Traveling with your baby can be a lot of fun. Everything is magic at that age, and babies are like little sponges absorbing everything they experience. But traveling can also be a huge challenge, particularly if you are flying alone with an infant. The first time I traveled alone with my baby, I booked too short of a connection, had a delayed departure, missed a flight, and didn’t get home until the next morning. In retrospect, there were some things that were out of my control, but there were a few things I could have done to make the situation easier.
Tips for flying alone with an infant
There are a few things I learned after my first experience flying alone with an infant. It isn’t easy, but it isn’t necessarily rocket science either. My first experience was a nightmare, but the next one was easier, partially because I learned from my mistakes, and I always remember these tips.
Wear your baby in a carrier
This is probably the number one thing you can do to make flying alone with a baby easier. I am such a believer in babywearing at the airport that I wrote a full post about it. There are so many different types of baby carriers on the market that you don’t have to spend a fortune on one, but I promise you, if you plan to fly solo with an infant, a baby carrier is an investment you won’t regret.
READY TO INVEST IN A BABY CARRIER? CHECK OUT OUR POST ON THE BEST BABY CARRIERS FOR TRAVEL TO FIND THE BEST ONE FOR YOU.
Wear slip-on shoes
Going through security isn’t particularly hard with a baby, especially if you wear them in a carrier. But taking off and putting back on a sneaker or a boot by yourself while holding or wearing a baby is a whole different story. Avoid the hassle, and wear shoes that easily slip on. I like these ballet flats by Dr. Scholl’s. They are stylish yet comfortable. They have an extra layer of memory foam padding inside which makes all that airport walking a bit easier on your feet.
Book an aisle seat
My daughter loves to look out the airplane window. When we travel as a family with a lap infant, we usually book a two-seat row, if available. That gives us access to both the window and the aisle. However, when flying alone with an infant, you have to choose one or the other. And in a solo situation, I recommend the aisle seat with your lap-baby. It allows you to get up and walk if your baby is fussing, needs a scenery change, or even more likely, a diaper change.
Ask for an empty row
After everyone has boarded, glance around the plane for any empty rows. If you see one, ask the flight attendant if you can move to that row. Or better yet, check the available seats on your airlines app, and ask the gate agent before you get on the plane if you can be moved to the empty row. That will save you any luggage shuffling and will give you some extra room for your little one to move around. This is especially important if you plan to nurse on take off and landing. I’m all for nursing in public, but no one particularly enjoys nursing right next to a stranger in a cramped row on an airplane. If you prefer, you can always bring expressed breastmilk or formula with you when you travel.
Bring food pouches and snacks
This is one of the things I recommend to anyone flying with a baby who is already eating solids or those flying with a toddler. You’ll definitely want to come armed with snacks anytime you are traveling with kids. But if you’re playing man-on-man defense and flying alone with an infant, food pouches are definitely the way to go. Skip the spoon and squeeze it directly into their mouth because it’s just easier when you are balancing a kid on your lap. Feeding a baby one-handed while holding her with the other, and trying to keep her from grabbing everything in site is a delicate dance that traveling parents become pros at after just a few flights. As for other snacks, Gerber Puffs or Cheerios are a great way to keep a squirmy baby occupied.
See what else is in our carry-on bag for kids here.
Check your carseat through to your destination
If you are flying alone with your infant, the last thing you want to do is haul a bunch of baby gear through the airport. So, if you are going to on a trip where you will be renting a car, or visiting family members or friends that do not have a car seat for your little one, you’ll need to bring one with you. Luckily, if you are traveling in the United States, checking a carseat for air travel is free and does not count against your allotted number of bags.
Make friends with those around you
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from another passenger if you need help hoisting your carry-on into the overhead compartment. On my last flight alone with my daughter, the lovely woman sitting next to me even held her for part of the flight. My husband and I have also helped a woman traveling solo with her kids. We gathered and carried all of her checked luggage outside to the car where her husband was waiting to pick her up. Most people will take sympathy on you if you are traveling alone with a child or multiple children, so don’t be afraid to make friends with those around you.
Flying alone with multiple kids? Check out these great tips and tricks before your flight.
Have you ever traveled alone with an infant? What advice would you add to this list? Drop us a comment and let us know your personal travel tips.
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