In-Flight Tips for Traveling with a Baby

Possibly the most difficult part about actual travel with a baby is the plane.  Most other places you can excuse yourself when your child gets fussy. You have many tools for getting your baby to sleep or keeping him happy that just won’t work on a plane.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel or get on a plane.

I’ve taken dozens of flights with Andrew.  Some great. Some not so great.  I’ve been able to come up with some ways that make flights more enjoyable for us and everyone else on the plane.

Andrew Flying

Here are our in-flight tips for flying with your baby

1. Consider feeding baby during takeoff.

Andrew has never had issues with his ears during our flights but some babies are really effected by the change in pressure.  Possibly because I always feed him, he’s able to equalize and doesn’t get fussy about it.

2. Bathroom breaks are tricky.

For diaper changes, there is a folding table that comes out from the wall.  Try to wear easy to change clothes and use the privacy to sing some funny songs and act goofy to distract baby.

For your own bathroom breaks, try to make a nest of toilet paper on the seat so you can actually sit down (these plane toilets are disgusting so I would never sit down directly on the seat). Sitting down will help you balance the baby on your knee while during your business.

3. Take walks

On longer flights, especially overnight international flights, it’s completely fine to walk around as long as the flight is smooth.  This might help your baby go to sleep or just distract from the fact that you’re stuck there for what feels like eternity.

4. Have all of the toys/entertainment.

Even if your child isn’t really into toys yet, you need to bring SOMETHING.  For Andrew I had a toy cellphone that makes sounds and plays music, our Sophie, a crinkly book, and my phone.  At 3 months he loved listening to music and watching cartoons.  I loaded my phone with downloaded Netflix movies and some music from Moana on Youtube Red.

My phone kept him entertained a few times when he just wanted something to look at.  These were all just good for distracting him for a few moments if I saw he was starting to get fussy.

Now that he’s a little older he still loves watching cartoons but also loves songs and clapping games and really anything that might be goofy.

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5. Have plenty of snacks/ bottles

I bring tons of snacks when I travel with Andrew. I always have extra bottles and I’m always ready to feed him.  While in the air, even if he’s not exactly hungry, eating can distract him for a few minutes to keep him from getting fussy.

6. Think ahead.

As a parent you probably already know this but it’s easier to keep a kid from getting fussy than to stop him once he already is.  Or at least that’s how it is with Andrew.  I would watch for his cues of an upcoming annoyance and try to head it off.  I would distract with a toy, with standing up or moving his position, or even just making funny faces. I tried to avoid anything that makes him uncomfortable.  Change his diaper before you know it’s going to bother him.  Feed him before you know he’s going to be hungry.

7. Choose the back.

I always sit in the back of the plane. Less people sit in the back because they usually want to get off the plane faster.  We’ve had whole rows to ourselves so I can put a little blanket down on the seats to let him stretch out.  Even when we don’t have full rows we rarely have someone sitting right next to us (on Southwest). I could also stand up if I wanted to and walk or bounce him around without disturbing everyone else around me.  The back is just usually the better place for kids.

8. Do what you have to.

This applies to anything with a baby this young. Obviously you don’t want to start bad habit but with little babies they don’t really create habits anyway. Just do whatever you need to to keep him happy.  You’ll save yourself some anxiety and keep everyone else around you happy (though, I would say to them that they can deal with a fussy baby for a little bit. It won’t kill them).

Do you have any in-flight tips? Let us know in the comments!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at you extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links. You can also see my full Disclosure and Terms and Conditions (you know, the real boring stuff).

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in-flight tips for travel with a baby
in-flight tips for travel with a baby

About the Author:

Hey, I’m Mackenzie, a writer, traveler, and photographer living in North Texas. Been to 65 countries solo, now taking the baby along. I blog about family travel while writing novels and binge-watching British TV.

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