10 More Mistakes to Avoid When Flying With Infant
Last week I shared 13 Mistakes to Avoid When Flying With Infant. If you missed it, you can read it here. There are more mistakes to avoid! But don’t let this lists of “dont’s” make you worry more, just see them as travel tips and use them to help you enjoy your flight. If your first flights with your baby turn out to be horrible, realize that each flight in the next several years is going to be different and your baby’s behavior in flight will be changing at each age and stage. Just like when you are at home or visiting the playground or store, do what you can to prepare but don’t stress about the twists and turns along the way. Every day with your infant is something new. Enjoy it!
If you are preparing for your first flight with your baby, welcome to the exciting world of cloud surfing! Flying with babies can be stressful, but enjoy the journey. Take the time to notice the little things that excite your baby, accept help when it’s offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Even though your baby won’t remember these travels, you are still creating in him/her a love for exploring.
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1. Putting Soiled Diaper in Seat Pocket
Putting a soiled diaper in the seat pocket, even if it’s in a bag, is highly unsanitary. The proper thing is to place it in a bag and then in the lavatory trash can. If you are unable to do that, please take it with you in your bags to dispose of after the flight. Cabin cleaners might not see the diaper you placed in the seat pocket and it will be quite a disgusting surprise for the passenger on the next flight. Yuck!
*Travel Tip: You can make your own travel-size diaper bags by simply cutting sections from a diaper pail refill.
2. Handing Soiled Diaper to Flight Attendant
As parents we get so used to used diapers that they are no big deal. But if you think about it, it’s pretty gross to hand a soiled diaper to someone and expect them to touch it. When the flight attendants come through the aisle to collect garbage, they are not looking for waste products. Don’t be offended if your flight attendant makes a face when you offer her a wet or soiled diaper. Imagine what your reaction would be if someone handed you their used Depends or bedpan!
3. Changing Baby’s Diaper at Your Seat
I understand that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. I have changed my baby’s diaper on my own lap before. But changing your baby in the seats where other people will be sitting is not considerate. Even if you are using a changing pad, accidents can happen. If it is a dirty diaper you should also be considering the smells you are releasing into the aircraft cabin. Many airplane lavatories have changing tables. There are a few planes that do not, however. It is a challenge, but the best way to change a baby if there is no changing table is either by placing your changing pad on top of the toilet lid, or just holding your child in the lavatory and doing a stand-up diaper change. The first time I accomplished the stand-up diaper change I felt like Wonder Woman. If I can do that, then I can do anything!
4. Not Bringing a Change of Clothes for Everyone
You just never know when that first diaper blow out or projectile vomiting will occur. On one of my flights a child (who had shown no signs of illness before the flight) vomited all over his mother right after takeoff. It was a six hour flight and she had no change of clothes with her! I actually loaned her the only spare shirt I had, which was several sizes too small for her, but at least she could escape sitting in vomit for 6+ hours!
5. Forgetting Diapers/Bottles/Wipes
I flew so much with my daughter, Ella, when she was a baby, she earned elite status at 10 months old. As experienced as I was, I still once made the mistake of leaving her bottles at home. Luckily we lived very close to the airport and a neighbor brought them to us before the flight. Another time we were flying two trips back to back with just two days home in between and I forgot to replenish the diaper supply. I got on the plane realizing I had no diapers at all. The airlines do not typically carry diapers, wipes, or formula, so you really need to triple check that you have packed these. Always pack at least twice as much as you think you’ll need for your travel day in case of delays or diversions. Airport sundries shops do usually sell a small pack of diapers and wipes, but all I have seen is a pack of two size 3 diapers and about 10 wipes. I have never seen formula sold in U.S. airports.
6. Improperly Installing Car Seat
There are so many different styles of car seats, so installation can be different for each one, but some basic things you need to know about installing your car seat on a plane:
- All car seats must be in a window seat or not between a passenger and the aisle. This is a FAA mandatory rule.
- Infant carrier car seats should be rear facing.
- Convertible car seats can be either rear or forward facing but you need to follow the car seat guidelines on height and weight when considering the safest method. Infants should always be rear facing.
- Infant carrier bases are just for convenience in snapping the seat in and out of the car. They are not important for safety and you don’t need them on the plane. If you don’t expect to be driving very much on your vacation, I advise leaving the base at home. It’s one less thing to worry about. Just be sure to read your owner’s manual for instruction on proper car seat installation without the base so you know you are doing it the right way.
7. Worrying About Breastfeeding in Public
There are so many stories out there about people shunning mothers who breastfeed in public. But you should know that most of the time, I would even go so far as to say 95% of the time, no one takes issue to you breastfeeding your child. Do whatever you need to do to keep your baby happy. Some tips for discreetly breastfeeding while not hiding your baby can be found here: Tips for Breastfeeding on a Plane.
8. Expecting the Airline to Provide Blankets
Be sure to bring a small blanket for your infant. The muslin cloth blankets are great because they are light and thin and can be used in many ways. Most U.S. Domestic Airlines no longer provide blankets in the economy cabin except on the longer transcontinental flights.
9. Bouncing Baby During Turbulence
On more than one occasion I have seen parents bouncing their baby up in the air during turbulence. My best guess is they are trying to make the turbulence fun, but you need to realize this is a very dangerous thing to do. If there is even a medium “bump”, the baby could easily crash right into the ceiling. The safest place for a baby during turbulence is buckled in the car seat.
10. Pushing Your Baby Onto Others Who Haven’t Shown Interest
This one is hard for me to add, because I really love babies. When my first born was only a week old I was in the parking lot at Babies R Us. Even though I had my own precious baby, I had to look at every other baby I saw in the parking lot. But the truth is, not everyone adores babies. I figure it’s probably the way I look at cats. I see a cute cat picture and start to say, “awww!” and then it turns into an “ewww, cat!” before I can stop myself (no offense to cat lovers). Even if your baby is the cutest baby on earth, some people are just not “baby people”. So share your baby with people who show interest, but don’t be offended if there are some people who just look the other way.