Tips For Flying With A Baby

Bottle warmer

 

Flying with a baby may seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. Travel and holidays do not have to be put on hold. In fact you should take advantage, as when flying with a baby under 2 years old, your baby can go for free!

You may feel intimidated at the thought of dealing with a crying baby and coping with black looks from complete strangers. Yet families fly together everyday. We’re not saying flying with a baby is easy, but a bit of planning will go a long way. Follow these top 10 tips to increase your chances of a trouble free flight.

1. Flight Time

Try to book a morning flight. Babies are at their happiest earlier in the day when they are not tired and grumpy. If this is not possible try to book a flight that coincides with your baby’s nap time. This may be possible on shorter flights, but for international flights be prepared for the long haul.

2. Consider Paying For a Seat For Your Baby

While babies under the age of 2 years old can fly for free while sitting on your lap, you might want to consider buying that extra seat. This will depend on the length of your flight, and whether or not your baby is happy on your lap, or in a car chair or bassinet. If you are on a long flight and your baby is happy in a car seat, it may be wise to splash out so that you have that extra space.
However, no matter your choice of seating arrangement, always notify the airline that you are flying with a baby.

 

Bottle warmer

3. Feeding When Flying With a Baby

While most airlines do provide a limited range of baby food, including milk, cereals and rusks, it is advisable for you to bring products your baby is familiar with. Breastfeeding is obviously the easiest way to feed your baby while flying, but you are allowed to carry pre-filled bottles of milk or formula. Pre-filled bottles are convenient as you can offer the bottle at room temperature. But if your baby prefers warm milk, a travel bottle warmer is perfect for warming baby food inflight. Or you can ask a cabin crew member for help with heating a bottle.

If your baby has already started with solids or homemade purees then the perfect solution would be to pack a few reusable baby food pouches. These you can fill with foods or purees that your baby is familiar with. They don’t take up much space, plus they contain a much higher nutritional value than store bought baby food.

4. Timing Your Feeds

When flying with a baby try to time your feeds so that your baby is sucking on a bottle during both take-off and landing. The sucking action helps your baby relieve the ‘ear-popping’ or ear pain that can occur when climbing or descending. Plus feeding will offer the comfort and reassurance your baby may need in a strange and noisy environment. If it’s not possible to feed your little one during take-off or landing then it’s best to have a dummy or pacifier on hand.

 

Food pouch

5. What Else Should I Pack as Carry-on Luggage?

In addition to food, snacks and bottles you will need to pack your carry-on baby bag with care. Make sure you have enough nappies, wipes, towels and toys on hand. Always take more than you think you will need. If there is some kind of delay with your travel plans you will be grateful you packed that bit extra.

We also recommend that you take a change of clothes for both you and your baby. You never know when an accident may happen and you will be far more comfortable if you have a fresh set of clothes.

6.  Change Your Baby’s Nappy Before Boarding

Use the facilities at the airport to change your baby’s nappy and go to the toilet before you fly. There’s not too much space in the small toilet cubicle on the plane. Plus you don’t know how long that seatbelt sign is going to remain on for.

7. Take Your Pram and use the Gate Check Service

With most airlines you don’t need to check-in your baby’s stroller or pram, so make use of their gate check service. This allows you to travel through the airport with ease. If you have to check it in then the airline should have a free pram or stroller for you to use to get from check-in to the boarding gate.

Once you arrive at the gate, you will need to fold your stroller or pram for the cabin crew to pack away. When you arrive at your destination your stroller or pram will be waiting for you as you exit the plane.

8. Dress Comfortably

This goes for both you and your baby. The temperature inside a plane when flying can get quite cool, but when sitting on the tarmac it can be pretty hot. Or perhaps you are leaving winter behind and travelling to somewhere more exotic? Dressing in loose layers enables you to remove or add clothing as the temperature changes.

9. Drink Water Regularly

Stay hydrated! When flying with a baby it’s important to look after yourself too. So always request water from the cabin crew or take a bottle with you. If you are breastfeeding and flying, it can be very easy to dehydrate if you don’t take in enough fluids.

10. Carry the Correct Paperwork

This may sound like common sense, but make sure you are carrying the correct paperwork. If you are flying internationally your baby will need their own passport. However even if you are flying on a domestic flight you will need to carry some kind of proof of age, such as a birth certificate, for your baby.

Finally, be prepared to give up any ‘me-time’ like catching up on a latest movie or reading a book. You’re flight time will be dedicated to keeping your baby occupied and happy. However, the holiday should be worth it!

We’ve added our top 10 tips for flying with a baby – do you have any more to add?

References:

The Best-Ever Tips for Travelling with Babies – Quantas

Baby on board: how to survive a flight with an infant – Traveller Mag

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