Tips for Traveling with a Newborn
Since I traveled to Atlanta and back with a 2 month old and lived to tell about it, I thought I would share some of my traveling tips today. I was incredibly nervous about flying with Atlas, but we made it through TSA and both flights with only a few hiccups. Below are my thoughts/tips on traveling with a newborn.
Yes, Atlas is screaming in the above photo. Like I said, we had some hiccups.
*I do want to mention that I was traveling alone with Atlas. Dave wasn’t with me, which made things more challenging. If you’re traveling with your baby, but you have another adult going with you I think things will be significantly easier when it comes to getting through airport security.*
- If you’re flying Delta, your airline ticket must say ‘Infant in Arms’ on the bottom (I’m not sure about other airlines). I learned this the hard way. I got all the way to the security checkpoint where you have to strip down and was told I had to go print a new boarding pass. This is easy though. If you’re printing your boarding pass yourself or using an E-ticket on your phone, just click on the ‘special services’ button and select ‘infant in arms’ and it will print on the bottom left portion of your ticket.
- Your baby isn’t allowed to stay in their carseat while going through TSA. I learned this the hard way too. Atlas was asleep in his carseat and they still made me take him out so they could search his carseat. If you’re able to avoid traveling with a carseat, I would. But of course, I had to have one for Atlas to get to and from the airport safely. Because they have to be out of their carseat, I recommend wearing your infant via a Baby Bjorn, Tula carrier or Ergobaby carrier. I wore Atlas on the way back and it was much easier getting through security. On the way to Atlanta, I had to take him out of his carseat which woke him up and then ask a stranger to hold him while I took off my boots. Which brings me to my next tip…
- Dress appropriately! I wore the boots featured in the photo above and because I was traveling alone, it was difficult unzipping them, taking them off and putting them back on while holding Atlas. I would wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off because those little tasks are so much harder with an infant. However, if you have another adult traveling with you, I’m sure it would be easier to just pass the baby back and forth between the 2 of you. But I had to take off my scarf, jacket, etc. so it was tough when I was holding Atlas on the way there. On the way back, I got smart and just strapped him to me in the Bjorn.
- Play dumb. And be nice. I didn’t wait in the TSA line. I went where the first class people go even though I didn’t have a first class ticket and asked if I could go through security that way since the line was significantly shorter. I flashed them a big smile and tried to look as frazzled as possible (not hard to do when you’re alone with an infant) and on both trips I got to go through the shorter line, which saved me a ton of time. 😉
- Pack light! I usually try to fit everything in a carry on bag when traveling, but I recommend checking a bag and only getting on the plane with your baby and diaper bag. It is worth the $25 fee to check the bag and go through the airport without luggage. I left my laptop, camera and oversized purse at home and threw my wallet and essentials in a clutch that fit into my diaper bag. This was a good call since I was carrying a carseat + Atlas through the airport. Pack plenty of diapers and wipes and a change of clothes for your baby, just in case your flight gets delayed but don’t bring another bag full of magazines, books and entertainment. You most likely won’t need it because YOU will be entertaining your baby.
- I checked Atlas’ carseat at the terminal right as I got on the plane and I put his carseat in a big garbage bag. I think this kept his carseat from getting all beat up. I’m also OCD, so if you’re more relaxed ignore this tip.
- Don’t forget a blanket! I nursed Atlas on the flight and it was nice to have a lightweight baby blanket to cover him so we both had some privacy. Atlas ate as soon as we boarded the plane to Atlanta and was asleep before take-off, so I didn’t wake him to feed him. He slept through the take off and landing like a champ, which brings me to my next piece of advice…
- If you can, try to plan your flights around nap time. Our flight to Atlanta was during a time when Atlas typically sleeps so he had no trouble sleeping through the entire flight. However, our flight home was during his fussy time. Luckily, he didn’t fuss (Let me take a minute to thank the Sweet Lord for that AGAIN) but he certainly didn’t sleep. He was wide-eyed and bushy tailed so I had to entertain him through the entire flight to keep him happy.
- Pack toys in the diaper bag. Atlas can’t ‘play’ with toys yet, but he loves looking at new things so I had 2 toys in my diaper bag (compliments of his Aunt Tammy) that kept him mesmerized during the flight. He also enjoyed looking at himself on the camera on my iPhone. Lucky for me I have a vain baby, so that was a good 30 minutes of our flight. And when he got bored of those, I nursed him. Luckily, our flight was short so the 2 hours went by quickly for both of us.
- Put your baby on the plane hungry. Atlas was hungry on both flights, so he nursed as soon as we got on the plane which typically puts him in a good mood or puts him to sleep.
- If you can’t plan the flight around nap time and your baby decides to scream because they hate the toys you packed, don’t stress. Anybody on the plane with kids of their own understands what you’re going through. And the people without kids don’t matter because you’ll never see them again once you get off the plane. 😉 Just love on your baby and don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendants for help.
Okay – I think that about sums up my travel tips. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask! And if you have suggestions of your own, leave them in the comments below!