Spread out. “I’ve learned from experience that it’s best to buy the baby a plane ticket and bring the infant carrier,” says Ashley Bryan, a mom of three in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, it’s a little pricier, but It’s also the safest way for a child to fly, and you’ll enjoy the extra real estate.
Back it up. First class: overrated! When flying with your baby, you’ll feel more discreet about nursing and diapering in the rear of the plane. There’s even womb-like engine noise for lulling baby to sleep.
Be prepared. Organizing before you go will make for an uneventful plane ride—a good thing. Cross-check your packing list with this one.
Downsize. An inexpensive, umbrella-style stroller navigates most easily through crowded airports when traveling with a baby. It’s also compact enough to check at the gate, so you can immediately get rolling again upon arrival. (And you won’t mourn its loss if the luggage handlers mangle it—not uncommon.)
Get an escort. Instead of juggling your baby and belongings through security, ask a staffer to move you to the front of the line. Chances are, they will. You’re a VIP now, baby!
Do bedtime onboard. “Walking around for a half hour or so before a flight wears my baby out,” says Eve Durando, a mom of one in Los Angeles, California. “I then change him into pajamas before we board, read Goodnight Moon once we’re seated, and hope that he’ll sleep through most of the flight. It usually works!”
Prepare for pressure. Michelle Norton Brady, a mom of two in Albequerque, New Mexico, had a bottle at the ready during both takeoff and landing to help her infants’ ears adjust to pressure changes without painful popping. “As long as my kids were sucking on something, they were good to go,” she says.
Look, Ma—no hands! “Wearing my baby—I have an Ergo carrier—gave me ultimate flexibility while checking my luggage and buying snacks before the flight,” says Michelle Bonifazi, a mom of one in Hiawatha, Iowa. “It also kept my baby calm, and made nursing and napping a breeze once we were in the air. I was even able to browse the Sky Mall catalog using both hands. Amazing!”