Summer is here and foreign climes are calling! Heading on your first holiday with a baby is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit daunting to say the least, especially when flying. Planning ahead means you can help reduce the stress of the journey for you and your little one, so read on for our ultimate guide to taking a baby on a plane.
1. Make an in-flight checklist
Here’s a general list of necessities:
-A changing bag with a waterproof lining and a shoulder strap, or even better a back pack that won’t keep sliding off your shoulder
-A couple of easy to change extra outfits (plus an extra top for you!)
-A lightweight baby sleep bag can come in handy for carrying extra bits and pieces in that you would like for your flight or that you don’t have room in your suitcase for!
-Milk – in a very portable breast or bottles (more on liquid restrictions and preparing bottles below). Don’t forget breast pads if you are breast feeding
-Comforters, dummies – we are frequently told our Comfortchew or Muslin Comforter is perfect for travel as they are attachable to baby’s wrist, a car seat, buggy or you can use the strap to attach your little one’s dummy – double comfort! Sucking a dummy, bottle or breast can help relieve the pressure on little ones ears
-Snacks in little bags – the less messy the better – pouches with re-sealable lids are great!
-Nappies, nappy sacks and wipes (again for travel time plus 24 hours in case of delays)
-Small toys/distractions – mini books, a new toy, and electronic devices all help pass the time!
-A lightweight blanket – our MultiMuslin with its #sixcleveruses is the ideal travel companion
-Infant paracetamol with syringe or individual sachets are great and lightweight
Pack each set of ‘things’ in to individual bags (food bag, toy bag, spare clothes bag etc) to go inside your main hand luggage bag – it makes it so much easier to find things when you are raking around.
Airport Security restrictions mean that liquids in hand luggage must be less than 100ml, however this does not apply to milk for your baby. If you plan to take more than 100ml of medicine, you will need a doctor’s note or a copy of the prescription. More details and guidance can be found on the Government website here.
Some airlines will only allow one cabin bag that must fit within their specified dimensions, even if you are travelling with a baby, so you may need to be very selective, especially if you are travelling alone! The other option is to wear something with lots of packets, but bear in mind you may feel a bit warm with extra layers and stuffed pockets!
2. Prepare Your Bottles
If your baby is bottle-fed, you need to think ahead. Although the 100ml restrictions don’t apply, you may have your baby’s formula tested at security, or prefer to carry less liquid to avoid the extra weight. To avoid causing a delay at security, you could prepare bottles with powder only. That way, you only need to add water once past the security checkpoint or decant straight in to a bottle. Ask the flight attendants for warm water – they usually have plenty on hand for coffee and tea.
While breastfeeding on a plane might not be as comfortable as breastfeeding at home, it’s completely doable. Obviously you can also express milk and bring it on the plane in bottles if you prefer – security simply scan the milk with a hand-held device and sometimes you have to drink a bit. Opt for a window seat if possible rather than aisle to help give you some elbow room. A breastfeeding cover like our MultiMuslin can help give you and your baby a bit more privacy if you need it.
4. Do I need to purchase an additional seat for my baby?
If your child is under the age of two, there is usually no additional charge. This can save money, but it also means your child has to sit on your lap for the entire flight. The bigger they get the harder this becomes and it’s nearly impossible to get your tray down!
If you purchase a separate ticket for your baby, or if there are extra seats on your flight, you can bring your baby’s car seat on the plane and use it the same way you do in the car. Traveling with your baby in a secured car seat is the safest way to do air travel with a baby. However, it can be a hassle having to carry it around, so you need to weigh up which option is right for you. A sling is good as it’s so portable and keeps your hands free to do other things easily!
It’s worth considering a travel system which allows you to snap the car seat onto a stroller base, which you can then easily detach during boarding. It’s the best of both worlds when both mum and baby need their own space. Always check with your airline what their policy is on car seats and extra hold luggage when travelling with an infant. There is some useful information on various airlines’ policies for infant travel at Skyscanner here.
If you are hiring a car at your destination it’s also great to have your car seat (or a seat you know the history of). Your car seat can usually be put in to the hold on the flight if you don’t want to use it during the flight – it doesn’t count towards your overall weight allowance with your airline, but you might want to wrap it up well to avoid damage!
5. To buggy or not to buggy?
I love having a buggy in the airport. It always allows the little one to have a rest while you sprint from gate to gate, and it’s good to hang your bag onto too! Also, most airlines can check your buggy right at the gate. Be smart about the stroller you use. Make sure it’s one that collapses easily and isn’t too bulky. Also I would recommend one that you don’t mind being thrown about a bit through all the travel and definitely one that collapses with one hand, which saves fumbling with it, and baby, and bags etc.!
6. Have fun!
The journey can often seem like a chore, but make it fun and don’t waste the first day of your holiday stressing out! Bon Voyage! xx