Travelling With Baby On A Plane Tips

With Christmas rapidly approaching we thought it would be a good idea to share with you some tips for travelling on an airplane.

At the Airport

  • Pack your baby’s food and essentials in clear bags. That way airport security do not contaminate your sterilised items if they have to rummage through your bag.
  • Call ahead of time and see if your carrier allows families with small children to board earlier then the main passengers. Some airlines do this, others do not.
  • Check in early and ask for the bassinet seat. It is supposed to be offered to the youngest baby on the flight, however the last time I flew the baby in the was HUGE and there were two other babies nearby who were clearly younger and smaller.
  • If you cant get the bassinet sat ask for the seats in front or just behind the toilet. You wont get more space but you will be able to stand up and walk around with bub if necessary. So long story short get there early to ensure you get the bassinet seat.
  • Don’t check your stroller unless you plan to carry your child in a sling. Most airlines will allow you to push your stroller all the way to the gate. They’ll then check it at the gate and have it waiting for you outside the plane door when you deplane. Some airlines will even let you bring a small stroller on board if there is space.
  • Anticipate delays in security. Security is tricky with a baby especially when you have to take your sling/baby carrier off (or even the stroller it has to be x-rayed). Remove your baby carrier or stroller last when unpacking, and first on the other side. Having somewhere safe to sit your baby while you are packing and unpacking is great. Some airports have family lines where you will get assistance. But don’t count on it. I used to think airport security was bad before I had a child. Now its a nightmare.
  • Anticipate delay’s in general. Make sure you have double the nappies, formula, or food in case you are sitting at the airport for six hours instead of three.
  • Some airports have children play areas. Otherwise pick a large open area near your depature gate so you can walk around and show your baby stuff. Or let your baby crawl or practice cruising. Also think outside of the box if your flight is delayed and looking for entertainment. One suggestion was if possible (and at your airport) ride the light rail between airports.
  • Utilise luggage trollies at the airport. Again in my pre-baby travels I never needed a trolley, but with a baby it became almost essential. It certainly made navigating the airport easier.

On The Plane

  • Feed your baby on take off and landing. Or give your baby something to suck on like a dummy. This helps them with their ear drums.
  • Have a small purse size bag that will fit one nappy, zip lock back (for dirty nappies and or soiled clothes), tube of cream and a pack of travel wipes to take to the change room.
  • Ask the flight attendants which toilets have the baby change table before you leave your seat.
  • Some people online suggest taking your childs car seat on to the plane, and strapping that to the chair. Not sure exactly how this would work as I have never personally seen this done on a flight.
  • Make sure you take an extra change of clothes (for accidents). Also pack a couple extra nappies. Layers is a good idea so you can easily adjust to the plane’s temperatures.
  • Make sure you have small travel packs of nappy changing essentials like wipes, powder, cream etc.
  • If bottle feeding just pack small containers with each serve of formula (so if there will be three feeds pack three small containers with the measured formula). Taking a tin is just not practical. Alternatively you may want to use those one serve ready-made milk packs.
  • Make sure there is an extra change of clothes on top of what your baby would normally wear for the duration of the flight (accidents happen).
  • Put clothes on that are easy to change for instance a one piece (or we liked overalls with buttons round the crotch).
  • If your baby is fussy walk around the galley area or up and down the isles. You may find other babies to “chat” too.
  • Check before your flight exactly what you are allowed to carry on. Also check for each leg (and if on different airlines for each leg). We found on a recent international flight that we were allowed a lot more for the domestic leg then the international. So we packed for the international leg, that way we were not slugged extra baggage fees.
  • Be prepared for the fact that you will not be able to really watch in flight entertainment. A laptop or iphone is a great way for you to watch something and maybe entertain baby for awhile.
  • Take only a small selection of  toys, you don’t need to lug the whole toy box. Our baby was actually fascinated with the emergency procedures. Likewise try not to take bulky or noisy toys (with no volume control). Finger puppets, iphones with movies on it, books, or a small doll can make good distractions.
  • Newborns sleep a lot so hopefully your young baby will sleep. Older babies get a smidgen tricker because they want to see and do. Plus if your baby is on the move it gets tricker again as they really dont want to be confined. Distraction is key.
  • Where possible pick flights that are at the same time as your child’s nap. Perhaps not departing at the time of their nap but if you have an over night flight that leaves at 5pm and your child goes to sleep at 6pm then this will work in your favor.
  • Ask to have your meals served separately. Then your partner and you can take turns holding baby, and eating. Some air hostess’ will do this, some wont. Otherwise you can do this yourselves but it will take a little bit of juggling.
  • If your baby does cry don’t feel bad, and ignore the glares from other passengers. If you get upset then your baby will feed off that. Just stay calm and give your baby lots of cuddles.
  • If traveling solo don’t be shy to ask the flight attnedants for assistance.

At the other end

Rather then lug a travel cot, car seat, and stroller you might want to look into renting these items from a nearby baby store. Or ask your hotel if it provides a cot and/or stroller. Also find out if your accommodation has babysitting facilities (this could come in handy for a break for yourself).

Unless you are going somewhere really remote only pack a bare minimum of nappies and baby care stuff. You can purchase what you need.

If you can pick accommodation that has laundry facilities, then you will not need to pack as many clothes and can do laundry during your stay. Boring I know but think of that extra luggage space for your new shoes……er your babies toys.

Do you have any other suggestions?

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