Well, we survived our first flight! It actually wasn't so bad and our son was a trooper (that's him, taking it all in).
Thanks to all of you that weighed in. The advice that came in handy the most was to stay calm—something I had to remind myself to do on a couple occasions. I've listed some of the most useful advice below, and I'll give you a couple of my own. Screening processes are different at every airport. We flew out of JFK and sailed through security no problem, even with bottles of formula and liquid antibiotics (which we packed separately and flagged for the TSA agent, per your advice). But while going through security at Tampa for our return flight, the TSA agent had to inspect each bottle separately via a different machine. Thankfully, it was able to read the contents through the plastic bottle, or we would have had to throw the formula out. Which would have delighted our fellow passengers, I'm sure. Next time, I'll pack powder formula instead. Lesson learned.
Here are some of your best tips:
Security with a baby is really not that bad, and I have encountered, much to my surprise, some very helpful TSA screeners. Put liquids in their own ziplock for easy removal. Baby on the front in a carrier. Slip on shoes (I wear slip on sneakers, yeah, not a great fashion statement, but who cares). Deal with the carry-ons first, once they are going through slip baby into your arms and walk on through. Baby goes back in carrier, you get your stuff and be on your way!
Have everything ready before you get into the security line instead of pulling out your liquids, untying shoes, taking off jackets, etc. while in line.
Feed baby liquid during take off and landing to help with ear pressure. The swallowing helps their little ears and limits the "people with the screaming kid flight." And RELAX. Kids pick up on how you're feeling. If you are stressed about it they will sense it and reflect that back though more crying and acting more needy than usual and being generally fussy.
Be prepared for Murphy's Law. Pack twice as many things in the baby carry on as you think you will need. If you calculate three diaper changes in X number of hours, pack six, if you think you might need two changes of clothes for baby, pack four (they are tiny one-piece things, you can roll them up small). The time I didn't was of course the time we were on the runway for several hours delayed, and by the time the airline let us off the plane into the airport again, shops were closed.
Now that we have the first trip under our belt, where will we go next? If you have suggestions, head here to nominate your favorite family-travel destination.
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