Wednesday, May 2, 2007

flying tips (part 2)

Tawni emailed us the following questions about flying with infants. Feel free to add any suggestions/advice from your own experiences!

I know you all seem to travel with your children a lot, so before we book our flight from California to NYC, I wanted to ask a few questions. I am really nervous to fly with Sofia for the first time. She is a really good, calm baby (she will be 8 months on May 16th) so I'm not worried much about her screaming or anything like that, but I'm more worried about her being comfortable.

It's a long flight for me so I can't imagine what it is going to be like for her. I am breastfeeding still, along with starting solids, so that is another concern for me. What seats should we get? Aisle or window? I'm not sure what airline procedures are if you take a car seat do you have to pay? When she has to nap (if we don't take the car seat) what do we do? Should we fly during the day or red eye? I also would like advice on what to bring, what to do when or if they have a meltdown, how to deal with mean people that don't want to sit by us or have anything to do with kids, etc. She is just starting to learn to crawl, so she is not wanting to sit still...can you allow your child to crawl or move around? Please help!

Hi Tawni! It's stressful even thinking about flying with a baby, but chances are it will go much better than expected. You asked some really great questions, so let's get to it:

in a tiny airplane seat is just uncomfortable. It really is. It's not just the people who are sitting thisclose to you, but it's also the fact that you have to turn somewhat sideways to get into a comfortable position for you and the baby. If your husband is with you, he can hold the blanket on the one shoulder for you while you get situated in the tiny seat. By the way, it helps to breastfeed the baby during takeoff and landing (helps pop their ears from the altitude change).

There are pros and cons to aisle and window seats. If you're sitting in an aisle seat, you have easy access for the following: diaper changes, little walks down the aisle, and getting into bags stored in the overhead compartment. The downside is that EVERYONE walks past you (including flight attendants with food carts), and no doubt brushes you or your baby along the way. Also, your baby may see the aisle as a tempting playground! As for window seats, you have more privacy with just your husband on the one side of you, but you'll be climbing over the aisle seat to get everything you need (or your husband will). It's a hard one, but I think I'd go for the window.

You don't have to pay to take a car seat. You just check it in, unless you've paid for an extra seat and then you can take it on board. At check-in you can ask if they have any extra seats available and they may let you take it on board. Always worth asking.

is problematic on an airplane, especially if you don't have a car seat. On international flights they have baby bassinets or skycots for children under one. It's worth checking out on your airlines if they offer this service for long-haul flights from CA to NY. If not, we have laid our little girl on our chest (at home she would never fall asleep on us) and she usually gives in at some point.

As for flying in the daytime versus nightime. Because we fly transatlantic, I prefer night flights. Whenever we fly at night, my daughter sleeps nearly the entire time. I like night flights because it means the chaos is eliminated. That's just my experience though.

You should bring: diapers, wipes (I bring travel size wipes, like from Target, to save room), baby food/snacks, binkie/dummy, comfy clothes for the baby, 1-2 changes of clothes in case of accidents, a few favorite toys (go for the small ones), changing mat, blankie. I tend to bring more diapers and food than is necessary. The airplane should have baby items stocked just in case you miss something.

If your baby has a meltdown, I would suggest you do what you would normally do at home. As for mean people, I've found most are helpful and understanding. If you do encounter a rude person, it's best to ignore them. Try not to let them stress you out. They obviously have no idea what traveling (let alone caring) for a child is like. We've always gotten lots of positive attention on the plane, and I'm sure Sofia will be hit too.

You can allow your child to crawl (when the seatbelt sign is off, of course). We take our little girl for a walk down the aisles and also let her crawl around the flight attendants seat by the emergency exit. Also, at the back of the plane is some extra room.

As for schedules, that's a tough one as well. It depends how long you will be in New York. If it's just a couple days, it might be easier to keep Sofia on PST. But, if you're there longer you might want to get her on east coast time so you can maximize your holiday as well.

A couple more things, it's worth letting your airline know you will be flying with a baby ahead of time just in case they want to give you the good seats and also to check and reserve a baby bassinet. Also, make sure Sofia gets lots of fluids as babies tend to get dehydrated with jet lag/flying.

Oh, one thing about our last experience. With children they let you board first...but then you sit on the plane for 30 minutes trying to control your child! We've started waiting until the end of boarding and it worked perfectly for us last time. Just a thought. When you are ready to sit down, take out a few essentials from your bag and put them in the compartment in front of you.

Of course all advice is just based on my experience with Isobel (11 planes, 3 transatlantic flights, a couple domestic flights and a inter-European flight). I'm sure Tawni would appreciate any other suggestions/experiences! Look here for further infant flying tips.


  1. Thank you for more tips Lindsey! I will definitley be reading and re-reading this before my trip to Delaware this summer.

    You sound like a pro.

  2. You are a pro, Lindsey. I'm glad you've figured everything out. Izzy sounds like a great flyer.

  3. Thanks so much for the advice. I will have to keep you posted on how it goes. Im feeling a tad bit more confident, but still a little nervous. Here goes nothing!


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