I recently took my daughter on her first plane ride. I took her to Chicago to celebrate her Uncle Matthew’s Graduation from Chiropractic School and also to meet her GREAT Grandparents for the first time. My husband wasn’t able to make the trip due to work and school commitments, so I was traveling alone. People thought I was crazy for flying alone with her. I almost didn’t book the trip because of so many fears! But in the end I decided to do it! And guess what? Flying with a baby wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be!
We flew when she was about 7 months old, so I was able to keep her on my lap the entire time (talk about cost saving!) Most airlines allow you to have a child on your lap up until they reach 2 years of age. Overall, we had a great trip and I was so glad to have taken the opportunity to go on a trip where we could spend quality time with family that we do not get to see often.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Flying with a Baby:
1. Do Not Read Negative Articles Before You Go – this will only stress you out. A couple weeks before we left, I read an article about a woman being kicked off a plane because her child was crying uncontrollably before takeoff. This happened to be the same airline that I had already booked. Everyone was trash talking the airline in the comments section and basically said if you have kids, steer clear of that particular airline. Of course, I freaked out after reading this but it was too late to change flights at that point. We kept our flight and I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone we encountered on the airline was extremely friendly and helpful. We could not have had a better experience.
2. Do Not Care What Other People Think – this will also stress you out. My biggest fear was sitting down next to another passenger and getting “the look” – you know the one where they are thinking in their heads “I cannot believe this person brought a baby on a plane.” What I found was that most strangers were happy to make silly goofy faces at my daughter and make her laugh and giggle. How could you not love a smiling bright blue eyed little babe!?
3. Do Not Forget Hand Sanitizing Wipes – Notice I did not say “Do Not Let Child Touch Any Surfaces” because let’s face it, that is nearly impossible to do. Let your little one play and be curious – it is a fun and new experience for them and they are exploring the world around them! Just be sure to be quick with the wipes before they put their hands in their mouth!
4. Do Not Be Afraid of Making Friends – I usually keep to myself when traveling, reading a book or minding my own business. I rarely talk to other passengers. I found that having a baby in your arms invites conversation. Don’t be afraid of it! I found myself giving tips on baby carriers to a pregnant woman and having conversations with a group of young adults on their way to Basic Training in the Navy. It actually made the trip fun and go by quickly!
5. DO ENJOY EVERY MOMENT – as we all know, our children are only little once. As a working mom who works full time outside of the home, this time I spent with my baby girl was precious. This was the first Mother/Daughter trip that we took together, and I hope there are many more to come. Try to look at the world through your child’s eyes and see what an incredible adventure you are on!
Hoping that these tips can ease some of your travel anxiety if you are planning your first trip with your little one! Best of luck!