My little guy and I have been flying together since he was 6 weeks old, he was a little premature so any earlier would have been a bit silly. Honestly this is the best time to take a little one with you if you want to travel the world.. they are so portable, often their food is right on tap with you if you can breastfeed and they can be carried so easily.. it all changes once they are crawling/walking/talking….
This is how I did it, especially on my almost weekly trips to our country house (an hour and a half away)
Firstly, get a baby carrier you and your baby are comfortable in, yes you will have to take it off for take off and landing but will give your free hands for check in and boarding. Your outfit is important.. I have some crepe black jumpsuits I wear for travel and rotate them for different seasons. The crepe doesn’t crease, covers dribbles, and breast milk leaks as they happen, A cardigan around your waist is the perfect extra layer as you wont have to take off your baby carrier.
I always always always used a long patterned baby muslin as a light scarf when travelling, this doubled as a burp cloth, and extra blanket and a baby wrap, perfect up to about six-seven months and not heavy to add to your outfit. My jewellery for flying was simple and never forgotten. A baby teething necklace in a pastel colour.. went with my baby scarf.. and was the perfect place to hang a baby dummy on. This way, you don’t lose it, drop it, forget it. My little guy never used a dummy except when we were landing or taking off on the plane. Such a simple trick and I always put it on before leaving for the airport for my sanity. A small child screaming on descent is horrible and can hopefully be avoided.
Changing babies on a plane is a nightmare.. get to the airport early, I fly in some pretty small planes that don’t have change tables so pack a plastic change mat as I’ve been known to change a number two on the floor on advice from the crew. (please put in change tables Alliance…..)
As I put nappies into the flying bag I put them into their own little nappy bag.. so I don’t forget and one less thing to carry to the toilet.. I change him at the airport and on arrival if a short flight. If up in the air, there are some nappy change envelope things and clutch type bags you can buy but i personally found them too bulky in the bag and just as easy to carry my own nappy in it bag and a bag of wipes to the toilet.
Speaking of changing.. a spare set of clothes for a small flight.. for you and baby.. ( he projectile vomited once on a bumpy flight and I’ve never been the same person)
And if a longer flight, I put the little guy straight into his sleeping bag. Up until about the age of one and a half a baby grow all in one suit was the best,
Think about it..one outfit, came with sleeves ( short or long), zipper for a quick change, can be light weight or heavy weight for different countries/air conditioning, and have feet so you don’t need socks/shoes/or even mittens if they have the fold over gloves for those little ones that scratch themselves in their sleep. Easy easy easy.. and that is what this is all about, taking the stress out.. Don’t bring one with press studs/ poppers.. disaster in a small change area.
Medication.. under 100mls.. panadol.. neurofen, and a syringe, your preference as required. I have never, ever given a sedative on a plane to my child, but he is very use to travel and planes but with pain medication be prepared, you never know when or where some one is going to cut a tooth..
Bottles.. this can be tricky with international and you will have to check with your airline, I breast fed and bottle fed at different stages. I had a great 3 compartment formula container, 3 sterilised bottles of water in my bag.. remember there can be delays with flights !!! I also carried homemade pureed fruits and veg in the same way, often packed frozen to defrost in time for the plane. If transferring from one plane to another don’t be shy about asking a cafe or the lounge staff to rinse and clean your bottles and refill with boiling water. While you are at it grab a latte or champagne depending on the time of day or your future time zone.
Don’t forget provisions for more formula in your check in luggage. Never presume your destination will sell your baby’s formula or nappies. If your little one has moved on to cows milk, I would pack one for the drive to the airport, if you have to empty in international like I had to the other day in New Zealand, I managed to pick up some more in the Qantas Lounge. A couple of ice cubes to keep cold and remember to ask your flight attendant for more on board. While I’ve never been on a plane that has run out of milk, you can buy single serve over 12 month ‘toddler milk’ sachets.If you ask often your Doctors office will have samples. These are perfect as a flight back up for the over 1 year old.
In case of emergencies most planes (not Alliance) do carry some nappies, baby food and baby formula. I wouldn’t rely on it however. You can always request infant and child food on your bookings, even if the child is under two and doesn’t require its own seat, even in Business class you have to pay for their travel so food can be supplied. Remember to request this at least 48 hours before travel.
Flight attendants will help you, especially if you are travelling on your own ( and your baby isn’t too unsettled).. I will always ask if someone from the crew can hold or sit with my child so I can use the bathroom on my own. They will help, that is what they are there for and don’t be afraid to use that bell. You can also get extra blankets and pillows for feeding this way.
Entertainment. Tpys that can be attached to clothes are handy, teething rings, clip on rattles etc.. I didn’t start travelling with an Ipad until he was about one, a lot of my small flights have no entertainment on board, so I loaded it up with Masha, even with the sound down it was amusing for him. When they are little headphones are a nightmare, tangles, potential strangles and just another thing to carry. The best thing with the Ipad was playing his sleep music at the hotel at the other end to keep up routine. No matter where we are in the world, he knows it is bedtime when I put it on. People who play loud cartoons/music on a plane with no headphones are obnoxious.. please stop..
Where to sit,
on a small plane, two seats, I’d request an aisle seat with an infant. For a two year old, a window for them and aisle for you. International.. if they can walk, I would get them their own seat if you can afford it. Put yourself in the aisle seat and them next to you. Less chance of escape.. if you can get closer to the front of the plane, do it.. less time to get off, especially if they have got tired and cranky on the way, quicker into customs and bag collection. I have used baby bassinets on international flights, these are handy but my little guy became very big very quickly and outgrew them. You can always check how big they are before flying. If you are relying on it to get some sleep I wouldn’t count on it.
Sick bags.. use for rubbish.. I don’t know why but there seems to be a lot of it..
Once your little one is getting too big for a carrier I would recommend a travel pram.. watch for the next post.