Today’s Tuesday Tattles isn’t to celebrate another milestone (for the record, my son is half a year and ten days old). I’ll combine his 6 month favorites with his 7 month favorites in February.
Today’s Tuesday Tattles is to give a little personal experience on flying with a little one with some tips and lessons learned on getting through the airport, too.
For Christmas we left cold and gray Ohio for the warmth and sunshine of South Florida. My in-laws also traveled from dreary Northern Alabama to celebrate in their grandson’s first Christmas. It was a most wonderful holiday!
We were able to book a direct flight at the expense of driving an extra hour to the airport. Believe me when I say – if you can do this, DO IT! Not having to worry about traveling through another airport to make a connecting flight while changing diapers or feeding eased my stress. All I had to worry about packing in my diaper bag were enough diapers for the flight length, a blanket in case it were cold on the plane, a change of clothes, burp rags and bib, and a couple of toys to chew/suck on. Essentially, the things I schlep along with me every day.
To prepare for security I put my Hand Sanitizer and Infant’s Tylenol in one resealable bag and Petroleum Jelly and Butt Paste in another. My second carry-on item was my Breast Pump bag. In that bag I had only one set of pump parts to ease up on space, 2 bottles (one empty and one with milk), 2 Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags per vacation day, the charger for the pumping unit, and the cooler and ice pack that came with my pump. It is important that the ice pack be completely frozen when you go through security, so don’t pack it until you’re ready to walk out the door! Breast milk and formula are not limited to the 3.4oz volume restriction, but they will do a quick scan on the bottles/bags for anything over the amount. Don’t worry, they will not open the bottles or contaminate them! And if it’s completely frozen you can get thru the security check point with ease. For information on what you can and can’t take thru security check the TSA website before you fly. (They even have a nifty kids page!)
I had always heard that traveling with kids is difficult. Now, it’s certainly not a walk in the park, but with the TSA precheck lines, it’s easier than it used to be. Because we were traveling with an infant we were allowed access to this line. (I can’t speak to whether or not this is a rule, but my observation and experience indicated that it might be!) In the precheck line we didn’t have to unpack our liquids (unless it was more than 3.4oz), take off our shoes or coats, remove computers from bags, or even empty our pockets. I was able to walk through the metal detector carrying my son while the stroller and car seat went on the x-ray conveyor belt.
When in the airport take advantage of family/companion restrooms. If you can’t find them don’t be shy about changing your child’s diaper on the floor or in the stroller at your gate. I would suggest a diaper change as close to boarding the plane as you can.
You will be provided a gate-check tag for the car seat and stroller when you get to the gate. Leave those items by the loading door, you’ll pick them up there when you deplane at your destination. (Another great reason for a direct flight, depending on how quickly you can get off the plane, you might be waiting for your things.) Our stroller had a cup holder before our vacation. It did not have one after our vacation. My piece of advice: remove any extras before you gate check it! Also, don’t forget to buckle the car seat straps.
I encourage you to take advantage of pre-boarding. With an infant in arms and bags hanging off each shoulder it’s nice to board an empty plane. It prevents any embarrassment if your diaper bag strap gets caught on an armrest and you don’t have to worry about accidentally whacking someone in the face with a child’s foot. Not to mention you can avoid all of those strangers’ looks of fear, anger, and sympathy. And you only have to answer the question, “How old is he?” once – to the flight attendant.
While some airplanes have changing stations in their bathrooms it’s simply easier to do that in-flight diaper change on your lap or in your seat. On our flight to FL we were lucky enough to have a row of three seats to ourselves and could allow our son to play in the seat between us.
If your child isn’t asleep during take-off I encourage you to feed him. If he’s simply not hungry make sure he has a pacifier to suck on or a teething toy to chew on. I repeat the same piece of advice for landing, but beware if you’re breast-feeding that the landing might startle him into biting.
And my last piece of advice – pay the checked bag fee. Particularly if you have a connecting flight. It would not have been fun dealing with rollerboards through an airport and a stroller. Not to mention you still only get two carry-on bags!
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