Travelling with a baby isn’t easy but it’s not impossible! Here’s how to master it…
When my son was 9 months we went on a 7 week holiday around Europe. Even before we left I was dreading the airport lines, feeling extremely anxious about the 24 hour direct flight to London, and quite frankly I didn’t know how my husband and I would cope with the amount of luggage it takes to pack up one small child. I braced myself for the worst case scenario of a screaming baby on the flight (and fellow passengers seething!) while quietly hoped it wouldn’t be that bad. And it wasn’t. But the key was preparation – lots of preparation. Here are my top tips.
From A to B
Sometimes the excitement of a holiday makes you forget how much you walk in an airport. Just a reminder – it’s a lot. Carrying your baby isn’t ideal as you need your hands free for luggage and passports. Lots of people use a front pack which is good. But I found taking your pushchair to the gate the most convenient approach as your baby can nap if it needs to (and you can do a spin around Duty Free at the same time!) We also tried out the Mountain Buggy Bag Rider and while it was a nice change, you just can’t beat the convenience of a buggy.
Timing is Everything
If your baby is on a strict routine, time your flights to fit in with it. Night flights are great for babies as with any luck they’ll sleep the majority of a 12-hour flight. I also found it was best to keep my baby on the same time zone as where we departed from for the entire flight. It was only when we reached our destination that I adjusted his routine to suit.
Don’t be First
I’ve been waiting all my life to be asked to board the plane early because I have small children but this is one of the worst things you can do. Your baby will be on that plane for hours, and like any baby, it will get bored. Don’t make them sit there for another hour waiting for takeoff while everyone else gets on the plane at snail pace. If you’re traveling with a partner send them on before you to get first dibs on the overhead compartments and set up camp, and then walk onto the plane last.
Make it your Home
I found day flights were the hardest to get my son to sleep as there was so much distracting him. However the Coszigo sleep and sun shade cover was the BEST. Think of it like a small pop up tent that surrounds the plane bassinet and blocks out all the surrounding light and distraction. On that note it’s also good to introduce a comforter a few weeks before you fly so you can put it in the basinette and hopefully it will make them feel right at home.
Replenishments x 1000
Like any mum you’ll pack what your baby needs food and drink-wise. But make sure you pack more. If delays or a grumpy baby hit you’ll need to get more food asap so best to have it with you.
The ‘just-in-case’ Extra’s
When packing extra clothes for your baby don’t forget to pack an extra for you and your partner. Chances are that you’ll get food, vomit or poo (I know, so gross) on something. I learn’t the hard way that as chic as cashmere looked, it wasn’t the most ideal fabric for flying.
A friend of mine who is a nanny and travels a lot with children recommended packing cells to me. To be honest, at first I didn’t see the point but once onboard I realised how much easier they made the trip. I got three different sizes from Katmandu and used one for nappies and wipes, one for food and snacks, and the other for toys and books. It made it so easy to go into your suitcase and just pull out the packing cell you needed rather than rummaging around desperately trying to find that one particular toy. And don’t forget a blanket for your bub as the airplane ones are pretty thin.
Sleep Sleep Sleep
Just like the midwives used to say when you had a newborn: sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s so tempting to have a glass of wine and catch up on the new release movies that you know you’ll never get to. But trust me, if you get to your destination and it’s 2am your baby will likely be swinging from the chandeliers thinking it’s an all night party so you might not be getting much sleep either.
Something else you might like: Five Essential Online Stores for New Mums
Photo credit: @pinterest