I thought this might be an apt post to do seen as I am up visiting family in Scotland at the moment and Isla has now been on 3 Easyjet flights in her 19 weeks in this world. I am due to fly back with her by myself (for the first time) next Wednesday so wanted to share some tips that I’ll hopefully keep in my mind on the way back!
Top tips for flying with a baby:
1. Be prepared – it’s like preparing for a whole day out really. You need to make sure you have enough formula (if bottle feeding), nappies, wipes etc to cover you for the whole journey. Ensure you have a spare baby outfit in case of milk or poo explosions. I’d also take 2 muslins in case of any accidents, muslins have saved the day in a whole manner of situations in our household before! Nappy bags or sealable plastic bags are also a must to lock away any unpleasant smells from nappy changes etc. After all everyone is stuck in the same area for the duration of the flight and definitely don’t want to smell baby poo the whole way!…
2. Stay calm – often easier said than done! Babies can sense when mum or dad are stressed and it appears to set off a chain reaction in themselves where they feel the need to join in the fun and get stressed too. I find that if I’m sufficiently prepared and know roughly where I’m going (i.e. I’ve been to the airport before) then I can usually keep stress levels to a minimum with a few deep breaths in between.
3. Plan flight times to coincide with nap time – again easier said than done but if you can book a flight that is around the same time as your baby’s nap time, it could save you a bit of stress in the sense that they’ll hopefully sleep through the majority of the adventure. On Isla’s first flight, when she was 8 weeks old, she slept the whole way there. Unfortunately this lulled us into a false sense of security and this time, at 18 weeks old, she most certainly did not sleep the whole way!
4. Try to feed or give a dummy during take off or landing – ideally take off because it might send them off into a milk coma for some of the flight as well! The logic is that it is helpful for babies to be feeding whiles the plane is ascending or descending so that they are sucking which helps to prevent the pain you get in your ears when they need to pop. We suck on sweets, babies suck on dummies or bottles.
5. Bring toys – favourite toys for familiarity and new toys for some added interest and excitement are ideal. Basically anything to try and keep your baby entertained and as quiet as possible for the flight. Unfortunately Isla is one nosey baba so actually enjoyed being able to see all the new faces around her rather than the toys we brought which was fine, until she started shouting at the man across the aisle for no apparent reason!
6. Plan your luggage well – we all like to maximise what luggage we take with us when travelling but sometimes less is more (where possible!) with a baby. Easyjet are great because if you’re travelling with an infant they let you check in 2 pieces into the hold for free e.g. a car seat and a buggy – read their very useful travelling with kids info here.
7. Be SUPER prepared for security – get your jacket, belt, shoes, any necessary jewellery off in the queue. Get the laptop, iPad, liquids out of your bag ready to go in the boxes. Get the baby formula out ready to be tested. Just get everything you need done sorted in the queue and then right at the last minute get baby ready.
8. Plan how to get baby to the gate – either by buggy, in a sling or carrying. I wouldn’t recommend just carrying unless your baby is incredibly light and the airport you are in is incredibly small!
Buggies can be good as they save your back and can often carry your hand luggage in the bottom of them too. The cons to taking the buggy all the way up to the gate are:
– the faff of getting it through security. One time we had to try and get it through a scanner!
– once you get to the gate/plane, you might lose your place at the front of the queue when boarding as you rush to get baby out and disassemble the buggy
– if baby is asleep, getting them out might wake them up which against the whole aim of the game!
A sling would be the ideal option if your back can handle it and you’re not having to walk too long a distance through the airport. It keeps both hands free and baby will be calmer in it. I’m trying a sling through an airport for the first time next Wednesday so will let you know how I get on.
9. Get baby their own seat – if they can sit up and you can afford it then it might be worthwhile getting your baby their own seat. It just gives you an extra bit of room and ensures that you get a whole row (if flying with dad, partner, friend too). If you are on a long haul flight then ask for a cot.
9. Try and get an aisle seat – this means you are able to get up and about, get to the toilet, get to your luggage with ease without annoying any other passengers.
And most importantly……..
10. Pray that the people nearest to you are parents too!!
At the end of the day, as much as people on a flight get frustrated with travelling babies, there’s only so much you can do to try and ensure your baby travels well. Try not to let the other passengers ruin your journey.
How have your experiences with flying with a baby been?
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A twenty-something, full time working, mum of two, with a love for all things cat, cacti and scandi related.