Our daughter was only five weeks old when we traveled with her for the first time—internationally. We had been planning a trip to Ireland since we tied the knot a little more than a year earlier. After finally booking our flights, reserving hotel rooms, and planning the fun activities to do while there, we discovered I was pregnant with our first child. At first, we panicked.
We hadn’t planned on traveling with an infant. How were we going to take a five-week-old newborn on a 10-day trip to Ireland? Well, we eventually decided just to go for it. And it ended up being the best trip ever for our family. Here are 6 travel tips for families who plan to travel with a newborn or young infant.
1. Bring the birth certificate.
Something I did not realize we all need to carry while traveling with a baby is a copy of his or her birth certificate. After asking around, I learned many of my mama friends were also unaware of this. When you check in for your flight, the airline agent will ask to see a copy of the birth certificate to verify your child’s age. If you have a passport for your child, they will accept it in lieu of the birth certificate.
2. Get TSA Pre-Check.
I highly recommend applying for TSA Pre-Check, especially if you will be spending a lot of time in airport security. If you apply—and are approved—for the TSA Pre-Check designation, you can enter the Pre-Check lane at airport security. This line usually moves much faster than the general security line. You do not have to take off your shoes, belt, or jacket, and your electronic items can stay inside your carry-on bags. This makes the TSA process way less stressful while traveling with an infant (or any child). The success of any family trip hinges on proper preparation and this tiny step makes a huge difference.
3. Carry Vaseline.
We all know airports and airplanes are major hubs for germs. If you are concerned about yourself or your baby catching something, bring Vaseline along. Yes, Vaseline can help you and your baby avoid nasty travel germs. Use a cotton swab to apply small amounts of Vaseline at the base of everyone’s nostrils while traveling. Vaseline is said to “catch” the unwanted germs before you breathe them in through your nose.
4. Recruit the flight attendant.
One thing many parents aren’t aware of while traveling with an infant is that they have help. While babysitting isn’t a flight attendant’s job, most are more than happy to hold your child or sit with him or her while you use the restroom during your flight. This can be especially handy for parents who are traveling alone.
5. Pack pre-measured formula.
If you are planning to bottle-feed your infant while in flight, be sure to pack bottles with pre-measured formula. This will help you save room in your carry-on luggage, avoid the mess of scooping formula, and save time while prepping your child’s bottle in flight. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to buy water at the airport. Flight attendants can provide you with water for the bottle. If you’re nursing your baby, here are some helpful tips.
6. Keep a feeding and changing log in your phone.
It is easy to lose track of time while traveling and changing time zones. Keeping a log of baby’s last feeding and diaper change will help you keep up with these things so your infant doesn’t become hangry or uncomfortable. There are many phone apps out there created for this purpose. Consider downloading one before leaving for your trip. Or you simply can keep a written log in the notes section of your phone.
In your experience, what is helpful (and what isn’t) when you’re traveling with an infant?