1. First rule: Don't bring too much stuff on board with you. Your space is small and you won't have room to juggle too many things. I do like to pack 1-2 extra outfits (depending on your child...) lots of different snacks (The Walmart stacker is my fav!) to give variety, enough milk (you CAN bring liquids on board as long as they are for your child... I bring at least 2 bottles of milk!) a bottle of baby Tylenol for heaven's sake, and a comfort object, in our case, "Lambie."
2. To prepare for security, wear slip on shoes (and pack a pair of socks in your bag for warmth) so they'll be easy to slip on and off for TSA. I usually travel with a sweater, but keep it stowed in my diaper bag until after security so I'm not fussing with it. Pack all your liquids in one area so you are just grabbing the one bag out instead of fishing around for each squeezee or tylenol bottle.
3. Read up on infant policies. When we flew to Costa Rica, one of the main reasons we chose JetBlue was because they will always give you an extra seat for your infant if they have it available. This is a game changer for us. We have brought T's car seat on every JetBlue flight this year (totaling 9 this year) and being able to bring her carseat on board enables her to sleep!! If your child falls asleep in your arms, then maybe this isn't as crucial for you, but our high strung baby needs her own dark space with no distractions!
4. Don't forget to get your child's passport long before your trip. They sometimes take several weeks to be processed and the rush fee is pretty pricey! We photographed Tatum at home, outside on the deck in natural light, then took the image to photoshop where I erased the entire background. Since then, I've learned to lay a white sheet over their car seat, then prop them up in it. Once it arrives, sign their passport with their name, then sign your initials.
5. Once on board, realize that you have lots of distractions right with you. The window is a thrill (for my 1 yr old) and a plastic cup from the flight attendant will please even a 6 month old. Following ice chips on the tray table is exciting. Our family has an unlimited ipad policy on flights-- apps, movies, whatever keeps the child (and me!) happy! Remember that babies are babies. You should feel great as long as you're doing all you can. If your baby is still screaming or bothering other passengers, just shrug it off because if they're rude enough to show their annoyance, then they obviously have no idea what it feels like to be you.