How to Make Flight Journey Comfortable with Your Baby?
Created by Leena Vaidya - Joshi Updated on Feb 26, 2020
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 traveler at 4!
Taking a flight with the child for the first time can be a very anxious time...what to pack, what to carry, how to manage a child and baggage, what is the pressure gives my child an ear-ache etc are some concerns most parents have. But a bit of careful planning is all you need.
Ways to Make Flight Journey Easy & Comfortable with Baby
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 the mother's feelings. Read below
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 favorite snacks or meals in individual zip lock bags (so in case the content of one bag spillover, 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 overfeeding. In fact, it’s better they eat a bit less than usual during travel.
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 the 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 pediatrician 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, get familiar with them at least 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. It 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 in the car seat. It’s pretty tricky to fetch things fallen down!
6.) A new Toy/Coloring/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 traveling 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.
All airlines give first boarding privileges 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 an 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 for help! I have traveled 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 traveler 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-analyze and overthink 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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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