Flying with an infant
Updated: Apr 6
I was SO nervous when I figured out I would be flying with an infant who was only 5 months old. I had one thousand questions circling my head from the moment I planned my trip, but going to Ohio was extremely important. Will it hurt his ears? Was he going to scream the whole flight? Will it be too cold on the plane? Is three months old too young to fly? Do I need to buy him a ticket? Can I take his food?
The list goes on…
Flying with an infant in lap
To ease the mind of other mamas who need to fly with their infants in lap, I kept notes my entire trip! As it turns out, I didn’t have a horrible experience and we will definitely be doing this again. We flew from Raleigh, North Carolina to Dayton, Ohio with 1 layover in Charlotte, North Carolina. My little guy did awesome. Flying with an infant isn’t a terrible adventure if you know what to expect and go prepared!
Plane tickets for babies
As of March 2021, you do not have to purchase a ticket for a child under two as long as your child will be sitting in your lap. Plane tickets for babies are free, and that is the only thing cheap about airlines haha. Some airlines require you to take a copy of your child’s birth certificate to verify their age at the ticket counter. If you’re lucky like we were, then your flights will be sparse, and you will have plenty of elbow room and an empty middle seat! I was able to lean my back up against the window and put my legs up on the other two seats after takeoff so I could comfortably hold Colten in my lap.
What to pack traveling with babies
I probably packed enough for a month long trip. Packing a mini lysol disinfectant spray, my Infantino baby carrier, my portable changing pad, and my nursing cover made my trip with my tot much easier. I love nursing my baby, but I am not a public nurser by any means… I am just not comfortable doing so. Airports now have ‘nursing pods’ which are neat, but you don’t have that option on the plane unless you want to attempt to cram yourself into the coat closet sized bathroom. Who wants to nurse or pump in a nasty bathroom? NOT ME!
I like to think my baby eats on a schedule, but in all reality he is an all day snacker! I nursed him during takeoff/landing and having my cover allowed for him to nurse more peacefully and without the overwhelming light. (Why do people leave their window shades open just to fall asleep?!) After nursing he was able to doze off without being interrupted, and without me having to fight to keep a blanket up.
I definitely advise putting your kiddo in layers, or PJs for the flight. I found that the flight was chilly even in the midst of summer. My son wore footie pajamas, and I kept a onesie and socks in the diaper bag to change him into if he got too hot or had an accident.
Airports are dirty. Planes are dirty. Bathrooms are dirty. I felt much better about laying my little boy down on his changing pad on a surface I just disinfected. Little hands love to wander, so I go ahead and spray the whole changing table. I changed him once in the nursing pod, and I loved the privacy of the experience.
I carried my tot in his carrier through airport security in two different locations. Instead of walking through the metal detector, I was escorted to the TSA baggage check counter to have my hands swabbed. You have to check carseats, but you’re allowed to take the stroller to the gate if you want to! I have an incredible Pokit stroller that folds up small enough to fit in a backpack, so I can take that on planes. I can easily fold it down while holding Colt, so I did that and stored in the overhead bin.
Make sure to allow extra time for your lovely TSA experience. My diaper bag was stopped in security both times. The first time through was my baby wipes.. The agent told me that the liquid shows up dark on the screen. On the second round through TSA it was because of the oatmeal cereal. They did not take my wipes, nor the cereal. They never hassled me about my breast pup nor the breastmilk I had. It is funny how the airports flagged the bag for different reasons.
Moral of the story– they’re going to stop your diaper bag. Make sure you allow some extra time for that lovely experience. Flying with an infant is the easy part! It is all the preparation along the way that will wear you out.
The front of the plane seems great, but with so many people flocking to the front bathroom, your little one might become antsy and eager to walk around. If you head to the middle or back of the plane, then make sure to avoid the emergency exit seats. Sitting at the back of the plane allows for the flight attendants to goo and gaa over your adorable baby.
Instead of fighting the overhead bins, I stored my diaper bag under the seat in front of me. Doing that also allowed me easy access to toys and anything else I needed for my tot. I nursed my little boy during take off and landing, so he was swallowing during the changes in pressure.
I wore my baby carrier onto the plane, and was asked to remove my little man from his carrier during takeoff/landing. A little later I was was also told he could be in it during the flight. He was comfortable laying in my arms, so I didn’t bother putting him back in the carrier.
My flight attendant on my first flight was kind enough to provide me with a lid and straw for my drink. I didn’t have to risk dumping it on my kid during the bumpy ride, so that was a plus. Don’t be afraid to ask for those things if your flight attendant doesn’t offer!
This is NOT an ad for Southwest, but I couldn’t write this article without expressing my gratitude to the wonderful attendants on my flights. Colt and I had four flights total between heading to Ohio and returning to North Carolina. We didn’t have one bad flight attendant experience!
Where are you going on your plane travels with your baby? Good luck on your upcoming flights! Hopefully your kiddos will do as well as my little boy did. Please let me know if you have any questions about flying with your baby. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about traveling with tots.