Traveling with a BABY - Plane Tips

When it comes to traveling with a baby - the plane ride is the terrifying part.

Because my family lives a 3 hour plane ride away,
Ryan and I have been on our share of planes since he has been born!

With him turning 2 years old just recently and having to have his OWN seat 
this trip to Utah last week,
It made me realize how traveling is a little different with a toddler than with an infant.

( QUICK SIDE NOTE: whoever made "2 years old" a requirement for their own 300 + something dollar ticket is just dumb! - he sat on my lap almost the whole time anyway! )

There are things that keep an infant occupied, and different things that keep a toddler occupied. 

I wish I would have had tips to read before Ryan's first flight when he was 6 weeks old!
Because of my husband's schooling the last few years I traveled on my own often.

I used to be SO terrified to get on that plane with my baby -
and I quickly learned that it doesn't have to be terrifying!

So hopefully these tips will put your mind at ease for traveling with a baby!

Like I said, traveling with an infant and a toddler are totally different so look our for my
"traveling with a toddler post" to come soon!!!

#1. Be the first ones on the plane.

(First Flight - 6 weeks old)

With an infant there is so much going on (diaper bag, stroller drop off, car seat drop off etc.) a lot to get settled and it's so much easier being the first ones on the plane to get settled.

((  I laugh writing this because it's totally the opposite with a toddler - HA- more to come on that one later  ))

Take advantage when they say "families with small children board first" - that's YOU.

One time I was late getting on and so stressed about it, babe was screaming, it was NO FUN.

#2. Breast Feed or bottle feed taking off and landing.

A poor six week old baby can't tell you their ears hurt going up and down!

Even if Ryan was screaming like crazy in the airport, I would hold off nursing him until we took off.

The sucking motion will save their ears on the way up and the way down!
( plus it takes time off of you having to entertain them on the flight )

The SLC, Utah flight from Houston, TX is 3 hours which was perfect nursing wise,
he needed to eat by the time we were landing.
((  even if it hasn't been enough time in between feedings by the time that plane needs to land try and get them to nurse (or bottle feed) just a little bit any way  ))

I nursed Ryan until he was 14 months old and then took him sippy cups and had him drink something on the way up and down.

** HOWEVER if your baby is sleeping on the take off or landing I don't recommend waking them up! They should sleep through the altitude change!

#3. Your baby WILL most likely fuss on the plane - DON'T freak out.

Aaron and I learned the most valuable lesson when Ryan was little.

When your child starts screaming in the middle of a flight.....
Ignore every evil glare,
don't look around ( it will make you feel terrible )
just FOCUS on your baby.

((  I remember wanting to scream at those mean glary people "HAVE YOU EVER HAD A CHILD!?"  ))

Take deep breaths. Don't stress.

To calm Ryan in a situation like this...
I would sing softly in his ear, 
 rub his little back,
if your baby is hot take off his pants,
or maybe he was cold and I swaddled him.

Just pretend like you are the only ones in the room.
I know it's easier said then done but trust me I've been there.

The people around you will get over it sooner or later :)

#4. Download Fisher Price Baby APP on your phone or I PAD

This App saved our life.
Ryan was obsessed. Plus I'm convinced it's how he learned all animal sounds by 10 months old.

They are all free!
There is a letter learning app, animals, shapes, and it sings with all of them!

We tried to limit watching it at home so that when he did see it on the plane it was pretty cool.


So picture this....

Ryan's first flight.
6 weeks old.
15 minutes into the flight - Blowout.
Up his back, EVERYWHERE.


No extra clothes.

Worst first time mom ever.

There I was trying to change a screaming uncomfortable child in the 10 square foot bathroom those planes have.

I basically had to get wipes and wipe him down clean.

He flew the rest of the plane no clothes on - just a diaper. 

DON'T WORRY I luckily had a few blankets that I swaddled him with to keep him really warm but that plane ride may go down as the worst 3 hours of my life HA.

Moral of the story - EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Bring another pair of clothes. 
Another onesie. 
PLENTY of diapers, wipes, desitin, etc.

#5. Activities for babies

Make each activity last AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

Babies under 3 months toy suggestions:
Rattles, toys with lights, teethers, you know your child - bring their favorite toy.

For children older than 3 months -

I mentioned the Fisher Price Baby App 
( no this is not sponsored, HA that app has just worked as a little lifesaver for us! )

If they offer drinks on the airline you are traveling - ask for 2 empty plastic cups.
You will be amazed at how long these cups will keep your baby entertained!
Stack the cups.
Put them on your head.
Have them put cherrios from one cup to another ( if they are a little older )

Books. Bring lots of books.
I always try and get a new little book for the plane so it's new to them and exciting.


