I'm not an expert. I'm not even close to an expert.
But since August 2011, I've traveled approximately 10 times to Florida, via airplane, with a baby.
And this last trip? I added a newborn.
I present to you my list of travel tips.
Have more to add? Leave them in my comments. I'd love to hear how you make traveling via airplane (or car/train/bus/horse) easy and fun with a baby or two!
1. FOOD - Obviously this is numero uno on my list for a reason. Food is fun. It's easy. It's cheap. And it's -- time consuming. SO... when I travel with Layla? I bring enough food to keep her occupied for 3 days. You never know when disaster (i.e. a delay) could strike, so bring food. And a lot of it. We bring fruit (blueberries, grapes, strawberries), any & all organic snacks I can squeeze (we love Plum Organics and Layla eats the pouches all day, everyday - these are full of fruit and veggies), crackers, goldfish, raisins, lollipops, water, milk, fruit snacks.. the list goes on. I am breastfeeding Benny but I brought formula and a bottle just in case I couldn't nurse him.
2. THE OBVIOUS - Bring plenty of -- well -- everything. Diapers. Wipes. Burp Clothes. Blankets. Medicine (Tylenol, Teething Tablets, Diaper Cream). Change of clothes. (UM.. mama of the year, right here, forgot this on the last flight and Layla decided to puke. Cool.). Pacifiers (multiple, as these tend to fall and it's gross on an airplane). Plan as though there will be major delays. You'd rather have a heavy bag then a diaper full of poo with no change in sight.
3. ACTIVITIES - Again. Bring plenty. # 1 for us is movies on the IPad. We stock up the IPAD with several movies and let Layla pick what she wants to watch. We used to put on several episodes of Sesame Street. Now it's movies. We bring books. (All of her favorites). We bring stickers. We bring things to color (the color wonders it's amazing because it doesn't stain). We bring barbies. And we bring Mr Bear & Kyle, because they love to cuddle. And we bring NEW toys - things she's never seen - because new toys are COOL.
4. CARES SYSTEM - Layla now gets her own seat - so we purchased the Cares Safety Restraint System (the only FAA approved Child flying safety device) - it was $61.95 on amazon and worth every penny. It's a 5 point harness that straps to the seat. It makes me feel so much better about her sitting like a big girl and she loves it! Highly recommend.
.. so that's what I bring. These last flights, I brought two bags. One was my diaper bag full of the obvious (see above) and a second bag full of the rest - food, toys, etc. It made it easier to find things.
As for the rest? My best advice is to allow time (but not too much time - there's only so much to do while waiting for a plane).
Going through security can be a little tough but you make it work. Just remember everything needs to through security (including strollers & car seats). They all go on the belt. We bring the strollers until the very end. Once you get to your gate, go to the desk and ask for a tag for your stroller. You'll leave it at the end, right before you enter the plane, and it'll be there as soon as you get off. Easy peezy.
Right before we get on the plane, we change diapers, say a quick prayer and hope for the best.
During take off & landing - make sure your babe is either sucking a pacifier, nursing, or drinking something in order to get him/her to swallow. This will help their ears pop. Kiddies ears are shaped differently and have a hard time adjusting to the pressure.
Most importantly? REMAIN CALM! If your baby cries, do your best to console but remember it's only a short time and you'll land soon. Don't worry about the other people on the plane. I used to feel guilty in the beginning when Layla would make noise - now I don't care. If I am doing my best to make our baby comfortable and they choose to cry, there isn't much we can do except hope it ends soon.
..I think that's it!
happy traveling, ya'll ;)
(On a side note...please say a quick prayer or good wish for my dear Mom-Mom Rose. She's simply the best and not feeling 100%. Thank you!)