Flying With Baby : 10 Essential Tips

Hello friends!

Today we are getting on our 10th flight with our 10 month old… and I can hardly believe we’ve worked up the courage to fly that many times with our baby girl! As I was packing up our luggage at 11:00pm last night, I realized, I had hardly any anxiety over the upcoming trip. In fact, I was so relaxed that I spent the majority of the night leisurely painting and Perry was like… “What are you doing?! We leave tomorrow!” This is a big deal, because preparing for Ella’s first couple of trips, it was a completely different story. I was usually stressed out of my mind!

Over that last couple of months, I’ve learned a handful of tips and tricks to help make flying with a newborn relatively manageable (knock on wood). But the truth is, sometimes no matter how much you prepare, sometimes traveling with a baby can be flat out difficult! We have had our fair share of embarrassing airplane meltdowns that have made me want to crawl into a hole. In those moments it’s important to remember, if you’re trying your best, thats all you can do! I’m hoping that by sharing a few of our experiences, I can save you some major headaches and help you actually enjoy the vacation you worked so hard to prepare for. So... let’s jump right into it!

  1. Booking Flights

If you are traveling with your partner, I would recommend booking a window seat alongside a middle seat. This way you can create your own little nook by the window and maintain a level of comfortability when you are breastfeeding or changing baby. Bonus points if you have an extra seat in your row! This has happened to us on two or three of our flights with Ella and the extra space feels like a luxury!

2. Packing

I used to spend hours sifting through piles of baby clothes, running all over my house looking for loose items, feeling panicked, wondering if I was missing something important for Ella. Ugh… this is the worst! What used to take me about three hours of preparation now takes me under an hour thanks to the packing list I have developed over the last couple of months. Now I can have peace-of-mind knowing that we are fully prepared for not only the flight but the x amount of days we will be gone. If you would like access to the packing list I have made, enter your email below for a free download! It also includes a few more tips regarding my method of packing. Hopefully this will be a huge resource for you!

3. Arriving at the Airport

To minimize any additional stressors, I’d recommend checking into your flight 24 hours prior to take-off from your phone. This way, you will also have your boarding passes available in your airline's app and won’t have to worry about keeping track of your printed tickets.

The decision of which bags to check and which bags to carry-on varies depending on where we are going, how long we will be gone, and what airline we are flying. We typically will check Perry and I’s luggage, Ella’s bassinet (we use a Guava), but carry-on Ella’s suitcase so there is no risk of her essentials getting lost. Once we drop off our luggage, this is what each of us will carry on the way to our Delta gate:

Perry:

-Ella’s Rolling Suitcase (counted as dad’s overhead carry-on).

-Perry’s Laptop Backpack (counted as dad’s “personal item”, stowed under the seat).

Mariah:

  • Ella’s Diaper Bag Backpack (counted as mom’s overhead carry-on)

  • Ella’s Snack / Toy Bag (counted as mom’s “personal item”, stowed under the seat)

Gate Check Items:

  • Ella’s stroller (in a protective case)

  • Ella’s car seat / car seat base (in a protective case)

Once you arrive at the security checkpoint, TSA will ask you to carry your baby through the detectors while they pull the stroller aside and check it by hand. Once I get through the screening, I know that Ella’s diaper bag is going to get flagged by the agents because of the liquids inside. I am typically the one that goes up to security to claim the bag with Ella, and this is actually an intentional trick we have learned. One time, I took Ella out of security with me as soon as we got through, and left Perry to claim the diaper bag by himself. The TSA agents did not appreciate this. They made Perry point out where his wife and baby were to prove it was his bag… but I wasn’t in sight! It was an unnecessary headache to say the least. Save yourself a few minutes and claim your diaper bag with your baby present. LOL!

