What I’ve learnt about travelling with a baby (alternate title – ‘Everyone on this plane hates you and your baby hasn’t even cried yet’)

So I have taken the little lady on 4 flights now, 3 with the husband and 1 on my own. We are about to fly again and I thought I would put together a record of what has worked/not worked/might work for plane travel with baby.

What to take:

– A large, easy to get into bag. Ideally with a zip! I have found that typical baby bags are not big enough for travelling. In fact I don’t think they are big enough for every day use either. I bought a fantastic one for about $200 and never once took it out of the house. I used a beach bag. Oh well – you learn! This one looks pretty great!

– A baby carrier. When our little one was tiny I swore by the Hug-a-bub. Now she much prefers facing outward so I have a Baby Bjorn One (much more back support than the old Baby Bjorn). I also have an Ergo which is great. And an old fashioned Baby Bjorn. I have a baby carrier habit. But I only use the One nowadays. These are a must when travelling – particularly on your own. You can carry the baby on the plane and stay standing up as long as possible without killing your arms. Keeping hands free while you try and get yourself sorted out is also very useful. You can’t keep the baby in the carrier when you go through security though so make sure you can get it off easily. Use this for entertainment, walking up the aisles, sleeping – everything!

One alternative/addition that I would consider if I had a spare few hundred $$ is the BabyZen Yoyo stroller which folds down to cabin luggage size. This would be a fantastic alternative to taking your full sized pram and checking it in the hold.

– More nappies that you think you need. This is probably a given but our babe has a delightful habit of poo-ing in moving things – like cars, her jumperoo, and planes. I would also take those disposable changing mats. A few of them. When you change your baby on those tables over the top of the toilets they are really hard and seem quite uncomfortable. If you have a wrap or jumper with you to put under the baby’s head I would recommend it as I think the vibration of the plane is quite strong if your head is right on it. 

– Toys. Small ones but ones that can keep the baby occupied for a while. Don’t be that person who only brings squeaky or musical toys, but you can bet your last dollar I will be bringing squeaky Sophie la Giraffe and the beep car keys. Better than shouty baby I reckon. Make sure you save them up and dole them out one at a time. Go for a walk in between so the baby doesn’t get ‘toy fatigue’. Don’t forget the ‘outside the box’ toys that you can get on the plane – a water bottle, the safety instructions, etc. This trip with a 6 month old I am going to take Sophie la Giraffe, keys, a crackly chewy book, a rattly ball of some description, a soft bunny, her daddy…

– A muslin wrap. I love the Aden & Anais bamboo wraps because they are so outrageously soft. These can wipe up vomit, keep the baby warm, cover your clothes up during feeding, be an emergency bib, be a peekaboo toy, be chewed on by teething babies, be a barrier between the baby and dirty plane surfaces, etc. 

– Drugs. If you have a teething baby take the works –  Panadol, Nurofen, Bonjela. Not to use all at once of course, but you just never know. 

– Separate handbag. I personally carry a leather handbag that fits in all my stuff separately as I find wallets, phones and keys fall to the bottom of the baby bag never to be found again. I can fit an iPad mini and a book, a cardigan or wrap, my phone charger and a bottle of water in here no worries. If you were an organised person you would probably put in an extra top or something. I prefer to live dangerously.

– A spare set of (warm) clothing. It is cold on planes. You baby is reasonably likely to get poo/food/excessive vomit on itself. You could free style some sort of sarong type outfit with the wrap you cleverly brought with you, but you will get weird looks.

– Bottles/dummies/chewy things. Babies can’t equalise their ears as easily as adults so give them something to make them swallow frequently during take off and landing. This could be breastfeeding, bottle feeding, a dummy – whatever floats your boat. If breastfeeding you have to time your run, don’t start until the plane is taking off. I once had a fully fed baby by the time we even got to the runway. Oops. Similarly the plan will be descending for about 40 minutes, wait until the seatbelt sign has been turned on – and even later than that if you can.

What to do:

– Have a mindset that you are going to entertain your baby the whole trip, then any sleep and spare time you get is a bonus. 

– Do whatever it takes to keep the baby happy. All the rules about food and toys and screens are out the window. If my husband wants to bring the remote control or use his iPhone to entertain the baby – go for gold! If I could pull her favourite power point off the wall I would do that. Hey maybe there is a product in that… 

– You can pee with a baby in a baby carrier.  Or even sitting on your lap. Just saying’… 

– In a similar vein, if you are on your own and may have to take a baby to the bathroom (no friendly strangers or hosties around) then a skirt is a lot easier to manage in the bathroom. I prefer a jersey maxi dress myself.

– Engage with those people who want to tell you how cute your baby is. They can play peekaboo with the baby for 5 minutes and you are 5 minutes closer to your destination and your first cocktail/red wine/prozac. 

– Try and get a basinette if your baby is little. It is really easy to travel with a sleeping baby and you can watch those episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians documentaries that you have missed. 

– My doctor told me that she wouldn’t recommend drinking a glass of wine just before getting on the plane and breastfeeding. But she wouldn’t NOT recommend it either…

– Some people will scowl at you. Smile back. You have a beautiful baby to cuddle and they probably have a teenager.

– If the baby cries the whole way, do some calculations of what percentage of your holiday the trip is. Doing that maths should take you a while and you will be closer to landing. (oh, and it might give you some perspective to help get through).

 

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2 thoughts on “What I’ve learnt about travelling with a baby (alternate title – ‘Everyone on this plane hates you and your baby hasn’t even cried yet’)

  1. Hi. I came across the link to your blog via Dad Down Under. I just had a little giggle about peeing with the baby in a baby carrier. I thought I was crazy for doing this for the first time recently when travelling with a 4 and 3 year old, along with the 4 month old. So glad others have done this too.

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