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How to make flight journey easy with your baby

Leena Vaidya Joshi
1 to 3 years

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 How to make flight journey easy with your baby

I still can’t forget what all went through my mind, before my son’s first flight, which was at eight months! Before being a mother, I disliked every crying child on the flight, train or bus who didn’t let me sleep or rest on those tiring flights. With guilt, but got to admit I even blamed the parents at times for crying babies! 
But those feelings came right back, haunting me, when it was time for me to fly with my baby! Thankfully my son was great on his first flight  and still continues to be a great traveller at 4!  
Planning to take your little one on their first flight, then read along for some tips that helped me!
The first and foremost is -Mothers cannot panic, get anxious or stressed. Children pick on mother's feelings.
1) Choosing the right flight  – Based on my son’s routine, I find out the best time for the worst part of travel which means, I will try and book a flight, which takes off around either at the time of his noon nap or night sleep time whenever possible.  If you are standing in the security check queues, when it’s your child’s peak sleep time, then obviously he/she is going to be cranky and difficult to handle. 
Secondly, if you can, book a separate seat for the baby and carry a car seat with you that will make you mobile, plus mealtimes will be easier! You don’t want the baby continuously wriggling around on your lap, especially when you know how spacious most planes are! For babies you can book the bassinet in advance. Bassinets can be fitted only in the first row seats so you can imagine how quickly they get booked!
2)  The travel goodie bag –Even when traveling with a toddler you can carry milk, juice, water in the handbag like you would do a baby bag. Sippy/straw cups or bottles are important. Do ensure your child sips either milk/water/juice (200ml straw packs are handy) while take off and landing to avoid ears popping (sucking on lollipops/chewing on soft nuts like raisins work too)  Pack easy to eat and their favourite snacks or meals in individual zip lock bags (so in case the content of one bag spill over, there are more).  Usually, kiddie meals (usually require to be booked in advance) on the flight are exciting for toddlers and contain a book, chocolate etc. at times. 
It’s ok to indulge your child with sweets. They work really well when things seem totally out of hand. (Remember to carry those chocolates that won’t melt in the hand easily. Stick to, small bite-sized chocolates that toddlers can put in their mouth at one go. )
With food items, carry dry snacks that will not make a mess, are bite-sized, packaged individually, and the child can keep nibbling on them. Carry lots of wipes along.
Avoid over feeding. In fact, it’s better they eat a bit less than usual during travel.  
3)  Exigencies – Throw ups - I always have a separate pouch created for throw up bags, which are kept most handy along with wet wipes! For me, this is most crucial! 
Medicines – Carry something like crocin and band aids on your handbag other than any usual medicines that anyways are required for your child. With some airlines, it is mandatory to have a doctor’s prescription with you in case you are carrying some medicines. Either check with the airline beforehand, or get your paediatrician to write a prescription. 
Change of clothes- You will surely need to pack a change of clothes for the baby, but remember to keep the change in the baby bag or your handbag. Also, carry a baby blanket or a wrap that the child is familiar with. It will help the child feel easy.  
Diapers -If your toddlers are using, diapers stick to the pant style ones. (Enough and extra) It’s much easier to change given the limited space you would have. And if you and your baby are not used to the pant-style ones, gets familiar with them atleast 15 days before the travel date. Carry lots of spare disposable bags too in which you can wrap and throw the diapers.
Footwear - Slip on shoes are best for the child and you. Makes life easy at security checks or clothes changes! Socks are essential as the A/C in the plane can sometimes be too cold for the infant.
4) Invest in an umbrella stroller - It’s much easier to fold and carry. It can be carried right till you board. Don’t make your child walk long airport stretches. 
5) Packing your bag strategically - By sticking your hand without looking, you should be able to get what you want! Choose a backpack rather than a shoulder bad as walking around is much easier with a backpack and your hands are free to attend to the baby.
The essential documents such as tickets, passports etc can be carried in a separate small sling bag, that you can wear across your torso.    
If your baby uses a pacifier ensure you keep not just 1-2 but a few of them. The plane floors are pretty dirty. It’s a good idea to carry toys that can be attached like you would on the car seat. It’s pretty tricky to fetch things fallen down! 
6) A new toy/colouring/sticker book works wonders, especially if gift wrapped. It will keep them occupied at least for the first few hours.
ID-card of the baby: Carry an id-card with the baby’s details—name, parent name, flight number, destination, point of origin, phone number and address of the parents/grandparents/responsible adults in case travelling as a family, etc. We do not want to imagine a scenario of a lost child, but this is a small precaution you can take. Write down everything neatly on a card, laminate, and string it around the child’s neck.
7)  Pre-boarding – All airlines give first boarding privilege to those with children. 
But my experience with a baby is best to get in last. It can be a challenge to entertain a baby in the seat for extra 30 minutes while others are settling in. At least at the boarding gate you can walk around and it’s not going to be as crowded and claustrophobic as in the plane before all are seated. If toddlers are not too excited to board fast it's best to get in last with them as well.  Remember to do a web check in to reduce pre travel time at the airport. If traveling alone with a child don’t shy away from asking help!
I have travelled sometimes alone and sometimes we as a family since my son was 2 ½ months. We have taken him on car drives a few hours away, overnight bus journeys to long flights to 6 different countries and he has sailed on a ship for 2 months at a stretch as well. At the age of 4 he is a seasoned traveller and now at times reminds me of things I could have missed.  
“They are too young!” It’s too hard.” Believe me, these are just excuses. As moms, we are prone to over analyse and over think about our children.  
Make sure you don’t make a big deal of the travel and the child will take it like a fish to the water!

