When your trip involves air travel, things automatically get complicated. Navigating a terminal, unpacking and re-packing at security, and trying to find the correct gate for your flight all constitute an Olympic event.But when you're attempting to make it from point A to point B with your little one in tow, it can get exponentially frustrating. That's why there are a few airport hacks all new moms need to know.
I can barely function without a GPS or Google telling me where to go and what to do. In all honesty, if I put my 3-year-old son in charge of the directions, we might actually get there quicker. But for every stress-inducing instance, there's an adorable moment with your child staring in awe as you soar above the clouds. Still, the stress sucks. But you don't need to worry, though. Plenty of parents traveling with kids have been in your same shoes. And, thanks to their sage advice, as well as some handy hacks, you can go from nervous novice to self-assured sojourner in no time. So sit back, put your seat in the upright position, and relax as you read these time (and sanity) saving tips to navigate the airport as a new mom.
1. Fly Early
Preparation is key when traveling and picking the right time of day could make or break your trip. As Jacqueline Gifford, a travel expert, noted in Travel + Leisure, you should fly in the morning, not afternoon, because babies, "just know their comfortable routine." So if you're trying to make it through security during their would-be nap time, don't be surprised if they're fussy. Try and book a flight that fits your little one's schedule.
2. Skip The Line
One of the trickiest parts of traversing an airport as a new mom is trying to locate the check-in counter. Barbara Higgins, Vice President of Customer Experience for United Airlines, told Parenting that you can, "check in 24 hours in advance from your home computer and sign up for mobile alerts that can be sent to your cell phone with your flight status." This will say you plenty of time and help you skip long lines.
3. Avoid Zippers
Though your baby's outfit may look adorable, all those snaps and ties could cost you time. In an interview with Parents , with several anonymous flight attendants said you should avoid buttons, zippers, and laces so airport screening with your little one will go much faster. This goes for parents, too. Slip-on shoes and clothing items than can be easily removed and put back on will expedite the whole process.
4. Know Your Numbers
Remember when Alyssa Milano's breast milk thrown out at the Heathrow Airport? To avoid going through the same thing, make sure you're bringing the acceptable amount of milk with you. According to the official website of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), formula and, "breast milk in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag." It's also a good idea to let TSA employees know that you have milk or formula with you to ensure there won't be any surprises.
5. Know Your (Other) Numbers
In addition to researching the rules on liquids, it's important to know the guidelines of the airports and airlines you'll be going to. For instance, as the Baby Center's medical advisory board noted, some airlines require a doctor's note clearing the new mom and baby to fly. The last thing you want is to get all the way to the boarding area only to be told you need a medical note.
6. Double Up
Even if you plan on braving the restrooms, you might not be so confident once you actually get there. That's why The Bump suggested you put two diapers on your baby when traveling. This not only minimizes your chances of an accident, but it keeps your baby drier and more comfortable.
7. Keep Things Accessible
Whether you're a new mom or a seasoned vet, sometimes you just don't know why your baby has suddenly decided to start screaming. When you're not in the comfort of your own home, it's not as easy to soothe them. As Gifford told Travel + Leisure, pack bottles, pacifiers, and toys in easy-to-reach areas. So get the most out of your luggage and fill up every outside pouch and pocket with the necessary items to maintain your baby's happiness.
8. Be Prepared To Unbuckle
Though strollers and baby carriers are great for going long distances, things can get a bit sticky when it comes to air travel. According to the TSA, you must take your baby out of their carrier so you can carry them through the metal detector. Knowing about this in advance means you'll be ready to go when it's your turn in line.
9. Bring Snacks
Although most flights offer some food and drinks, it's not a guarantee. As noted in the aforementioned Parents article, a great airport hack is to bring zipped plastic bags for snacks. You never know when you or your little one will get super hangry.
10. Verify Your Luggage Limit
You probably know how much you can bring with you on a flight, but can your baby have their own luggage? According to Baby Center, "double-check if your baby gets a baggage allowance." That way, you won't be slapped with an extra carry-on fee unexpectedly.
It might not be in any official handbook, but I can tell you that one of the most important tips for making it through the airport as a new mom is remembering to take a minute to breathe. In the midst of crowds and chaos, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But I've found that taking a few deep breaths helps me to find my focus and makes traveling seem less intimidating.