My Tried and Tested Tips When Flying With a Baby
Flying with a baby can seem like a daunting challenge. You don’t know what to expect, your baby’s mood can change in an instant and there is the fear of upsetting fellow travellers. Both of my children took their first flight at around 12 weeks old. I have to say, that over the years of travelling, they were some of our easiest flights. To give you some insight and hope, I took a 9 hour flight alone with my 12-week old son and my daughter who had just turned 4! My husband had flown out early for work so we were flying out to meet him. It really was an easy flight considering I was flying with a baby and 4 year old!
Flying with a baby can seem like a big deal, however, babies nap a lot, they take up less space and generally they need less entertaining. If you plan ahead, grab yourself some great products for travelling with a baby and take it in your stride, you’re well on your way to having a smooth flight. Read on for my tried and tested tips for flying with a baby.
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Before Your Trip
Choose a flight time which coincides with your baby’s nap time. The longer your baby naps during the flight, the easier. You might be able to save money but booking a flight that is going to mess with nap time, might not be worth it. You know your baby. If paying a little more would make your flight easier, go with it if you can.
Some airlines allow you to choose your seats at the time of booking. If you can do this, do this early so you can book the seats of your choice. If your baby is small enough, you may be able to book a bassinet seat. Your baby will be provided with a bassinet to sleep in which can give you some hands free space. It will also provide some extra comfort for your baby. The bassinet seats usually have a little more space.
If bassinet seats are not an option try booking an aisle seat within your group. It will allow for easy access without disturbing other passengers.
Be sure to check the airline rules for flying with children as they do vary from airline to airline. Some will allow you to check some items for free such as a car seat and pushchair. Certain airlines offer pureed baby food, but nothing for older babies. Some require you to book food for your baby in advance. Have a good look and familiarise yourself so there are no surprises during your flight.
Don’t Over Pack
The fewer bags you have, the easier it will be to navigate around the airport. I’m not the best at packing light but I’m getting better and better each time we travel! I generally like to have a hand luggage case with me on the plane with a few essential items for each of us in case any of our checked bags get lost. We’ll also have a separate nappy bag with all the baby essentials too.
At the Airport
Have all of your liquids in a separate area before you get to the airport. That way once you arrive at security, you can grab them and put them into the see through bags provided by the airport. Make sure your baby’s water, food or milk are all ready for screening. There are different rules and regulations around baby items, so make sure to check these out on the airports website.
Most airlines will allow you to take your pushchair all the way to the gate and you’ll collect it at the other end. This is a great option, especially for older babies.
Pop your baby in a baby carrier as you’ll be hands free! I used this great carrier with my son as I could use it facing in or out, I was able to breastfeed in it too meaning we didn’t have to stop for feeding. It comes with a breastfeeding / sleep cover for added privacy during feeding or to keep the light out while they sleep.
Food and Drinks
Once in duty free, grab yourself some water bottles for your baby (depending on their age) so you don’t have to wait for assistance to be given some during your flight. It’s always useful to be able to top their water bottle up as and when needed. It’s also useful to have these for after the flight, as immigration queues can be very long at times. If your baby is eating, having some baby snacks for them to enjoy during the flight is also a good idea.
Change your baby’s nappy just before you board so that once you are able to, you can board and get settled straight away.
Most airlines will allow families to be amongst the first to board the plane. Board as soon as you can and get settled in good time. You’ll have some additional time to navigate all of your belongings and get anything you need to hand.
During Your Flight
Now more than ever, hygiene is so important, make sure to carry some anti-bacterial wipes with you. Clean down your area and especially the food trays if your baby is at an age where they are eating.
While your baby may sleep a lot during the flight, you’ll still want some entertainment for them. Grab a few of their favourite toys and include some new toys or toys they haven’t seen for a while. Make sure they can all be wiped clean easily as they’re likely to fall and germs on a plane…need I say more?!
If you’ve managed to bag yourself a bassinet seat that’s great but in addition to that or on it’s own, you’re likely to be holding your baby for long periods of time while they feed or sleep. This mattress is amazing! I’ve used it with both of my two and it’s helped massively for their comfort and my own. It’s probably my favourite travel product when flying with a baby.
You’ll want a few pairs of spare clothes for your baby and a spare pair for yourself for spit up etc. Dress your baby in comfortable layers. A baby grow is ideal. Although you might want them to look cute in their holiday gear, save it for when you arrive and think comfort. A comfortable baby is a happier baby. The temperature can change dramatically on a plane. If you’re say on the run way for a while it can be very hot but up in the air can become chilly. A, vest, baby grow and cardigan are an ideal way to travel. You can strip them off or add as you see fit.
The pressure during take off and landing can cause little ears to pop but this can be helped if they are sucking on something. When taking off and landing, use whichever they prefer, be that a dummy (pacifier), a bottle or the breast to suck on to ease any pain and comfort them.
Final Thoughts on Flying with a Baby
There you have it, my favourite tips when flying with a baby. It might feel daunting but you’ve got this Mama! Remember, life doesn’t always go to plan when you have kids but by using my tips, you’ll feel better prepared and more in control. If you need some additional hacks, then have a look at my favourite products when travelling with a baby for more tips and inspiration. Happy travels!