We relocated back to Michigan when Baby A was two weeks old. This experience taught me a lot about traveling with a newborn. Older and/or more traditional people will have you to believe that you shouldn't travel with a newborn or that your baby shouldn't leave the house within the first 3 months of life. That was ridiculous to me. My midwife and our pediatrician gave us the go ahead so we went for it.
Here's my tips for flying with a newborn baby:
- Check with your pediatrician. We had no complications at birth. Baby A was gaining weight, feeding, sleeping, making enough wet diapers, etc. our pediatrician saw no issues with him flying. I'm not a doctor and am a first time mom so it was important for our pediatrician to give us the go ahead.
- Check with the airline. Yes, babies fly free as lap children for DOMESTIC flights with most airlines. However, it's important to know if your diaper bag is counted as a carry on, if you can check your car seat and stroller, is it an additional cost to check these items, do you have to check in early, etc. Most airlines allow you to check your stroller and car seat either at the counter when you check in or at the gate at no additional cost to you. Most airlines require those with lap children to check in earlier than an individual traveling alone. It's vital to find this information prior to arriving at the airport so that you are prepared.
- Check the car seat and stroller at the counter. Now, I did not do this on our first trip. I regretted it though once I got to TSA checkpoint. I, a new mommy, had to take my 2 week old, 9lb baby out of his car seat, fold down his stroller, put these items and my purse and diaper bag on the belt to go through screening all while holding my son. I was looking just like Mr. Krabs!
I literally almost had a breakdown because I was so overwhelmed in the moment as I saw the line growing behind me. Luckily, a nice man helped me by putting the stroller and car seat on the belt for me. I carried my son through the detector and on to the other side to collect our things. Setting the stroller and car seat back up and putting him back inside was another time consuming task. It was in that moment that I wish I had wore him in his carrier instead and checked the car seat and stroller at the counter. The feeling returned when I had to take him out of his stroller and car seat at the gate to board the plane. It was easier at this time because his dad was there to help by then, but still very time consuming for two first time parents.
- Pack accordingly. I packed our things two days ahead just to be sure we had everything. We were shipping everything from our apartment, so I only carried his diaper bag on the flight. Within his diaper bag I had about 10 diapers...you really just never know how much is enough. I also packed three outfits,wet bag, changing pad, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, two packs of wipes, two pacifiers, nursing cover, two bibs and burp cloths, and two blankets. Our flight was only about an hour long with no layover so we were more than prepared. If you don't breastfeed you of course would have to bring bottles and formula.
I changed his diaper prior to boarding. (Hint, you should do the same... it's easier and more room to change baby before boarding.) We were one of the first to board the plane... it's a perk of traveling with a child. We didn't have to squeeze past everyone or rush to get our things in the overhead because there were people waiting behind us. Baby A was actually awake and alert when we boarded. Now some may say that you want the baby to be asleep or eating at takeoff, but Baby A would do neither. He was too excited or something. He was up and looking out of the window with his dad during takeoff. We had no tears or fussing during the flight. He was quiet and calm the entire ride. I can't say the same for the other babies on the flight.
Don't be afraid to travel with your baby...airlines allow newborns to travel as young as 2 days old! Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments!