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Is it Possible to Fly Solo with an Infant Stress Free?
The part of the trip I was least looking forward to was flying solo with my infant daughter. I was terrified that I would be the parent on the plane with a screaming kid, disrupting all of the other passengers.
In the end, my daughter did very well on the plane. I also found that people were very nice and accommodating to us as we fumbled our way through the airport.
Here are some tips to make flying solo with an infant/toddler as stress free as possible:
Rules for Lap Children:
Children under the age of 2 can fly for free in your lap. Parents are able to use their car seat on the plane, but will have to pay for the extra seat.
I chose to hold my daughter during our trip. I found the airline accommodating and they switched our seats on the plane so that we were next to an empty seat.
Remember the child has to be under the age of two the duration of the trip to qualify to sit on your lap.
What Items Can you Carry on a Plane at no Additional Charge?
In an effort to save space and to manage my daughter solo in the airport, I checked a bag. On the plane, I carried my pump bag and all parts, my daughter’s diaper bag, and a stroller.
My breast pump is considered a medical device and did not count as a carry on item. A diaper bag is considered an “essential item” and also does not count as a carry on or personal item. I made sure to pack both of those bags with the needed items as well as items I would normally put in my personal bag.
I was able to avoid having to carry a separate carryon bag.
Traveling with a Car Seat
Since we rented car seats in Orlando, we did not have to carry them on the plane. If you do have to travel with a car seat, I would suggest purchasing a travel bag to prevent damage.
A car seat is also considered an “essential item” and can be checked under the plane at no additional cost.
Traveling with a Stroller
The same goes for a stroller. I was able to use the stroller until we got on the plane. Then the stroller was stored under the plane for the duration of the trip. It was waiting for us when we got off of the plane.
Keyona wore Kenz in a baby carrier and checked her stroller during check in.
Again, a stroller is an “essential item” and does not cost extra to check on the plane.
Getting Through Security
My situation was a little more complicated because I needed to bring breast milk and my breast pump in the airport. TSA allows baby food, breastmilk/formula, and snacks to be packed in carryon luggage.
Allow a little extra time to go through security because they may need to test your milk.
After I was identified as needing additional screening, I laughed because behind me was a line of moms with whining kids and open diaper bags. My unfrozen milk was tested, without being opened. Some airports will require you to open your milk. In this case ask them to pour a little out to prevent milk contamination.
Pumping/breastfeeding in the Airport
The most interesting part of my airport journey was pumping with an active baby. Many airports have a Mother’s Room for moms who may need to pump or feed their children. My home airport had a Mother’s room, but I was misinformed by an employee. So, I ended up setting up in a corner, near my gate, to pump. All of this as I entertained my daughter while she sat in her stroller.
Keyona and Kenz ended up being stuck in the airport for several hours because of a flight delay. We both found it helpful to travel with enough food and supplies to last the entire day. Between flight delays and travel to our resort, we arrived much later than we planned.
Maintaining your Pumping Schedule for Exclusively Pumping Mommas
I also made sure to maintain my pump schedule to make sure my daughter had an adequate supply of milk. This meant pumping in the airport and in the car to and from the airport. It was helpful for me to identify a pump schedule for my travel day and use waiting time to my advantage.
Although it was uncomfortable pumping in the gate area of the airport, maintaining my supply and being able to feed my daughter during our trip was very important to me. Needless to say, I did not run into any difficulties while pumping.
Just remember that there are laws in every state to protect breastfeeding mothers, and that includes mothers who pump to feed their children!
In the beginning, the thought of flying solo with an infant was stressful and overwhelming. After taking some time to learn the airline policies about infant travel, I was able to ease some of the stress I was feeling.
By the time my daughter and I boarded our plane, I was able to relax and get into vacation mode.
Have you flown solo with an infant? How was your experience? If you’re thinking about flying and holding back, what’s your biggest concern?
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