when lugging a child and baggage around the airport, so many families opt to check their strollers at the gate.

Again, connect with your accommodations before you bring something you may not have to!

5) Make a packing list in Advance

Make a packing list to start getting your carry-ons and personal items ready before crunch time.

Include the following on your packing list to make for a smooth airplane trip:

  • Food and snacks: There are tons of great snack options that can be brought through security or purchased past TSA by your gate. The perfect accessories for eating on board are our Busy Baby silicone placemats and bungee bibs, which stick to the tray table to keep everything clean and off the floor! (For information about baby food and formula regulations check out this link by the TSA.)Busy Baby Mat on an airplane tray table
  • Toys: Second to snacks, toys will likely keep your baby occupied. Having one that they haven’t played with before will make them even more engaged. Busy Baby mats are great for entertainment. Use it on the tray table or put it on the window! We also have toys like these teethers and bungees to ensure toys aren't thrown around or lost!
  • Extra clothes: Extra clothes for everyone (you and your child)! Always be prepared for a mess. A poop explosion or leak might happen on your lap! We will send you the good vibes, but you can't be too careful!
  • Extra diapers: Again, being prepared is critical. You're better off having extra diapers than being caught without one. And you can't have diapers without wipes!
  • Noise machine: A portable noise machine could be beneficial to get and keep your child asleep during boarding, on the flight, and at baggage claim, and it continues to come in handy where you're staying!
  • Medications and paperwork: Do not pack medications or paperwork needed to travel away with checked baggage to avoid a problem if there is lost or delayed luggage.
  • First aide and sanitation items: Planes aren't exactly spick and span. Bring some hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and a mini first aid kit with the essentials like bandaids, Neosporin, baby safe medications.

    Be Patient with Yourself and Baby

    If you're still anxious about flying with your baby, that's okay! The memories you make at your destination make the travel headaches worth it. Plan ahead but also remember, you're doing whatever you can! Your job is to take care of your baby, and most people will understand that. Try to keep calm and breathe through any crying or challenging moments. Most people empathize, and the rest are… not worth your time!

    Be patient with yourself and your baby and accept help when offered on and off the plane.

    Pro tip: For more tips and product recommendations for flying with a baby, look through social media hashtags. For example (#busybabymat or #babytravelitems). Safe travels!


     Baby on plane with mini mat

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