Fasten Your Seat Belts

This post is dedicated to first time moms traveling for the first time because I’ll bet any mom that has traveled with an infant more than once will have additional tips and tricks of the trade. Feel free to share by using the comment link below. Here we go…
-When you purchase your flight, you’ll need to let the airlines know you are traveling with an infant. If you buy your ticket online, some sites will have a box you check but others won’t. Sometimes you have to pick up the good ol’ telephone and give em’ a little jingle to inform them of the parasite traveling on you. They don’t need to know if you have crabs or lice, however, just a baby. You’ll also need to make a copy of your baby’s birth certificate or birth record or immunization record (anything that has his birthday on it). Bring this with you, as you’ll need it to check in. I usually leave a copy in the diaper bag because it’s easy to forget. If you do forget it, they can call your pediatrician’s office and have them fax something over… but that only works if the office is open and even then there is the obvious delay. It pays to have your shit together, trust me.
-Pack the night before. Leave a little note for the time fairy begging and pleading for this to be made possible. Leave a list on top of your suitcase for things you’ll need to add in the morning. For me, this list included things like the white noise maker (which we use every night), the swaddle sac (also used every night), pumping supplies (used every morning).
-Come up with a breastfeeding game plan. I like to feed just before we leave the house and then during take off and landing. Make sure you pack your hooter hider or blanket in your carry on. Or let it all hang out. Seriously, the seats are so close together that the weird guy next to you would probably have to lean forward and kink his neck in your direction to sneak a peek of your ta-tas anyway. And if you do spy a creeper, just tell em’ your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And then squirt em’ in the face.
-Have your travel companion (if you’re so lucky) drop you off curbside with all the stuff… because lets face it, if you’re traveling with a little munchkin, you’ll have the dreaded “stuff” I speak of: luggage, stroller, car seat, car seat base, sanity, good attitude, patience… it call gets dropped off curbside. As a side note, it’s easier to travel with a snap-n-go. I leave Van in the car seat/snap-n-go until boarding and then check the whole contraption in at the gate. You can pick up the proper tags at the gate. I check the base of the car seat in (which is always free of charge), along with the big luggage (not always free of charge. Screw you, Delta.), before going through security. As a side note, if you’re not knowledgeable about hooking the car seat into the car, you should review this before you leave to make the transition into the car at your destination smooth. I always review it with Willy before I leave if I’m traveling by myself. There’s nothing worse than getting to where you’re going only to be held up by trying to figure out the car seat. This situation is made worse if you have a crying baby to top it off. Save yourself the frustration.
-When you check in, inquire if the flight is full. Try to hold your infant in your arms when you ask (to rake in the sympathy points). And if your baby is cute (ha! I joke, they’re all cute), turn him toward the lady (fingers crossed it’s a lady… or an older man… or just a sympathetic person) and lift up baby’s arm to give em’ a little wave. If the flight is not full, ask if they could kindly leave the seat next to you open. This has happened to me several times and each of these times I felt like a lottery winner. Seriously, it’s the best.
Some airlines don’t assign seats and allow you pick your seat as you get on to the plane. If this is the case, don’t clean the spit up off your baby’s onesie and fart so there’s a nice aroma in the air as they pass you (because they will pass you. No one wants to sit by a baby, let alone a smelly baby. Despite their reluctance to be your neighbor, these will be the same people that tell you how cute your baby is and praise you for how good your baby was. These lovely compliments only come after the plane has landed and only if your baby was seen and not heard. No one says anything nice beforehand, carefully reserving the right to hate you and your child should your child ruin their flight).
If your baby does cry, try all your tricks (duh, right?). If nothing works, get over it. It’s not your fault. You don’t have any more control than the drunken fool two rows behind you. Hate the game, not the player = Hate the high altitude ear poppin’ pain, not the baby. If you get a dirty look, give em’ the good ol’ tongue. You thought I was going to say finger, huh? Nope, the old-school stickin’ your tongue out like a sassy second grader is the card I play in this situation. Really though, as you walk off the plane leave it all behind and enjoy your trip.
-How did we already get on the plane without mentioning the dreaded security? Back to before you get the whole shebang on the plane… Going through security can be a pain the ass with or without a baby. As fate would have it, it seems as though every time we wheel up to security, the baby is asleep. When the sleeping baby was Hooper and I was a first time mom, I couldn’t believe they’d make me wake a sleeping baby. I thought for sure I’d be an exception to whatever rule. Turns out the TSA agents are not the ones gloating over a sleeping child. Nor are they the ones responsible for getting that child back to sleep. Thus, they don’t give a shit about you and your sleeping baby. Just like the shoes and the belt and the wallet and every last straggling dime in your pocket, the car seat goes onto the belt. As a result, you must wake your little one up and carry him through with you. This never fails to piss me off and I always have to remind myself that I ought to hate the terrorists, not the TSA agent. But, without fail I leave security wanting to slap someone. In any case, this is why you pack your patience and good attitude.
-If you’re traveling with breast milk, review both the law (you can bring milk on a plane, even if it exceeds the 4oz. limit) and storage instructions. While I was in Utah, I kept to my pumping schedule (I pump 2 to 3 times a day in addition to breastfeeding) and thus had milk to bring back with me. Because milk cannot be frozen, then thawed, then frozen again, I stored my milk in the fridge while in Utah, then packed it with a bag of ice for the flight, and then froze it when I got home. If you’re going on a long flight with milk, it’s best to bring a zip lock bag and refill the ice as you travel to keep the milk cold. You can get ice from a restaurant near your gate as well as from the flight attendants. If you’re worried about the TSA agents giving you trouble, you may want to print out a copy of what the law says to keep with you. I did this once for piece of mind, but honestly have never had a problem.
Hope these tips are helpful. Feel free to share your tips and tricks too! Best of luck and hope I’m not the unlucky lady (did I really just refer to myself as a lady? I prefer girl… adult girl) who gets stuck sitting next to you and your crying smelly child. I’ll totally give you the stink eye. Just kidding.
As a side note… If you are a man reading this… or even a nice non-child totting woman… help the lady and her baby out. Hold the door, help squish her carry-on into that much too tiny overhead compartment, offer to hold her baby (only if you really want to hold him, of course) while she buckles her seat belt… I cannot tell you how many people have walked right past me while I’ve struggled to get a stroller up stairs. I silently say very mean things to them and if, by chance, they trip… I laugh and roll past them.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

