It’s family reunion time.
If you’re traveling with a new baby or small children by air, then you’re in for a different kind of endurance test. Here are a few tips for air travel:
1. First rule of flying with kids: edit your carry-ons because you’ll be carrying a kiddo who is more important than the stuff. If your child is both older than two and coordinated for her age, she may be able to pull a small, rolling backpack with a few carry one with toys. Do test this out ahead-of-time so you know if your little one has the dexterity to handle it.
2. Bring bacterial soap…it will help you to feel cleaner than dealing with tons of baby wipes and you’ll have less trash too.
3. Dress them for travel in footie pj’s…they’re comfy, easy to change diapers in, and you don’t loose socks (feet get cold on overnight, trans-Atlantic flights.
4. Edit your diaper bag size for the plane. That giant bag you tote around in the car could knock someone’s head off as you struggle down the aisle of an airplane. Think small, sling-back bag here, just enough for a couple individual accidents…that you can quickly grab and go to change baby. Save the enormous, “stocked-for Armegeddon” bag for your visit to grandma’s house.
5. Pack an extra shirt for you…there’s nothing worse than showing up at your in-laws house to show off your new baby with spit-up all over you. You never know when travel is going to disagree with baby’s tummy and you’ll be decorated. At least a clean T-shirt will let you keep your dignity.
6. Bring snacks…PLEASE BRING SNACKS, BOTTLES AND TIPPY CUPS…your fellow travelers will appreciate it. Air travel is hard on kids ears because they can’t adjust as easily to the air pressure changes. Swallowing helps their ears pop and reduces the wailing. Take-offs and landings are the hardest on them. If you can’t get them to drink, a sucker can accomplish your objective. If you’re nursing, plan on breastfeeding during take off and landing.
7. Bring a blanket or be ready to share your fleece…planes are usually cold, and planes no long have blankets or pillows to share with travelers, no matter their size. Plan ahead, because cold kiddos cry.
8. Try for some sort of routine…especially if doing a cross-country, or transcontinental trip with plane changes. If by air, be mindful that kids down switch timezones as readily as adults.
9. Baby carriers are great (There are several that will let you keep your hands free. One, travel-proven example: the Baby Bjorn.) Be sure to check your airlines for their rules for baby strollers; many have size requirements. It can be a secure tool to allow your little one to simply fall asleep in the middle of a busy terminal.
10. Above all: befriend your flight attendants and those traveling around you. Most have traveled with children and most people will be kind, but there will always be some grumpy Freddie who was never a child.