Flying to any destination is possibly every parent’s worst nightmare.
You don’t want your little one in pain so you hope their ears will handle the altitude changes, and you’re hoping they will be cool, calm and collected on the plane ride itself. The unforgiving stares and audible complaints we parents get from baby-less passengers is always fun to look forward to.
My tips for flying with baby? Read on!
- Get on the plane first. I’ve read a few articles that say you should get on last, have your kids run around the airport and get their last snags of energy out – BUT – I can confidently say that this did NOT work for us. Trying to navigate economy class as one of the last passengers to board the plane with a wriggly toddler in one arm and an overflowing nappy bag in the other is something I would preferably not do again. Getting on the plane first, finding our seats without being pushed and poked from behind, and having the choice of where to put our many carry-ons was something short of a miracle. We were already settled in and had Anastasia acquainted with her surroundings by the time the other passengers started to board.
- Bring toys. On long haul flights like we had, even the adults get bored. Can you imagine how a little toddler must feel? We brought a few small toys with us to keep her entertained, like books and crayons. You’ll be amazed at how much time can pass while colouring in the (empty and clean) sick bag from the seat pocket in front.
- Bring your own milk/juice. We had 5 flights in total during our trip, and flew 3 different airlines. Some of the airlines were great with getting us hot water, helping us to clean our baby bottles and warming up milk for us, but others were… not so great. We waited for over an hour on one flight for the airhostess to bring us the juice we asked for – which resulted in a crying baby for over an hour. Most airlines will allow you to bring baby food, juice and milk onboard, so I suggest packing your baby bag with the essentials that your baby loves to eat and drink.
- Pack enough baby clothes and blankets in your nappy bag. This is a must on long haul flights. We ended up changing Anastasia’s clothes 4 times on one flight (HOW do they get so dirty?) and used two of her baby blankets to provide comfort and warmth. Those poor little bodies need more than the flimsy blankets the airlines provide.
- Prepare for Grumpy-Miss-Cranky-Pants. Overall our flights were great – Anastasia slept a lot of the time and ate and played for the rest… but there were those terrifying moments that did occur where she screamed her lungs out and was not having it! These moments were usually on take-off when she was tired and wanted to sleep (we had overnight flights) and when other babies cried her awake from her slumber. Still… her crying evoked more than angry stares and huffs from other passengers – it was Baby vs World on an A380. My best advice for this to know that it is coming, and accept it before it does. It’s going to happen, and it will pass, so plan on comforting your little one and ignoring the mutterings from other passengers (‘coz that is also going to happen…and really, do we care about them? No, no we don’t).
- Choose your seats in advance. If you can check-in online before your flight – do it. Choosing your seats will all depend on the number of adults and kids flying with you, but in general I would suggest choosing seats that are accessible and close to bathrooms. Trust me, you need to be close to the toilets with little ones by your side. You can thank me later.
- To drug or not to drug? I’ve heard about parents opting to ‘drug’ their babies with baby sedatives for flights. Although I didn’t do this, I can understand the appeal. Personally, it wasn’t needed for us, but if your baby is a super anxious tot and you are worried about how they will be on the flight, chat to your pediatrician in advance and see what is on offer for little ones and flights. Also chat about the options available for sore ears – I’ve heard of magic ear drops used by a friend. As for me, jellytots worked wonders.
- Make it fun. I guess my last tip around flying with a baby or toddler is to make it as fun as possible. The more excitement you build around the flight beforehand, the less nervous and reluctant the babes will be to board this massive steal monster. Turn the trip into a fun game, and see how they love it! This will save your sanity too, and build some excitement in your soul as well.
I hope these tips were helpful – I sure needed some of them before our flight!
Pray and Slay,