Selfishly one of my biggest concerns when becoming pregnant was whether my enjoyment of travelling would have to end. Flying with an infant was a little daunting, so I thought I would have to postpone until my child was a little older.
But I found that flying doesn’t need to stop when having a baby, it’s just about preparation. After all, any trip with a baby requires preparation, even a quick trip to a local store.
So here’s how I prepare when flying with an infant:
1. Take the normal measures you should when flying with an infant (or without!). Allow yourself plenty of time, and try to avoid putting yourself in manic situations before your flight. Airports can be stressful places, so any preparation you can do to reduce this stress will reap dividends.
2. Try and have all baby items in one dedicated bag. It helps to ensure you have everything needed, to hand.
3. Pack as light as possible, only taking the essentials when flying with an infant.
4. If feasible, carry your baby from check-in. This will eliminate the worry of the last minute stroller drop off upon boarding. A thought here though, as I said if feasible. Consider the airport wait before your flight is called.
5. If your airline allows it, place the baby bag under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead locker. This will allow for easy and quick access.
6. Are you a nervous flyer? If so, consider the vibes you will be giving your baby. Easy to say, but do your best to try and stay calm.
7. You might consider giving your infant a dose of Tylenol Infant or Calpol (UK) after boarding the flight, to help settle and take the edge off. While the 100ml security restrictions do not apply to medications, usefully, Calpol is available in sachets. A couple in your hand luggage will save vital space, and be convenient to administer to make flying with an infant a breeze.
8. You will know how uncomfortable your head and ears can feel during cabin pressure changes on take off and landing. Imagine a little one who has no idea what’s going on. A good way to help counteract this is to time a feed on take off and when landing. Let the swallowing help with the natural ears popping. With any luck they might also drop off after a feed. If possible have the feed heated at the airport before boarding ready for take off. With all the pre-flight checks the last thing the flight attendants will have time for is heating a bottle. Also ensure you have enough feeds to cover the whole flight, you don’t want to be caught short!
9. Cabin temperatures can vary quite dramatically during a flight. When stationary on the apron, it’s usually very warm. The air conditioning isn’t on and no air changes occur. Once airborne it can become cooler very quickly as the AC kicks in. Bear this in mind and have a blanket or clothing options available.
10. The noises, speed, elevation and unfamiliar surroundings must be a little unsettling for your baby. A lullaby while you feed and a reassuring cuddle will go a long way to help you enjoy flying with an infant.
11. Remember, there will often be a child causing more distress to others than yours.
12. If your baby is really unsettled and you are feeling a little awkward among the passengers around you, try a little walk around the cabin. A good tip here is, find where the engines are located. The noise from them can even drown out a crying baby. This will give you the chance to focus on settling them.
13. Pop a new toy in your hand luggage if they are old enough to appreciate it. The surprise will keep them distracted for a while.
14. The best bit of advice I can offer is, just relax and ‘try’ to take it in your stride. Accept that people around you might not be best pleased about you flying with an infant. Lets face it, after settling in your seat and getting comfortable the moment you see a couple walking up the gangway with baby in arm, we can all be forgiven for thinking to ourselves ‘just keep walking’. But that’s their problem, and besides, hopefully you find some of the tips on flying with an infant helpful enough to have a pleasant journey. And if not, then lets at least hope you are travelling to a lovely vacation destination to recover!
15. If all else fails, there is always the cargo hold for the return journey. Joking of course!
Flying with an infant doesn’t need to be a challenge. You just need to plan ahead.
If you have any further tips for when flying with an infant, please leave us a comment below.
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