So here it is. After getting the hang of nappy changing, nigh time feeding and sleep deprivation you are about to embark on a new journey, taking things to a whole new level. Quite Literally. You are taking baby on her first flight. How exciting! And slightly scary…
Traveling with infants can be stressful but the good news is that airlines have come a long way and most of them are very accommodating of young children and their families. Second good news, I’ve put together a list of key things to remember when flying with a baby. With a bit of preparation and some organisation you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the flight!
Here is what to remember:
- Book your flight at a time convenient for bub – Some experts recommend morning flights as baby is usually happier if not tired, but I reckon flying at night can be a good option. Talking from experience, a long haul flight can be a lot more enjoyable while your little one is sound asleep in her bassinet.
- Choose your seat carefully – Most companies allow kids under the age of two to travel on their parent’s lap. Definitely a good idea if you’re on a budget. However, if you can afford it, I would recommend booking that extra seat. You’ll thank me when the meal cart arrives and you actually have somewhere to put your tray down! Request a seat within the front row so baby can have her own bassinet. You may need to call the airline directly to organise this. If you can’t get a seat in the front row then opt for an aisle seat as you may need to get up often.
- Pack sensibly – You don’t want to bring the entire house with you but you don’t want to end up 20,000 ft in the air with not enough nappies either. The main rule is, pack a few extras of everything.
- Pack an extra set of clothes for both you and baby….accidents do happen!
- Bring more formula than you might need – There is no liquid restrictions for formula so take advantage of this, you never know what could happen, your plane could get delayed or you may drop some of it during turbulences.
- Bring along your buggy AND your baby carrier – Your buggy can go as an extra checked baggage (usually for free) and some airlines even let you take it on board (the cabin crew will store it safely for you during the flight). The baby carrier will be a sanity saver when you need both hands at the airport or when trying to put bub to sleep on the plane. If your buggy fly as check-in baggage, don’t worry, airports have buggies available for you to use (for free).
- Bring along the car seat too! Most companies will let you bring baby’s car seat (for free again!) on the plane. The little one will be strapped safely in the comfort of her well-known car seat. Obviously, you’ll need to have booked baby her own seat for this option.
- Board early – Some says board last; I’d say board first. You will have extra time to get organised on board and you will be able to keep your bag just above your seat. On some particularly busy flights the cabin crew store some carry-on luggage at the front or in a compartment away from you. The last thing you want is searching the entire plane for that damn formula when baby is hungry and crying her lungs out.
- Visit the bathroom before boarding – Try using a tiny cubicle during turbulence while holding a wriggly baby….it can get messy (talking from experience!)
- A good tip to avoid blocked ears and tears during take-off and landing is to breastfeed / bottle feed baby. The suction movement will prevent their little ears from popping.
- Pack toys and books to keep your little one entertained.
And one last piece of advice: Grumpy people will whine, ignore them.
You are doing an amazing job especially if flying solo with baby. There will be people there to assist you. Every time I flew with my little one the cabin crew was incredible, helping out whenever possible and even holding baby when I needed to use the bathroom.
And if things get messy, remember, it will all be over soon enough!