Since becoming a mum, I’ve flown countless times – short and long haul. Just the thought of taking a baby on a flight for the first time terrified me, though.
We’ve all witnessed those anxious parents wrangling noisy or crying children when we’ve flown, right? These days, of course, I’ve learned to offer them a sympathetic smile. My judgmental days are long behind me!
Flying with a newborn baby or a toddler doesn’t need to be a stress-filled mission though. With a little forward planning and a few tricks up your sleeve, you can look forward to a much easier journey.
Here are my top tips on how to fly with a baby (sponsored by Britax).
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5 Tips for Flying with a Baby
1. Check your airline’s policy
Have a thorough read of your airline’s policy for infants. Check how old your baby needs to be before you can take them on a flight.
Also check what you’re able to take on board and as carry on for them. Many airlines will allow you to take 2-3 additional items related to your baby, such as a car seat, pram or travel cot. We always opt to take a travel cot as one of our items, as it saves us the hassle of securing one at our destination. We use the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light which is easy to carry, lightweight and compact. There is also room for us to stuff extra baby items – like clothes and toys – inside it (a great way to pop in some free luggage).
Taking a car seat on a plane can be another great option, if your airline allows it. Britax Safe-n-Sound have multiple car seats that comply with airline guidelines. Taking a car seat on a flight means that your baby has a familiar seat to relax in, hopefully for a smoother journey for you! It also helps to free your hands so you don’t need your baby on your lap the whole time. Then, at your destination, you already have a car seat to use so won’t need to hire one.
Before you take your car seat on board, check that your airline allows it and if there are any additional costs for doing so.
International travel tip: You also need to check if regulations allow you to bring a child car seat from another country. Refer to this article for more advice.
2. Find the best seat
Check the seating options that are available to you from your airline. A great way to do this is to see if you’re able to secure seats with a bassinet in front of them. My babies have never really slept in them but the seats have a lot of extra legroom, so are great when you have a lot of bags.
Find out if your airline has these seats available and how you can book them. Just bear in mind that some airlines will allow you to choose a bassinet when you book online but this doesn’t always guarantee that you will get them. For example, if a family with a smaller baby needs it, they might have it allocated to them on check in instead.
3. Make your life easier
Plan in advance what to pack in the hold and what to take on board. Put as much as you can in the hold! The last thing you want is to lug around anything unnecessary.
Keep things simple on board and only take the necessities – feeding equipment, clothing, your changing bag and entertainment.
To make things even easier, take a mini changing bag (this could be a plastic bag) on board too for quick nappy changes. Rather than try to cram your normal changing bag into the teeny toilet cubicle, have a smaller bag with the essentials for each trip. This could include a nappy, nappy sack, wipes and possible a change of clothes. If you need nappy cream, then take a smaller version.
You want to make feeding and changing as easy as possible when you’re on a flight with a baby. As long as they are fed and clean, you’re off to a good start.
4. Will they sleep on board?
Depending on how long your flight is, you might need to factor in sleep for your baby.
Of course, there is no guarantee that they will sleep! It’s still good to prepare for a nap or longer sleep if possible. If you can try to stick to their usual schedule, great! If you can’t, don’t sweat it. I would recommend letting your baby dictate their ‘in-flight’ schedule as much as possible. Your stress levels will thank you for it.
Try to make them as comfortable and relaxed as possible in their unfamiliar, noisier surroundings. My babies tended to drift off as they were feeding. Of course I then had to stay awake the whole flight, holding them to ensure their safety! Every time I tried to transfer them to the bassinet, they woke up. I was exhausted by the end of the journey, but it worked for us and made the flight itself much easier.
5. Bring along some entertainment!
Finally, have some entertaining tricks up your sleeve. It’s great to have something to distract your little one, if they do get upset on board. This will depend on how old your baby is.
We take a little toy or book on board that they haven’t seen before. It’s a nice way of keeping them occupied and entertained.
If you’ve already flown with your little ones, and have tips of your own, please share them!
I hope my tips for flying with a baby give you peace of mind and help you to better plan your journey. Bon voyage!
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Disclosure: this post about flying with a baby is sponsored by Britax.