Many new parents are wary of traveling with an infant, which is understandable. The truth is, young babies are often very good travelers because they sleep so much. So if you think you can’t take your new baby on a plane, relax. With a little planning, the whole family can enjoy your little one’s first adventure in air travel.
Here are a few tips to help smooth the way:
• Keep hands clean. This goes for everyone in the family, including your baby. Given your infant’s fledgling immune system, the biggest concern when traveling is the germs she’ll come into contact with. So make sure everyone’s hands get washed often, and bring hand sanitizer and sanitizing moist towelettes for those times when a restroom isn’t readily available.
• Bring your own diaper-changing pad. This will help keep germs at bay when using public changing areas.
• Use a child safety seat. The safest place for your infant on a plane is in a government-approved child safety seat, not in your lap.
• Ease popping ears. When air pressure changes during takeoff and landing, it can cause ears to pop, which can be unsettling and uncomfortable for your baby. Since swallowing helps rebalance air pressure, you can ease discomfort by breastfeeding your infant or offering a bottle, pacifier, or even one of your fingers to suck.
• Pack extra. Be sure to bring a few more diapers than you think you’ll need, plenty of wet wipes, and extra outfits for your child, just in case. Pack these items in your carry-on, not your checked-in luggage, and don’t forget your little one’s must-haves, like favorite toys, baby games, and pacifiers.
• Prepare for jet lag. Make sure everyone gets plenty of rest before the trip. To help your baby sleep, try to adjust his schedule two to three days before you leave, and then adopt the new local time (while planning for plenty of naps in between) as soon as you arrive.
• Arrange a relaxed schedule. Plan to check in and arrive at the airport early, and do take advantage of early boarding, which is often offered to families with children. Pick flights with long layovers to avoid having to make a mad dash across the airport to catch a connection. Then relax and enjoy your trip!