Sunday, 12 May 2013

Flying with Baby: 7½ Tips

Airplanes and babies are like chewing gum and hair: a catastrophic combination. In my pre-baby days, when boarding an airplane, I scanned with apprehension the neighbouring seats to see if there was a little person who would turn the flight into a living nightmare. Now, I'm the proud receiver of terrified looks when I walk down the aisle carrying my precious little bundle.

Flying with Baby Tips, A Mum in London
Image via

Flying for the first time with a baby is terrifying. With time you get the hang of it and with a bit of practice you can master the art of flying without crying. Here are 7½ tried and tested tips for stress-free baby flying.

1. Right Flight
Try to book a flight which coincides with your baby's nap times. This way, you have more chances for her/him to fall asleep. I always prefer night flights, cause the Baby is exhausted and falls fast asleep after drinking his milk.

2. Exhaust the Beast
Before boarding, let your child crawl, climb, run in the waiting area. You might get frowned at, but, let's face it, you're getting used to it.

3. Smart Pack
Try to pack only what you'll need in your cabin luggage, as you won't have easy access to it. That might include diapers, extra clothes, a few toys and books, a small blanket, milk and snacks. Remember, you are not allowed to board with more than 100ml of liquids, but you can take fruits, biscuits, pasta. Flight attendants will provide you with boiled water.

4. Surprise
Before every flight, I buy a (cheap) new toy or book to surprise the Baby on board. That ensures at least half an hour of peace.

5. Baby Ears
As babies and children don't know how to pop their ears during take off and landing, they are in pain and might cry a lot. After a terrible experience with a screaming Baby, I always carry his favorite juice and give it to him during take off and landing.

6. Fly-tech
When travelling, iPad is worth its weight in gold. Baby's favorite apps, videos and music will win you some more time.

7. Right seat
Try to book an aisle seat, as you'll be making quite a few trips to the toilet. Aisle seats are also great for "freeing" restless toddlers, who dream of running up and down an airplane.

7½. Sky-high
Tired & stressed parents = grumpy kids. Take it cool, don't stress and tell yourself you've done more difficult things (giving birth, being sleep deprived for months, having puke and mashed food thrown at you). Wear something comfortable, drink some wine and ignore angry looks.

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  1. Great post with many of the points relevant for all forms of travel. I think parents keeping their cool and not being tired or grumpy is the most important tip when travelling with babies.

  2. Exhaust the Beast - I love it!!! You're absolutely right! You've got good tips here, planning ahead is a must but one of the most important tips is at the end, grumpy parents equal grumpy kids. When you've planned ahead you need to relax, a calm mommy is going to help keep a calm baby.

  3. Hi, Jennifer. Truth is it's not always easy to keep your cool, especially when fellow passengers give you the "make your #%@$! baby shut up" look. Luckily, after quite a few flights, I find it much easier to ignore them :)

  4. Very good advice. I'd just add that if you're travelling out of the UK you can take more than 100ml with you. I took a flight to Pakistan from Heathrow and (being terrified that we'd be stranded in Dubai, don't ask me why!) had packed 2 days milk supply. This comprised 5 bottles of cooled water and 11 ready-mixed bottles of Aptamil. The lovely man at Heathrow security just asked me to taste 2 of the bottles. I was stunned.

    1. I didn't know they let you pass security check with more than 100ml. That's good to know, thank you for pointing it out. I'll pack more juice next time :)

  5. Awww, I don't mind children on planes, I wear earplugs anyway. The only time I ever minded was when a family was separated and the little girl screamed for her dad the whole way. She was obviously going through 'that phase' so I didn't know why mum and dad didn't just swap places. I love your chewing gum and hair analogy!

    1. Oh my, that sounds like "plane hell". I would wear earplugs too, if I could. :)


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