Jetting off for your first holiday with your baby is an exciting and exhilarating experience but can understandably also be nerve-wracking – how will your child react and what can you do to make the journey as comfortable and smooth as possible?
No one can predict exactly how their baby will react during the new and strange experience of flying, not to mention the potential chaos getting to and around the airport. The fears of trying to sooth a crying child for hours on end, in a confined space, can cause you to worry more than look forward to your break!
From short plane journeys to long-haul flights, there are a handful of things to take into consideration beforehand which can help make your journey stress-free for both you and your child.
While many airlines are well set-up to help you and your baby have the most comfortable flight possible, to help put your mind at ease, check out our 6 tips for flying with baby…
1. Check you’ve packed the essentials
As with packing for your holiday, it’s best to write a checklist of what to bring for your flight. Make sure you’ve packed the essentials to avoid stress on board – including nappies, wipes, dummies, formula, your baby carrier and extra layers of clothing. Make sure to pack snacks for the flight and plenty of drinks – you’re normally allowed to bring small jars of baby food and formula on board.
2. Be over-prepared
Once you’ve ticked everything off your list of essentials, consider what extra supplies could make your flight even easier – whether it be extra nappies or snacks. It’s far better to be over-prepared for flying with a baby, especially if it’s your first time!
Allow enough time for every part of your journey, from leaving home to going through security at the airport. Bring a blanket in case your flight is chillier than expected. Make sure your baby has a dummy or bottle during take-off and landing – the pressure can cause major pain for babies while flying and this sucking motion can help relieve the comfort.
It’s also important to make sure your baby’s vaccinations are up-to-date before flying to another country.
3. Fly at night
If possible, book your flight for a night journey – it helps if your departure time is after normal sleep time or if this is not possible, try and keep your baby awake and distracted until after take-off.
Travelling during nap-time is the best possible outcome – a sleeping baby is far less work on a flight! It’s also a good idea to try and avoid peak-time flights, for a chance of more space and personal service in a non-crowded plane.
4. Bring a comforting toy
It’s a great idea to bring a comforting and familiar toy from home on your flight – which is also bound to come in handy during your holiday too! This can work wonders on a long-haul flight. Engage with your baby with quiet-play (peek-a-boo is a must!) and don’t avoid getting up and walking up and down the aisle with your child periodically.
5. Sit strategically
Tell the airline you’re flying with that you’re travelling with a baby from the outset. If possible, try to leave a seat in-between you and anyone you’re travelling with – not only does this allow room for your baby to lay down but also avoids a solo-passenger sitting on your row and becoming potentially agitated if your child does become unhappy and cries.
If possible, purchase another seat for your baby (or take advantage if the airline offers free-flights for babies) – sitting on your lap is OK for a while but can quickly become uncomfortable!
It’s also a good idea to sit close to other families with young children if possible, as they are far more likely to be sympathetic and understanding (and share tips and supplies!)
6. Keep calm and relax!
While flying with a baby for the first time can be understandably stressful, don’t get too anxious beforehand! Once you have settled on board, remember to try to enjoy this new experience. Don’t become paranoid that something will go wrong or your baby will be uncomfortable for the duration of the flight – flights can be pain-free and there will be many passengers happy to see a young child on board.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help either, whether it be moving seats to warming up a bottle of milk. Relax and remember – you’re not alone!