Lindsay Pinchuk is Founder of Bump Club and Beyond, Chicago’s first and largest social event network for expectant and new moms. She’s sharing her best tips for flying with a baby.
I was in a panicked state for weeks before we left for a family trip to Florida last month with our baby, J, who’s just five months old. I couldn’t figure out WHAT to pack or how was I really going to get all the necessities there. Being a frequent flier pre-kids, I was used to a small rolling suitcase and a purse with some magazines and my laptop. Traveling with a car seat, BabyBjorn, diapers plus worrying about the baby on the flight was an incredibly overwhelming feeling. I also couldn’t help but be concerned that Baby J would have a diaper explosion on the airplane and I’d have to change her in the tiny bathroom so the stench wouldn’t offend anyone. This was a legitimate worry as she always tends to do this at the least opportune times.
All that worry turned out to be unnecessary – our trip was a success and we had a great time. Now that I’m back, everyone has asked me how I did it, what I packed, and how was Baby J on the plane ride. Here are few of the suggestions I would share to any new parent traveling with their baby for the first time on an airplane.
1. Plan ahead
About a week before we left, I went to diapers.com and shipped diapers, wipes, and formula to our location so that I did not have to allocate precious suitcase space to these bulky items. Plus I saved on sales tax on the items and got free shipping!
2. Only take the essentials
Keep in mind you don’t need every baby gadget from your home. A lightweight stroller was my savior on the trip and the only equipment I truly needed. Baby J slept in her Bumbleride Flite everywhere we went, so we didn’t have to plan our outings around her naps. The stroller was amazing in the airport, but substantial enough to go on walks once we got to Florida. We bought a Graco Pack N Play when we got to Florida, but many places offer rentals of this expensive equipment.
3. Give yourself extra time
Allow yourself plenty of extra time at the airport and if you can, check your bags curbside. In fact, most airlines do not charge extra to check things like a car seat or stroller, even for a lap child. We pulled up to the curb and checked everything except my diaper bag and the stroller, which made security a breeze. At the gate we checked our stroller and it was waiting for us when we got off the plane. With enough time before your flight, you’ll also be able to visit the bathroom to change your baby before hopping on the airplane to avoid any aforementioned diaper explosions.
4. Don’t forget the liquids
I am not breastfeeding Baby J any longer so I made sure had had plenty of formula for the airplane. Whether it’s by your boob or bottle, I found feeding Baby J on ascent and decent helped her to swallow and feel better with the changing altitude.
Overall, I was SHOCKED by how easy it was to travel with a baby. I’ve heard all the horror stories, but J slept most of the ride and when she was awake she just hung out and played with the couple of toys I brought for her. I got through the nerves of traveling with a baby by planning ahead, staying calm and being organized. I was then able to enjoy myself once we arrived in the warm Florida sunshine!
Thank you, Linsday, for sharing your tips! You can find out more about Lindsay’s organization at: bumpclubchicago.com.