I feel like I’m the “Rookie Traveling Dad”. I have a 4 month old son, so all of this is new. This past weekend, we took H on his first flight to Nashville and we learned a ton. We were a little scared, a little over prepared, but a lot excited. Vicki’s college roommate and best friend lives in Nashville and had a baby girl the day after H was born (what are the odds?!). We thought what better way to get H on his first flight that a short jump from Raleigh to Nashville? Take a look at our learnings and our experiences.
Things we learned from our first flight with an infant
Overall, flying with an infant is easy. They sleep, eat, play, repeat. We were lucky that H seemed to like planes – hope that stays that way. We did learn that flying with an infant is a lot different than flying as a couple. For one thing, we had to plan around his schedule, not ours. He eats at certain times, so we needed to make sure flights were scheduled around those times. Not to mention having to feed him in the middle of the airport wasn’t that easy.
Southwest is a top-notch airline for flying with children. Everyone’s experience and expectations differ, but I’ve always had a great experience with Southwest. It was made even better on our first flight. The flight attendants were great. They gave us pointers and did little things like put a lid on Vicki’s drink since she was holding H. The pilot even held H in the cockpit so we could really document his first flight!
Visiting a different time zone is a challenge with a baby on a schedule. We were only in Nashville for a day, so we didn’t want to get him off his schedule, so we had to do everything an hour earlier than usual. Not a big deal, except when he woke up an hour earlier!
Things learned from packing for a flight with an infant
Again, we pack too much. Gone are the days of bringing nice clothes for dinner. Instead, our bags were filled with diapers, wipes, clothes for H, and t shirts for us. While we had to be prepared for the unexpected, visiting friends with a kid around the same age is a great thing. They had almost everything we would need: Pack-n-Play, extra burp cloths, toys, etc. While we had to bring a lot and lug a lot through the airport, checking a bag wasn’t as big of a deal. When we travel as a couple, we get in and out of the airport, but you learn as a parent that there isn’t a huge rush to get anywhere fast with H.
Advice we received about traveling with an infant
Prior to the trip, being the planners that we are, we sought advice from other parents. Some useful things that we heard and used were:
- Carry H through TSA Precheck, don’t put him in the stroller. We used the Ergo to carry him through, which was great because we didn’t have to remove him from the stroller and put him back in.
- Check car seat through. Since H was a lap child, we didn’t need the car seat. We ended up buying a car seat bag from Amazon and threw the car seat in there and checked it. Made it much easier than lugging around.
- Use stroller to help carry bags. Instead of putting H in the stroller, use the stroller to carry our bags to free up some arm space. Definitely a big help!
All in all we had a great experience on our first flight. We told ourselves that we wouldn’t get anxious or stressed and I feel like we did a good job keeping our promises. We hope that H grows into the traveler that his parents are. Now, we’re looking forward to his second flight in August!