Baby On Board - My Tips For a Stress-Free Flight

I'm an anxious traveller. Scratch that - I'm an anxious person, who happens to get more anxious when I travel. I worry about getting to the airport on time, my luggage being overweight, passing through security, finding the right gate, and so on and so forth. Add a baby to the mix, and would you look at that? My head just exploded.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. But I know a lot of parents can relate to the fear of taking an unpredictable little one up in the air for the first time. I've flown twice with Elliott now (well, technically 4 times since they were roundtrips), and while I'm no expert I did learn a few handy tips along the way.

Wait, let me rephrase that. I made a few mistakes on my first trip, and have since learned from them when preparing for our second vacation. Nobody's perfect, but you can at least be better prepared than I was!

Instagram model, but make it baby-friendly. 

Pack Light

I'm a notorious over-packer. Seeing people travel with just a carry-on is both admirable and mind-boggling to me. My worries about luggage don't seem totally unfounded now, do they?
Though on my first ever flight with Elliott, I was by myself. I learned the hard way that digging through an overstuffed bag while holding a fussy baby in your other arm is less than ideal.

Most airlines allow you to bring a diaper bag on board in addition to your carry-on. I personally use a backpack as a diaper bag, and I found this to be the best option for travel. I keep only the necessities in it (my wallet, diapers, wipes, change pad, a few toys, some snacks and an extra onesie) and kept it under the seat in front of me during the flight.

Anything else that I wanted to have just in case, but didn't need within immediate arms reach, I kept in my carry-on in the overhead compartment. Things like a blanket, a change of clothes for myself & baby, manual breast pump, and my baby carrier; this way I have everything I might need in case my actual luggage gets lost in transit.

Go Hands Free

Ready for boarding (and snuggling)!
I'm seriously obsessed with the Tula Carrier in the limited edition Oh Joy! Party Pieces pattern.

If your little one tolerates being in a carrier/wrap, then oh my god, don't even think twice about using it.
You have the option to check your carseat and/or stroller at the gate, so I assumed that would be the easier option. But getting it through security was such a hellish ordeal that I would highly recommend avoiding (for your sake, and everyone else waiting in line). When I made the decision to babywear on my second flight, it was like night and day; no hassles whatsoever! I didn't even have to take him out of the carrier to get through the metal detector!

I wore Elliott right until we got to our seat, at which point he has to be out of the carrier and on my lap. While I do love my Beluga Baby Wrap, I found tying it/untying it on the plane to be a bit cumbersome. You only have so much elbow room. I'm personally a big fan of the Tula Standard Carrier because it's super easy to clip on and off, and Elliott seems to prefer something a bit more structured as of lately.

Get Friendly

The thing that stressed me out the most was being alone on my first trip with Elliott. I felt a little overwhelmed to not have my husband by my side, but thankfully a very kind family saw I was struggling a bit and offered to help me out. The phrase "it takes a village," is totally applicable when it comes to air travel, so look out for fellow parents. It could very well be their first flight too, so it can be comforting knowing that someone else has their back; it certainly was for me! It could give your little ones a chance to have a mini playdate prior to boarding, too!

Get to know your flight attendants as well, and don't be shy about using the call button if you need it. They are literally there to assist you!

I was SO thankful to have my hubby with me the second time around. Meanwhile Elliott was thankful Sophie The Giraffe came along for the flight (seriously, we can't leave the house without this toy. Bringing her on board was an absolute no-brainer).
Don't Sweat It. Seriously.

Maybe your kid will find their voice and decide that everyone on the plane needs to know just how loudly they can shriek. Or maybe they'll take a big, stinky poop right before takeoff. Or maybe, despite your best efforts to nurse them or offer them a pacifier, they'll cry because of the pressure change making their ears pop.

These things all happened to me, despite how much I prepared. Bottom line? Babies are unpredictable, and that's okay! Just remember that it will pass and you'll likely never see any of these people again. Don't let a few hours in the air spoil your entire vacation.

Have you traveled with a little one before? What are some tips that helped alleviate stress for you & your family? Share with me in the comments below!

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