It’s critical to choose the right flying attire, especially for those long hauls with 8 + hour flights, layovers, and several connections. The two key elements in selecting attire for a day or two of flight travel are :1) comfort, and 2) simplicity. No, I won’t be winning any fashion awards for my outfit below, but I was very comfortable and breezed through airport security on my journey from South Africa from Chicago over the weekend.
On a long flight, especially with a baby (or two, or three), dressing for comfort is a must. I always choose cotton clothing that is loose and stretchy. When I prepare to dress for a long journey with baby, I basically dress as if I’m embarking on a long travel marathon/ work-out. I wear yoga or sweat pants with a stretchy waist. Especially when I am flying pregnant, I avoid jeans at all cost, and anything with a tight waistband. For shirts I choose a breastfeeding-friendly long-sleeved shirt or a comfortable breast-feeding cotton shirt and a zip-up cotton jacket.
Depending on flight routes, multiple security checks means multiple de-bagging, de-shoeing, etc. I make sure I am wearing no jewelry I will need to take off, no belts, and no metal anywhere. I wear slip-on shoes such as ballet slippers that I can easily slide on and off while holding baby. Comfortable slip-on shoes are also important when I fly pregnant as my feet and ankles always swell in-flight. This is also why compression socks are a must to put on after take-off when flying pregnant.
Babies and kids should be dressed equally as comfortable and simply. Kids also should be wearing comfortable cotton clothing without any metal, belts, or pieces that need to come off at security. TSA now allows kids under age 12 to keep shoes on at security, but I still recommend that kids wear comfortable shoes for the journey. Before my babe was walking, I always dressed her in a long-sleeved zip-up one piece outfit with footies so she’s ready to be snuggled and comfy for sleep. Now that she’s walking, I choose stretchy cotton pants and a long-sleeve cotton onesie, socks, and shoes.
I also make sure to pack one extra similar outfit for myself in my carry-on for a fresh change between flights on a long trip, and pack 3 extra outfits for my babe (one for a fresh change, and two just in case). Long journeys like the 25 + hour journey we just took (Chicago- Washington, D.C., Dakar, Johannesburg) can be exhausting, but dressing comfortably and simply makes it much easier to curl up and get some rest!