How do you fly with a newborn infant? In a word, PLAN.
Here are some things to think about before you stroll across the jet bridge:
Rules & Regs
Not all airlines are created equal in terms of age restrictions (some allow infants to fly at 2 weeks old, some 2 months), lap travel (some airlines require you to purchase a seat or safety gear, or both), and pricing (the cost of a ticket for your tot is as unique as their DNA.)
What is not unique to each newborn is their immune system. You know how you “always get sick on a plane”? Well, a newborn’s immune system is not fully developed, so their health might be happiest sans trip. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to fly before baby is a few months old, you might want to rethink your trip.
Infants don’t need identification when flying domestically, but if baby is heading abroad, a passport is a must.
Suck It Up
When it comes to flying with newborns, remember this phrase: Sucking keeps it from sucking.
Baby’s tiny eardrums, eustachian tubes, and sinus cavities can buckle under cabin pressure, but sucking can alleviate symptoms associated with high altitude. Feed them, give them a pacifier, a finger, anything that allows them to suck safely. It could get you (and especially them) from point A to point B much more comfortably.
What Was That!?
Sensory overload isn’t nice to tiny nervous systems. And airplanes are chock-full of strange sounds, smells, and other sensations that baby may not be able to metabolize. Distract your little darling with lots of soothing attention like securely holding them, feeding them, even quietly reading to them to override the scary foreign with the safe familiar.
Pack for their flight in organized compartments for ease of finding what you need, when you need it. Diaper bags with many pockets or carry-on cases with easy open-and-close cubbies can make grabbing your gear easy peasy on the fly.
While newborns and air travel may not be ideal, careful forethought can help you stick the landing.