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Ask Shelly: Top 5 tips for flying with a newborn baby?

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Flying with my 5-week-old. Oh, I had a lot to learn!
My first child will be born in June. We are a military family so we fly everywhere all the time. Right now we are stationed in Juneau, Alaska. Grandparents live in TX and IL. Our biggest questions are about flying with newborns. What’s the easiest and well…….how? Any help would be a big help!

This question popped up on the facebook page and I thought, “Well, I’m sure there are lots of readers out there who would be interested in this topic, and I ought to be able to answer that in a jiffy.” Then an hour later I found myself chewing on a pencil overwhelmed at how many tips I might include in such a post, and even still I’d be leaving out many important things I would want to tell parents preparing for their first-ever flight with a newborn.

To some extent, you can of course–and will have to–just wing it. But if there’s any way I can help you avoid learning lessons many parents come by the hard way (myself included in some cases!), and boost your own confidence as you look toward this new chapter, that’s what I would wish for you.

So I boiled it down to 5 points here I think are certainly worth addressing (since the first thing everyone will tell you is to feed during take-off and landing to help your infant’s ears adjust, I left it off here–also plenty more tips to help with that in Take-Along Travels with Baby). And to make sure you’ve got every advantage possible going into this new adventure, I’m sending you a copy of BOTH my guidebooks if you don’t have them already, as I think they’ll help you start planning ahead and also help ease your way once you finally take that first trip!

 Here are five tips to get you started flying with your newborn:

1. Always have your cabin-friendly Child’s Travel Kit (modified for air travel) in your carry-on, and ready to go at a moment’s notice at home in case of unexpected travel. You will be ready to soothe teething pain or rule-out possible gas bubbles, help manage a fever, soothe an unexpected rash, or clear a stuffed up nose anywhere including up in the air.(More here and in Chapter 3 of Travels with Baby.)

2. Breastfeed if possible. If you can breastfeed your infant, you will have many advantages on your side while traveling, including the ability to feed on demand in spite of any unexpected delays and cancellations, and your child will get extra immunity benefits from your milk to help protect against any colds or flu viruses you might be exposed to along the way (more on that in Chapter 7). And then there are the more obvious issues of reducing “stuff to pack along and sterilize” as you travel.

3. Protect your infant from turbulence. Whether you choose to purchase a seat for your infant (always ask the airline about infant discounts or see the comparison chart in Part 5 of Travels with Baby) or fly with your baby on your lap, you should do what you can to guard against turbulence, which has caused injuries and even proven fatal to lap-held children. Any time you hold your infant on your lap in flight, even if its during a feeding while sitting next to his car seat, it’s a good idea to have him in a Baby B’Air flight safety vest and secured to your own lap belt. More tips for lap child safety here and in Chapter 14 of Travels with Baby.

4. Invest in a good infant car seat / travel system. Remember that not all “travel systems” are actually built for your kind of travel. However, one you create with the Combi Shuttle 33 will give you the benefit of an infant car seat that travels easily without its base–and still has a built in anti-rebound bar, and you can use it up to 33 lbs. so it will likely serve you well past the first year. What’s more, you can snap it in and out of a lightweight, but fully functional stroller that weighs under 12 lbs. (either the Combi Flare or Cosmo) and has a shoulder carrying strap to help keep your hands free for other items—including your baby. When you reach your destinations, you’ll still have gear that you are glad to use on the ground. (More recommendations in Best Car Seats for Travel and Travel Strollers.)

5. Bring a change of clothes for yourself. When traveling with an infant, it goes without saying that you’ll need an extra change of clothes or two for your baby. But as the one feeding, soothing, and diapering your newborn in airports and on airplanes, and probably holding and wearing her even more often than during days at home, the chances of your being on the receiving end of some serious spit-up or a diaper blowout are quite good. Not a problem, however, if you have an extra change of clothes (top and bottom) to slip into en route. I go for small-packing, wrinkle-free back-up togs, and find fleece for a warm outer layer is helpful since it can be easily scrubbed clean and dries very quickly.   

Enjoy your last months of this pregnancy, and best of luck with your travel baby!

How about you? 
What sage piece of advice would you give this mom and other parents preparing to fly with a newborn? Post your comment below or share on the facebook page.

Related posts and pages:
See more Tips for flying with infants, toddlers, and young children

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of Travels with Baby and the new Take-Along Travels with Baby
https://travelswithbaby.com/    Travels with Baby on Facebook

All content of this blog (c) Shelly Rivoli

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