Our first travel experience was when our son, Cuba, was 3 months old. We flew from NYC to ATL, a 2.5 hr trip. The rest of our vacation consisted of us traveling on a plane from ATL to Fort Myers, FL and then another plane from Fort Myers back to NYC. So altogether within 1 trip we had an adventure of 3 plane rides with our infant. Let the adventure begin!
Here’s what I learned:
Tip# 1: Gripe Water
I had a lot of anxiety thinking about what will I do if my baby cries on the plane? My husband on the other hand thought “hey he cries, he cries; there’s nothing we can do and no one better say anything”. Men haha. Even though this is so true, I still had my fears.
I learned being a new mom that babies have lots of gas! And guess what? Gassy babies cry more often, and it might even seem like they’re in pain. Gas happens often in babies because air is getting into their digestive tract. It’s completely normal and can occur from feeding, sucking on a pacifier or crying; something clearly all babies do. You may even notice your baby having a hard stomach and get more fussy than usual. If you don’t have any gripe water on hand, to combat gas you can massage the belly, since massages can help calm the nerve signals in baby’s intestines. It is also good to move the legs in a bike movement to help release gas.
Gripe Water is an over the counter product that consists of natural herbs such as ginger, fennel, clove, cinnamon, dill and others. It is made to soothe near-uncontrollable crying, gas, pain and stomach discomfort. One thing about traveling with an infant is you want them to be as comfortable as possible. You may want to plan the flight around the baby’s sleep time. This worked in our favor for our 2nd flight.
I learned it’s best to keep this is in your carry-on since Gripe Water is great to have on hand for during your flight. It comes with a syringe and usually one dose will get you through a tough time. I have never had to give my baby more than one dose at a time to calm him. Also, it’s good to know that no matter the ounces in the container, security will always approve for carry on.
Part of making sure your baby is comfortable is soothing them, especially during takeoff at the beginning and landing at the end of the flight. The popping of their ears makes babies very uncomfortable. Babies don’t know yet how to pop their own ears. When you breastfeed during these times on the plane it helps reduce the popping due to their sucking reflex. It may be difficult, but you want to try to plan the feeding for when you are in motion. I found this to be most challenging because we would be waiting for some time to go down the runway, before taking off.
If you happen to be faced with having already fed your baby, try giving a pacifier to suck on. The main thing is you want the baby to suck, to avoid the popping of the ears. The sucking action also will release endorphins that will soothe your baby.
Tip #3: Extra Hands
For our son’s first flight we were able to fly with extra hands, my sister. Having her assist us, was truly a blessing. I recommend that if you can have someone join you who can help relieve the stress of having to do everything, do it! Having extra hands on deck allows you to reach for things you need quicker and soothe your baby that much faster.
Tip #4: Be Hands-Free
Wear your baby!
This naturally soothes your baby when being in a large environment such as the airport. Your baby will love being held close and supported. Security does not tell you to take your baby out of the carrier and it truly makes mom and dad’s life easier. Often your baby will fall sleep in the carrier, so it is a win all around for everyone!
Tip #5: Devil and Angel Mindset
Have an understanding that during this adventure you will have 1 person who you will encounter at the airport who will want to make life as a mom difficult. They will act very devilish and not care that you have a baby with you. For me this was a person during our security check point who told my husband to remove the wheels from the stroller and place it on the conveyer’s belt. My husband said “absolutely not” because that was such a stupid request and impossible to do. So just know in advance that there are staff who could care less if you struggle and have a baby on you.
On the other hand, know that you will encounter those who go above and beyond for you because they understand and truly know what it’s like to deal with challenges that come with travelling with a baby. During our travels home we found ourselves at the airport with 1 diaper left. We didn’t think there would be a place in the airport that sold diapers. When I asked the staff at the gate where I can purchase diapers, she directed me to try a store called The Beaches Travelmart. When we went there, we were told the diapers were all out but she had some open already by the register and asked how many I needed. She gave us then 2 diapers for free. This type of kindness makes your adventure a smooth one!
Having this Devil and Angel mindset in advance can curb some unwanted frustration that doesn’t help the situation. It will prepare you to deal with all that may come your way throughout your travels – the good and the bad.
9/10 times you will not be the only one on the plane with a baby. And if you are, you are not the only one who has travelled with a baby before. I found people tend to want to be more helpful and understanding overall when traveling with a baby. At the end of the day, you and your baby will be fine. This is new for your baby just as it is a new experience for you. Energy is a big part of the travel experience and know that if mom and dad are cool, calm and collected then the baby will have that as a guide to follow suit.
I found that I would be most annoyed when security wanted me to step to the side, wait even longer with my baby, so they can get someone to come and wipe my hands for security measures. I would breathe, look at my baby and he would be asleep, totally unphased. This calmed me and helped me to breathe.
If all else fails, Baby Shark! I don’t know what it is about this song but try and download it before your departure. For some reason this song gets my baby to smile no matter what he is doing! It’s amazing and worked for our son each time. If you want some variety, even try the Spanish version, it helps your baby build cognitive skills and will get your baby familiar with other languages, in addition to being soothed. Just remember to download it before your flight!
About The Author:
Dee Davis is a Health educator that resides and services The Bronx. She is a wife, mother to a new born baby boy, step mom to a teenage son and doggy parent to an American Bulldog. In addition to family life she’s a mompreneur, and world traveler: South America, Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Through spirituality and tapping into her ancestors, she navigates this journey of motherhood and life. She is also an alchemist, transforming whatever lead she receives into gold. Keep up with her motherhood journey on Instagram @Noble_rasta. And be sure to checkout her Etsy shop “LiveNoble” for creative, spiritual and cultural items!