4. Getting Settled On The Plane

Once you get to your gate, you can relax for a second. Most airlines allow parents with small children to board the aircraft first in order to get settled in. This is seriously so helpful! Just make sure you get to your gate at least 20 minutes before the typical boarding time. Once we arrive at the gate, Perry will go up to the counter to get official “Gate Check” tags for the stroller & carseat while I entertain Ella and watch our bags. You can bring your Gate Checked items right up to the airplane entrance and leave them in the designated area. After that you can take your time finding your seat and stowing your bags. We used to act so panicked during this time, thinking a rush of people would quickly be following us, but thankfully this isn’t the case! You should have more than enough time to get situated before the general zone’s start boarding.

5. Take Off

Once the plane makes its way down the runway and is ready for take-off, we’ll pop a big, warm bottle into Ella’s mouth. Not only does this help soothe her during the commotion, but swallowing help their ears adjust to the climbing altitude. You know how adults like to chew gum to help make their ears pop on a plane? This is the same kind of idea. The last thing you want to deal with is a screaming baby who can’t figure out how to release the pressure inside their ears. Thankfully this hasn’t happened to us yet. Once she finishes her bottle, I’ll stick a pacifier in her mouth to try to keep her sucking until we reach a cruising altitude.

6. In-Flight Activities

Ella isn’t at an age where she interested in watching TV yet, so we bring lots of toys to keep her occupied throughout the flight. Everything from rubber toys that she can chew on, animals that we can show her, books, squeaking objects, balls, even her spoons. We just keep pulling out a new toy every 5-10 minutes or so to keep her interested. If she gets squirmy from sitting in my lap, I’ll have Perry grab her and then she suddenly calms down again. This back and forth works really well for us!

7. Dealing With Fussiness

It’s bound to happen at some point… your baby starts getting fussy and your worried it’s about to turn into a full on scream. Don’t panic, there are so many things you can do to help calm them down! First, check for a dirty diaper. When they are small enough, it’s easy enough to change them in your lap. But on our recent trip to Hawaii, we had to start bringing her to the airplane bathroom for diaper changes. I didn’t even realize airplanes have changing tables, but according to my husband, you have to pull them down from the wall. I’d recommend bringing a changing pad that has pockets for diapers and wipes so you don’t have to carry each item on it’s own. I have yet to change Ella myself in one of these bathrooms because Perry typically has the middle seat and volunteers to take her. He’s the best!

Also, don’t be caught dead without enough diapers to make it through your journey. I remember when Ella was 6 weeks old, I ran out of diapers during our layover. I scoped out the terminal to find a mom who had a baby the same age and I was awkwardly going to ask her if she had one to spare. Ahhh! Thankfully Perry rushed in to save the day with a generic package of Pampers he had found at one of the kiosks. From that moment on I decided I would always grab an excess of diapers. Hahaha.

If baby still is fussy, there are a few more things I would try to help them calm down:

  • Give them a favorite snack

  • Offer a teething toy if baby is teething. Maybe even teething tablets to help soothe any sore gums.

  • Gas drops or Gripe Water for an upset tummy.

  • Create a space between you and your spouse by lifting up the armrest and laying down a blanket. Lay baby down on their back with their favorite toy. This almost always works for our independent baby!

8. Nap time

There’s a good chance your baby is going to be pretty tired after all the stimulation that’s gone on over the last few hours. We let Ella nap in our arms on the plane and put her to sleep with a warm blanket, pacifier, sound machine and bottle if needed. Once baby is asleep, you might actually get a chance to watch your own movie! :)

9. Dealing With Layovers

If you happen to have a layover on the way to your destination, count this as a blessing is disguise. I’ll use this opportunity to put a blanket on the ground at our next gate and let Ella sit, stretch and roll independently. Once she gets tired of that, I’ll pick her up and walk her around the terminal. She loves looking inside the stores and people watching, so this is another great way to wear her out before the next flight. Ideally you have packed all of your babies essentials in case there is any delay. During our last layover, we had a 10 hour delay and I was so grateful we had her luggage!

