I used to travel with my daughter between Vancouver and Montreal several times a year. My surprise for you this time is that a new baby is much more portable than she seems. With a little planning, a vacation by air is not out of the question in the baby’s first summer. Here are my accumulated tips that helped make flying easier for us.
Don’t get on when they are pre-boarding people travelling with small children. You’re going to be sitting on the plane for hours as it is. Keep walking around and moving for as long as possible.
If you have to change planes, go for a good walk in the airport instead of sitting around the departure lounge.
Use a sling, or your favourite baby carrier in the airport.
Without having to wait for the flight attendants to dig out your stroller, you’ll walk right off the flight. You can send it through as luggage if you want to have it at your destination.
Carry as little as possible into the cabin. Stuff your coat into your suitcase just before it goes on the conveyor belt.
Bring a couple of new small quiet toys that will seem interesting for a bit longer. My daughter fondly remembers wondering what new things I would have for the plane ride.
Be prepared to miss the movie. Feel lucky if you get to read at all.
Bring some dry snack foods that aren’t too messy. Maybe it’s a good time to splurge on a forbidden treat.
To stay hydrated, ask for more than one drink at a time when the flight attendants come around. You can even ask for the whole can.
Your neighbours will appreciate you nursing your baby and helping her stay comfortable and calm. Surprisingly, there is a lot of privacy in the tight seating arrangements. Often the person in the next seat thought my baby was sleeping when she was actually nursing.
You might be able to lay your baby on the floor at your feet. I found that to be a nice break for my arms and shoulders. I put the sling down first as a blanket. Or you might be able to stand at the back of the plane after the food service. All this depends on it being a smooth flight though.
When you arrive at your destination, toss out your pre-baby sight-seeing aspirations. You can get a little bit done each day, but leave time for napping! All the energy to keep your baby happy on the flight and on the trip is coming straight from you. You’ll need some extra rest.
There are more tips for travelling with babies here.