Please give a warm welcome to Romy Aquino! He’s a first time dad, husband and blogger from Halifax and our newest dad blogger! He’s off to a great start with this first post on a rookie dad’s ten tips for air travel with an infant.
Have you ever dreaded the day when you would be THAT parent with a screaming baby on a plane?
I was worried about that too.
My wife and I just returned from our first family trip to Orlando and our biggest hesitation was whether or not we wanted to be first-time parents with our ten-month old son Kyrie, on an airplane.
I am happy to report that we not only made it back alive, but walked off smiling and laughing as Kyrie made friends with fellow passengers who commented on how well behaved he was.
It was all thanks to a lot of internet research and advice from friends/family on how to deal with the dreaded flight with an infant. Here are the tips that I found the most helpful.
1. Book flights during nap/sleep times
Kyrie definitely doesn’t like to sit still, so we booked our flights in the mid-afternoon/evening since that’s when he either has a nap or is winding down to go to bed. On his last flight home, he slept the entire way. Big time bonus.
2. Snack time during takeoffs and landings
This was a popular piece of advice that we got. Since babies are unable to pop their ears on their own they can experience a lot of pressure in their ears as the altitude increases, therefore, we had him either breastfeed, snack or drink from a sippy cup for takeoffs and landings. He never fussed either way.
3. Bring a few presents
We wanted to treat this plane ride like it was like his first birthday. We bought a few small quiet toys and books and we wrapped them up as presents. We used them as weapons to counteract anytime he got squirmy.
4. Check-in early online
When we originally checked out our seating plan that the airline had set for us, there was one flight where we weren’t sitting near each other. We freaked out a bit as we imagined taming our miniature “wild beast” independently as others shot us glares and shook their heads. But we checked in online and were able to snatch two seats together. We chose window seats since it provided some privacy for my wife when she was breastfeeding and less distraction for naps.
5. Use the overhead fan
My son is obsessed with mobiles and ceiling fans, so when he saw the overhead vent that blew air down on him….he was in lala-land for at least five minutes each flight and believe me, every minute counts.
6. Introduce your baby to neighbouring passengers
We lucked out on a couple of flights in terms of the surrounding passengers. The more comfortable your baby is with the people around him, the more comfortable everyone will be, including mom and dad.
7. Be prepared for diaper changes
We didn’t run into an issue with diaper changes but we were prepared. We called the airlines to find out which of our flights had change tables (not all of them do). Just make sure you have Ziploc bags ready just in case you need to seal up a nasty one. Also, always have a extra outfit (and one for you).
8. Empty cups are perfect toys
When we got our in-flight beverages, the empty cups served as two new toys that must have provided entertainment for at least 10 minutes.
9. In-flight magazines are made for ripping apart
When times get tough, you might have to find some unconventional methods to entertain your baby. Grab that in-flight magazine and just let him rip it to shreds, page by page. Believe me, he loved it.
10. Screen time rules go out the window
Throw any screen time rules you have for the baby out of that aircraft window. Our big gun was an iPad full of baby apps for him to play with as a last resort.
Overall, our biggest fear in taking this trip wasn’t nearly as bad as we anticipated. So, the next time you take a flight with an infant, give these tips a try when you’re 30,000 feet in the air and nowhere to run. But remember, I’m just a rookie dad.