10. Preparing For Landing

Just like take off, we always give Ella a bottle during the descent! Once the air plane hits the ground, we start packing up bags and organizing our possessions. If I’m holding Ella, Perry will usually do this. Once the plane de-boarding, anything you checked at the Gate will be available to you right when you step off the plane. We immediately pull out Ella’s stroller, pop her in, and then we’re off!

I hope that some of these tips will be a resource for you as you plan any upcoming trips with an infant in arms. The biggest thing to remember, is that no matter what happens, the plane will eventually land and you’ll never see those passengers again… lol! If you have any further suggestions that have helped you and your family out while traveling with a baby, please feel free to add them in the comment section below.


You may also be interested in: Essential Baby Products for Colds & Fevers.

The Return of Gatherware

Gatherware started in 2015 as a one-man operation, ran by yours truly (hi, it’s Mariah!). I worked on the business in my spare time outside of my full-time job and it quickly grew to become more than I ever would have anticipated.

I spent my weeknights painting & packing bowls inside my tiny Minneapolis apartment while listening to Cereal podcast.

I eventually went on to get married, move into two different houses and give birth to our first baby girl, Ella! To put it plainly, life got busy! I put my bowls and my paints up on the top shelf, literally and figuratively.

As the dust begins to settle on our lives, my husband and I continue to coming back to Gatherware with fond memories and fresh vision. It’s like a repeating dream that we can’t stop having. Messages were flooding into our inbox, asking when the next launch date would be, or where the waiting list could be found. Honestly, I was shocked. I didn’t realize that these bowls not only found a place in your home, but in your lives as well. You asked to place extra orders as wedding gifts for your friends. For extra seating at your family dinners. Eventually, I couldn’t ignore your stream of messages. My husband and I knew that at the least, we needed to open the store out of courtesy to all the awesome customers who have been nothing short of supportive.

So… here we are! Beginning again.

As a mamma, I am coming out of my newborn haze and I am ready to give back to the world creatively once again.

Recently, our basement flooded with water, resulting in a full demolition of what once existed. Without having to say anything, my husband and I both knew this was our chance to set up new roots in our home for this Gatherware community.

Over the next few weeks, we will be constructing a studio for Gatherware operations out of our basement. I hope to include you guys in this part of the process & keep you updated on all the changes that will be coming to the brand. In the meantime, I am working on our new website alongside a soft-rebrand.

Once the website goes live, we will not only have our signature bowls that feature black/ gold dots, but we will be featuring limited edition designs that will drop on a quarterly basis. I am so excited about this new aspect of Gatherware! I hope to provide fresh designs that suit the lifestyles of our customers through changing homes and changing seasons. I plan on including you in this process on social media, to understand what designs you truly wish to see.  

Overall, I am so excited to re-introduce you to Gatherware this summer. Thank you so much for your ongoing support & encouragement. You guys are truly the greatest!!

Stay tuned!


Essential Baby Products for Colds & Fevers

It’s been a rough week over here at the Smith house!

Ella is currently recovering from double ear infections, wheezing in her lungs, a bad cough, runny nose, a fever & to top it all off... teething! We’ve been trying every trick in the book to help Ella feel as comfortable as possible throughout these long days and nights.

I asked my Instagram community for advice on their favorite products and tricks to help take care of their sick babies and they all came up with some great stuff! Below I will be linking the products that I have been using this week alongside the suggestions they made. As always, consult with your doctor before using any medications on your baby. 

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kinsa smart ear thermometer review

It’s so important to have a thermometer on hand to help you asses the severity of your babies illness. We have been in close contact with Ella’s doctor over the last few days, and the main thing they want us to keep monitoring is her temperature. I have been so grateful for this in-ear digital thermometer that we got as a gift before Ella was born. You can create profiles for each member of your family as it seamlessly sync’s its temperature readings via Bluetooth. The grip on it is nice and big so you can’t miss it when you’re searching for it in the middle of the night! 



