Flying with a newborn? I've got some tips and tricks for you. Before having a baby, my husband and I promised each other that we would do everything we could to still do the things we love. Traveling was at the top of that list. We knew it would be harder and look different than before, but we also knew it would be worth it. When our daughter was just 10 weeks old, we flew to Florida for vacation. Babies that age nap so frequently that it sounded nicer to sit by a pool while she napped than to sit in our living room.
I put together a few tips and tricks and lessons learned from our recent trip. Overall, my biggest piece of advice is BOOK THE TRIP! We were so happy to have done this while she was so young. It gave us both the confidence to continue doing things like this and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We both acknowledge that this will get harder with time as she becomes mobile. That said, we hope to continue making decisions that may be challenging but will surely pay off in the form of memories in the end.
Before Leaving Home
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! The first time you're using the bags or taking the wheels off your stroller should not be in the security line at the airport (frantically holding up the line). We practiced taking the wheels off and putting the stroller in the bags at home. This gave us much more confidence in the airport!
- Also, practice installing your car seat without its base. Most car seats can be installed without a base using just the seatbelt! Just triple-check you know how to confirm a safe and secure fit. This is a must for taking Ubers or renting a car (we opted for a rental in Fort Lauderdale).
- Invest in a travel bag for your stroller and your car seat. If you have an UPPAbaby, get this stroller bag, and this car seat bag. Register your stroller and car seat, as well as the travel bags, with TravelSafe. That way, if any of your gear is damaged during your travels, UPPAbaby will replace it at no cost. I've heard many stories about strollers and car seats getting damaged while traveling, so this is definitely worthwhile! Here are the stroller and car seat I use.
- Lastly, pack a well-stocked diaper bag (here is the bag I use and love)! Sounds so obvious, but this really is key! On our way home from Florida, we were stuck on the tarmac for hours and I was so happy our bag was so well-stocked. Pack more diapers and wipes than you think you'll need, an extra outfit or two, and plenty of formula or bottles.
At the Airport
- Download the Mamava app, which will help you locate lactation rooms in the airport if you'd prefer more privacy.
- Decide ahead of time if you'll be buying a plane ticket for your baby. If you don't plan on purchasing a seat, get to your gate early. You can ask the flight attendants ahead of time if they have any empty seats. If there are open seats, they will let you bring your car seat onto the flight and install it without a base using the seatbelt (the same way you would in a car).
- Even if you end up holding your baby the whole time, it's so nice to have the extra space! This tip didn't work for us on the way TO Florida, but it did work for us on the way home. The extra space was wonderful!
- If this tip doesn't work for you, no problem! You can wear your baby in a carrier and gate check your car seat and stroller (using the travel bags).
During the Flight
- Bring something for your baby to suck on during takeoff and landing to help with their ears! I chose to pack my favorite nursing pillow and nursing cover, and nursed Eleanor during takeoff and landing. With a nice full belly, she slept the whole plane ride! I swear the white noise on the plane puts newborns right to sleep!
- Pack a few high contrast cards (or use the flight safety instructions card) to keep your little one occupied during awake time.
You've Arrived, Now What?
- Rent equipment ahead of time from Babyquip (essentially Airbnb for baby gear)!!! Not packing a ton of equipment was was SUCH a game changer. We rented a pack and play for sleep, a white noise machine, an infant bath tub, and more. You can also have things delivered to the Babyquip provider via Amazon Prime (which we did for wipes and diapers). Babyquip delivered the rental equipment to our Airbnb and set up everything before we got there. After checkout, they picked everything up from our rental, too! It was SO seamless. For the next few months, I have a discount code! Use the code BAILEY (code is good for $20 off any first-time rental of $100 or more!)
- Order groceries ahead of time using InstaCart - we had our groceries delivered the morning after our arrival and it allowed us to start enjoying our vacation immediately instead of running to the store.
While those are all of my logistical tips and tricks, my biggest advice for your time on your trip is to be open-minded and flexible!! Not everything will go exactly as planned, and I think the more you can embrace that, the better. Happy traveling!
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