Our little lady is quite the jet-setter already, having been on 4 flights in her short 7 months on this planet. I hate flying anyway and find the whole shenanigan a right faff and quite stressful. Add a baby to the mix and I was full of anxiety. And guess what, it actually wasn’t that bad and flight number 4 was even, dare I say it, quite relaxed.
- Pack your hand luggage well – This is like an ultimate version of your changing bag. You need nappies, wipes and the usual. But also pack a couple of full-proof toys or books that you know your baby loves and will keep them occupied. Also pack a couple of dry snacks and a bottle of water or milk, whichever your baby enjoys (but bear in mind that any baby formula or liquids may be taken for testing at the departure gates). And don’t forget your changing bag is in addition to your hand luggage, so make the most of this extra allowance.
- Time your feeds – and/or take a dummy. The change in pressure when flying can make all of our ears pop, but we know to swallow or suck on a boiled sweet to help our ears. We can’t explain that to a baby, so it’s best for your baby to be feeding on take off and particularly landing. When our little one was tiny, this was easier as I could just pop her on the boob anytime and she’d feed and be none the wiser. By the time she was 7 months, she was a bit more independent, so although we rarely use a dummy, I took one along for her to suck on when we were landing and this worked well.
- Take your buggy to the boarding gate – Most airlines will let you check-in a pram, buggy or travel system on top of your baggage allowance for free (though double-check your airline’s website to be sure), and you can usually take this right up to the boarding gate. Even if your little one is happy being carried, you spend a long time at the airport just hanging around and there’s lots of times where you need your hands free, so having their buggy or travel system to pop them in, is really really helpful. Usually you can wheel these right up to the boarding gate and then are asked to dismantle or collapse it and leave it at the gate so they can be stored in the hold of the plane. They then come off first at the baggage reclaim.
- Wear your baby sling or carrier – as a back up for when you need both hands but don’t have your buggy (this is essential if you’re travelling alone and don’t have someone else to hold your bubba when you’re going through security etc). For example when you get off the plane, it can be quite a walk through the arrivals gate and passport control, to baggage reclaim, when you have to carry your baby. So being able to carry them but still keep your hands free is really useful.
- Peppa Pig and Twirlywoos – before you leave home, download a few episodes of your baby’s favourite programme or if they’re really tiny, a sensory video or two. You can then play these to your little one on your phone or ipad (in airplane mode) during the flight, if they really need distracting or are getting restless.
And most importantly, try and relax and not worry about other people around you too much. Your baby is your focus and making them (and you) comfortable to travel is the main thing. Most people are really friendly and like babies, so if you end up sat next to someone, smile and relax (sometimes you might even be lucky to sit next to someone who interacts with your baby and helps keep them entertained!).
Your baby is a baby and babies cry, fidget and occasionally throw-up. They will most likely do this on a plane too. This is inevitable, so don’t worry about it as it’ll only make things harder and you more anxious. And don’t forget, that the flight will be over before you know it!
Have a safe flight and wonderful time wherever you’re going.
Do you have any tips for travelling with a baby?