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This is essential if baby is dealing with congested sinuses, especially during the dry winter months here in Minnesota. Simply fill it with water and let it go to work. Before we started using this, Ella would wake up in the morning with hardened booger’s in her nose that were difficult to remove. With this humidifier, the air in her bedroom stays moist which helps keep her airways flowing.


nosefrida review

Speaking of airways, this product is the absolute best at helping you clear baby’s stuffy nose. Unlike a bulb syringe, the Nose Frida’s suction is created by the parent, via the mouthpiece. But it’s not as gross as it sounds! There is a filter that prevents any “artifacts” from passing through the system. Babies booger’s accumulate in the main container and since it’s transparent, you can see what is coming out unlike your typical bulb syringe. Once you’re done suctioning, the cap detaches so you can easily rinse the Nose Frida out in a sink. We honestly never leave the house without this thing because it comes in handy more times than I ever would have anticipated. This thing is a must! 


Having an essential oil diffuser is super helpful whenever anyone in your household starts feeling sick. I like to keep ours running in the kitchen while I diffuse a few drops of thieves to disinfect any germs that are floating around in the air. This helps soothe a stuffy nose / sore throat, and for bonus points, it smells great!


burts bees baby wash review

Keeping baby clean while they are sick is also a huge deal, especially if they have a runny nose & cough. We’ve been bathing Ella every night which has been helping her relax & seems to provide her with a lot of relief. Be cautious though, our nurse told us to make sure she stays warm and gets dried off very quickly, because you don’t want to induce shivering while baby is sick. This is my favorite body wash & shampoo we’ve been using with Ella. It’s gentle, smells great, and doesn’t dry out her skin. 


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If Ella’s sinuses get completely blocked up, these are an absolute must to have on hand. You can use Little Remedies saline as a nasal spray, or if that’s too startling for your little one, you can use them as nasal drops.


A gentle method for soothing coughs & sneezes. We rub this on Ella’s chest after bath time so she can enjoy the benefits throughout the night.


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I always have a box of this cough syrup on hand at our house. It’s great to pull out when you notice the first signs of a cold coming on.


Infant Tylenol & Ibuprofen 

Consult with your doctor before you use any of these on your baby. Some doctors will recommend alternating dosages between Tylenol & Ibuprofen which means it’s helpful to have both on hand. Previously Ella has responded well to the Tylenol for things like teething pains, but during this spell of sickness, she has done much better on the Motrin. Again, consult with your doctor so you can get professional advice tailored to your babies symptoms. 


A few more recommendations from mama’s in my Instagram community:

Tips 

  • ”Visit a chiropractor that is familiar with infant adjustments. This will help rule out any discomfort associated with their alignment, and can also help them sleep better at night.”

  • ”Creating a steamy shower to help loosen up any mucus. You can either hold baby in the shower with you or put them in a chair next to the shower. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to the shower. We like to use eucalyptus and lavender.” 

  • ”Extra cuddles & feedings while baby is recovering. Let them sleep on your chest during naps if that provides them with extra comfort. Plus it usually helps with congestion if they can nap at an incline.”

Recommended Products: 

Elderberry Syrup

Hylands Vitamin C Tablets 

Infant Probiotic

With all these little tips and tricks, we were able to provide Ella with little bits of comfort throughout her recovery. Patience has been so essential throughout this whole process, especially in the middle of the night when all she wants is to be held by mamma and dada. I just keep trying to remind myself that this is only temporary and to be grateful for modern medicine! Within time, she’ll be back to feeling like her normal, smiley self.

If you have any other products that have worked great for your family, please add them to the comment section below! I hope to spend more time creating blog posts like this, which round up products we’ve loved alongside ones that have worked for the families in my community. If you wish to to see more posts like this in the future, give this post a little love by hitting the heart icon in the bottom right hand corner.

Until next time,

Mariah