Flying with infants for the first time can be overwhelming for a new parent, especially a parent of twins. Before you panic, take a deep breath and familiarize yourself with the following infant travel tips:
- Have a plan, and allow yourself ample time. For example, decide in advance how you want to handle car seats. Will you take them through security and check them at the gate? Or will you check them curbside and carry or stroll the babies through security? Divvy up tasks as necessary. For example, one parent might park the car while the other parent handles baggage claim. (Curbside check-in is best with two babies in tow.) While you are waiting for boarding to begin, get a gate check tag for the stroller, allow your twins to have some tummy time, and change the babies' diapers.
- Talk to your babies about what is happening. Airports, crowds, loud noises, and elevation changes can be overstimulating for little ones. It's comforting for your babies to hear your voice as you describe where you are and what you are doing. Imagine if, as an adult, you went to a new and chaotic place without a guide. How would you feel? You'd probably feel much better if you were being guided along the way. So keep your babies informed at all times. It's as simple as saying, "Now we are going through security, now we are boarding an airplane," and so on.
- Wear light clothes. This goes for both you and the babies since it's easy to get overheated on the plane. Because you will be holding the babies to you for at least part of the flight, you will get warm quick.
- Bring extra clothes. Pack extra outfits for you and your babies in your carry-on just in case there is spit-up or a poop attack in flight.
- Minimize ear discomfort. Have your babies suck on a bottle, breast, or pacifier when ascending and descending on the plane. This will help alleviate the pressure they may feel in their ears.
- Check with your airline about its policies regarding infant carriers. These carriers are fantastic for travel, especially if sleeping babies are able to stay put during takeoff and landing. Find out if your airline allows this. There's nothing worse than having to wake a baby for a two-minute takeoff.
- Ward off germs. Dab just a little bit of Neosporin or Vaseline in your nostrils and your babies' nostrils. This will prevent nasty airplane germs from getting inside your nasal passages.
- Use car seat bags. Check your car seats in a car seat bag like this one from Babies R Us. Airlines allow you to check car seats for free. Put each base and car seat into a bag, then fill the seat and remaining parts of the bag with extra diapers, wipes, bottles, and other necessities. These bags fit a ton of stuff, so take advantage. We all know how much "stuff" is needed for these little babies!
- Know what liquids you can bring on board. Read and print out the Transportation Security Administration's rules for traveling with liquids. If any questions come up, you can share a copy of the rules. More than likely, you will be expected to open any premade bottles of breast milk or formula for the TSA to inspect. Be prepared to have a free hand to assist with this process. Sometimes ice packs get confiscated as an unnecessary liquid, so make sure you bring extra sealable plastic baggies to fill with ice after you go through security. This will help keep milk chilled if you will be flying for a long period of time. If you need to warm up a bottle in flight, you can ask for hot water from the flight attendant (if mixing with formula) or you can place a premade bottle of breast milk or formula in between your legs for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Prepare a few diaper packs for in-flight diapering. Simply take one diaper and a few wipes and place them in a sealable plastic baggie. Grab the baggie when you need to change one of the babies, then place dirty wipes and the dirty diaper in the baggie and throw it away. This way, you don't have to lug your diaper bag to the bathroom with you and you can easily deal with any stinky diapers by sealing the used baggie. Most bathrooms have a changing table and liners. Try to avoid changing diapers in the main cabin; that's gross.
Lastly, keep a few Starbucks gift cards handy in case you encounter a situation where your fellow passengers are not happy about being seated near two infants. An iced latté can make even the meanest of the mean happy!
Melanie is a Malibu mommy who has flown cross-country with her toddler several times.