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Whoever said “getting there is half the fun” obviously wasn’t traveling with an infant. But flying with a baby doesn’t have to leave you in tears. Here are some tips for keeping your sanity while flying with an infant.

baby tips on the plane

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Schedule with smarts: Try to snag a flight around your baby’s nap time or bed time. And avoid layovers, if possible.

Bring baby’s ID: Keep a copy of your baby‘s birth certificate to prove she is under 2—young enough to fly without a ticket.

Pack heavy: We’re all for packing light, but in this case, more is more. You’re one flight delay or diaper blowout from disaster, so bring double the diapers, bottles and clothing you think you’ll need. While you’re at it, make sure your carry-on includes a change of clothes for yourself. Enduring a cross-country flight while covered in baby vomit is no way to kick off a vacation.

Curbside check-in is your friend: Check your bags curbside to reduce hassle, but carry cash to tip the baggage handlers.Wear your baby…: Use a baby carrier to keep him close. You’ll need your hands free to schlep carry-on bags and boarding passes.

… but bring a stroller: If you have enough people in your party, get someone to push the stroller through the terminal. Even if you’re wearing your baby, strollers are an easy place to stash all your extra gear without getting charged additional luggage fees. Gate-check the stroller as you board the plane.

Feed during takeoff and landing: Giving your baby something to suck on—be it breast, bottle or pacifier—will help relieve ear pressure.

Bring plastic bags: When the captain turns on the seat belt sign or the passenger in the aisle seat falls asleep, you’ll need someplace to stash dirty diapers and clothes.

Pack novelty items: Before your trip, load up on your baby’s favorite snack, some new board books and a stash of dollar store toys. And forget what the experts say about infants and screen time. If watching Caillou on the iPad will keep your baby chill, then do what you’ve gotta do.

Treat yo’self: You probably have zero chance of polishing off that novel you’ve been eager to read, but at least download some hands-free entertainment for yourself, like a fun audiobook or playlist. And while in-flight cocktails may not be an option for nursing moms, pack a decadent snack so you’re not stuck eating overpriced airport garbage. After all you’ve done for baby, you deserve some love, too.

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Tagged: Family time

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

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