Travelling with a baby can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if there’s a flight involved. We’ve probably all been on a flight where there’s a couple of parents with a crying baby on board – the parents are usually mortified that their little one is making so much noise and upset that baby seems to find the flight distressing. One young couple recently hit the headlines when they first flew with their twin baby boys aged 14 weeks. In a bid to ensure that other passengers were not too disturbed if the twins cried throughout they prepared “goody bags” to hand out to all their fellow passengers containing sweets and the following message:
We’re twin baby boys on our first flight and we’re only 14 weeks old! We’ll try to be on our best behaviour, but we’d like to apologize in advance just in case we lose our cool, get scared or our ears hurt. Our mom and dad (AKA our portable milk machine and our diaper changer) have ear plugs available in you need them. We are all sitting in 20E and 20F if you want to come by and get a pair.
We hope you have a great flight!
If you’re planning to fly with baby for the first time, there’s no need to go this far, but you may want to make sure that baby’s first flying experience is a relatively short flight – a bit of a practice run, so to speak. Here are a few tips that may help to make the flight a little less stressful.
The worst time will probably be during takeoff and landing when your ears go pop. You’ll be expecting this but baby won’t and there’s no way of explaining it. There are ways of making this a little less unpleasant for your little one. Yawning or sucking tends to open the Eustachian tube and relieve the pressure. If your baby will take a dummy/pacifier, then make sure it’s readily available and pop it in his/her mouth. If not, sucking on a bottle or breastfeeding may help.
Boredom will usually kick in at some point, even during short haul flights and you can’t put baby down on the floor for a crawl around – there’s just no space. Make sure you have a selection of favourite toys and books for baby to play with – toys that are small enough that you can fit a load of them into your bag and keep offering something new to distract baby.
Wriggly babies that are on the cusp of mobility will probably be hardest to deal with – they just don’t want to sit on mum’s lap for too long. If this sounds like your little one and you’re worried that a stunning selection of toys and books will not keep your baby entertained, then the FlyeBaby might help. This is a hammock style seat that hooks onto your tray table and allows baby to sit facing you – however, this is only suitable on flights for babies up to 25lbs. This clever little device also acts as a portable high chair which can be handy when travelling – the FlyeBaby would probably be a great investment if you travel a lot.
One of the most worrying issues when flying with baby could be nappy changing. If the flight is not too long, consider using a night time nappy – the extra absorbency may mean that you can avoid a nappy-change altogether. However if the flight is longer or if you get a smelly nappy, then a change is essential (the smell always seems to leak out even if the contents don’t). Airplane loos are notoriously tiny and, even though there will be a changing table, the limited space will make it hard to manoeuvre. If possible, strip off as many clothes as possible at your seat (I’m talking about baby’s clothes, not your own!) as this may be difficult to do in the loo. If you’re used to changing baby on your lap and you’re only dealing with a wet nappy, then changing while in your seat would be acceptable – if you’re travelling with a companion, lay baby on their lap to change the nappy. Pop the used nappy into an airsick bag and take it to the loo for disposal in the bin.
With a little forethought and preparation, baby’s first flight doesn’t need to be a nightmare experience for parents. Just make sure you’re well prepared and have everything you need for on the journey.