Tips and our experience of flying with a baby

Well, we did it. We successfully managed to get from Budapest to California. The trip had it’s bumps, but we made it! As international citizens, this is life for us. And, if you are living in a country not your own, it’s probably going to be a part of life for you as well. I hope our experience can help you to prepare for your own flying adventures with babies.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we did a lot of pre-planning to get ready. And, the planning really helped out a lot. I have some additional tips to share, plus some more information what did and didn’t work so well for us.

1) The carry-on baggage arrangement. Everyone organizes things differently, but I’m happy with how we arranged our things, so I’ll share that with you. We had a carry-on devoted to our daughter’s things. This included diapers, blankets, a change of clothes, toys, bibs, etc. That way, anything I needed for her was easily accessible in one bag. Also, I put her diaper mat with a couple of diapers and wipes in a separate pocket so that was very easy to get out any time I went for a diaper change. My husband had a personal laptop bag, and he carried our toiletries and computers in there. When we went through security he was in charge of getting those items out and in their designated bins while I got Ellie and I through security. That bag also had our snacks. Note- bring good snacks! You may not have time, or you may have a baby that won’t let you get a bite to eat at the airport or on the flight. We then had one more carry on for all the extras we wouldn’t need on flight, but might need during our trip such as: change of clothes, back-up baby items such as more baby clothes, extra diapers, more snacks, and more. My plan was to refill the baby’s bag during a layover with whatever we needed. Originally we planned to bring another carry on because we could, but then we realized that’s another bag to lug for 33 hours. So, we managed without.

2) Ask for help or additional accommodation. On two out of our three flights the seating arrangement was not ideal. That is, my husband wasn’t next to me. For one flight the ticketing agent fixed this, and for another the passengers were willing to switch. Most people, I imagine, would not have the heart to not switch with you if you have a baby and want to be near your spouse. Feel free to ask the flight attendants for water when you are thirsty, or a blanket if your baby is cold, or whatever you need! My husband even asked some teenage girls in front of us to be quiet because they were waking up our daughter. The traveling is stressful enough, so feel the freedom to ask for help!

3) A great flight partner.There is no way on earth I could imagine having done this trip without my husband. He was such a huge help. A great flight partner doesn’t have to necessarily be your husband, but when you can travel with a buddy. It’s much easier for you to go to the bathroom without a baby strapped to you!

This is my husband and amazing partner in this adventure. He was so sweet an even made sure I got my Starbucks fix!

4) All the amenities. On international flights there are many amenities. Take advantage of these. Please, please pre-order the bassinet. The baby can play and sleep in this. Babies get very heavy, very quickly while on your lap. The bassinet was a life saver. Additionally, the attendants have baby food, a baby toy, have the ability to  heat up bottles, have back-up diapers in case you run out, and so much more! In our experience with Lufthansa, the attendants were delighted to help! The bassinet was also a great place for our daughter to play.


Our daughter slept so peacefully in the bassinet.


Our daughter also played in the bassinet. This is the little stuffed animal they gave her.

Some other thoughts:

1) Entertainment is not going to happen, so don’t plan on it. I didn’t turn on my Kindle once, and you probably won’t either. You are so occupied with your baby while they are awake that it’s not possible. And, when they are sleeping, you will really want to take that opportunity to sleep yourself!

2) Throw ‘typical’ out the window. For us this means letting our daughter have the pacifier whenever she wanted it. Usually I don’t give it to her during the day time, but I let her have it during the flight whenever she wanted it. I figured the whole situation was a lot to ask of a little baby to endure, so I didn’t mind giving her a little extra comfort.

3) Make a pact with your traveling buddy to not let the situation get the better of you. It is most likely going to have moments of stress, but try to roll with the punches instead of punching your travel buddy. Avoid the blame game and getting in a fight. It just ups the stress and doesn’t accomplish anything. Have fun, roll with the punches, and try to help one another out as much as possible.

Any other ideas to add to this? What made your trip successful?




About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mama and fan of all things Turkey. Among other adventures, Melissa loves living life in Turkey while raising her daughters. On IstanbulMoms you can hear about her adventures and escapades, tips for success, strategies for untangling the culture, and ideas for enjoying life in Istanbul to the fullest.

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