The halls are decked, the presents are wrapped, the trees are trimmed and the fruitcake – well, it’s as hard as a rock. If you are like many people this holiday season, the next step is to take to the air and go visit family and friends. Flying the friendly skies can be daunting in December but especially when flying with a baby. If this upcoming trip is draining your holiday spirit and putting you in a Grinchy mood, take a breath. We’ll share the “must-have” packing list for traveling with your baby. So, recline your seat, put down your tray table as we reveal everything you need for traveling with ease!
- Car Seat: Even though your baby can technically fly on your lap, free of charge, it’s a much safer – and more comfortable – choice to purchase a ticket for your infant. That way, you can bring the all-important car seat, position it properly and rest assured that your baby is safely secured during the flight. This also frees up your hands – and lap – so you can feed and entertain your child throughout the trip. Additionally, you’ll already have your own car seat once you arrive at your destination, alleviating any stress about rental cars or shuttles.
- Little Baby, Big Appetite: If you want to have the flight from Hell, skimp on the snacks and bottles – seriously. My 4-month old daughter once had a major melt-down as we were deplaning because we were 5 minutes late for her feeding – imagine this going on for hours on a plane! When you pack for your flight, bring enough snacks, food, bottles, formula or breast milk for at least 24 hours. Why? While it hopefully won’t happen to you, delays and traffic, congestion and cancelled flights go hand in hand with the holiday spirit. And, while you might be delayed right next to a Hudsons News at your departure gate, it could just as easily happen on the tarmac. So as the Boy Scout Motto goes, be prepared.
- A well-stocked Diaper Bag: What do babies do? They eat, sleep and poop continuously, right?
And don’t expect that to change as you travel. So, not only do you want to bring the diaper bag but you want to expertly and efficiently pack it with as many essentials as you can. Include enough diapers for at least 24 hours, diaper cream and baby wipes. Don’t forget change of outfits and burp cloths – after all, if there was ever time for a blowout diaper, you can be sure it’ll happen while you’re cruising with 350 other people in a Boeing 747. On that note, don’t forget baggies, preferably scented, to store those dirty diapers.
- Toys and Games: So while SkyMall magazine and the inflight safety brochure may be enough for you and your husband, your baby will need more. Bring along soft toys and books, pacifiers and loveys to keep your child occupied. One rule of thumb when packing the entertainment, try to keep it soft and little – not the time to bring Baby’s favorite 24” Mr. Elephant. Another option is a tablet or phone with music downloaded to sooth and entertain your baby. And, while the American Academy of Pediatrics may disagree, it can’t hurt to have a baby-friendly video downloaded or DVD for the laptop. After all, the AAP is not trying to get from the East Coast to the West Coast with a connecting flight in Denver!
- Your Best Manners: When traveling with an infant, especially during the holidays and on what will probably be a crowded flight, you need to be your nicest, sweetest YOU! To be honest, most passengers will understand if your child is fussy or crying or just plain unhappy. But, a preemptive “I’m sorry” will go a long way rather than an indifferent, defensive “We have the right to be here” attitude. I’ve known of some parents to bring goody bags for their next-seat passengers and woo them with mints and chocolates. If your child is really pulling out all the stops, you can even offer to buy a cocktail or snack for the passenger suffering with you. Just make your Mom proud and remember your manners – and, as the saying goes, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
- A Good Attitude: Let’s face it – this may not be the best time of your life. You may end up with poop on your hand and spit-up in your hair. You may be sweaty, stressed out and wiped clean of any makeup, sophistication or calm that you had when you first arrived. All this may happen while your husband snores next to you. But, this too shall pass and you will arrive at your destination to enjoy a holiday season with those that you love. To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli, former British politician and writer said, “Prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”
Happy Holidays and Safe Travels from your Baby Pibu Team!