As we gear up for the holiday season, it means first time parents are wondering how to travel with an infant. And believe it or not, traveling with an infant isn’t all that bad! Sure, you have a few extra things when it comes to moving around, but you also may get earlier boarding and the joy of sharing your baby with your family for the first time during the holidays!
Learn Your Airlines Policies with Infants
Before you plan too much about your trip, we recommend that you learn the policies associated with the airline you are traveling on. Many airlines do not consider a stroller and carseat part of your luggage and can usually take those at the gate rather than the check-in counter.
Furthermore, many parents ask what type of identification is needed for infants to travel. Again, always best to confirm but usually nothing is needed. If your baby is consider a “lap baby” (ie under 2 years old and does not have their own seat), a copy of their birth certificate may be required for age confirmation. If they have their own seat, usually no identification is needed.
We always recommend you check with your airline directly though to confirm their luggage policy. Here are a few popular airlines:
Another important policy to know about is getting through TSA and the security check point. With many airports (including RDU here in Raleigh) having the full body scan, it means there are different accommodations for parents traveling with an infant. You are allowed to carry your baby through the old style security screeners. Note, you do have to remove baby from any carriers or strollers to go through security.
Furthermore, if you are traveling with breastmilk or premade formula, let TSA know ahead of time that you have liquid over the normal liquid limits. The amount of breastmilk and formula you carry on is not restricted by TSA. They may ask you open the container, but you may decline if that is not possible or not something you want to do.
Okay, now that you are in the terminal with your baby, we have a few tips to make your flight more enjoyable for everyone involved!
Feed, Feed, and Feed Baby During Take Off and Landing
Part of the reason babies cry while traveling on planes is due the pressure changes in their ears. And as we know from traveling on airplanes for a few years, the best way to deal with that pressure change is to swallow or pop your ears. By feeding your baby during take off and landing, they will be already swallowing, so their ears will be adjusting and they won’t even know!
Make Yourself Comfortable
Traveling with an infant is much easier than traveling with a toddler because you do not need to worry about entertainment. You do have to think about how it will be to hold your baby for a few hours straight. Making sure you have enough support behind your back and under your arms is necessary!
The holiday season also means germs are going to be everywhere. Wearing your baby as much as possible will protect their little faces from the germs that may be present on the plane. But also plan to have baby wipes and hand sanitizer for you to use each time you touch them, or give them a toy or anything they need.
Bring Minimal Extras
Infants don’t really need that much, but do need to be carried. So not bringing too much extra stuff for carry ons will make your life so much easier during layovers and walking through the terminals.