Seven Tips for Baby’s First Flight

By Margaret M Shaw

So you’ve made the jump and purchased airfare for you and your family – along with your newest member!

Maybe it’s a trip you can’t avoid or maybe it’s a tropical getaway. Either way, you’re bringing your baby on their first flight and the reality of that task may bring with it more than a little anxiety.

Here are some tips to help you and baby have a comfortable trip:

Consider purchasing a ticket for the baby. Most airlines allow children under two to sit on a parent’s lap at a discounted rate. While great on the wallet, this can cause a parent added stress and discomfort on a long flight as you hold your young one for the entirety of the trip. Buying the baby a ticket will allow you to use a car seat and give the baby their own space – and you some breathing room too.

Request a bassinet. Many airlines offer bassinets for babies under a certain age or weight limit. These can frequently be requested in advance so check with your airline.

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Be aware of liquid/food size limitations. You can’t get on the plane without getting through security so make sure any formula or food you were planning to bring onboard is in accordance with TSA guidelines.

Bring a bottle or nurse during takeoff. The pressure changes can be unkind to the best of us but allowing a baby to eat during takeoff will help ease some of that discomfort and adjust more quickly.

Bring extras. Think you have enough diapers? Pack a few more. Flights frequently get delayed so make sure you have more than you need in terms of diapers, wipes, and food.

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Have entertainment readily available. If you’re baby is a newborn, a rattle may do just the trick. Older babies may rely on teethers or other attention-grabbing toys. If you’re okay with screen time, there are many educational apps to keep you little one occupied during that time in the air.

Distribute airplane goody bags. Some parents feel more at ease by gifting fellow passengers with goody bags containing items such as earplugs and candy due to the possibility of a fussy baby. While passengers tend to appreciate the gesture, many parents feel this is unnecessary (and expensive) as crying babies have just as much a right to be on that flight.