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How to Navigate the Airport With a Baby

Woman holding a child's hand with another in a Lillebaby carrier looking out a window at an airplane

Traveling with a baby? Ignore any nightmare stories or blog posts you’ve read online. You and your little adventure buddy have got this! Whether you are visiting family or going on a vacation, including your little one just adds to the fun. 

Follow our quick tips for traveling and flying with a baby to get ready for their big trip.

Keep Them Distracted:

Babies and young children love interaction. They are learning and discovering new things about their world every day and crave engagement and stimulus. A  travel day can throw this off balance with too much stimulus (noise and people everywhere) or not enough (trapped in a seat for hours). 

Help focus their attention. Very young infants may simply need a baby carrier to be held in and a favorite teether. Older babies and toddlers might benefit from playing with a favorite toy, reading board books together, or watching an episode of a children’s television show on your tablet. If you are normally strict with screen time, relaxing these rules on a travel day may turn the long flight into a delight for your little one.

Prepare Food in Advance: 

You can bring formula, breast milk, and baby food through airport security. Make sure you have what your little one needs in advance, plus a little extra. Feed on demand during the travel day to ensure your little one is calm and content. Some traveling parents even bring their nursing pillows as a carry-on item, to help them nurse during long haul flights.

Pack Extra Everything

Pack an extra diaper bag, wipes, and a change of clothes. Make sure to have these in your carry on luggage and not your checked bags. Flights are often subject to delays, so pack a little more than you think you need. Then, you won’t end up in a bind, or paying high prices at an airport terminal, if your trip takes longer than expected. 

Switch Off With Your Travel Companion: 

If you are traveling with a partner, take turns holding your little one and keeping them engaged. If mom just finished nursing, let dad do burping and rocking duty. This will help you from getting burned out and tired during the trip. 

Leave Plenty of Time:

Arrive at the airport early and leave extra time to  go through security and get to your gate. After arrival, make sure you plan rest time for you and your little one. Head to your hotel or loved one’s home to take a nap break. You’ll both want to decompress from the travel day before heading out on your next adventure.

Bring Your Carrier: 

Keeping your little one in a baby carrier keeps them close and calm in crowded airport terminals. It’s also easier to manage through security than a travel stroller, and won’t need to be gate checked to your destination. Being snug and comfortable in the carrier can also help little ones fall asleep if they are resisting a nap. 

Additional Resources: 

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How to Navigate the Airport With a Baby or Toddler