I have learned a lot in my first year as a mum. Most new parents quickly come to terms with everyday aspect such as which tog sleeping bag is best, which first foods to introduce or how amazing the jumperoo is! But when it comes to travelling, many find it quite daunting. So I’ve compiled my list of top tips telling you everything you need to know for your first flight with a baby in tow!
Think about travelling times
Once your baby has an established routine, you probably want to avoid disrupting that too much if you can. A baby who is over-tired can be a real nightmare (trust me I know!), so avoid flights that are super early in the morning. A 6am departure will mean arriving at the airport around 4am and depending on your journey time to the airport, waking up might have to take place a couple of hours or more before that. Such an early start will disrupt anyone’s body clock, baby or not.
Night flights are generally a good bet as baby can sleep and is less likely to get restless and want to play, although this does depend on the length of the flight. A 10pm-4am flight to Dubai might not be ideal, but an 8pm-8am flight from London to Mexico could work perfectly.
Consider baby’s ears
Changes in altitude are likely to affect your precious one’s little ears, especially if their sinuses are blocked. It is a good idea to encourage baby to be sucking something during take-off and landing to avoid this where possible. Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, using a dummy or sucking a thumb are good options. We have always given Isla a dummy and have never had any problems.
Reserve a bassinet
Having a bassinet can be a lifesaver, especially if you have a night flight. If baby won’t sleep in it, it can also be a great place to keep all of those baby things you brought with you- toys, blankets, bottles etc. Bear in mind that there are weight restrictions, so this is generally for younger babies only. An added bonus of getting a bassinette seat is that these are often ‘chargeable’ seats. It means you’ll get a little extra leg room. The downside, however, is that whoever you are travelling with might be seated separately.
Buy your milk and nappies in advance and collect at the airport
OK so you’ve already sacrificed a pair of shoes for baby’s favourite ‘blanky’, but where are you going to fit in those pots of formula and nappies?! These are seriously bulky items that will take up lots of room in your luggage. It might cost slightly more than you would usually pay but it is super handy to be able to reserve your baby bits online and then to collect them airside at the airport.
Buy some ready-made formula
On my first flight after I had stopped breastfeeding, I was nervous at the prospect of being without my perfect-prep machine, so I opted to order some ready-made formula for the flight instead. This wasn’t warm, but luckily my daughter isn’t too fussy about this. It was super handy that I could order to collect at the airport as it meant I didn’t have to worry about liquid restrictions at security. It was much easier to use than formula, especially when in a confined space with a baby who decides she wants her milk NOW. Seriously, can you imagine entertaining a hungry baby onboard an aircraft for half an hour while waiting for boiling water to cool down?!
Take the baby carrier
They might tell you that your stroller will be returned to you at the aircraft door in London Gatwick, but when you arrive at the tiny Spanish airport in Murcia, this could be an entirely different story. There have been multiple occasions when I have expected to retrieve the stroller only to find that it’s been taken to the baggage belt. Some airports have long distances to walk and long lines at immigration so having a baby carrier is a lifesaver.
So that’s my top tips for flying with a baby, I hope you found them useful.
For more on travelling with a baby, you can visit my blog Lifeasabutterfly.