Flying With an Infant Is Tough and We Shouldn't Judge Parents - Baby Chick

Flying With an Infant Is Tough and We Shouldn’t Judge Parents

Get one mother's take on why there’s no need to judge parents who are flying with an infant. After all, babies are babies.

Updated November 24, 2023 Opinion
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If you’ve never been flying with an infant, you might hesitate to take the leap and go for it the first time. If you have had the experience though, you can probably understand why I say this. As if traveling with a baby weren’t intimidating enough, flying with a baby can take the nerves (and logistics planning) to a whole new level.

Flying with an infant doesn’t always equate to a total flop. In my experience, it often goes much more smoothly than you might anticipate. However, we should try to keep our expectations realistic for parents who are flying with a baby. Even more, we shouldn’t judge them. Here’s why.

Don’t Judge Parents Because Babies are Babies

And they’re people, too. They have a right to travel. Via stroller, car, bus, train, and, yes, you guessed it, airplane. They’re still babies and will behave accordingly, even when flying. Crying, pooping, you name it. It’s all a natural, normal part of being a baby. It’s unreasonable to expect anything else from babies. We shouldn’t judge parents for taking them along and flying with an infant.

Nobody Wants Flying To Be More Uncomfortable Than It Already Is

Flying isn’t glamorous unless you’re an A-list celebrity jetting off in your private aircraft. Airplanes are cramped and stuffy as it is. Add in a bit of turbulence and a lasting whiff of a fellow passenger’s airport takeout, and you’ve got nobody’s ideal environment. Trust me; nobody wants the ride to be any more uncomfortable than it needs to be, including parents flying with a baby. Everyone’s just trying to get from point A to point B. We shouldn’t judge anyone, including parents, for doing what they must do to get through a flight.

Flying is Hard for Infants Too

No matter how well you plan a trip, traveling is bound to disrupt any baby’s sleep schedule, feeding schedule, and entire daily routine. Traveling is hard on babies, but that doesn’t mean parents flying with an infant aren’t doing their best to make things bearable. For babies and fellow passengers. And we shouldn’t judge them for it.

Flying With an Infant is Trying for Everyone

While traveling can easily throw any baby off, parents are left to deal with the dreaded disruption of sleep schedules, feeding schedules, and daily routines. In a perfect world, we’d all choose to snap our fingers and arrive at any destination quickly. The whole family in tow. Without any of the added stress that comes with flying. Like checking ALL the baby gear, hauling a stroller, car seat, and diaper bag – plus carry-ons – through the airport, and, of course, making it through the flight. That’s just not possible, though, so we shouldn’t judge parents who have no choice but to be traveling with a baby on a plane. They’re probably already stressed (not to mention exhausted) enough.

You Don’t Know What’s Going on in Someone’s Life

As cliché as it sounds, you never know what’s happening in someone’s life. Perhaps that frazzled young mom with an even more frazzled new baby is doing everything she can to get to her sick grandmother’s bedside in a desperate attempt to make sure the most recent and eldest generations connect face-to-face while there’s still time. That family of four with two under two? They might be on their way to the first of many magical family vacations they have dreamed of giving their kiddos ever since they were children but didn’t necessarily get to experience themselves. Regardless of what’s happening, you never know what’s happening in someone’s life. Including when or why they’re traveling. It’s important to keep basic humanity in mind and give grace to parents flying with an infant. Not to judge them.

Everyone Has a Right to Choose How They Want to Travel

When you book a flight, you agree to the airline’s terms and conditions — not your own. Every single one of us gets to determine how we want to travel. No one has the right to take that ability from someone else. Including parents flying with infants. Because at the end of the day, they have a right to fly, too, and we shouldn’t judge them for it.

No matter how often it’s been done, flying with a baby can be nerve-racking for any parent. It’s impossible to predict how a baby will react to traveling on an airplane, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Whether you’re a first-time parent debating whether it’s worth the risk or a childless frequent flyer with your thoughts on the topic, there’s no need to judge parents flying with an infant.

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Katie is a proud mom of two young children with an extensive background in childhood education and social-emotional development. She holds her Master's in Education from University at Buffalo and… Read more

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