Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Flying With a Baby

Tatum will be 8 months old soon and within a few weeks have completed his 7th and 8th flights.  We get asked questions all the time about how we handle flying with him, is it hard, why we take him, etc. We take him because we don't want to leave him home!  I will look forward to a trip later this year where Derek and I each pack a carryon and that's it but  part packing the 120 items, compiling all the list and packing days in advance is worth it to have the baby there with you! 

He's been on flights as short as under two hours and as long as five plus two hours sitting on the runway.  I by no means am an expert but I feel a little bit more confident packing for our next trip then I did for our first - it takes time to get it down and everyone is different.  Our first trip with Tatum we had so. much. stuff.  He needed more at that point since he was so little - we had the car seat and stroller + the bag for them with the dock a tot stuffed in it, we had about five carry on's, each a suitcase, etc.

Tatum's first flight - 3 months old

I make a list of every single thing we need for our trips - I have the same list I use over and over for Derek and Tatum's is pretty much the same now too.  We either each have a small suitcase or take two large ones and divide our stuff up.  To make things easier getting through the airport I've tried to get us down to as few carry on's as possible.  Last time we had two bags for Tatum and next time I'm hoping to have one backpack with all his stuff and a big tote for mine/Derek's stuff, my purse and a few more toys.

Pack in Advance
Our first trip we packed everything the day of (we were up until 2am and had to be up at 5am to leave for the airport).  Never again!  I now lay out clothes, bottles, toys, etc. days in advance, try to get the actual suitcases packed two + days in advance and then just throw in what we need the day of.  

It's stressful enough trying to remember everything - it's way easier doing it slowly and knowing you have the time.

Don't overpack but pack enough - remember, there is always a laundry service just in case (which we used right away on the first day of Tatum's first trip, ha!)  We took way too much the first time and have tried to cut back since.  If you're going somewhere warm I try to get cheap beach/pool toys that we can just leave there when we're done.

Ship Things
This is probably my biggest tip - it makes the biggest difference - one trip we had to go to one store for formula, another store for diapers, etc.  You don't want to lug all that stuff with you.  I'll bring enough diapers/formula/food for the flight plus a little extra just in case of delays and such - remember you can't get that stuff in the airport! 

I do my best to find the amounts of formula/diapers/food/wipes we'll need for the trip and either bring the extra home or pack extra to make up the difference. 

Check as Much as You Can
We had the opposite plan when we first traveled - we each had a carry on, we carried on Tatum's whole suitcase, his stroller, car seat, etc!  You don't want to be managing all those bags.  Bring on what you need and enjoy having your hands free.  We bring whatever he might need for the flight for entertainment, etc.  A few essentials, just in case and any must haves for the trip like diapers and food. The less things you need to worry about - the better! 

We were only asked to check our stroller once and I prefer to keep it with us.  We usually throw my tote underneath, one of us will wear Tatum's backpack and if we have another bag then one person handles that and the other pushes the stroller - like I said, having your hands free is key!  You just give the stroller with you get on the plane and it usually doesn't take that long for them to bring it back up after landing (I'll usually just run change Tatum's diaper while Derek waits for it).

Leave Extra Time & Go with the Flow
Before Tatum we'd cut it close and get to the airport on the later side.  You don't want to be running past security, trying to break down the stroller, get the formula put back into the bag after being checked and get on the plane feeling overwhelmed and rushed.

If the baby cries, what can you do?  All babies do.  If you don't have time for one last diaper change, I like to do it the second we get on the plane.  Just go with it and do your best.  We've noticed for the most part people are super understanding.

Be Nice to Everyone
Smile to everyone, be friendly to everyone, let them see the baby, tell them he's a good traveler, anything!  We've had many flight attendants come over for a while to play with Tatum, bring him cups to play with, etc.  It's okay to say no when someone offers you help! We've been asked a few times and just politely say no.

In Flight Tips
Some people swear by the bottle at takeoff, bottle at landing thing but we haven't noticed that to really matter.  Pumping the baby with plenty of food is the key! If you can grab a seat with extra leg room that's the best! We'll throw down a blanket (or dollar store table cloth that you can throw out) and let him stretch out a bit.  Derek will usually walk him through the aisles and then one of us will stand so he can sit and play in the seat for a while.  Looking out the window helps pass time too. 

We do like to get on early just to get settled and do all that when the plane's quiet.  Tatum likes watching people pass by anyway so it works out.  Sometimes one of us will get on with the stuff, check the stroller, get everything set and the other will get on with Tatum closer to the end of the boarding process.

Try to have a general idea and organization of what's in each bag and where things are so you aren't just rummaging through when you need something especially if one of the bags is above you.

Plane Must Haves
Plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, sanitizer (easily accessible), two bottles, two extra outfits for the baby, an extra shirt or outfit for mom and dad, blanket, bib, lysol wipes, extra pacifiers, plenty of toys!

...Then for the Hotel Stay
We took Tatum's car seat on his first trips when he still used it as his stroller seat too.  Now that we don't need to do that it's MUCH easier - we bring our stroller and rent a carseat with our rental car.  We always ask the hotel in advance to put a pack n play/crib in our room so that's one other big thing to not worry about - most time's he's gotten a stuffed animal or toy with it too!

Usually we use the desk in the hotel room to set up a little baby station so everything is in one place.  Diapers, food/formula, bottles, etc.  Any extras we just put underneath and usually make a little pile of toys on the floor - just like home I tidy it up each day!


  1. My sister used to ship things all the time to wherever they were going - like diapers and little things! It's a great tip! Tatum is definitely a frequent flyer! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

  2. Loving all these tips! We've only traveled by ourselves (Serena was home with my mom) by plane or by car with her since she was born. We are flying with her soon, and my biggest fear is now that she's a toddler and just wants to be mobile how we'll get her to sit still or stay in an enclosed area for a long period of time. And germs... because who wants to be sick or have a sick kiddo while traveling. She touches everrrrything and then puts everything in her mouth still (so waiting for that phase to pass), and I know she'll want to touch everything. I can't be that crazy lady wiping down everything before we take our seats. Or can I? Asking for a friend <3
    Green Fashionista

  3. You are a pro!! After 3 trips flying with a baby so far, I think this past trip she was the most unsettled because she's walking and didn't understand why she had to sit. Shew! So many snacks and the iPad and new books got us through haha

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I'd like to advise you reading this post about traveling with a newborn on a plane. Since becoming a mum of two little boys, we’ve traveled extensively as a family and those traveling tips helped me a lot. Now it’s such an excitement, not fear when we take even a 24-hour flight with our small children :)