It's that time of the year, summer is here! If you are planning a road trip or even catching a plane to your holiday destination, when traveling with kids, preparing is essential.
No matter if this is your first trip with your child (or children), or the fifth, traveling with kids can be quite stressful. We have some great tips for you today that helped us with our little ones and hopefully will smooth the journey for you too, from packing to keeping your kids entertained while traveling.
At Organic Baby Food Shop, we want you to have a great vacation time, and our next 3 blog posts will be about planning your vacation with your little ones. Today's article is all about traveling by plane.
Before booking your flight
Make sure you understand the charges and regulations for each airline. To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure you read the airline’s regulations as to flying with children, especially babies. Some airlines offer priority boarding when traveling with a small child, while others don't.
This also applies to free luggage allowance for baby equipment, such as stroller or pushchairs, car seats, booster seats or travel cots. Make sure you have all the information regarding the seating situation for your child, either on your lap or on a car seat.
When traveling with a baby there are so many variations in regulations and charges. Make sure you have all this information before booking a flight, to avoid extra unexpected costs. We found this article to be very helpful in explaining what airlines offer what services.
Travelling with kids
Get there early! Make sure you head to the airport with at least an extra hour than suggested by the airline, there is nothing more stressful than having to run or rush to not miss your plane when traveling with your kids.
Pack wisely: It is important not to overpack. But there are some essentials that you should definitely not run out of: Diapers and baby wipes, also take a spare plastic back to dispose of used diapers. Your nappy bag will be your carry on, so make sure you have all the fundamentals in it: Pacifier, organic snacks (avoid any sugary snacks), formula if you use it, baby bottle, your child's favorite toy, a comfortable blanket, medication if needed. We always create a checklist of the essential items before traveling to make sure we do not forget anything. Travel often? Save a packing list on your computer or phone which you can reuse each time you travel.
Getting through airport security: Unfortunately, TSA checkpoints are very inconsistent across the different airports within the U.S, it is probably wise to check your local airport security regulations to see if they offer priority security check for families with babies. If you are traveling with breastmilk or formula in a bottle (the rule is no more than 3.4 oz) the content most likely will be checked by the security agents, so again, make sure to get to the airport with extra time. In order to see how long you can keep breastmilk and formula at room temperature, please read our article on freezing and refrigerating formula.
At the Gate: As soon as you get to the gate, speak to the ground attendants to get the tags for your stroller, this will avoid having to wait while boarding.
Breastfeeding and pumping at the airport: At Organic Baby Food Shop, we absolutely encourage to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere, after all, it is the most natural thing and there should be no shame in it! It is perfectly fine to breastfeed on the plane, if you are a bit shy doing so, take something that can help you cover up while feeding. At the airport, you can find a nursing station or capsules” that you can use for free to pump or feed your baby with more privacy. Ask the ground floor employees where you can find the closest one.
Once on the plane: The easiest way to keep your baby happy and calm, is to breastfeed (or bottle feed it) before and during takeoff and landing. It not only keeps your baby calm but the sucking movements will also help with the cabin pressure in its ears. If you are planning to bottle feed your baby, ask the flight attendant for half cup of hot water, mix the bottle (formula powder plus bottled water) and submerge the bottle in the hot water for a short time.
During take off and landing: Depending on your baby’s age, it might need to be strapped in during takeoff and landing, always speak to your cabin crew to find what the procedure is.
Keep your baby calm: You might be one of the lucky parents whose child will just sleep through the flight, but as we all know this usually is not the norm. Your baby is being exposed to all new sensations and sounds, and this can be very scary and unsettling. Do not stress! The calmer you react towards your baby, the calmer it will respond. Try to distract it with his favorite toy, read a book, singing a happy song, play a fun game or simply gently rock it. Fact is, babies, cry! And this is normal and there is only so much you can do. Don't feel guilty if you perceive the typical judging look of other travelers, we were all babies at some point! Though this is a very controversial topic, some parents actually prevent the uncomfortable feeling of being judged by other travelers by presenting them little gift bags with an apology note, we don't believe this is necessary, but it is everyone's choice.
We hope these few tips will be helpful. In our next articles, we will share more of our experience on how to have a great vacation with your little one. Where are you heading to this year?
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