Save a spot. Purchase a seat on the plane for your baby if you can possibly swing it. It’s safer (bring his car seat and strap it in) and often easier on you, since you’ll have a secure, familiar place to stow baby instead of having a squirmy worm on your lap for the entire flight.
- Avoid boarding boredom. Even if you’re flying with an infant, think twice before pre-boarding. True, you’ll be able to get situated instead of having to hold your baby behind a long line of passengers, but you’ll have to entertain your baby from your seat while everyone else boards (on top of the rest of the time you travel with an infant). The best idea: If your partner’s with you, send him ahead with your bags while you walk around the wide-open terminal with your baby.
- Pack for playtime. Bring a few favorite toys and books and a few new ones to keep things interesting while you’re flying with your baby.
- Fill ‘er up. Remember to pack some snacks (or a full meal, depending on when and how long you’ll be in the air) and plenty of drinks — plane rides are dehydrating. You’re allowed to bring small jars of baby food and formula (if you’re bottle-feeding) on board.
- Ease his ear pressure. Plan flying-with-a-baby feedings for takeoff and landing. That’s when your baby will experience the most ear pressure, and swallowing can relieve some of that.
- Ask for help. You’re not the first to fly with an infant — airlines are used to accommodating young families. So if your baby won’t take a cold bottle, it’s perfectly reasonable to see if a flight attendant will warm one up for you. When you get it back, do the same bottle heat test you’d do at home to avoid scalding your baby.
- Tie the knot. Just like when you’re driving with your baby, it’s wise to tether objects like his binky to something secure, since it’s even harder on a plane to duck down and retrieve lost items from the tiny space between your seat and your neighbor’s (plus it’s probably pretty gross down there). Another pacifier travel tip — if your baby uses one, pack plenty extra.
- Think outside of the box (or baby bag). You can improvise with what you’ve got: Make an air sick-bag puppet, play burp-cloth peekaboo, count all the doggies in the Skymall catalog, or try these easy travel activities.