Flying long distances with a baby can be a bit scary. Most people actually thought we were crazy for flying with a baby, but while they can be difficult, they're not impossible! Today's post is full of all my tips for flying with a baby and I hope it helps put your mind at ease about the whole process.
Many people thought we were crazy flying long distances with a baby, especially to the Maldives! But if you read my last post abouthow amazing it was to visit the maldives with a babythen you'll know it was worth it.
I'm not going to lie, long flights with babies can be difficult. I am one of the few people who really love long-haul flights. I love being off the internet and being able to sit back and relax for 10 hours without worrying about emails, clients and social media. I wrap myself in a blanket, order a G&T, and sit down to watch a movie marathon. it's happiness. Honestly, I don't know why people hate it so much.
And then George came along and I know it will be a few years before I can enjoy a relaxing plane ride like this again. Ahh, sigh.
Our flight to the Maldives
we travel withturkish airlinesto the Maldives. We flew in from Birmingham and started with a 4 hour flight to Istanbul. There was a 2-hour layover before a final 8-hour flight to Malé, the capital of the Maldives.
We tried the short-haul European flight with Turkish Airlines and then the long-haul transatlantic flight, which is important to note because they were very different.
Turkish Airlines was awarded Europe's Best Airline and it's not hard to see why. The food is amazing (yes, I just said airplane food is amazing!), the staff were lovely, and the whole experience is simple and enjoyable. For the Istanbul to Male portion of the trip, it felt like a different airline. The food was still delicious and we still had a very tasty Turkish delight, but the service was not the same.
Flightforfor the Maldives it was an absolute dream. George was awake for the first leg of the trip and spent most of the flight watching movies, eating, and playing games with the couple sitting behind us. The lovely lady who checked us in made sure we had 3 seats between us even though we hadn't paid for George to have his own seat. There weren't many free seats on the flight, so we really appreciated that. I asked to have a bulkhead seat for more leg room but actually found that having a spare seat was better than leg room.
On this second flight, we had the front seat with extra legroom and room for a cot. A cot was brought for George, but he refused to settle in it. He thought he could stick his head out and look at everyone on the flight. This was a fantastic game, especially since the other passengers thought it was funny and laughed at it. So I finally hugged him and he fell asleep on my lap. He slept through the entire 8 hour flight and woke up as soon as we landed. Look, I said it was a dream!
Flying home from the Maldives was a very different story and George was hardly satisfied with the entire flight.
He complained, drank and was stingy for almost all 12 hours. (OK, that's an exaggeration, but that's what it sounds like.)
To my surprise, everyone sitting around us was incredibly nice. No one rolled their eyes, no one huffed and puffed, and no one groaned every time I made a noise. People went out of their way to make him smile and play hide and seek with him from behind their seats. I am very grateful for all these people.
See more information:What to take a child on a plane
My tips for flying long distances with a baby
Babies pick up on our feelings, so if you're tense and anxious, the baby will feel it too. I know, it's not easy to relax and enjoy the flight if you're nervous about having a crying baby, but if you can, it will be so much easier to fly with a baby. I found that I was most worried about what others would think, but I quickly realized that I didn't have to worry about the other passengers...
Most of the passengers will be very friendly.
Our flight was full of honeymooners and I didn't want to spoil them. It turned out that I didn't have to worry about what other people thought because almost everyone was very, very nice, on all 4 flights! We always seemed to catch a kind old couple telling lots of stories about their own children and grandchildren over the holidays.
Many people have been in your shoes before and will be happy to help you, or at least give you a kind smile to make sure they don't get upset by your crying child.
Sure, there may be some people who are angry, but make sure you never see them again, and if you do, hopefully 10 years from now and they'll be the ones squashed in a seat with a screaming baby. in her lap.
Talk to the flight attendants as soon as you get on the plane.
When you get on the plane, talk to the flight attendants and tell them you'd really appreciate a tip if there's a free line somewhere on the plane. I've seen a family do this before and they were lucky to have two full rows between them.
Passengers are usually asked to sit in their assigned seats until takeoff so they can come pick you up and let you know you can move.
Give the baby a drink for takeoff and landing.
If you can, encourage your baby to drink during takeoff and landing. The action of swallowing when they are drinking will help them to even out their ears.
