Fuss-free Flying

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Traveling by air with your infant doesn’t have to leave you both crying.

Flying with a baby can be a terrifying prospect, but with a little preparation, it can be a smooth process for everyone involved.

To be prepared for potential mishaps, arrive at the airport about two hours before your flight. By being early and unrushed, you’ll be able to easily print your boarding passes and check your luggage, and decide if you want to check your stroller and car seat now or if you want to use the car seat on the plane and check the stroller at the gate. Either way, you’ll have plenty of time.

Wearable carriers and slings allow you to wear your baby through the airport, but you’ll probably have to remove the baby from the carrier and carry her through the security checkpoint. Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are allowed through security in your carry-on, although you do need to inform the Transportation Security Administration agent at the beginning of your screening process.

Try to change your baby as close to your boarding time as you can—on short trips, this might keep you from a mid-flight diaper change. While the Federal Aviation Administration allows children under 2 to be held on the lap during flight, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families give each child his own seat. If your child has her own seat, your airplane-approved car seat will protect your child.

Pacifiers, along with bottle and breastfeeding, help relieve pressure during takeoff and landing, so encourage your baby to use one if possible. If your infant does cry, apologize to other passengers if you feel the need, but don’t overdo it—after all, you have as much right to travel as they do, and chances are many of them were in your place once upon a time.

Baby Bag Basics

Diaper bags are essential when going anywhere with an infant, but when it comes to flying, the rules are completely different than they are for a trip to the nearby grocery store. Here are some in-air essentials:

  • Formula, breast milk or juice—Pack more than you think you’ll actually need, just in case flights are delayed or the baby gets fussy.

  • Wet wipes

  • An extra diaper for each hour of your flight

  • Toys—Options that connect to linking plastic chains are always good, as you can keep them from falling to the floor by hooking them to the seat back in front of you

  • Changes of clothes—Pack extra for both you and your child in case of accidents, and bring gallon-size plastic bags for any dirty clothes.

  • Multiple blankets—These are useful for both covering your child if he is sleeping or cold, and as as a changing pad rather than placing the baby on germy surfaces.

  • Liquid infant pain medicine

  • Pacifiers—If you use them, always bring more than one.

  • All necessary travel documents, such as birth certificates or passports.

Did You Know?

> Small earplugs or even cotton balls can make it easier for your infant to remain calm during flights, as they reduce airplane cabin noise.

> Most airlines require proof of age—a birth certificate, typically—to verify that children being held on laps are younger than age 2.

> Aisle seats are better for getting up to walk around with a fussy baby, while window seats provide more privacy for nursing mothers.

Our partnership continues as you make healthcare decisions for yourself and your new baby. Visit Mimbres Memorial Hospital to learn more.