Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pint-Sized Travel: Helpful Tips for Flying with an Infant

Nicholas and I made it to Seattle on Thursday and we've been spending good time with 3 of his cousins, one of whom is only 3 weeks old. Nicholas was a champ on the plane, I think 3 months is the perfect age to fly alone with a baby. He slept the entire time! Here's a few pictures and a few helpful travel tips for flying alone with a baby!

Bad news: My bag was oversized (even though I flew with it a month ago and it was fine) and so I had to pay $50 :(
Good news: The Alaska agent was nice and moved me up to the 5th row, plus blocked the seat next to me so Nicholas and I had more room

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The picture above is the TSA agent helping to put my infant car-seat onto the stroller. Maybe it's just the small-town culture of Montana and the fact that this is a tiny airport, but I took all the help I could get! There were actually 3 or 4 male TSA agents trying to put my stroller and car-seat together as I instructed them, it was quite funny! Brian took this picture with his iPhone through the security area glass wall.

(In case you're wondering why I brought my stroller through security: the plane is so small that you actually walk onto the tarmac to board/de-board the plane. I wanted to gate check my car-seat and stroller so that I could use them once I was at the Seattle airport, so I had to take them through security.)

Helpful travel tips from myself, some of my other mom friends, and from you!

- Be kind to the airport and TSA staff. They might just be kind back to you!
- Be patient, take deep breaths, and stay focused on the task at hand.
- Always ask for help! (My husband's biggest tip – he reminded me about 300 times.)
- Bring your nursing pillow for baby to sit on during the flight (so you don't have to hold them the entire time.)
- Nurse or use a pacifier as you are taking off/landing (helps baby's ears not to hurt)
- Bring doubles of everything (clothes, pacifiers, burp rags, etc.)
- Dress baby in simple clothing, like a sleeper onesie (a friend said they've had her infant take off their baby shoes. Crazy, but true.)
- Mom or Dad should go to the bathroom before you leave for the airport/ or when there is another adult to hold the baby – imagine trying to use the bathroom with a baby and all your luggage!
- Gate check stroller/car-seat so that you can use them throughout your entire time in the airport and save your back!

2 tips I wasn't able to use but would have been very helpful if I could have:
  • Wear your baby in a front pack carrier once you're out of security (my back couldn't handle carrying Nicholas this way).

  • Wear a small backpack as your diaper bag and pack your diaper bag in your luggage, so that you have your hands free (again, my back would have suffered from this).
Thank you to those of my friends and readers who shared helpful tips with me! The most helpful tip I had was from Brian – to always ask for help. There are stairs from the tarmac to the terminal at SEA-TAC, so I asked the flight attendant to call ahead so that we could use the elevator.

I will leave you with a story of the angel on my plane! As we were landing, I was praying that someone would help me get my infant car-seat onto the stroller while I held NIcholas (and it's outside so it's cold!). I need help because it's hard to aim the car-seat onto the stroller while holding Nicholas, or while he's in it because it's so heavy for me. When I walked down the stairs onto the tarmac, I saw that a lady had  already taken my stroller and car-seat off of the gate-checked luggage rack and was trying to assemble it for me! She got the car-seat onto the stroller, helped to strap Nicholas in, and even made sure that I was using the elevator instead of the stairs. So now my number one rule when traveling:

If you're ever traveling without an infant, help the mom or dad who is traveling alone with a baby!

Thanks everyone for your helpful travel tips!

3 comments:

  1. i almost cried when i read about that woman who helped you. i'm glad you got there so easily!

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  2. I agree...three months is a perfect flying age! I flew with my son at that time. Nursed during lay-overs, and he slept in the air. Great tips, too!

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  3. Thanks Beth! I almost cried too :) I can see you being one of those moms who helps the new moms out. I hope to see you soon so you can meet Nicholas!

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