Flying with Your Breastfeeding Baby: Top 10 Air Travel TipsAug 10, 2021
Traveling by air? It’s not as hard as you are probably imagining! With some planning and forethought, traveling with a baby can be manageable, and - dare I say? - FUN!
Here are my Top 10 Travel Tips for traveling by air:
- Gate-check your stroller, so that you can push your baby all the way through the airport in it. If you have a stroller that fully reclines, you can even lay your baby on it for diaper changes!
- Many airlines allow you to bring one carry-on item and a personal item. The best carry-on for a nursing mama? Your comfiest nursing pillow. Yes, I hauled my nursing pillow through the airport and on the plane, and it was the BEST thing I did to make our flight go smoothly. I put my nursing pillow inside a king-sized pillow case that zipped to protect it, and then took it out of the pillowcase when we got to our seat on the plane. My daughter (who was 5 months) happily sat/nursed/slept in the pillow on my lap for the duration of the flight. It makes a perfect, comfy, nook for your little one if they are a lap child. Bonus - nursing was a breeze!
- Wear layers that are easy to take off and put back on for you and baby. Airplanes can get very hot, especially when caring for a baby in the small space of your seat.
- Try to get a window seat. It feels a little more secluded and spacious. Also, looking out the window is a good pastime for your baby.
- Nurse or bottle feed at take-off and landing. The change in air pressure can cause discomfort in your baby’s ears. Many babies will scream and cry at these points in the flight because of the discomfort. This can be avoided by feeding your baby so their swallowing will counteract the pressure. Your neighbor sitting next to you with thank you!
- Be sure to pack your diaper bag or back pack with lots of extra diapers, wipes and change of clothes!Organize your diaper bag so you know exactly where everything is that you might need for the flight. Bonus - Use Ziploc bags to put things together that you will use together, i.e., baby’s snacks, napkins, and face wipes in one Ziploc bag, Nipple shields and nursing cover in another Ziploc bag, etc. Be intentional and thoughtful when packing!
- My daughter spent a full hour on our flight pulling out and putting wipes back into the diaper wipe container. Think about activities that your child likes/is occupied by at home, and bring a couple of those in the diaper bag. When all else fails, anything can be a source of entertainment! Think: zipper on your purse, safety booklet they keep in the back pocket of the seat, the knob that brings the tray table down, etc.
- In my experience, breastmilk, formula, and pouches are allowed through security checkpoints. They just pull it out and screen it separately. So pack those bottles of milk! Here is the TSA link for all the specifics to make sure you are absolutely prepared!
- I’m all about leaving enough time to get through the airport before your flight, but take into account that the earlier you get to your gate, the longer you have to wait to board your flight (and occupy your little one). I prefer to time it so I have enough time to get through the airport, but I arrive at my gate pretty close to when the plane boards - Maybe just enough time for a diaper change prior to boarding. And speaking of boarding, don’t forget that most airlines have family boarding. Be sure to take advantage of that!
- When you get to your destination, give yourself a pat on the back and a little extra self-care, because no matter how the trip went, you and your baby made it to your destination safely - and that was your #1 job, Mama!
Milk on Mama!
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