Having a baby means a first time for everything: the first time your baby smiles, the first time he sit down, the first time you take him on holidays,… As flying is nowadays very common, there will be also a first time for flying with a baby. As a first time you want to be prepared and have the best flight/journey possible. Here are some tips for flying with a baby. Some of them are specially indicated for a baby up to 6 months.
But how do you adjust to the needs of your baby and still have the holidays you love? Babies need rest, food and lots of love. So when booking your flight take into consideration the sleep times of your baby and try to plan around it: avoid very early or night flights. Night rest is very important and even though your baby will (most probably) sleep again in the airplane, he will wake up during take off and landing as he has to seat on your lap looking forward during those times. So not so nice to break his sleep.
Also plan enough time to get to the airport/home. A baby is not an adult and you might need to take a break.
We learnt the lesson when we flew to Tenerife, as the flight back was arriving at midnight (which was feeding time) and we had to wait more than two hours for our luggage. We would had left without it, but our maxi cosi was missing and we don’t live close to the airport to call someone to bring us one. Fortunately I had my wrap and he could sleep in it. So that’s the next point take a baby wrap or carrier. When Liam was 8 weeks, I used the bykay original jersey and later the bykay mei tai deluxe, both of them ergonomic carriers. No matter if you take the stroller. Some airlines allow you to take the stroller until the gate, but others (as KLM) will ask you to check it in. So you will be carrying your baby and your hand luggage from check in until boarding. Having a wrap won’t take much more swill give you a extra pair of hands, which is very handy if you travel alone with your baby. What would you do with your baby if you need to go to the toilet and your stroller is already checked in?? ok, ok, you could go to the toilet before the check in and once again in the airplane, or just put your baby in the wrap and go whenever you feel like it 😉
This also leads to the following point, take as less hand luggage as possible. I normally take my camera, tablet and the necessary things for Liam. What are the necessary things?? It depends on the age (and where are you flying to too), of course, but in short don’t forget diapers, a change of cloths (you never know if there will be a “poop accident”) and water. Also take some empty zip bags, you can use them to put wet of dirty clothes (or dirty diapers, if there’s no garbage bin)
Talking about “poop accidents”, change his diaper before boarding the plane and between two flights. The airplanes have a changing table in the bathroom, but it’s very narrow and not so comfortable to use (also very hard). Dress your baby with comfortable and easy to change cloths.
Some will think now, and what about baby food? Well, if you still have the chance, breast feed your baby as long as you can. Why? Simple, breast feeding can be the main food for a baby up to 1 year. Of course your baby will need some extra food from 6 months onward, but the breast is still the main source of energy and it’s always “ready”. In a airplane you don’t have everything and if you feed your baby with a bottle, you will need to carry bottle(s), milk powder, (hot) mineral water and any other stuff. A pacifier or bottle with water is also handy to let your baby drink during take off and landing, it will avoid the pain in his ears.
If your baby is not very old and the flight is a medium-haul one, you could also take an inflatable bed for in the airplane (I have a post about it coming soon). This is handy if you have an extra free seat next to you.
Also take your baby’s favorite toy, he will have something to play instead of trying to chew on the seat belt or the tray table ;).
When I fly on my own with Liam, I prefer to seat in the last row of the plane because you can ask for help to the stewardess, you can go easily to the bathroom and when the other passengers board the plane, you won’t have the risk that someone passing by will hit or drop something on you (or the baby). Also after landing and taxing (when the plane already stopped), you can stand up and go to the stewardess area in order to avoid the hassle of people wanted to go out of the plane. So yes, normally I board the plane the first and go out as last.
And last but not least, take a lot of patience and try to relax, you are going on holidays!!
What are your tips and tricks for flying with a baby? And if you don’t have a baby (yet), will you keep traveling once you have one?
In addition to this post, I wrote Tips for flying with a 6 to 12 months old baby. If you have any question, leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you out 🙂