22 Responses

  • Hey girl I can’t read any of your posts any more with a cuppa. Spitting that stuff all over my keyboard and sniggering like a goodun’!

    In between that though good advice. I also always take snacks he’s not really allowed (did travel when Stan was 5 months old but had husband with me so pretty alright) helps things along. Any plane delays it is always about the snacks.

    If anyone ever shoots me evils I just hold Stanley out like I’m giving him them to them and say “you have a go then” normally shuts them up pretty darn quick.

    • Oh yes, snacks are key. I had Van in mind when I was writing this, so given the fact he has no teeth, I left snacks out. When I have Hooper too, I even try to bring the trickiest snacks I can find… Like raisins. If I hand him the whole box, it seems to take him longer to get them out and eat them than if I take them out for him. It can cause more of a mess, but it’s worth it πŸ™‚

      I love your idea of handing your child over to the stink-eye-giver to care for. Classic. You’re one smart lady, Sarah, and I’m totally jiving on your style.

      • “jiving on my style” is making me laugh.
        I NEED to teach Stanley that phrase. It sounds wonderfully American. In return you’re to teach Hooper “cup of tea”. Sorted.


  • You are so freaking organized now. I’m in awe. I hope you can make me a manual if/when I have a kid. Actually, that’s what I want — a binder of print-outs of your blog posts that give advice like this. Ok? Ok.

    Also, I’m giggling incessantly about the “hooter hider.” And this: “And if you do spy a creeper, just tell em’ your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And then squirt em’ in the face.” You crack me up, without fail, on a daily basis.

    Miss your face.

    • I will keep this book in mind, though I’m not sure I’m organized enough to get that together. You have the kid, I’ll make the binder. It’s a deal.

  • Right on! I love carrying the law in my back pocket. bam sucka! ps. I had no idea you were supposed to bring identification for the baby. helloooo?!

