Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Tips For Infant Air Travel

Picture for Daddy this morning.
Now that we've returned and have had a chance to reflect on our trip, I though I'd share our top five infant air travel tips with you:

1) Less is more - we were very happy to have taken a carrier instead of a stroller and though we took a small bag of favorite toys, Ayden was honestly more entertained by un-opened peanut packages, an empty cup/stir straw and the safety pamphlet from the seat pockets.

The type of bag we used for his books and toys.
Wore Ayden on the Ergo in the front, put this on the back.  
As for the carrier, I chose to use the Ergo because of the "in and out" ease. TSA will allow you to wear your baby through the metal detector (which we requested over the new scanners) as long as you allow them to swab your hands for traces of explosive residue before you go on your way. There were several instances, when we were in a very crowded area or were witnessing some sort of stroller struggle, that we were very glad that we didn't have ours with us.  We also did not take any "liquids for the baby" (as they put it when every single TSA person we came across asked about it).  They do let you bring liquids for your baby but it does add one more security check point to your experience.  We are tap water drinking folks so we just brought his empty straw sippy cup to fill at the water fountain when we filled our own water bottle.

Ayden's favorite cup!
2) Interative books - of the toys we did take, books with flaps kept Ayden occupied the longest. All kids are different but Ayden will happily open and close flaps in books for a long time. Pop up books or books that make some sort of noise would probably have worked just as well. Just make sure anything that makes noise won't be loud enough to annoy the folks around you. Also be ready to read said book over and over and over again.
Ayden's favorite flap book!
3) Make sure your baby is as comfortable as possible.  I dressed Ayden in what I call "comfy pants" outfits that had layering abilities.  A clean diaper, short sleeve onsie, cotton pants and a zippered hoody.    This just takes away a few more possible reasons to fuss on the plane.

Looks pretty comfy to me!
4)  Something for your baby to suck on during the pressure change of take off and landing.  Nursing is best because of the chewing action of the jaw + swallowing.  Bottle or sippy cup would come in second, though the sucking of a bottle does not quite mimick the chewing motion, swallowing helps with the ear regulating.  Pacifiers would come in third.  Ayden actually was more interested in looking out the window and was totally amazed by feeling the force of acceleration so he didn't want to nurse.  I still was ready so that if he needed it, it was there.  I think the younger the baby the more important this tip may be.

5) Pack snacks! - We aren't really an "eat for boredom" family but in these situations when you are trying to keep your baby happy for your sanity, the sanity of those around you and, of course, your baby, sometimes a nice snack is just the ticket.  If Ayden started getting restless, we'd get out an apple, a few raisins or coconut flakes and that would keep him busy for at least a little while.
Ayden's favorite snack cup!
BONUS TIP - Bring LOTS of patience with you.  Patience for you baby, patience for TSA and patience for annoyed travelers around you.  If you begin to feel flustered, try putting yourself in the shoes of whoever is bothering you.  Babies don't understand why they have to be uncomfortable/bored for so long and most other traveling adults aren't in "parent mode" so they can't relate or seem to have forgotten that they too were once a fussy baby.  Remembering this can help you stay calm and make it through.

I would also like to add that cloth diapering was not a problem for us on the trip.  I packed all of Ayden's clothes and diapers in our small, carry-on rolling suitcase and we kept it with us all along.  It was a bit of a hassle to fit in a couple of the over-head bins but I did not want to chance it getting lost and a) us not have our diapers for the trip, or b) have our investment be lost forever or somehow ruined.  Our hotel had a guest laundry room so I used it to do a load of diapers mid-trip for $4 ($1 each for rinse, wash, rinse, dry)

Another tip that I saw online that we did not end up doing would be to pack earplugs to offer the folks around you if your baby does end up crying.  It would kind of break the ice and serve as a peace offering.  Who knows, some of the people may actually use them.  On our second flight on the way down to Mississippi, Ayden slept the whole way because it was after his bedtime.  He did wake up though, and cried for about 30 seconds until I got him repositioned and latched back on.  During that time the lady sitting behind David tapped him and said, "Do you have a pacifier for him?"  She didn't even give us a chance to calm him before she was ready for him to be quiet.  David politely told her he was okay and that he didn't need one and by then he was back to sleep.  Some people just want to travel in peace and you really can't expect them to have patience for your baby because to them, it's just "some baby."

All in all we had a really wonderful experience flying with our 10 month old little man.  We'd love to read about your experiences with air traveling with an infant.  Please share stories below!



  1. Were you concerned about the carseat "crashing" in the cargo hold?

    1. We were very fortunate to have David's parents drive a car seat down for us. Another option was renting one along with our rental car.


    something i thought you might want to try!

  3. your options before booking your trip, whether it is for a short stay at a safari lodge or a longer trip back home to the land of your ancestors.