We’ve all been there, stuck on a plane with a screaming infant. We give the struggling parents the pity eyes while inside we think, “Can’t those parents keep their kid under control? This is going to be the longest flight ev-er.”
I recently became a mother, and I regret ever having those negative thoughts. Now I’m going to be the one given those pity eyes as I try to hold on to my squirmy baby and lug the car seat and push the stroller and stuff the diaper bag in the overhead compartment.
Does traveling with a child really have to be such a nightmare? I hope (and pray) not. As I make plans to travel with my little one, the search is on to find the tips and tricks of seasoned travel warriors. Below are five of my favorite ideas for traveling with your kids:
Feeding the Babe
With the change in air pressure on the plane, your baby may experience ear pain. Just as you chew gum or yawn excessively to keep your ears open during a flight, your baby’s mouth should also be occupied. Plan to breastfeed or bottle feed during takeoff and landing so that your little one’s jaw is working, thus keep the tubes in their ear open and clear.
If you bottle feed, I suggest packing a travel bottle warmer, such as a WarmZe or Iiamo, in your carry-on luggage. The WarmZe takes 30 minutes to heat your baby bottle but will also keep it warm for up to 12 hours. The Iiamo takes maybe five minutes to heat the bottle, but you will need to pack extra heating cartridges, as they last for only one feeding.
Speak With Gate Attendants
Many airlines will board their first class and “gold” members first and then allow for those who need extra time to get settled, i.e., YOU! Take advantage of this opportunity and shuffle right in with this group. This will allow you to claim overhead space, get out your travel bottle warmer to start heating up your baby’s take-off meal and settle in for the ride.
If you are worried that the airline you are traveling with does not have this policy, or you have other concerns with where your stroller and car seat will go, then speak with the attendants at the gate and discuss your concerns. They will be more than willing to help.
Ditch the Stroller
If you are traveling with a young baby, like under six months, then you may want to just check the stroller and carry your baby through the airport and onto the plane in a baby carrier, like a Baby Bjorn or a Moby Wrap. This way, you don’t have to haul that heavy baby equipment around. Plus, your baby will be much happier snuggled up to you than they would in the stroller anyway.
If you know that you will be having a long layover, however, check your stroller at the gate instead so you can push around your bambino while you wait. But, make sure to tell the attendants that you will need it for the layover so they can accommodate your needs.
Sit By the Engines
Babies have this thing with certain noises such as the washing machine, vacuum and blow dryer. For some reason, these noises are calming. The engines on an airplane are another one of these magical noises that will help sooth your baby. Plus, the increased noise of the engine will help muffle your baby’s crying.
No matter how well you plan or how well stocked your diaper bag is, babies are masters unto themselves; you never know what they are going to do. If your baby is screaming, do your best to calm them; that’s all you can do. Don’t worry over what any of the other passengers are thinking. You’ll never see any of them again anyway. It may be hard, but try to relax. Stressing will not make your baby stop crying or keep him from filling his diaper.