On a recent flight back to Florida from Rhode Island I was seated near two miserable parents and one very cranky six month old. It occurred to me that many new parents must not have a support system to give them advice as they tackle the challenges of being a new parent.
Here are three tips for traveling with an infant or young child.
1. At take off and during descents, depending on the age of your child and your comfort level, you should either breast feed or give your child liquids in a bottle or sippy cup. The swallowing helps them clear their ears and relieves the pressure which is often the source of the pain that results in the crying. If your child is still a baby, it is the TSA’s policy that, "(m)edications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint." Check with your airline or the TSA website ("Liquid Rules: 3-1-1 for Carry-Ons") to confirm that this is still the policy in effect before flying. If your child is older, don’t forget to buy a drink after passing through security.
2. Always pack more diapers then you think you’ll need. Any parent that’s been stuck at the airport or on the tarmac when a flight is canceled or delayed can relate to this. Airport shops aren’t very child friendly. Make sure to bring air tight plastic bags to dispose of dirty diapers. The flight attendants and your fellow passengers will also be thankful that you’ve planned ahead.
3. Bring healthy snacks (even if it’s a short flight) or baby food (see #1). Airport food usually isn’t as nutritionally sound as it should be. Airports and airlines often lack toddler friendly food.