Parents of newborns often want to take advantage of the respite from work during maternity leave. Plus, because the mother is no longer pregnant, air travel is finally possible again.
But what about the newest member of the family? How do you travel with a fragile, precious new infant? If it is being done in a car, variables are far easier to control.
So, what about flying on a plane with a newborn? Below are a few tips on air travel with a newborn to make it a pleasant experience for the whole family.
PACK LIGHT FOR TRAVEL WITH BABY
If an infant is less than 2 years old, some airlines do not make parents purchase a second seat but are allowed to pay a small additional fee instead. The infant will then sit in a parent’s lap for the duration of the flight.
Check with your airline before booking in order to ensure a smooth travel process. Most babies prefer to be close to mommy anyway, so it’s best to keep the baby on your lap, in a baby Born, or in a baby sling. This also makes feeding easier.
Pack a small collapsible stroller. Airlines will normally offer a gate check, and the stroller can be wheeled right up to the jetway and checked with the flight attendants. Traveling parents are offered priority boarding and security access, so take every advantage to help make traveling smoother.
Travel with enough diapers for 24 hours – no more than that. Additional diapers can be purchased at the destination.
Bring a couple of bottles for the baby, as the TSA permits baby formula and juice for the infant. The formula and juice will just have to be screened, which is harmless.
If the baby is breastfeeding, bring a couple of safety pins and a couple of receiving blankets in order to provide a screen for seatmates during your flight. This will keep everyone happy.
HOW DO I PREPARE MY NEWBORN INFANT FOR A FLIGHT?
The plane will be pressurized as normal, but liftoff can be hard on a baby’s ears (as it can on an adult’s ears). Suckling a bottle or pacifier will help relieve the pressure in an infant’s ears, so bring two or three pacifiers along in case one gets dirty or misplaced.
Try to time bottle-feedings to coincide with takeoffs and landings. This will help keep the baby from getting cranky due to the changing pressure in their ears.
Collapsible bassinets can be checked easily for a nominal fee. Carry a travel-friendly changing pad and some resealable bags for the diapers, as airlines have a place in the bathrooms for changing diapers.
Pack accordingly for the climate both in the plane – which can be very cold or very hot – as well as for the outdoor temperature expected at your destination. Ensure that the baby has enough clothing to last until the destination is reached, and remember that additional supplies are sometimes much easier to purchase than trying to carry all that extra gear on a plane.
The most important thing about traveling with your newborn infant is keeping the baby calm and cared for while you travel. By planning ahead for the actual travel portion of your journey, other details can be easily addressed upon arrival.
PRE-VACATION CHECKUPS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Make sure that your baby has had a recent checkup and that a doctor has cleared the infant for travel. And remember to take care of yourself, too: Ensure you have enough of your necessary prescription medication before you leave for your trip.
Our team at Wooster Community Hospital can help parents of newborns have as relaxing a trip as possible. Contact us today by calling (330) 263-8100 or schedule a consultation online, and enjoy traveling with the newest member of your family!