 

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| Jan 14, 2018

Thank you very much. it is very useful...

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| May 03, 2017

can u pls tell wat other items can be given while take off n landing like raisins bcz my lo does not drink I tried for last 2 journey

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| May 03, 2017

very nice thanks

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| May 02, 2017

Thanks for sharing. very useful information.

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| May 01, 2017

Thanks alot for such nice info you have given it will be a great help.... as have to travel along with her for the first time nice article

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| Aug 29, 2016

hey me also hv to go with my baby to ship as my hubby is a shipping officer. can anyone suggest wht spl care to b taken while taking the baby on the ship. do they also feel nausea nd what all medications to be taken with us. as they dont hv many medicines available there, have few of the impt. ones, but for adults only. how the experience wud be. my baby is 18 months old.

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| Aug 12, 2016

I travelled first when my daughter was just two months old!

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| Apr 16, 2016

thanks for sharing this post.

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| Apr 06, 2016

I hav been avoiding long journeys since my daughter's birth.... now that she's one year i m planning for the same.... sure this post is informative n helpful. thanks for sharing.

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| Apr 06, 2016

Thanks for sharing this post.......

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| Jan 11, 2016

Manisha frankly I havent traveled with my baby before 2 months as I myself didnt feel ready with my babys routine. If you kind of by now have a hang of your babys routine I would suggest carry a feeding cover & enough wollens for you & your baby. You need to look after yourself in terms of what you eat as well to ensure your baby doesnt get affected. Incase you can time, try feeding the baby while take off & landing so if any discomfort to the baby can be eased off. Carry precautionary medicines for cold/fever & upset stomach. Thats what I can think off. Hope this helps.

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| Jan 11, 2016

Hi.. I have a 1month old baby and I need to travel to a hill station where the weather is too cold.. need suggestions as to how to handle the baby in flight and needful tips to take care of him.. what all to carry and what not..

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| Jan 06, 2016

Yamini, I personally have a major issue with ear popping & keep sucking a sweet & put nasal drops every few hours while flying. For my 4yr old son I didnt do much till he was about 2 as he seemed ok. But mormally would keep his milk bottle or water sippy cup handy for take off & landing. Now I give him a sweet/lollipop or something to drink using a straw. Depending on how old your child/baby is you can choose one of these options. To keep them a little distracted too helps. For me cotton balls never worked & my son would just remove them but some find this too useful. Hope you find this helpful.

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| Jan 06, 2016

Nirmala a lot of women feed in the toilets but personally i find it too cramped & unhigenic. I would use a feeding cover & feed at my seat itself. I would really not think too much whether its embarassing or not. Additionally request in advance for the first row seat along with a bassinet so that just gives you a little more space with arranging & adjusting position plus a bassinet to sleep your baby when arranging things. Keep the inflight staff informed for any help that you might need for traveling alone with infant. I know mumbai airport has a special service called pranam gvk of course at additional cost but they help with every damn thing at the airport till you board incase traveling out of mumbai. Hope this helps.

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| Jan 06, 2016

How to manage to avoid ear pain during takeboff or landing?

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| Jan 02, 2016

Am gonna travel alone wit my 8month old baby. It will be a 13 hr flight. Am worried about feeding him in the flight.

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| Jan 02, 2016

Very useful

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