There are a few things I learned after my first experience flying alone with my infant daughter. It isn’t easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be hard either. My first experience was a nightmare, but the next one will be easier, partially because I will remember these tips.
- Slip on shoes: going through security isn’t particularly hard with a baby, especially if you wear them in a carrier (which is a must, in my opinion). But taking off and putting back on a sneaker or a boot alone while holding or wearing a baby is a whole different story. Avoid the hassle, and wear shoes that easily slip on. I like these ballet flats by Dr. Scholl’s. They are stylish yet comfortable. They have an extra layer of memory foam padding inside which makes all that airport walking a bit easier on your feet.
- Aisle seat: My daughter loves to look out the airplane window, and when we travel as a family, we usually book a two seat row, if available, giving us access to both the window and the aisle. However, when traveling alone with a baby, you have to choose one or the other. I recommend the aisle seat.
- Empty row: After everyone has boarded, glance around the plane for any empty rows. If you see one, ask the flight attendant if you can move to that row. Or better yet, check the available seats on your airlines app, and ask as you first get on the plane. That will save you any luggage shuffling and will give you some extra room for your little one to move around. This is especially important if you plan to nurse on take off and landing. No one particularly enjoys nursing right next to some stranger.
- Food pouches: This is one of the things I recommend to anyone flying with children, but if you’re playing man-on-man defense food pouches are definitely the way to go. Skip the spoon and squeeze it directly into their mouth. Because it’s just easier when you are balancing a kid on your lap, feeding said kid one-handed while trying to keep her from grabbing everything in site. And don’t forget the snacks. Gerber Puffs or Cheerios are a great way to keep a squirmy baby occupied.
- Make friends: Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from another passenger if you need help hoisting your carry-on into the overhead compartment. On my last flight alone with my daughter, the lovely woman sitting next to me even held her for part of the flight. And my husband and I actually helped a woman traveling solo with kids gather up and carry all of her checked luggage outside to the car where her husband was waiting to pick her up, but couldn’t come inside because of airport rules. Most people will take sympathy on you if you are traveling alone with a child or children, so don’t be afraid to make friends with those around you.
For more tips on flying with an infant (whether you’re alone or not), check out our top 6 tips to make flying with children easier.