The bags are packed, the plane tickets have been bought, now all a parent needs to do is focus on anything their baby may need to conquer this flight. Now, many of us call babies "babies" until they're around 4 years old, according to Verywell Family, but we're focusing on babies up to a year-old.
Unfortunately for parents, one-year-olds don't have the pleasure of entertaining themselves independently like most 4- or 5-year-olds can. They're at the age where they know they're going somewhere but aren't quite sure of the rules that flying requires. So, whether a child is an infant or a 1-year-old, we have 10 tips parents will appreciate when it comes time to board a plane and taking flight.
10 YOU CAN BRING A CAR SEAT FOR THE FLIGHT
There are many parents who prefer flying with their child strapped to their own car seat. Motherly reminds us that babies are comfortable with their car seat by this point. It's fitted for them and they know what's coming next once they're in it.
Car seats can also ensure that your one-year-old won't be wiggling out of their airplane seat just to wander the aisles. It'll keep them tightly secured, comfortable, and they'll most likely sleep better in it. However, most airlines who let kids under the age of two fly for free won't have a seat for them — they're expected to be on their parent's lap (see more below); so you'll need to contact the airline to see if there are any open seats available.
9 THE YOUNGER, THE BETTER
Most airlines allow kids under the age of two to fly for free. This little perk, of course, comes with some downfall. Babies under two who are flying for free must be placed in their parent's lap. Some airlines have bassinets for use as well, you just need to call your airline to see what they can offer. If there are open seats available on the flight, most stewardess' will try to accommodate you so you can be more comfortable.
8 PACK MORE THAN ONE BOTTLE OR BINKY
Planes are a pretty germ-filled place. Seeing hundreds of people a day from all walks of life, sitting in the same plane, breathing the same recycled oxygen... it can be a lot for a person to soak in.
Which is why some parents may have a minor heart attack when they see their baby licking the window or picking up their bottle to drink after dropping it elsewhere. To avoid the flu, bring extra bottle lids and binkies in case old ones are dirtied quicker than you imagined.
7 GRAB ALL THE IDENTIFICATION YOU MAY NEED
You may think you'll just be able to grab your bundle of joy and head for the airport since they're under two and free, but you may be forgetting something. USA Today reminded parents that while traveling domestically you'll need your baby's birth certificate, proving that he/she is your child. If flying internationally, your baby will need a valid passport — no matter how young. If your child is flying with a relative, airlines will also need a letter of consent from mom and dad.
6 PUMPING ON A PLANE
If you're wondering if you can use a breast pump on a plane, you absolutely can. When going through TSA, Spectra says to make sure all your pumping equipment is in the same bag so that it's easier to be scanned at the airline. And while airlines won't be able to store your milk for you, they can give you ice to keep your milk chilled.
If using a breast pump in your seat makes you uncomfortable, you can use it in the bathroom as well.
5 YOU'LL BE ABLE TO BOARD EARLY (BUT YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO)
A half-hour before take-off, airlines will allow families to preboard; meaning families with young kids are allowed to board the plane before anyone else is on. That can give them time to get situated, get comfortable, and ease their baby into it. Most parents appreciate this time to get ready without feeling hindered by other travelers.
However, boarding first means you'll be sitting there longer. Will your baby be okay sitting there 30 minutes longer in a new area? It's something to think about once the travel day gets closer.
4 CHANGE OF CLOTHING FOR BOTH BABY & PARENT
It's no surprise that babies need a change of clothes every so often. Depending on their age and how often they're going through diapers, bringing a change of clothes is a good idea even if you think you won't need it.
Plane rides can be bumpy, which means milk and food can spill; blowouts happen; nervous energy can bring on upset stomachs... In this case, it's better to be over-prepared than under. Mom and dad should also bring a change of clothes thanks to spills and accidents.
3 A BABY CARRIER MAY MAKE TRAVELING EASIER
The official TSA website assures parents that their baby will never be separated from them when going through security. While going through the screening, mom or dad will have to hold the baby, but once TSA is done screening everything, slide a carrier on and put your baby inside. Your baby's carrier will need to be scanned by TSA, so be patient. Once all is clear, you'll have both hands available for carrying luggage (especially if you opted not to bring your stroller).
2 CHANGE THEIR DIAPER IN THE BATHROOM
We've all seen those images of a parent changing their baby's diaper mid-flight. For whatever reason, instead of running to the restroom to change a baby's diaper, some parents choose to do it right in their seat on the food tray.
The problem with this, of course, is not only is that not safe, but it can upset other travelers which will only make the rest of the flight more uncomfortable for you. Most airlines have changing tables in the bathroom, making it both hygienic and safe.
1 THINK ABOUT YOUR BABY'S SCHEDULE
It's hard not to think about our baby's schedule when traveling. Are they teething? Are they sleep training? Are they potty training? Are they getting over a sickness? All of these things should be kept in mind when booking a flight. If your child does great at sleeping at night, book a red-eye so everyone wakes up fresh. If your baby is a morning person, fly early! Think about how your baby goes about their day and find the best time to fly from there.