Traveling with an infant is a daunting concept for new parents. But in today's society, airline travel is often a necessity. You can make your trip less painful with proper planning and preparation. To ensure that you don’t forget any of the essentials, make a packing list. Your list should include:
- Baby bjorn, sling, or other babywearing device.
- Diaper bag with enough diapers and wipes for long layovers or unexpected delays.
- Multiple changes of clothes for baby, and a change of clothes for yourself
- Car seat if you will be doing any driving at your destination.
- Stroller if you will be walking around at your destination. Most airlines will let you gate check a stroller.
- Pack n Play® if you will be staying overnight without a crib
- Blanket or nursing cover if you are breastfeeding
- Breast pump and supplies if you will need to pump
- Breast pads
- Bottles and formula if you are not breastfeeding
- Hand sanitizer
- Toys, rattles or brightly colored objects for your baby
Denver International Airport has information about parents traveling with children available on their website. DIA has family restrooms with spacious changing tables so you can put down your carry on luggage. To reduce stress, allow plenty of time to park the car, get through security, and take the train to your gate.
If you are not carrying a car seat or stroller, a Baby Bjorn or baby sling is essential for airport travel, because your hands are free to hold your boarding pass or ID. Although you can't wear your baby during takeoff or landing, these products make the security line and layovers much easier.
Most airlines will allow an infant under two to ride on your lap free of charge for domestic flights. Be sure to check with the airline prior to your trip regarding their specific policies. Many airlines require a birth certificate to prove that your child is under the age of two.
You will need to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby during takeoff and landing, because
babies do not know how to pop their ears to regulate the pressure. The sucking and swallowing will make them comfortable as the pressure in the cabin changes.
The most important thing to remember when traveling with an infant is to be patient. Your baby can feed off your anxiety and stress, making the trip more traumatizing for everyone. Give yourself plenty of time and remember to keep your sense if humor handy. The travel complications you encounter will become funny stories to tell your child one day.