Boarding pass on hand, any parent flying with a baby for the first time must feel excited, but nervous at the same time. Having packed complete baby essentials can feel like an achievement. More so, once you clear the all security checks. However, some parents may still feel uneasy before boarding a plane. Traveling with a baby can only seem daunting when you keep thinking about the things that could go wrong.

“Did I bring enough milk?”

“Can my baby handle the cabin pressure changes?”

These are just some of the questions you may start asking yourself while waiting at the gate. Worrisome thoughts can bring stress, which may affect the way you handle your baby throughout the flight. A little preparation is necessary to ensure a better flight experience for you and your baby. Here is a checklist of some things you should do before boarding an airplane.

1. Change diapers – Give your baby a fresh diaper before boarding the aircraft to avoid an unnecessary trip to the lavatory. Not all aircrafts have a changing table, and even if they do, it’s most likely cramped and unsanitary based on the volume of passengers using it. Changing your baby’s diaper should free you from diaper duty for up to 4 hours, unless of course the baby decides to do #2.

2. Feed solids – Most budget airlines do not offer in-flight meals. If your child is already into solids, go ahead and offer a meal while waiting for your boarding call. This minimizes the need for you to open a snack and make a mess while up in the air. After all, a satisfied child is less likely to get fussy than a hungry one. Additionally, it can be difficult to feed a hungry baby on your lap, especially with limited space for movement.

3. Pre-mix milk – It is advisable to give your baby a feeding while taking off, to minimize the effects of cabin pressure changes. Breastfeeding moms are lucky to have milk ready on demand while formula-feeders need to bring formula and water. To avoid the juggling baby bottles and formula dispenser midair, pre-mix a bottle of milk right before boarding a plane. It should be good for about 4 hours, so you may not have to mix another bottle if you’re only flying a short route.

4. Keep your patience meter in check – Your parenting skills may be tested during a flight. Babies generally have a short attention span so be sure to prepare yourself for a bout of complaints from your baby which can range from non-stop movement in the seat to crying inconsolably. Having some toys and activity materials can help, but nothing compares to cool-headed parenting especially when passengers start darting you with looks because of the disturbance.

Having a baby in tow when flying should not make you feel like having an excess baggage you can’t check in. Every journey with your little one should be memorable despite the stumbling blocks you may encounter. If you’re lucky, your baby will simply sleep through the flight. Otherwise, it’s important to have these tips in mind to ensure a better flight experience.