That said, I've had a few flights where George just didn't want a bottle during takeoff and he was absolutely fine. Flying with a baby will be different each time you fly, so don't worry if your baby doesn't want to drink.
Grab enough food to feed a small army.
I never thought I'd be one of those parents who would feed their children to shut them up, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Our bags were filled with rice cakes, fruits, fruit purees, puree sachets, and biscuits.
I like him a lotMunchkin Fruit Feederto travel. It's basically a little net that you fill with fruit. It has a large strap so little hands won't drop it and you don't have to worry about putting it on.
It can get a bit sticky if you fill it with juicy fruit, so that brings me to the next point...
Pack a bib with sleeves
If your child is at the stage where he wants to get his hands on everything and then smear himself, he'll definitely want one.bib with sleeve. I like the plastic ones that are like paint bibs because you can clean them. The disposable ones are even better, so you can throw them away before you land.
An extra set of clothes, for everyone!
This is probably one of the most easily overlooked tips for flying with a baby, but it's also one of the most important. A spare outfit for your child is probably a given, but don't forget spares for yourself, too. You'll want at least one spare lid for all those inevitable spills and sticky fingers.
There is no better way to keep a baby calm than to breastfeed. If there are and you have any other tips for flying with a baby please let me know, I'd love to hear!
I am proud to say that I am now completely comfortable breastfeeding in public, but I get very nervous breastfeeding on a plane. I use a large slipcover if I have a window seat, but otherwise I tend to express myself and give George a bottle.
While I'm breastfeeding, I've been working with Medella onmothers of medellaCampaign. It's been amazing and I highly recommend all of the Medella products, but I'll talk about that in more detail soon.
Use a baby carrier
When you're at the airport, you can almost always bring your stroller to the gate, but I find a stroller much easier. As long as you don't have metal in your stroller, you won't need to take your baby out when going through security. George usually falls asleep in his stroller when I'm walking, so I walk through the airport to encourage him to nap. There was an amazing moment when I managed to keep him sleeping there for over an hour after takeoff.
We usually opt to take the cart through the airport anyway and use it as a cart to push our carry-on luggage.
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If you carry bottles
Be aware that if you are taking bottles of formula, breast milk, or bottles of water ready to add formula, you may be taking more than 100 mL. But the bottles will be taken to a special machine to be tested. This will add an additional 5-10 minutes to your security check time.
Make sure your carry-on luggage is well organized so that you can easily remove all the bottles that need to be tested.
If you are traveling with an additional adult, work as a team to make things easier for both of you. Sam and I tend to take turns where one of us handles all the bags, passports, and tickets while the other focuses on George. It just means that he only has one thing to worry about at a time.
Don't worry about changing diapers on the plane!
I'm so surprised how many people ask what it's like to change a diaper on a plane. Honestly, it's not a problem. There's a large changing table that usually folds over the toilet and there's plenty of room to change your little one, so it's one less thing to worry about when it comes to flying with a baby.
wear a backpack
The easiest bag to use as a carry-on is a backpack so you always have both hands free. I like him a lotbeginningas it has 6 pockets to keep everything organized and is easy to switch between a backpack, messenger bag or attached to a stroller.
Keep your carry-on small
You may feel like you need to tidy up everything AND the kitchen sink when you're flying with a baby, but you really don't need much. For me, all I pack is a spare shirt and my Kindle, so the rest of our luggage is entirely dedicated to George. I havespiral patchwork flight bagwhich is a perfect little travel bag for essentials.
Don't overdo the toys.
Every baby is different, but before 6 months, George didn't worry too much about many toys. he had his favoriteLamaze piratabut other than that, he didn't care. She also had fun playing with the in-flight magazine and people-watching on the plane. (Yes, this makes some people VERY uncomfortable, but keep quiet!)
board the last plane
You usually get the chance to get on the plane first when you have a baby, but that's usually the last thing you want to do. It can take a long time to get everyone on the plane, so I try to board last. The only problem with this is that sometimes there is nowhere to put the luggage and you have to put it in an overhead compartment at the other end of the plane. That's why I keep a small backpack for my carry-on, since the Babymule is small enough to slide under the seat in front of me. If the flight attendants take it, that's fine, I'll just push the button and ask them to give it back to me later.
So come on, those are my tips for flying with a baby. If you have others to add, I'd love to hear them!