Baby’s First Flight

Call us brave, I don’t know, but we survived our first flight from Los Angeles to New York with a toddler and a 7-month-old.

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I tried reading up on all the different tips beforehand and we settled on keeping our load lighter, rather than over-preparing for every possible scenario. We checked 3 bags and carried 2 smaller shoulder bags as carry-ons full of diapers, wipes, snacks, changes of clothes and 2 small blankets. We didn’t bring any porta-cribs, strollers or car seats because luckily, we were staying with my brother, who had extra of everything we could possibly need. We had our toddler walk with us and carried our infant in our ergo carrier. (*Note: it is safest to have children in carseats on an airplane. The FAA has a list of approved carseats for air travel.) But this also means you’ll have to buy a seat for toddlers and infants under 2.

Our older son was very excited about flying in an airplane, so that made things easier. However, not in our favor was the fact that he and I had a 12-hour stomach virus the day before we had to leave. We barely had time to pack or clean the house for our house sitter. We threw everything together around 4:30 am and were out of the house by 5:30.

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To our advantage, I had prepaid for long term parking at a lot half a block from the airport with constant shuttles running. We also lucked out, since our airline at LAX has amazing service; we were through bag check and security in about 30 minutes. So, all in all, we made it a few minutes before boarding with everyone happy. They also have priority boarding for families with small children, so you can get situated without everyone held up behind you. I got seats as close to the back as possible near the bathroom (with changing table).

A tip about traveling on major holidays; we flew over and back the days before big Thanksgiving travel days, so we left Tuesday rather than Wednesday of Thanksgiving week and returned Saturday rather than Sunday, saving us a few headaches and a lot of money.

I nursed the baby in the ergo carrier during takeoff and landing and also had some bottles of formula and teething crackers for him. Certain airports allow you to bring prepared formula and expressed breastmilk through security, but please check the TSA website to make sure you have what you need in advance. We had powdered formula, so I didn’t have to worry about liquids. The rest of the flight, the baby either slept in the ergo or my husband and I traded off holding him. Our older son brought a few of his favorite books and watched a little television.

For the flight back, we had his favorite stuffed animal ready to go. He even napped twice both ways. It was also fun for him to check out the airplane bathroom; remember it’s a new experience for them, so even the tiny sink can be entertaining.

One final tip: If you have an infant, make sure to have a printed boarding pass for them, even if you are using passes on your smartphone. Ours wasn’t displaying correctly and we got sent back from security to get his own ticket that said “infant in arms” with his own scan code.

We may just have well-behaved kids, but stocked with plenty of water, snacks and books, we made it through both 5-6 hour flights with no melt downs. I was even lucky enough to be holding on tight to a happy baby at the gate.

Tell us about your flight experiences! Were you prepared? Which surprises struck? Looking out for potential hurdles and being prepared can make all the difference when you’re traveling.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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About Becky Nimoy

Becky Nimoy is a Southern California native, residing in the small but lively Los Angeles port town of San Pedro, along with her high school sweetheart and husband, two baby boys (ages 2 years and 2 months), and their 3 cats. When she can manage it (having two boys is rough!), she loves to draw, bake, repaint the rooms and work in the garden. In her spare time she and the boys like to explore the many parks that San Pedro has to offer and hike on the horse trails of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. She is passionate about all things chocolate, eating organic as much as possible and using cloth diapers on her kids. She holds a B.S. in Art History from UCLA and a professional certificate in Interior Design through UCLA Extension. She freelances as an architectural draftsman and stationery designer.

Comments

  1. The first time I traveled by plane with my baby. She loves, and it’s time to go play baby insisted on by plane every opportunity time slot. 😀

  2. I didn’t have the brave to let my child travel by plane or train so all we did was travel to the nearby area, but I’ve learnt a lot from your experience so I think I will go travel with my son by plane soon 🙂 Wish you and your family the best!

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