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Everything you need to know about traveling with kids

If you’ve ever been stuck on a flight with a screaming baby in the row in front of you and thought to yourself, “why can’t those parents just shut that baby up”, I’ve got some bad news for you.  Karmatically, that thought all but guaranteed you would become the parent with the screaming baby on a plane.  Okay, that’s not entirely true, but if you have a young child and travel regularly, there’s a pretty high likelihood that said child will, at some point, cry on the airplane.  And inevitably, another passenger will have the same thought you had all those years ago.  And it will make you feel better to know they are messing with their future airplane baby karma.

My husband and I took Foodie Baby on his first plane ride when he was nine days old and by the time we celebrated his first birthday Foodie Baby had been to California (three times), Wyoming, Massachusetts, New York (twice), Costa Rica, and Wisconsin.  Traveling with an infant requires different tools than traveling with a toddler, but I think we’ve got both down to a science, which is good because Foodie Baby 2 will be here in a few months!

As with most things, fear of the unknown seems to cause the most anxiety for parents traveling with kids for the first time.  I am going to try to put your mind at ease by giving you some general information about what to expect at the airport and on the flight with your kid.  You can also review my infant and toddler travel essentials to get an idea of what to pack for travel with young children.  Most often, the questions I get from parents are about travel gear and airport security requirements, so I’ve tried to pay extra attention to those areas in my posts.

Here are my top infant and toddler travel tips as well as some general information about traveling with kids.  Please post additional tips in the comments!

How to travel with infants

The trickiest part about infant travel is the unpredictable nature of both babies and flights.  If you try to time your flight around your baby’s nap time or bedtime, the flight will inevitably be delayed or your baby will have an off day.  We all dread that deep breath on the plane that means your tiny baby is about to emit a chorus of wails and screams much louder than you ever thought humanly possible for such tiny vocal chords that will make your fellow passengers hate you.  It might even make you hate yourself a little, but you know what?  It shouldn’t.

Even though it may seem like your baby is crying for an hour, he’s probably not.   And if he really is crying for hours, you probably have much more important things to worry about (your own sanity) than other people mean mugging you from across the aisle.  Some mommy bloggers recommend that you bring small bags of candy and ear plugs to place on the seats of passengers sitting around you with a note explaining that your baby is on a plane for the first time and asking them to have patience with him.  I bet these mommy bloggers spend hours on Pinterest (the website invented by Satan to show women like me how much we SUCK at being a good/creative/crafty/patient/organized mom).  If you have the time and the room in your carry-on to craft goody bags for complete strangers, go for it.  If you’re feeling like you’ll be lucky to get on the plane with your teeth brushed and two of the same shoes on like me, read on.

Here are the best things you can do to make flying with your baby a breeze:

  • Wear your baby: We prefer the baby bjorn infant carrier.  In fact, we used it until Foodie Baby was practically kicking our knees because his legs were so long.  It is really important to have your hands free and your baby contained at the same time while your traveling and people will probably judge you if you try to stuff your baby into a piece of rolling luggage.
  • Dress yourself and your baby in comfortable clothes.  Do NOT wear white.  Do NOT wear heels.  Do NOT wear a fabric that will absorb stains.  My husband has started trying to dress in dry fit from head to toe, not because it wicks sweat but because it repels stains.  The baby vomit and spilled milk just rolls off you.  I usually wear black leggings and dress in layers on top, including a wide scarf.  The scarf can double as a blanket or a nursing cover in times of need.  I try to wear slip on shoes so that I don’t have to mess with tying and untying them at airport security.  For

    babies, I prefer one piece, footed outfits.  There aren’t any shoes to lose and they have easy access for diaper changing.  Bring at least one extra change of clothes for your kiddo.

  • Nurse or bottle feed at take off and landing: the sucking will help ease the pressure on your baby’s ears.  You can bring breast milk and formula through airport security.  Read about airport security and kids here.  It might have the bonus side effect of putting him or her to sleep which is the best possible way to pass the time when flying with a baby.
  • Bring extra diapers…and wipes (duh).  I like to bring disposable changing pads as well because airport bathrooms are germ cesspools.
  • If your baby is eating solid foods, bring “squish foods”.  These little packets of organic fruits and veggies are great for travel.  You don’t even need a spoon!  Just squish them into the baby’s

    mouth.  Foodie Baby loves Ella’s Kitchen and Plum Organic.  I actually wish they made these for adults.  They are healthy, portable and the they taste pretty good (for baby food)!

Hope this helps as you travel.  Good luck!