Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Babies can typically be a bit of a handful. So it only makes perfect sense that travelling with them would be a true test of character. Here are some useful tips for when it comes to flying with your your littlest one.
1. "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail"
It's always important to do some really careful planning even before purchasing your flight tickets. Notify the airline that you’ll be traveling with a baby. You know those front row/bulkhead seats that come additional space? that's your prime seating zone. It may also be useful to consider whether to book flight during the baby’s usual sleep time or not: while some babies will become irritated with the condition of the flight (the temperature, the air pressure, all the going-up-and-down stuff), others will just sleep right through it. If you want to go the extra mile, ask your paediatrician to check the baby for any illnesses that could be a red flag for your trip - it's highly unlikely you would want to irritate a baby who already has an ear infection! Also, when going to that exotic destination of your dreams, make sure to get them vaccinated (this goes for you too, the parents).
2. "Relax! take your luggage, not your baggage"
Imagine an ambulance arriving at an accident scene with kitchen utensils, silly right? If you're flying with a baby your bag should include the necessary stuff for taking care of the baby, like baby food, extra clothes (and a bib), diapers, extra pacifier (those can get lost), noiseless-toys, baby medication and maybe even a blanket (if it fits). Also make sure you prepare for the unexpected by ensuring you are ready to take care of the child in case you experience a flight delay or even a cancelled flight.
3. "Game day!"
This is broken down into two parts - taking care of the baby at the airport & taking care of the baby during the actual flight. Arriving early at the airport is never a bad idea, especially when travelling with a baby! An early arrival will give you time to deal with any issues that arise without stressing out yourself and, in turn, the baby. Remember what we said about "Taking you luggage and not your baggage"? make sure you put this to practice! Check-in as much luggage as possible, since you don’t want to handle both the baby and your stuff at the same time. Bonus tip: it’s good to change his or her diaper before going aboard, but feeding shortly before the flight is inadvisable!
Even as frequent flyers, we still tend to get irritated during the flight, so you can only imagine what the baby must be going through. In order to help your baby adjust to pressure changes, encourage swallowing on takeoff and landing by using a bottle or pacifier. Also, keep the baby well-hydrated during the flight – they get dehydrated faster than we do! You can also ask the flight attendants to heat a bottle for you, but make sure to do that in advance of feeding times (both for the baby and the cabin) and check the temperature. But wait! it's not over just yet. Make sure you do not rush to get off -the snail-paced exit can really upset the baby.
Hopefully, these tips will be enough to get you waltzing through the skies with your babies! Please feel free to share your experiences of travelling with your little ones in the comments section below!