Tips for flying with a baby

Bayo Ajibola

Babies come into your life and they change everything. Your days pass by in a blur as you find your baby’s new rhythm and sync it with yours somehow. Then one day you realize that you have to get on a plane and you will be taking your little one with you (leaving him behind is probably still a very difficult thing to do so you may just have to cross it off your list of options).

Flying with a baby may not be complicated (as such) but you will definitely need to do a little extra planning and preparation for you to have minimal hiccups. Just like with anything baby, it starts way before the actual flight.

What to check for before the flight

You should of course remember to book the flight in good time. There is nothing that can cause you a lot of tension like uncertain travel plans. If your baby is tall or more of a toddler than a baby, you may want to book an extra seat so that he can stretch out in case he wants to sleep comfortably. Cradling a tall little human that will not fit on your lap for a 22-hour flight is not fun at all!

Make sure that you pack your bags early so that you don’t forget anything. If you can, pack baby’s clothes in separate sets in sealable bags so that you can just grab one when you need to change him. This will reduce the clutter in your baby bag too. Pack many muslin/swaddling wraps that you can use as burp cloths, bibs, blankets and to clean up messes. If your baby likes toys pack a few of their favourites to keep him busy or at least distracted during the flight. If baby is already weaned, pack some finger foods that aren’t messy. It will keep him entertained and fed for some time.

Still on packing, pack more than you need. There may be flight delays and you are all out of clean diapers, nappies or clothes. Remember to pack some clothes for yourself too because children are unpredictable and so is projectile vomit on your only blouse.

A carrier comes in handy, especially during a night flight. You can strap your baby on and take a nap yourself without worrying about dropping your baby. Keep one close by so that you can use it on the d-day.

Find out from the airline if they can have your pram waiting for you at the gate because the walk from the plane to customs can sometimes be tedious, especially with a healthy baby.

During the flight

Arrive in good time so that you can check in and settle at your own speed. Racing down aisles with a baby and luggage is just not a good idea and the baby might get quite agitated by it all. Be as calm as possible for both of you. You may need to calm the baby down so being calm is staying a step ahead and reassuring the baby that everything is okay.

The plane starts out a little shaky and this may cause the baby a little unrest. Pop him on the boob or bottle a short while before the plane leaves and keep him on as long as possible or until the plane levels off. Keep your fingers crossed for him to sleep for most of the flight!

Sometimes you need a break and someone offers to help you carry him. If you are not too worried about strangers carrying your baby it can be a good option for you. Once you get to your destination, you can ask a flight attendant to take you up to the deck for a photo with the pilots. That can serve as a treat after that long trip!

picture courtesy ourfreakingbudget

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Bayo Ajibola

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