Where do I start? First off, I’d like to confirm that it is possible to fly with 6 month old babies! I was nervous for this trek, but so glad that we took it! My husband and I knew we wanted to head to the Midwest, Illinois specifically, prior to the boys turning one. They had so many wonderful family and friends that needed to meet them and we wanted to make sure they enjoyed the boys while they’re babies. I did a lot of planning ahead and checking off the boxes to make sure we had smooth travels. Word of advice: there’s no reason to stress too much because travels will go the way babies want it to go regardless of planning. It still never hurts to plan ahead as best as possible! Below is a list of my biggest advice for traveling with babies:
Call the airline you are traveling with. You do not have to purchase a ticket for your little one if they are under the age of two. The airlines still require that you call to let them know the name of your”lap child” so that they can be added to your ticket. It’s also a good opportunity to ask the airline representative any additional questions you have for flying with babies. Most airlines are great about clarifying everything on their website.
Make a checklist. This is always helpful when packing for yourself and babies. It helped keep track of everything I needed, especially since I was travelling for three weeks with my boys. I had to have random things like their sound machine and monitor. I could not have left without those lifesaving items! A checklist also helps you really cover the needs, versus the wants. I ended up taking some things off of my checklist that weren’t necessary. I tend to over pack every time I travel…and I over packed this time too. Ha!
Give yourself plenty of time at the airport. We left two hours prior to take off, which worked out perfectly! It was nice to have plenty of time to unload, get through security, and get to the terminal. The most stressful airport process for me was getting the car seats and all of the luggage out of the car. It took some time and it is hard to get it all the way to baggage check-in. I recommend getting a cart to help ease this process.
Bring a stroller for the airport. For me, it worked best to push the boys around the airport with their double stroller. It was great because they were able to nap in their stroller once we reached the terminal and I could stuff my purse and other bags underneath the stroller. It might be easier for you to wear your baby – I saw moms doing that as well. Do what feels comfortable for you!
Bring your little ones birth certificate. I am glad I looked ahead on this one because they will ask for it when you are checking their car seats and baggage. I know what you’re thinking…I was thinking the same. Clearly my babies look younger than two…but it’s an airline rule. It doesn’t have to be their official birth certificate, just bring a copy.
Pack formula or breast milk within means. The security gate is extremely understanding with bringing formula or breast milk through; however, it has to be a logical amount. For example, I brought five water bottles (may have added a few extra for my husband and I), four bottles, and a small can of formula powder through security with me. The security workers do have to take it aside to test, but did not have any issues with it. The same thing will go for breast milk. They will have to test the milk, but shouldn’t have any issue with it. If there is an issue be sure to clarify that you need it for your baby. They should let you bring it through if it is a fair amount for travels.
Have plenty of toys and entertainment on plane. I was so glad I packed the boys’ swaddle blankets, a lot of different toys, and a few books. We ended up using all of it throughout the airplane ride to keep them entertained. If your baby takes pacifiers, which mine do not, I recommend that. It’s always good to have during take off and landing for their little ears. I attempted to feed my boys bottles on takeoff and landing, but they weren’t ready for them. It turned out fine and I was lucky my boys didn’t have trouble with elevation and ears!
Be prepared for airplane diaper changes. It is a tight space and not the most ideal situation – but you got this! I kept the door open while changing their diapers because it was easier than feeling locked into such a tiny space. Be sure to have a diaper pad with you and plenty of wipes to wipe their hands. Those curious hands touch everything on the plane and it is difficult to avoid in such tight corners.
Remember to relax. Regardless of the outcome on the plane, you are there to stay. If your baby ends up fussing all you can do is try your best to soothe them. Do not worry about what others around you are thinking and don’t let the situation get you flustered. Just remember it is natural and most people are understanding!
I ended up having a smooth experience flying with Liam and Noah for the first time ever. We had a four hour flight and they were champs! My husband and I (and my Aunt, who flew with us on our way home) spent a lot of time entertaining them any way possible with all of their toys, reading them books, feeding them bottles, and sometimes I would get up and walk or just stand with them. Most people love looking at babies and enjoy seeing them – so no stress! I was able to get them to sleep for a little while and just held them closely in my arms. We had a lot of wonderful flight attendants and most people are extremely accommodating when it comes to travelling with babies. You got this!