  • I just went on a 14 hour flight followed by an hour layover and another hour flight, with a 3 & 2 year old…. let me just tell you, you’ll miss traveling with an infant!! The airline screwed up our reserved seats, and we ended up split with 1 kid each, with no aisle seat…. yup, they gave us the 2 middle seats in a 4 person row. To make things better we had a flight attendent, half way through the flight, ask us why we didn’t try and get people to switch seats… who would switch an aisle for a middle seat?!?! Anyways, I learned that it’s more frustrating when you care about what everyone else thinks. That being said, I let them kick the “nice” man sitting next to us, that would rather hear a,toddler crying for his daddy, than switch seats. Snacks, and if they are old enough a video game, we have the fisher price ixl… he’s so addicted that he’s played to the point of putting himself to sleep. plus headphones so we don’t have to hear the game… security also lets you bring sippy cups full of water, and waterbottles in case you have,to make a formula bottle. I’ve found tsa to be very nice when it comes to babies and toddlers. except for the fact you have to take off their shoes too….. good luck to anyone traveling with kids!!! I will not be boarding another airplane until they are at least 6-7 years old!!! πŸ™‚

    • What a shitty experience. I would have asked someone to trade seats, someone is usually willing… but go you for toughening it out. I’m telling you, you are supermom. And I agree, you have to let go somewhat of what everyone else thinks. I hope your next experience, evend if it isn’t for a few years, is a better one!

  • You must have a much better attitude about traveling with kids then I do. I travelled abroad with my first when he was 2 months old. 12 hours of disaster. I kid you not. Myself and my kid were the people everyone on the flight hated. Even the flight attendant wasn’t helpful. On the way home? He slept the WHOLE 12 hour flight. Crazy kid! I asked the lady next to me to keep an eye on my sleeping kid while I ran to the toilet and she looked at my like I was crazy. People just don’t help others anymore. Its a sad reality.

    All that being said, my two cents is besides traveling with extra outfits for baby, travel with an extra top for you. That way you can get out of your spit-up and poop covered other one and leave the awful flight memories behind you quickly!

    As for traveling with small toddlers, noisy toys are what works. People around you can’t hear them anyway because the flight itself is so dang loud. That and just plan on making lap after lap aroudn the airplane and every once in a while stopping your kid from touching sleeping people!

    P.S. Make friends with guy flight attendants. They seem to have more sympathy for moms. One kept giving me free wine. I’m pretty sure he felt bad for me.

    • Twelve hours is a long time. We’ve done a 5 hour with Hooper, but aside from that, most flights are only 1-2 hours… which probably accounds for my “better attitude”… haha. I’d be negative nancy if I had to battle a 12 hour flight… even with a well-behaved little one. So go you for taking on such a challenge! At least your little one slept on the way back πŸ™‚ haha And I’d totally watch your kid if you ran to the toilet… people are unhelpful, it’s so unfortunate.

      Love the idea of extra clothes too… great suggestion! And make good with the attendants… not a bad person to have on your team!

  • I started chocking I was laughing so hard at the milkshake and fart part. I will be traveling with my 16 month old son at the end of November, for 5 hours, so this is perfect timing.

    Have I told you I love your blog yet, because I really really do. β™₯

  • oh, i have wanted one of those ‘going to grandma’ suitcases forever! one of these days i will find one! oliver may be to big for it by then but i will get it anyway!

    • I’ll keep an eye out for you. I actually found the exact same one a little while back and gave it to my best friend who just had a baby. But if luck would have it and I come across a THIRD one, I’ll definitely send it your way!

  • One way to make security a bit easier is to wear your baby. I found out on our last flight that you don’t have to take everything off to go through. So our little lady stayed happily asleep in her Ergo as I walked through. They do that bomb checking wipe thing on your hands too though. But really, it’s no biggie. A sleeping babe is totally worth it!

    • I agree, wearing your baby could be easier. Van weighs too much for me. Carrying him hurts my back. And I like shoving stuff in the stroller so I don’t have to carry it.

  • Love this post. It gave me a few giggles. Which is a tip you forget to spell out (but clearly have) – keep your sense of humour! πŸ™‚

    I was also going to leave a comment about wearing your baby, but Jenn beat me to it. Not only does it make security easier, but it leaves your hands free for dragging all that “stuff” and keeps baby happy!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *