Flying With a Baby – 10 Top Tips

Flying With a Baby – 10 Top Tips

  • Jens headshot 2:6:23
  • The Travel Mum

“You cant travel with a baby?!” – Something we heard a lot whilst I was pregnant with Leo. We insisted we would continue travelling when he was born, but everyone had their doubts. Flying with a baby will be hard… I’m here to be the voice of reason and tell you that you CAN travel with your baby, and you SHOULD travel with your baby! Babies can go on a flight and it can be a pleasant experience for all.

Im sure everyone has been on a long flight with a screaming baby and wondered why anyone would bring them.. I’m sure this experience has cemented in your mind that this would be a bad idea. But what you don’t realise is that many other babies will have been sleeping peacefully, and you just didn’t know they were there. We have lost count of the number of times we stand up with the baby and surrounding passengers would say “gosh we we didn’t realise there was a baby there!” – There are lots of ways you can make flying with a baby a comfortable and even enjoyable experience for your little one.

As travel enthusiasts we never questioned whether travelling with our baby was the right thing to do, we just did what we’ve always done, only now with a plus one! At just five weeks old we took our son Leo on his first ever flight to the Algarve in Portugal. We have been on many flights since then. Along the way we have picked up lots of tips and tricks to make it more enjoyable for us all, below I share my top 10 tips for flying with a baby.

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Top 10 Tip for Flying With a Baby

Consider the flight times

Babies sleep a lot! Especially when they are tiny. Take full advantage of this and book flights at times when you know they will be at their sleepiest. Now that Leo is older we don’t get this privilege, and our attention turns towards entertainment. Flying with children is a whole other blog post that I must write soon!

 
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Dress them comfortably

Dressing the baby comfortably is really important. It should go without saying but it’s very tempting to dress them in their trendiest outfit ready for their first big adventure. We would always put Leo in a sleep suit or loose clothing to make sure he was as comfortable as possible for the airport and the plane.

Take a blanket or extra layers

Temperature is unpredictable on a plane. It could be 5 degrees C in the UK and then 30 degrees C when you get to your destination. Sometimes planes seem to blast their air con and its freezing cold, whereas other times you feel like you could be sat in a sauna. Take this into consideration and dress the baby in layers. Alternatively have a change of clothing available for when you land. We would always take a couple of blankets to make him extra snuggly on the plane when it was cold.

Help them pop their ears

Most babies get upset whilst flying due to pressure changes in their ears. This happens during take off and landing and can be avoided with some active parenting. In the same way that we equalise our ears by sucking on a sweet or ‘popping’ our ears, babies need to do this too. If you are breast feeding this is super easy, just make sure you latch baby onto the breast for both take off and landing. If you are bottle feeding, have a bottle of formula ready to ensure your baby is sucking throughout take off. Give them it once you have left the ground. We once gave it him as we started taxiing and he had finished it before we were in the air! Have a dummy available for if they finish the milk too quickly. Help older babies by giving fruit pouches / lolly pops / water.

Book seats at the front or back

Booking seats near the front or back of the plane means you can easily be the last to board and hopefully be the first to get off. The less time spent on the plane the better! If we end up in the middle, we stay sat down until everyone is off so we aren’t rushing. With a baby you will usually get to use the priority lane at passport control, so there really is no rush to vacate the plane.

Priority queues are usually open to families with babies

Make full use of your priority privileges! I often see parents in the long normal queues for security / passport control / check in – if you see a priority lane, use it. Nobody will resent you for getting a baby through the commotion as quickly as possible.

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Leo snoozing on a 10 hour flight!

 

Request a bassinet

If you are travelling mid – long haul, request a bassinet.

This discovery was game changing for us. The picture above is on a 10 hour flight to Florida, we flew at night and he slept for a solid 8 hours of the journey. Some airlines will have a 9kg max weight limit, whereas others it will be 11kg. Call ahead to let them know you have a baby and would like to request a bassinet, as there are a limited number per flight.

Take a baby carrier/sling

Taking a baby carrier/sling will be a game changer for you, especially getting on to and off of the plane. You can take your pram through the airport, right up to the plane. But once you have handed it over, a baby carrier is going to keep the baby safe while freeing up your hands for passport checks, luggage and ticket exchange. We found this one on Amazon, it is relatively cheap and lasted us until he outgrew it. 

Take all the snacks

Flying with a baby who is slightly older is made tolerable with snacks! As soon as you notice any sign of irritability, offer them a snack. Whether it’s a bit of fruit, a cereal bar, baby crisps – whatever they like. Offering them food and drink regularly will keep them comfortable and occupied.

Plan your activities

You can never take too many activities and toys. I once made the big mistake of believing toys would be a ‘waste of space’ in the carry on bag. I was very wrong. Having 10 activities that you cycle through during the flight will help keep an older baby occupied. Things such as a small book to look through, three blocks to pile up, a small notepad and colouring pencils, a bottle with screw cap to twist on and off, a few animal figurines, some shows they like on an Ipad. When Leo was a little older we would wrap little activities up, this made it more exciting and seemed to make the activity last a bit longer!

 Flying with a baby – Overall

Flying with a baby is an amazing experience. Yes, it requires a lot more thought and planning when compared to travelling alone. Yes, it is annoying when you want to put your feet up and watch a movie with a glass of wine, but instead you are rotating through snacks / toys / nappy changes. But the memories you will create are priceless, the fun you have together will become the stories you tell for a lifetime.

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