When I was pregnant with my first child, I was invited to two weddings. One was in Sri Lanka and the other in India. I was SO excited. It was going to be such fun. Then I had a baby and reality struck. How on earth was I going to get to the weddings if that meant flying with a baby?
I have since learnt that flying with a baby is quite easy as long as everything goes according to plan. In fact, it can be easier than with toddlers who don’t want to sit in their seats. Here are some great tips to make flying with a baby a less stressful experience so that you can enjoy the start and finish of your holiday.
Think about your Baby’s Routine.
All baby’s are different and some will sleep well wherever they are but many don’t. Think about the time of your flight and how long you will need to get to the airport and from the airport. If you can avoid disrupting your baby’s routine totally, that’s the best flight to take.
Choose your Seat
If you can choose a seat, pick on with as much space as possible that you can get out of as easily as possible. (Not in the middle of the plane if you can help it.)
Check your Airlines Baggage Allowance.
Are you allowed to take buggies, travel cots and car seats? Most will allow you to take some items but some charge you. Most allow you to take the buggy up to the plane and then put it in the hold for you.
Normally you will have to share a seat with your baby. On long haul flights, you’re often given a baby cot.
Board First or Last
Avoid the scrum of people trying to get on the plane. If you board first you’ll be stuck in your seats for longer, but you will probably find it easier to find space for your bags.
Have your Kit Handy.
What will you need on the flight? Put everything in a separate bag. Nappies or diapers? Wipes? Change of clothes? Feeds?
During Landing and Take Off
If you’re allowed and your breastfeeding, it’s a great idea to give them a feed. The sucking helps open their ears up and stops them from hurting. If they use a dummy or pacifier, that works great too.
Use a Sling
A sling is a great way to carry your baby but it’s also great if they’re getting stressed and upset. Being so close to you and listening to your familiar heart beat will sooth and comfort them.
Don’t give them Sleeping Medicine
Some people recommend giving medicine to make your baby sleep. Please don’t do it. It isn’t safe to give your baby medicine that they don’t need.
Take something Familiar
Favourite teddy or toy? Even if you have a small baby, something familiar will be a comfort in the strange new environment.
Remember your Travel Insurance and Vaccinations
Make sure you have travel insurance. If you're from the UK and going to Europe you'll need your EHIC card as well (it makes life much easier if you have it). If you're going somewhere further afield, check with your doctor before whether you need vaccinations.
Being abroad with a sick child is a stressful situation to be in, only made worse by not having insurance.
Travelling with babies is not the same experience as travelling by yourself with just a ruck sac and a paper back to keep you company. Travelling with children is more hard work and it pays to think ahead and make plans.
But life changes when you have kids and it is perfectly possible to have a great holiday.
I never did make it to those weddings in far flung places. Since having children, we have stuck to short haul flights (partly due to cost.)
It may be a different experience but it is also an awesome one. Remember to enjoy yourselves and take lots of photos of your amazing holiday. One day you'll want to remember that you were brave enough to fly with your baby.