Ask your airline for a BASSINET. ( in above picture - it's a life saver! )
Ryan was 9 months old when we took him to Europe.

Those 10 hours on the plane were a little rough HA I wrote some more tips in detail HERE if you are interested!

#7. Put your baby in comfy warm clothes

There has been one time in my plane riding past that we were HOT on the plane.

The air conditioning wasn't working.
That is SO RARE.
Usually it's really cold on the airplane.

SO despite the temperature outside, I always travel Ryan in sweats.
Something comfortable for him, and for me to change him if I needed to.

When he was little little he always wore a sleeper on the plane.
That way he could fall asleep if needed.

** Ryan has a blanket he has never been able to sleep without- if your child has an attachment- DON'T forget to bring it on the airplane!

SIDE NOTE : I know sometimes they are hard to come by and not available for certain airlines, but DIRECT flights are amazing.
Layovers are do-able but also a little more stressful and complicated.
If there is a direct flight in decent price range - book it!

I have to say that Ryan and I make a good team when it comes to the airport!

We have definitely learned from mistakes HA

Don't stress.
Don't watch the clock. ( that plane ride will go SO slow if you do )
You got this!

Happy Traveling!!
Look out for my "Traveling with a toddler" post to come soon!

( please email me with any further questions - I would love to help the best I can! XO )

Karina Marie Powell


  1. oh my heavens I am laughing so hard, I too had to travel a lot alone when my babes were little ( I live in Canada, but ALL of my family are in England. Grace was 6months old and off I went with her.. as soon as I got sat down, I realised I left her soother in the carseat.. NO!!! she's addicted to it, I asked them if I could get it, they said no. I didn't have a spare ( silly mom), I tried to hold it together but 10hr flight with no soother, to the baby, who freaks out if it's not near here.. I silent prayed, cried.. then we got stuck ont he strip for 3hrs.. I was really to bawl... then a lady came up to me and said, I have a spare soother if you need one, I heard you talking to the airstewards... I could have kissed her.. :)

    2nd time alone ..even worse, ethan was 2, I was excited his own seat..woohoo, he was fine in the airport, we took off, and I too get them to drink, and he started flaring up with a high fever, and puking. NOw this was the time when the swine flu was raging. The pilot told me to keep him covered, they moved people all around me, they refused to help in anyway, and this kid vomited for 10 hrs straight, karina, when I say I was covered, I was covered from head to toe, in my hair, back, my clothes were stuck to me. all they gave to help was a few napkins, and practically threw them at me... I held it together, didn't cry, though I was a hot mess on the inside. I got off the plane 10 hrs late, and headed out the door, I could see my hubby and he had a strange look on his face, like what the heck happened to you.. I saw him and burst into tears. and sobbed for hours.. we took Ethan straight to the ER, where they said he had a double ear infection, and because of the altitiude change etc it had given him vertigo... poor kid, poor momma... I flew recently again with my 10yr old... it was BLISS ahahhahahah

  2. Such valuable tips my friend, thank you for sharing! We have only flown with SJ three times - once when she was 2 months old to London (11 hours!), second when she was a year to Cape Town (2 hours) and third to Mauritius (4 hours) when she was 22 months. We were really lucky with her London flight - she slept the whole way in the bassinet, woke once for her bottle and back to sleep - there and back! Her CT flight was busy but we kept her occupied with toys and snacks. And no judging but we gave her some medication for our Mauritius flight as she was so active and didn't have her own seat - it completely knocked her out, there and back (and even better that we flew during her day nap time!)

    We are flying to London in December with both girls - SJ will be 2y9m and Ellie will be 7months (and too big for a bassinet!!) so it should be interesting!! Going to use all your tips and tricks :)

  3. Great tips Karina!

  4. Oh my gosh, your blowout story had my laughing! Not at you... ;) Certainly glad to hear we all have those moments! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I'm seriously laughing right now!! We travel often since my son was 4 months and everytime I swear it's tougher than the last, but we all survive!! I've even had a few ugly stares or even when traveling just with him people don't want to sit next to me because I have a baby! More space for us right lol we will be traveling in December again so I'm looking forward to your toddler post!! Yikes I think I'm already breaking in a sweat just thinking about it.

  7. I can't wait to read about traveling with a toddler! My son is 18 months old and we'll be taking out first plane ride from houston to LA in December. We are so nervous!!

  8. I know this is an old post but wanted to say thanks for the great tips! My husband has started a job that will be moving us abroad so I know we will be flying frequently in the coming years. My baby girl is 5 months (5 months goes by so fast!!) and flying makes me nervous for sure! Love your blog. It's funny how so many people have told us they are envious of ME because we will get to move around and travel so much while I'm jealous of THEM for getting to build houses and put down roots. Everybody gets their own adventure!
    keep smiling,