When it comes to flying, everyone has their own way of dealing with the anxiety or stress of being in the air. Some passengers choose to read while others meditate or have a good glass of wine — but what about those who bring a baby along?
We got this email from a viewer:
Dear Dr. Manny,
I’m flying across the country in a few weeks, and I’m having anxiety thinking about flying with an 11 month old. Anything I should know before I go or any tips to help keep him happy?
Thanks in advance,
Making a flight plan is a simple yet important step to take before you travel with an infant.
To start, you may want to take a car seat with you. Even if you’re toying with the idea of keeping the baby in your lap, a car seat is the most hassle-free way to get the child from the car to the airport. Plus, it’s safer. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says parent’s arms are incapable of holding a child securely during unexpected turbulence. But not all car seats are approved for use in airplanes, so don’t forget to check for a label or sticker with “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” printed on it.
You may also want to consider keeping your little one on their regular feeding and sleeping schedule.
Over the past couple of years some airports around the country have started to offer lactation rooms for nursing moms, and in May 2015 the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act was introduced, which would require private lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers in most major commercial airport terminals.
Although breastfeeding for some mothers may be a more convenient option– especially since you don’t need to pack any equipment, if you’re formula-feeding, you can buy travel-sized packs of ready-made formula at most supermarkets.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines now allow medically required liquids, such as baby formula and breast milk over 3.4 ounces for the flight. But before you go through security, you will have to tell the transportation security officer that you have medically necessary liquids on you and they are authorized to review the milk individually. And if it aligns with your baby’s schedule, you can try feeding on take-off and landing as the swallowing can help reduce ear pain from pressure changes in the cabin.
Booking your flight during the baby’s normal nap time or bedtime may help them stay calm and fast asleep. Dressing them as comfortable as possible with a clean diaper and a set of cozy clothes or pajamas can also signal that it’s time to rest.
If your child doesn’t fall asleep, you may want to stock up on things like teething rings, pacifiers, special blankets and some new toys and books to occupy their time during the flight. Taking the occasional break to walk up and down the aisle can often soothe a restless mind as well.
And one last tip to consider– pack a complete change of clothes for you and your baby, spit ups and spills can happen anywhere.