8 Tips for Traveling With a Baby: Advice from Real Moms

by | Jul 20, 2018 | Travel

Lets be honest, traveling is stressful no matter who it is with or where you are going.

Now traveling with a baby was easier and harder than I thought it would be. 

Before I over packed my 1 year old’s suitcase (as well as my own) and loaded our little family into the car to head to the airport for our first plane ride I asked YOU guys for advice.

You Mammas did not disappoint! 

As I planned for this trip I used logic as best I could to pick good seats on the planes and pack toys in the diaper bag but as children teach us, logic doesn’t always work when it comes to them.  This really messes with my Type A personality that prefers to have everything planned out but I guess I better get used to that!

I would like to say the trip went off without a hitch but that wasn’t exactly the case.  My son actually handled everything pretty well for the most part, however, most of the planning decisions I made turned out to be more of what not to dos. 

Here is the best advice I was given by my readers and some lessons I learned myself while traveling with a 1 year old!  It’s funny how many suggestions were repeated multiple times, which must mean they work!

1. Sit in a Window Seat

I wrongly assumed that I would need to get up multiple times throughout the flight.  Sure maybe once or twice to change a poopy diaper but not enough times to justify the alternative.  Out of 4 flights, only one was with a window seat and that was only because it was a 2x2 plane.  This was when I discovered I had made a mistake assuming an isle seat and middle seat would serve us better than a window.  With the window you almost get 

another set of hands PLUS something to draw attention and distract them for a while.  With the isle I was constantly having to keep him entertained and he was able to look up and down the isle which kept him from settling down and getting much sleep.  FAIL!

2. Make A Diaper Change Quick Grab Bag

@crystal_lizabeth I made sure to bring a few gallon zip lock bags. In one I put a few diapers, a thin sheet or liner, and wipes… place the ziplock on the seat storage so it’s easy to grab when your heading back for a diaper change. Safe travels!

This was a suggestion I did not use but wish I had!  Once the diaper bag went under the seat in front of me it was so difficult to pull it back out with a baby in my lap! There are so many new things I have learned since traveling with a young child that I never even would have thought of before!

3. Aim For Floor Space

Since I assumed I would be going to the bathroom multiple times, it also seemed to make the most sense to stay towards the back, closer to the bathrooms.  Well like I stated earlier, we didn’t have to get up very often so this wasn’t very helpful.  Plus the one time we were in the very last row our seats were not able to go back which gave us even less room!  I was not able to score one of the seats with the extra foot space that are not in the Exit Row but if you are, that would be the perfect spot.  As long as it is the window seat of course!  This way they can sit and play on the floor without being on your lap the entire time.  Many airlines charge extra for those seats and if its in your budget it might be worth the splurge depending on how long your flight is.

4. Keep a Bottle On Hand

@stephstyle01Have a bottle for take off! No problem. My daughter, 2 next month, was wonderful to fly with until just a couple of months ago…..when they r mobile it’s MUCH harder. No worries, you got this!

I did keep a bottle handy during take off but my curious child wanted to see what was going on rather than lay down so I at least made sure he had a pacifier in.  He didn’t cry once during take-off or landing on any of the flights so either the pacifier did the trick or he just didn’t have any issues.  Although, the bottle was useful during fussy times later on during the flight.

5. Bring All the Toys! New and Old (And lollipops!)

@dev_and_rio A toy he has never seen before. And lollipops. 🤐

@ahunterphoto It works differently with all families but sometimes when I’m photographing one year olds they love the stickers on my camera (and my actual camera 😂) so stickers, paper and some markers could maybe work? Good luck!!!

@happydisneymom For toys and activities, switch it up every 15 minutes so he never gets bored with one thing; some of our favorites where stickers and painters tape that we let him stick all around. Hope this helps. 😊

@mackenzietoko If little Isn’t into movies I filled our bag with new toys for a flight. He actually played with post it’s on the window for quite awhile 😂

So, I knew my child is never very interested in toys (unfortunately) so I personally did not bother bringing many but we did play with some stickers which were a big hit!

6. Throw Screen Time Rules Out the Window!

@happydisneymom A big lifesaver was my iPad, got baby safe headphones and I let him watch Little Baby Bum from Netflix (it’s downloadable so you don’t need WiFi), he wasn’t use to getting to use my iPad or watch too many things so that alone entertained him for 4+ hours.

@leahsmom2mom Little dollar store toys that he hasn’t seen before, bring bottle, pacifier or lollipops for ascending and descending, load new apps or movies on your phone or iPad pre-flight. Buy $5 gift cards for everyone around you in case he cries….hand those bad boys out so everyone doesn’t hate you.

I haven’t established any actual rules just yet, mostly because my son is very uninterested in the TV but having a show that he was familiar with on the iPad helped distract him for a few moments.  He loves Word Party which is downloadable and not overly obnoxious.  Little Baby Bum is also a great option like the momma mentioned above!  The iPad was definitely a huge hit although he wouldn’t leave the headphones on so I left the sound low and he just liked watching the movement.  Unlike @happydisneymom it only distracted my little monster for maybe 5 minutes at a time, not 4+ hours!

7. Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks

@happydisneymom We flew to Hawaii last summer when my son was the same age. I packed all his favorite yummy snacks, and definitely a few treats to combat any meltdowns.

@mackenzietoko Lots. Of. Snacks.

My son loves his food so when he would start to get bored and fussy that was when the snacks would come out! Worked like a charm!  Once he got sick of them, then it was on to the next distraction!

8. Wait to Board and Build a Fort!

@mackenzietoko We never get on the plane until everyone else. I know they will let people with kids board first but that’s just more time we need to keep them content.  And then another time we walked up and down the aisles for what seemed forever. Build a fort with a blanket and the tray table. He loved playing in there. Hope this helps and you know what-even if it doesn’t go perfectly that’s okay!!!!!!!!

Okay, so this one is going to depend on your child specifically.  For most of our flights we waited to board which meant less time in the seat with a 23 pound child climbing all over you.  What it does mean is having to squeeze in after other people are seated around you and possibly slow down anyone 

else that boarded after you.  For the most part this shouldn’t be an issue but I definitely felt a little bad about the huge hassle it caused for everyone.  However, if you take them up on their offer to board first then it is that much longer that you will have to entertain your child (or children) while you wait for everyone else to get on the flight.  I tried both and I would say it was kind of a toss up but most likely leaning towards waiting.