Hey there! Like any parent the thought of flying with a baby was scary to us, we were only new to the parent game and really had no idea what we were in for! After almost 8 months of flying with Oliver, starting at 8 weeks old, it’s safe to say we stressed out for no reason. We have found many tips and tricks that have helped us travel with ease and are thrilled to share them with you. After this, you’ll realise aeroplane travel with a baby can be totally do-able! We don’t want you to think it’s guaranteed to be a breeze, nothing is when it comes to being a new parent, but these tips have definitely helped us!
Age makes a difference:
To be totally honest we wished we had done even more travelling with Oliver when he was a few weeks old, its definitely easier the younger they are. Mainly because all they do is sleep and eat, which they can conveniently do while gracefully sitting on your lap. With no negatives to add other than the dead arm, you get on long flights. We found that as Oliver got older and became more alert and interested in things, he tended to wiggle around in our laps and chat away to anyone he could. At times I felt stressed trying to keep him quiet, however, I soon learnt that people were happy to chat away and are actually pretty nice!
What you can bring through security:
The 100ml rule doesn’t apply when it comes to baby items like formula or other milk products for babies – this includes bringing it in bottles, bags or containers, no matter the form (powder, liquid or frozen). Be sure to say it’s for babies needs when you are going through the security checkpoint.
Feeding upon take-off and landing and time the flights to sleep times:
This is probably the best thing anyone has ever told me! I without fail will hold off or time Oliver’s feed so that on take-off and landing he is ready to feed. This helps with stopping his ears from becoming sore as the swallowing motion helps babies equalize the air pressure.
Please, if your little one has had an ear infection, check with your doctor that its safe for them to fly! After the feed Oliver is happy and usually ready for sleep, I time his sleep after his feed in hopes that he will drift off with a little rocking or bouncing on my part. That way he sleeps for most of the flight (if the flight is short) and I then wake him for the landing feed, if he’s not already awake chatting and playing.
Let them know what’s going on:
When Oliver was only a newborn this wasn’t needed. However, as he has gotten older, we have always tried to explain where we’re going, how we’re getting there, how long we will be gone for, how excited we are for the holiday and what adventures mean to us. We feel that this will instil understanding and excitement for Oliver who will be a little confused and out of his routine.
What equipment can you check-in and carry on?
This totally depends on who you fly with, we have found that some will let you bring 2-3 baby items for free e.g. pram, travel cot, car seat etc and others will make you pay. We would suggest that when you are not sure, contact the airline or visit their website to find out what you are eligible to bring and whether it’s free or comes at an extra cost.
Pack snacks or full meal depending on the duration of flight:
Sometimes the only thing that has helped Oliver before a meltdown is snacks, so please don’t forget to bring snacks as if your baby is at that age it could save your life haha! We found that he especially loves puffs and rusks to keep him occupied. For long trips make sure you bring a full meal as some flights don’t offer baby/kids meals, and some babies will be fussy just on milk. I personally breastfeed Oliver, so I didn’t have trouble with milk and heating up bottles. However, most flight attendants are lovely and will on request help you heat up your bottle so please don’t be afraid to ask. (My motto is if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no)
Toys, books and iPhone:
Oliver really only has his sleep teddy on these fast flights, on a long flight I do pack a few little toys. I also make sure I bring a brand-new toy that he has never played with as this really grabs his attention for as long as possible. Hot tip – Don’t be that parent that brings a loud and annoying toy on a long flight, for the sake of everyone’s sanity haha! I also like to bring one or two small books because babies love books! Well, ours does anyway. For a super emergency entertainment idea, I always download an age-appropriate, educational video on my phone from Netflix. I have only ever done this once. We had landed after a long flight and had to wait inside the plane for a ridiculous amount of time, videos were the only option! Please don’t judge, I don’t encourage Oliver to watch tv at all and this is for meltdown emergencies only!
Pack extra baby supplies:
I’ve always found that having too many baby supplies is always better than running out, there are no shops onboard your flight, so you really don’t want that happening. Also, pack your bag wisely, don’t pack important things like wipes and nappies at the very bottom of the bag, as you will probably need these things most.
Bring a change of clothes:
I know what you’re thinking, of course, I’ll bring a change of clothes for my sweet angel, however, I’m also going to say sometimes our sweet angels end up exploding from all ends and they can sometimes ruin not just their clothes but ours too! So please bring yourself a spare pair of clothes in case of explosions. Its touch wood never happened to us, I could think of nothing worse than sitting in vomit or poop or worst being naked haha!
Another hot tip, lugging bags and all the extra baby stuff is hard enough, so if possible, carry your baby in your baby carrier for as long as possible. Some airport security checkpoints will ask you to take it off while moving through, however, that is still easier than juggling bags and baby the whole way.
Easy to access backpack for a nappy bag
We use a traditional shoulder nappy bag however after many trips we are currently looking around for the perfect backpack style nappy bag. I love my shoulder bag and will continue to use it on a daily basis for day trips but for travel, I have learnt that a backpack would be easier on your shoulders and just easier all around. Get yourself a backpack. If you have any recommendations, please drop a comment below!
When to bring a pram
We usually always bring the pram, especially when Oliver was little, as his pram came with an attachable bassinet that he slept in until 3-4 months. It’s also handy to have one at a young age as it gave Oliver a place to be while having lunch and other things. In places like Bali where the paths are slim and broken in some parts, we would advise no pram and to use your baby carrier.
Do you need a car seat?
We have always brought our own car seat, its super handy when renting a car as you know how to put it in and take it out. We have also found renting one from a car rental place to be horrible as they don’t seem to be cleaned at all and we wouldn’t trust anyone else to fit the car seat. In some countries, you will find you don’t need a car seat as they use scooter and taxis.
Notice for airline & ID for baby:
Always let the airline know you are travelling with a baby and make sure you bring ID. Some airlines charge a nominal fee however usually this includes some baby luggage. We always have Oliver’s passport but if you don’t have a baby passport just bring their birth certificate for identification. We have never been asked on domestic flights, however, we wouldn’t want to not fly because Oliver didn’t have an ID that one time someone asked.
What to wear:
I would always suggest wearing something comfortable, gone are the days of needing to wear fancy clothes on a flight. I would suggest a plain and simple top, stylish leggings and a comfy jacket with pockets to store your passport, boarding pass, phone, plus a spot to stash anything to soothe your little one fast (dummy, snacks and/or bottle).
Where to sit:
I’ve always loved a window seat, nothing says holiday louder than staring out the window and leaving one destination for another. When we started flying it was always fine to sit by the window seat as Oliver slept mostly and was not that alert or interested in much. Now he is older, doesn’t want to sit still, is interested in EVERYTHING, and starting to walk – I have changed my preferred seat to an aisle seat. This makes it easier to get up and let him stretch his legs and meet and greet all the people aboard the aircraft.
Always use the parent’s room before boarding and make sure you go to the toilet. It’s pretty much impossible to hold a baby and go to the toilet in those teeny tiny plane bathrooms. Make sure that sweet baby of yours is in a fresh nappy. This saves so much time and hopefully means that once you have boarded the plane and settled into your seat that you don’t automatically have to get up to change a nappy.
If you have any questions about anything I have not covered please comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I really hope these tips help you have a wonderful flight with your baby! Safe travels and good luck from one parent to another.
Also, be sure to check out our other baby travel blogs on preparing a baby for travel and road tripping with a baby!