For fellow parents who care, here are the “boring” tidbits of our flight experience with baby in September.
This is what worked for us and what I decided to do after some research (i.e. scrolling IG travel/parent accounts) and of course, talking to my trusted sources (aka friends who travel with babies/toddlers.)
Car seat – Checked it at check-in. Used a car seat cover/bag to limit damage but most importantly, from it getting wet. When we landed at Anchorage, it was raining and we saw many drenched car seats at the baggage claim.
No seat for baby – Because we checked her car seat, yes, this means we did not buy a seat for her. I feel strongly that until our experience changes, we do not want to buy her a ticket (that is the same price as an adult) until it is required of us. Bryce held her in his lap during the flight or she just stood on the floor of the airplane in between his legs when it was safe to do so.
No stroller – This trip was just a long weekend to Alaska to visit Luna’s grandma. We knew we weren’t going to be “going out” many places, if at all. If anything, we’d go on a few short hikes where we wouldn’t want a stroller anyway. This is why we decided to leave the stroller at home. Plus, we only have a BOB running stroller, which is pretty bulky. No issues with having no stroller with us all weekend. Really glad we didn’t bring it with us!
Hiking backpack – Since we did not bring a stroller, we opted to bring our trusty hiking backpack. A friend told me she just carries her kiddo in their hiking backpack and walks right onto the plane and hasn’t had any issues. I know this may differ from flight or flight attendants but we had no issue doing the same. (For us, it did not count as a carry-on bag either.)
Tushbaby – Also brought Tushbaby with me, which I used for holding and carrying baby at times at the airport. If you don’t know what this is, look it up. There are also similar brands out there. It’s essentially a belt with sturdy seat for your kiddo to sit on so you do not give out your back and/or shoulders so much. It has a lot of pockets etc. and is kind of big so I counted it as one of my carry-ons (not that anyone seemed to care). It’s been a life saver for me as I have had a lot of shoulder issues since baby was born from carrying her on my left side exclusively at the start. I never even realized I was doing this until it was “too late” and I had a lot of pain. I’m right handed so I guess this just came naturally to have my right hand free to “do things” while holding her. (My pelvic floor PT quickly became my shoulder PT … but that’s another story for another time.)
New-to-baby toys and books – You basically just need anything and everything that will keep your baby occupied. This usually mean items that they have never seen or played with before. A kind friend let us borrow a bunch of toys for our flight, which was super helpful instead of buying a bunch of new stuff. There are a lot of “easy” toy hacks, too, like bringing sticky-notes for baby to just stick all over the place and remove. (You can do the same with painter tape or washi tape, so I’ve seen people do on IG.)
Food/milk – As a 1+ year-old, our baby now drinks cow’s milk and we had no issues getting it through security at the airport. We had them in little glass bottles, which I think helped. (They still had to do their swab check on one of the bottles, but it didn’t take too long.) I have heard TSA gives you a hard time if the container is not clear. But, what do I know? I just get my “info” from social media. We also brought a few of those fruit pouches (with pureed fruit) with us. I timed it so that she had one of those pouches right at takeoff. She did not seem affected at all by the cabin air pressure change at takeoff (or landing.) We only give her the fruit pouches during travel, we never use them during normal days at home or even out and about “at home.” I’d like to think that makes them more special while on trips.
So, there you have it. I either bored you so much you aren’t even reading this anymore. Or, maybe you are shaking your head at me for doing “everything wrong” aka not the way you would have done it. Or, you learned a thing or two to keep in your back pocket for when you travel with a baby in the future? Let me know! Or, not.