What is often a novel thing for a mother to do, flying with babies is something that is part and parcel to what I get to do as someone who lives and works overseas.
Lord willing, next week on my way to Orlando for the TGC women’s conference I will embark on my 77th flight with a baby in tow. However, these upcoming flights next week will be quite special since I will be flying alone with only one child, which is something I haven’t done since 2007!
Just for fun and in honor of this especially laid-back flying occasion that I am looking forward to, I would like to share with you some of my very exclusive best-practices tips for flying with babies.
First things first—the question that everyone always asks:
“What do I need to bring on the plane?”
My answer is always: A sense of humor. If your sense of humor has been feeling a bit out of whack lately then you must borrow someone else's. Think of it—you are about to walk inside a metal tube holding a baby and sit on a tiny foam square in rows with a few hundred other people who are sitting on tiny squares and spend the next twelve to twenty-ish hours of your lives together. You may have a brief (or not-so brief) respite on a layover, but for now 37F is your new, temporary parenting cubicle while jet engines propel you through the air over oceans and continents. You have to admit, that’s kind of funny. Don’t leave your sense of humor at home! And don't forget the baby(ies) either.
Next, use this scientifically-proven formula to determine the number of diapers you need to put in your carry-on bag:
1 diaper per 3 hrs of travel + 2 extras
Expert tip: for easy access during the flight(s), put a few diapers and a baggie of wipes in the seatback pocket in front of you.
Third, don’t over-pack or you’ll regret carrying (and losing under the seats) all the stuff you didn’t need. You need far less than the advertisements and marketers would have you believe. No one is paying me to say that (because no one would pay me to say that.)
This afternoon I asked my bigger frequent-flying kids what their favorite things are about flying on international flights:
- Judson (3) – “It makes me go to Grandma’s house. I fly around like that [swish]! I get headphones and I don’t share; they’re just mine.”
- Norah (5) – “I like the juice they bring you in cups with ice cubes. Ice cubes you can even eat and it's okay. My favorite thing is watching movies, but sometimes a little plane doesn’t have any movies.”
- Aliza (7) – “Movies, food, and sleeping time, in that order. No, wait! Food, movies, and sleeping. Yeah. Oh! And showing them my passport is fun but Daddy always holds it.”
Will you please pray for me as I'm knee-deep in packing and preparing for this quick trip? And pray for my gracious husband who will stay here in Dubai with our three big kids.