Airports, Planes & Baby

My daughter, Ava-Sol is quite the little traveller. She had her passport a month after she was born ... and the stamps now in it are numerous. I have done the occasional 3 to 5 hour plane trips to even a 7 hour car drive to Toronto. The longest trip took us across the Atlantic to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Watch the video below from that trip. She was 6 months then.



So when I got this email from a dear friend and another young mother, I did not hesitate to share my knowledge when it comes to travelling with a baby. Here's her frantic email.

"Hey travel expert!!! How's the vaca going? :-) We are going to FL (Florida) for Xmas and I am so overwhelmed with what to pack for baby that I thought I'd ask for your advice from the stroller vs baby bjorn for walking in the airport to sitting with baby in your lap on the plane - did u use a boppy on the plane to ease up your arms? HELLLLLPPPP!!!! :-)"


At the airport
• Avoid feeding your little one just prior to boarding as baby may fall asleep and wake up crying as you struggle to carry them and your belongings to the gate. Wait until you are seated and unloaded, then feed baby and maybe you'll be lucky and they will take a nap!

• Save food and drink for when you're on the airplane, as these carry great entertainment value.

• Consider bringing your stroller and checking it at the gate. This way you can carry baby, the car seat, and all your belongings right up to the airplane gangway. Smaller strollers can be brought on as carry-ons, and an attendant will take bigger strollers as gate-checked items. Don't forget to find out where to retrieve these. If an airline ticket is purchased for baby ... then you are free to board with the car seat.

• Ziploc bags - baby formula, baby food - bottled food, light snacks (cheerios). Also helps since TSA requires that all food be visible. If not, you will be taken to the side and checked which makes the process long and drawn out.

• Change your baby's diaper immediately before boarding the airplane.

Diaper changing
• Do not worry go to the bathrooms. SImply having a changing mat with you at all times. Stretch baby out on a seat on the plane or in the airport.

Packing
• Pack plastic bags for soiled bibs or clothes, dirty diapers, even for garbage ... since it's hard to walk to the bathroom every minute, especially if baby is sleeping.

• Keep loads of wipes for dirty bottoms, mouths & fingers etc.

What happens on board
• To help your baby's ears adjust to changes in cabin pressure, encourage swallowing during takeoff and landing. You can do this by breastfeeding, or offering a bottle or pacifier. Even put baby to your chest and gently tap the back for soothing. Toddlers can take a drink, nibble on crackers, or suck on a lollipop. (Look for those without a gum or chewy center, which can present a choking hazard.) Use the feeling in your own ears to determine when to give your baby something to swallow, or feed your baby when you see the flight attendants preparing the cabin for takeoff or landing. Bring along ear filters, which buffer eardrums against rapidly changing air pressure. If your baby is sleeping soundly, don't feel you need to awaken him; he'll be fine.

What to wear
• Take a simple change of clothing for you and for your child in case of spills.
• Wear a wrap sweater/cardigan, especially if baby is breastfed. Mom can remain warm and also has privacy when breastfeeding.

Boucle Open Sweater $178
• Make sure baby is warm and comfortable. For girls, put on a little dress for easy changes. Walk with a blankie and socks so that shoes may be removed and so that baby is comfy and warm.

Entertainment and playing
• Walk with an item that makes baby happy (preferably a non-noisey one) such as a colorful book, a stuffed toy, etc. So that other passengers are not subject to an annoying child's toy. For maximum entertainment value, bring toys out one at a time, and put one away before introducing the next.

• Remember, not all passengers appreciate the joys of children...even a wonderful child like yours! Plan to keep your child entertained. (Some parents of noisy kids deliberately choose seats in the back of the plane, where engine noise can muffle piping voices.)

Getting around
• I prefer to walk with my stroller .... 'cause your hands are free, especially when having to walk throughout airports. Baby too can either sit up or lay back to sleep. Strollers are excellent for the heavy bags ... diaper bags, mom's handbags etc.

Staying sane
• Seat your child by the window. Most kids find the view fascinating. It's also safer than sitting on the aisle, where little arms and legs could get bumped.

• As soon as you board, put a plastic bag with your pack of wet wipes, diapers, changing mat into the seat pocket in front of you.

ChangeAway! Portable Changing Kit $7.99

Safety
• The Federal Aviation Administration strongly recommends that smaller children be seated in Child Restraint Systems ("CRS") — in other words, your child's car seat or booster.

Here are the FAA's weight guidelines regarding child safety seats:
For babies less than 20 lbs., use a rear-facing car seat
For children 20 - 40 lbs., use a forward-facing car seat or booster
For kids weighing more than 40 lbs., use the airplane seat belt

Other Options

Baby B'Air flight safety vest $25


CARES (Child Aviation REStraint System) $74.95
CARES is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds.

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