Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Airport travel can be overwhelming on its own and now you're adding a baby into the mix!
The most important tip for your first time traveling with your baby is DO NOT STRESS.
Baby's will feed off of your emotion. Even if you're feeling all of the feels, (and its okay and normal to be emotional while traveling!) try to stay calm and set an example for your infant that everything is okay!
My next biggest tip is BE PREPARED. And this post is meant to do just that. I'm about to set you up with expectations so you know what's coming your way when you walk through those airport doors with your infant or toddler for the very first time.
Here's how I traveled the first time with my daughter, she was only 12 weeks old when we flew from EWR to FLL.
Baby carrier! I wore my daughter on my chest as often as possible. Find a link to my favorite baby carrier here
Stroller wisely! ALL AIRLINES will gate check your stroller and car seat FOR FREE. I say stroller wisely because I have a stroller that connects to a car seat. The car seat just clicks in and out of the stroller, so it's a doubly whammy! I pushed my stroller around the airport while carrying my daughter, and in the stroller I put my bags.
FREE DIAPER BAG CARRY ON! Speaking of bags, ALL AIRLINES will let you carry on your diaper bag for free. Along with this, ANY BABY FORMULA, BREASTPUMP, BREASTMILK, SMALL COOLER WITH BREASTMILK/FORMULA can all be carried on for free as well. You will have to put them through TSA, but the agents are very understandable of accommodating infants.
Speaking of TSA, be prepared when it's your turn! I keep anything that I might have to take out of either my diaper bag or carry on at the top of my bag. If traveling with someone else- ask them to be responsible for handling these for you so you can focus on the baby. You'll have to take out all electronics and liquids, so be prepared and ready to do so! It'll save you stress when wearing a baby.
You'll also have to put your stroller and carseat through the TSA scanning belt. Be prepared to fold it up. TSA agents will help you put it on the belt if you're traveling solo and need a hand. They appreciate you being prepared!
You'll walk through the special lane TSA body scanner holding your baby. Sometimes they'll let you baby wear right through, and sometimes you'll be asked to take the baby out of the carrier- it's up to the agent.
When you get to your gate- tell the gate agent you're gate checking a stroller and carseat, they'll give you tags to put on.
When it's time to board, YOU GET PRIORITY BOARDING. Traveling with infants and toddlers will get you the first feet on the plane. Pilots and attendants want to give you time to find your seat, settle down, and they are there to help you put things over head if you need a hand.
When the plane lands, your gate checked items will take a few minutes to deplane. I'd recommend sitting on the plane and getting off last, so when you do deplane, your gate checked items are ready for you. Otherwise, you'll have to stand in the cramped overhang while people scurry past you as you wait for your stroller. Bonus! If you're last off- you might be able to meet the pilots, thank them for the trip, and take a photo in the cockpit!
Also, I always recommend traveling with your toddlers birth certificate as their legal ID. Flight agents and TSA have the right to ask for your Childs documentation. Also- if the child has two parents listed on the birth certificate and only one parent is flying, it's highly recommended to have a notarized letter giving permission for the one parent to take the baby on the flight alone!
If you have any tips of your own to add, I'd love to hear them!