By: Susan Sherren for Couture Trips Published: November 29th, 2022 5:54 PM
Challenges Flying with an Infant
Flying with an infant or small child is always challenging for any parent. While it may be a vacation the parents are looking forward to, your infant might not share the same enthusiasm. The critical takeaway is to be prepared and stay flexible. Hopefully, on arrival, you will have a loving grandparent willing to take over while you recover from the journey. Considering all the recent flight delays and cancellations a parent should be well prepared in advance to travel with an infant.
Airplane Booking Tips Book your flight way in advance and try to secure the bulkhead. You will likely be near the restrooms for quick diaper changes, and you should be able to request as secured bassinet on certain types of airplane equipment. Try to book your flight during your infant's naptime and stick to feeding routines. Avoid connecting flights and check for the shortest flight times. Purchase travel insurance; you never know if your child could come down with a cold or illnesses that would prevent them from traveling. We suggest booking a seat for the infant if you are taking an international flight. Avoid traveling during peak flying times such as holidays or periods of known inclement weather.
Schedule doctor visits that require immunizations way in advance of any travel.
Make sure you make a checklist of items to include on your flight.
Pack a travel bag that provides all your infant's essentials.
Have a thermometer and fever-reducing medications in case of illness.
Dress your infant for chilly in-flight temperatures even though you might be headed to balmy Hawaii.
Check that the infant's immunizations are up to date and have a copy of the record with your travel documents.
Plan for travel delays and have extra supplies on hand.
Discuss any travel concerns with your child's pediatrician.
Pack and plan for travel interruptions. Lost luggage and delays are pretty standard these days.
Make to allow for enough transit time between connecting flights. You will be traveling with more than just yourself in tow.
Scope out the nearest child-oriented medical facility or clinic in the area you are visiting. In case of illness, you will know exactly where to go.
Plan on doing some laundry while traveling with an infant or child. It's most convenient to have a laundry facility near your accommodations. So try to select a hotel or property with laundry facilities on site.
Select seats near the restroom. You'll likely be doing a few diaper changes during your journey. The aisle seat is a good choice if you need to get up and down frequently.
Overstimulation during the flight can induce crying. Keep your infant away from the public gaze. While we all find infants cute and irresistible, you don't want the public sharing their germs with your child. Before your flight, introduce soothing music to your child by acclimating them to age-appropriate headphones. When the engines roar on the plane during take off, your infant will be blunted to the noise if they are wearing infant headphones. Change your infant's diaper during turbulence-free times. You don't want to risk falling or dropping your infant, so plan your diaper changes appropriately. The airline attendants should be on alert to assist you. Encourage your infant to feed or suck on a pacifier during take-off and landing to reduce eustachian tube pressure.
Post Flight Recovery
Take your time on your arrival day- don't rush out for a tour or any scheduled event. It's best just to get settled into your hotel or vacation accommodation. Establish your prior routines, and keep your child's diet the same if possible. Depending on the length, the flight can dehydrate, so try to drink some extra fluids and water-based foods like soups, especially if you had a flight over four hours. Discuss your travel plans or any fluid replacement concerns with your pediatrician before taking your child or infant on a long journey. As you know, overstimulation can induce irritability. Give yourself and your infant time to recover from the flight. Hit the bed earlier than usual and be prepared for the next day. Trying to cram too much into your vacation days will result in frustration and fatigue. Take it easy and enjoy these days with your child or children. Time is fleeting, especially when you're on the go. Treasure the moments and take lots of photos!
*Notice: information contained in this article is not considered medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider about any travel related issues related to your child or infant.