A few people have asked if I'd share some of the tips I have after flying with a baby. After one flight, I am NOT an expert. Like...not even close! But I did spend hours talking to friends and reading advice online for flying with a baby, so I thought I'd compile a list of some things that worked for us. I should also say that M was not walking or crawling at the time of this trip, so that helped tremendously! If she was mobile, I know that would make things a little bit trickier.
- ERGO! M is her happiest when she's being held and carried, so wearing her through the airport was a huge help. We didn't even take a stroller and I don't regret it! Obviously if we were going somewhere where we would have needed our stroller, we would have taken it, but I knew we wouldn't need it. I also was able to put her back in the Ergo on the plane and "rock" her to sleep in my seat.
- Toys! Someone suggested to me to go out and buy a few small, new toys to take with us and take them out one at a time on the flight. I did just that and it definitely helped keep her attention.
- Car Seat Bag! We ordered this bag for our car seat, and then we counter checked the car seat when we got to the airport. Being able to wear it on your back helps give you more hands. When we got back to Charlotte, we discovered a big slash on the side of our bag, and while that's frustrating, that's exactly why we got it. I'd much rather the bag get cut than our car seat. I can easily patch it up and not worry about my seat. Also? You can fill the bag with diapers, toys, blankets....it has plenty of extra room!
- Mesh Feeder! This is probably specific to M and her age, but she loves her mesh feeder! It makes a mess, but it keeps her so busy. When they did drink service on the flight, I got some ice to put in here, and she chomped on it happily for half an hour. Did we both get a little wet? Yes! But was she very happy and quiet? Yes!
- Books! We brought six of her favorite books and we read them over and over!
- Ziplocks! In my tote bag that I carried on, I had everything organized in ziplocks so I didn't have a big bag full of loose items. All of my changing items were in one bag, food/snacks/handwipes were in another, books got their own, toys in another, one with extra clothes, and one with pacis. This made it so easy to find what I needed.
- Generosity! On both flights we were in a row of three....I sat by the window, J in the middle, and stranger on the aisle. On each flight we offered to buy our neighbor a drink. We were turned down each time, but both times it helped break the ice some and they seemed to appreciate the gesture. I don't think this was necessary, but I think it was a friendly way to say "sorry you got stuck next to a baby!"
- Nursing! I was a little worried about the pressure bothering M's ears on the flights, so I nursed during take off both times. She didn't seem to have any trouble with her ears, so who knows if it worked or not, but she was happy during take off.
- White Noise App! M is easily startled when sleeping, so every time the flight attendant came on the speaker, she'd startle and wake. So I turned on the white noise app on my phone at a very low volume so others couldn't hear it, then put it near her head in the pocket on the Ergo. This seemed to help keep her asleep.
So other mommas who have flown with babies....what would you add to this list? Like I said, I have only flown once with a baby, so I'm no expert. I know there are a lot of you who know much more about this than me! Please share your tips in the comments!