Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tips For Flying With A Baby This Thanksgiving.

Hopping on a plane this week with your baby to celebrate Pilgrim-style with Grandma and Grandpa?  You're in the right spot. Below are five tips I wish someone had shared with me before I first pushed a stroller down the jetbridge.   

You see, I am not an expert in parenting, babies or children, but I am a self-proclaimed expert on travel.  Prior to becoming a mom, I traveled several times a month.  I knew Detroit was the best airport for a layover, Atlanta should be avoided at all cost, could make it through security in two minutes and make a tight connection in heels in five.  

With a baby in tow, things got a little more challenging, but after completing nearly 20 legs alone with said baby, I now consider myself an expert in flying and surviving with a squirmy carry-on.

Tip 1:  Set Your Expectations Low.
This is not an experience that will be better than you imagine.  Like your Pilgrim forefathers, you are embarking on a long and arduous journey.  You will not spend your flight(s) reading, drinking tomato juice, or doing the USA Today crossword.  

This week the airport will be teeming with JV travelers who will hold up security because they have 64 ounces of gravy in their carry-on and are wearing lace-up boots.  And you have a baby.

Mentally prepare for the worst and you will not be disappointed.

Tip 2:  Check Your Bags.
Check every bag except your diaper bag.  Today is not the day to save $60.

Here's a bonus tip:  if you have a backpack, bring it instead of the diaper bag.  Those damn bags we painstakingly chose for our registries were not meant for the friendly skies.

If you call me from the Alberquerque airport in tears because you couldn't pack seven diapers in your teeny, yet stylish, diaper bag with everything else and your baby is now wrapped in a maxi pad that was dispensed in airport restroom, I am going to say, "I told you so."

Tip 3:  Pack Like Someone Who Will Be Stranded In The Wilderness For The Next Three Days.
I'm no martyr.  I didn't make mistakes so you could learn from them, but you'd be a complete moron if you couldn't a thing or two from the time I was pooped on mid-air, the time my flight was diverted overnight, and the time I wasn't prepared for rush hour traffic.

When packing your carry-on, double the amount of diapers, formula, food, toys, clothing, and wipes you think you need and then add some.  With the right resources at hand, you can survive.  Without them, you will find yourself curled in a ball in an airport terminal contemplating feeding your baby peanuts.  

Tip 4:  Break All Your Rules.
If you're at all like me, breaking the rules makes you nervous about getting caught by an authoritarian figure.  The awesome thing about parenting ?  You ARE the authoritarian figure! Break every rule you've set.

Your baby's not supposed to eat an entire bag of Happy Baby Yogi Melts in one sitting?  Today she is.

You don't like your baby playing with your phone?  Download every free Fischer-Price app offered and surrender.

Germs make you squirm?  Pull down the seatback tray table and watch her kick it like a soccer ball!  I drew the line when my little boy started sucking on the seatbelt buckle.  Know your limits.

Tip 5:  Just Own It.
If you are not confident about your journey or the least bit nervous, fake it til you make it to your destination.  Smile big, walk tall and confidently through security, and act as if you are the only person in the entire airport who knows what she's doing.   

Should you receive any condescending looks or loud sighs as you walk by, shoot lasers through your eyes at the source and keep smiling.  All those Delta SkyClub travelers have only a laptop to carry on.  You have a baby.

Good luck!  You CAN do this and you can do it like a pro, but just in case you run into an "Abort Mission" situation make sure you've stowed some emergency baby Benadryl in your backpack.
A Handy Dandy Pocket Guide For You!


  1. Where was this guide a few weeks ago when I needed it!!

    1. I am so sorry I didn't get it out sooner! I'm almost done with an ebook on how to travel with a baby so soon, everyone will have my thorough checklists and tips.

  2. This is hilarious and practical all at once. Great tips! :)

  3. Hilarious and so true! Esp love the last tip, even if thats the only take away thats all you need!

  4. This is exactly how I fly with Stella! :) She's had 12 legs in 11 months and has rocked them. It's possible!