Preparing for Airplane Travel with an Infant

Tomorrow we head to Washington, D.C.: my hometown.  To be exact, I grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is where we will be staying.  The agenda includes a wedding, many visits with family and friends who will meet our little adventurer for the first time, and a day of sightseeing downtown to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the World War II Memorial among other typical capital area sights.

This will be Bergen’s 3rd plane trip.  I’d like to say we have it all figured out, but babies are constantly changing, and we really only have 6 months of experience with this little guy. We have, however, come up with a routine and process for airplane travel that works for us.

We bring these bigger items:

Once we get to the airport, B gets carried in the Ergo, and our bags, car seat, stroller, and go crib get checked.  It turns out that the car seat bag has enough room to fit our go crib: bonus!  We have come to grips with checking baggage.  Before B, we were fairly strict non-checkers.  Now we’ve accepted that it’s best to have as little as possible as we go through security, hang out in the terminal, and finally board the plane, so along with B in the ergo, I carry the diaper bag, and Slaed carries a backpack with other essentials.

We also don’t necessarily go through the family line for security.  We scope out the situation, and based on what is going on at that moment.  Even though it might be more family-friendly, sometimes the family line is MUCH slower than the regular lines.

Our bag of tricks on the plane:

  • at least 2 full bottles of milk (sometimes B gets too distracted to nurse)
  • a few exciting toys (must include a toy that makes crinkle sound)
  • teething biscuits
  • comfort item (froggie blankie)
  • usual necessities like burp clothes, blanket, diapers, extra clothes, wipes, etc.

On the plane, we try to go through our normal routines of the day…eat, play, sleep just in a compact space.

Eat. Nursing can be tricky due to the cramped space, and high level or distractions, which is why, as I said above, we resort to the bottle if nursing fails.  We make sure he is nursing/bottling during take-off and landing.  Though I’ve heard that this is actually not that essential, I personally don’t want to take any chances.  If nothing else, the little guy will be well hydrated.

Play. Playtime is great. Between the two of us, friendly passengers nearby, and nice flight attendants, we can keep B pretty entertained.  In fact, it was on our flight to Atlanta for Thanksgiving that he laughed for the first time! We even caught it on video.

Sleep. Then comes the sleeping part.  Like nursing, it can be hard to get B to settle down in the cramped space of an airplane. When he was younger (3 months), swaddling and rocking while still seated worked well.  At 4 1/2 months, I walked up and down the aisles, and he was able to go down for a nap.  We’ll see how 6 months goes! I plan to try utilize all of the these tricks along with carrying him in the ergo.  He’s very used to sleeping in the ergo on our long walks, so I’m hoping after pacing the aisles a bit,  he can do the same on the long flight to D.C.

Our nation’s capital awaits us!

waiting for take-off with dad

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3 thoughts on “Preparing for Airplane Travel with an Infant

  1. Pingback: High Flying Success: One Busy Toddler’s Plane Ride | Wild Tales of...

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