Tried & True Tips for Flying with Babies/Toddlers
Traveling can be a feat on its own. But add a baby or toddler to the mix and it’s a full-on adventure! Many times, adoption involves travel unless you’re lucky enough to be matched with a local birthfamily and never have to venture too far. Otherwise, adoptive parents often go across states or even across the country to bring their baby home, meet with the birthfamily, or just traveling for fun. Perhaps, you’re adopting internationally which will definitely involve some long travel days. In many cases, adoptive families also have older children that will accompany them for the adventure to meet their newest sibling. It’s fun, exciting, and very emotional. The added stress and emotions of trekking through an airport, layovers, delayed flights, transportation can add to the chaos and drain your energy. Make it as easy as possible, prepare beforehand as much as you can, and hopefully some of these easy tips can help!
Babywear. If you’re traveling with a baby, I’d highly suggest babywearing through the airport! In my experience, TSA has allowed me to keep my kids strapped to me even through airport security. This is an easy way to keep your hands free and baby close. Wearing baby doesn’t invite strangers to touch or get too close to baby as they may if baby was in a stroller or just being held. Most of the time, my kids never moved or even woke up when I wore them. Depending on the age of your babe, these are a couple of my most most-loved babywearing wraps. Moby Baby Carrier Tula Ring Sling
Bring a large plastic cup for a bottle warmer. When my girls were infants and we traveled, I would always bring a large plastic cup with us wherever we went. Ideally, you can fill the large cup with hot water, place a bottle inside to heat, then dump the water when you’re done. It works perfectly. Any restaurant, coffee shop, or gas station will be able to provide you with a cup of hot water. In my experience, it only takes a couple of minutes to heat the bottle and you and baby are good to go!
Bring gentle sanitizing wipes. I am, by no means, a clean freak or germaphobe, I promise. But when I think about all the dirty hands, feet, coughing, sneezing that happens in an airport and on a plane, it’s enough to turn me in to one. So, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are located in every single travel bag we own. When you’re rushing through an airport and sitting on a plane, you won’t always be able to wash your hands when needed. I love this hand sanitizer and these gentle sanitizing wipes that can double as baby wipes in a pinch.
Rent a car seat. I’ve heard so many opinions on carseats while traveling! Many mamas prefer to travel with their own carseat which means lugging it through the airport, checking it at the gate, and praying it’s handled with care as it’s tossed in the belly of the plane with all the other luggage. My kids are only six months apart (now 2 and 3 years old) and I can tell you this much – there is no way my husband and I could have lugged two carseats through an airport, along with luggage and toddlers. It’s just not feasible. Sure, I would have loved to have our own carseats that I know how to use and install. However, they were also very expensive and heavy and I didn’t want to risk them being damaged in route. So, we rented carseats at the airport. I specifically requested rear-facing seats that had the anchor straps to install in to the vehicle’s seat. Although the provided seats were not a brand/design that I would have chosen, they worked well and kept my kids safe. I made sure they were not expired and I didn’t hesitate to request a different carseat when one of the chest straps wiggled a bit too much for my comfort.
Bring an empty water bottle. Store it in the side pocket of your backpack. Once you’re through security, fill up your water bottle from the nearest water fountain. Then, everyone stays hydrated and it’s one less worry to find the nearest place to buy water. Bring an empty toddler cup, too, if your kiddos prefer to have their own cup.
Bring something to suck on. If your kiddos are experiencing some discomfort from gaining altitude, it may be helpful to bring something for them to suck on. My kids have never complained of ear-popping or sinus pressure while flying but I had a pacifier (for infants) and honey sticks (for toddlers) that they could suck on and they never complained.
Bring a wagon. Instead of a stroller, try a light but sturdy folding wagon for toddlers and older children! It’s easy to unfold, throw bags in and let children ride through the airport in style. Plus, it lightens the load that you have to carry. I love our wagon because it’s lightweight, folds up flat, and folds back out in less than two seconds. You’ll likely have to check it at the gate but that’s no problem. It’s cheap enough that it was worth the risk of it being damaged.