Stressed out about flying with your infant?? Don’t be. You can’t predict the flight, but you can prepare for the flight to ensure baby and Mum/Dad have a smoother, less stressful trip.
Check out my tips below on flying (long-haul) with an infant (I did it solo this once, but tips are also for those flying with a partner):
Sydney to London…
When I found out I had to fly with Ava (22mo – still classified as free to fly up to 2yo) from Sydney to London all by myself, sharing the same seat, I took a deep breath and thought ‘I can do this! So many women fly solo with their infant’, I just needed to be prepared! Please read below for some preparation tips and things you can do prior to the flight to help you on the journey of unpredictability and fun (not). No fun for Mum and no fun for bub (or bubby – if in the US!).
Before the flight how can you prepare?
- Book the bassinet seat on the plane, so you have extra leg room and if baby is small enough can fit in the bassinet. Ava is now 22mo and can not fit into the bassinet anymore, but we still book this area for her.
- Call up the airline check how full the flight is and try and book a seat that has a spare seat next to it (if your lucky), having a spare seat next to you does not gurentee you that it will be spare on the day, so on the day of the flight, speak with the ladies at the gate to ensure the seat next to you is still spare, if it isn’t and someone has taken it, ask politely if they can help you out by finding two spare seats on the plane that are next to each other, as you are flying with a infant who is too big for the bassinet). Depending on the airline, we flew Singapore airlines and they were so helpful in moving us to a seat or row that was free to give us the room.
- Also when booking your flight, request for your baby to have the post weaning meal (for babies 12mo+). This meal is not purees! When Ava was under 12mo we just cancelled all plane meals for her as they are usually puree or really messy meals especially not needed when on a plane! So we preferred to pack our own snacks that were non-messy for the plane.
- Ensure bub is well rested the day or a couple of days before the flight, has had all day sleeps and night sleeps.
- Don’t forget to pack snacks for your infant and Mum: for Baby Led Weaning babies 6mo+, prepare a cooler bag with non-messy solid foods and include a empty non-spill cup (we use munchkin 360 degree, for travel). This time round (Ava now being 22mo) I prepared: 3x slices of Avas breakfast loaf, 1x punnet of blueberries, 1x punnet of strawberries, 2x bananas, 2x apples, 1x peanut butter sandwich, and a bag of mixed seeds and dry fruits (please note: seeds and dried fruits are only suitable for babies 12mo+). Don’t forget snacks for mum! I ate the same snacks as Ava.
- Purchase a CoziGo is a airline bassinet cover (for new borns through to approx 14mo when the bassinet starts to get too small for baby to be in). We previously used this for Ava, but now she is too big for the bassinet we now use the PlanePal (check out the next bullet point) CoziGo blocks light, movement and stimulation helping baby to sleep without constant distraction. No nasty comments from fellow passengers and you’re all refreshed ready to hit the ground running! CoziGo also reduces your baby’s exposure to inflight germs. Having babies sleep in an airline bassinet used to be something that caused worry for mums and dads – but not anymore. The calming and fully-protective canopy creates a relaxing atmosphere for babies, making the flying experience that much easier and enjoyable.
- Purchase a PlanePal for infants or toddlers 13mo+ who do not fit in a bassinet any more. I love this product! Ava used it on the long haul flight and slept a good 6hrs on it. PlanePal is a inflatable pillow for your infant or toddler to lay flat. Check with your airline on their website is they are accepted, we flew with Singapore airlines and they are accepted on this airline (PlanePal is accepted on more than 35 International Airlines worldwide). Ava is using a plane pal in the photo above.
- Book in at a transit hotel at the airport: If your flight is more than 20hrs, consider booking into a transit hotel within the airport: Ava and i stopping and stayed in one travelling through Singapore for 8hrs. Before the next flight, Ava managed to have a 4hr sleep in a cot, whilst i got to nap before our next flight. The beauty of the newer airports, especially throughout Asia/Middle East is that we also managed to have a swim at Changi airport and a run around which helped burn off excess tired energy ready for the flight ahead……phew!
What hand luggage we packed:
- We did not pack a stroller as most airports have strollers you can borrow in transit. I did not want more luggage, so we just packed the baby carrier for Ava (22mo) and borrowed the airport strollers.
- Don’t overpack your hand luggage – forget toys from home, the airline usually has toys, colouring games etc bub can use these or there are plenty of magazines, paper cups bubby can play with. Forget teddies – you don’t need them unless bub can’t live without them!
- One Backpack is the way to go for everything (no handbag) – this keeps your hand free whilst using the baby carrier or stroller.
- To IPAD or NOT? When needs must!! We found Ava would watch the iPad from about 20mo+ and would sit still and this would keep her quiet. Sometimes you’ve just got to survive! Even though infants should not have any screen time under 2 years old and only 30 minutes per day for 2-5 year olds, I decided to download wildlife shows and a few peppa pig for Ava to watch on the long haul flight to keep her entertained and QUIET. Yes i had ‘MUM GUILT’ but it was much better than having a baby who wouldn’t sit still in such a small environment for very long.
- Baby Carrier – we bought the ErgoBaby 360 – it’s amazing and we have been using this since Ava was a new born and still use it now. I used this to carry Ava around during transit.
- Check in a Car seat – only if needed on the other side
- Nappies and 1 pack of wipes: depends if it’s a day or night flight – don’t overpack nappies, the airline always carries some just in case. Day flight I used 2 nappies for an 8 hrs and packed 4 nappies just in case. Night flight (14hrs) I packed 6 nappies and only used 2 nappies, as she slept for about 6hrs. Lucky she poo’d during transit at the hotel!
- Bed time: don’t expect bub to sleep straight away when getting on a night flight, give it a couple or a few hours (as all the lights are on, then meals are served… so many distractions, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get bubby asleep whilst its lit up like a theme park!). Once the lights go off usually 2-3hrs on night flight after meals have been served and cleared. Once lights and dim, I tried to settle Ava by telling her its bed time, I put Ava into her Sleep Bag, I say firmly – bed time. She laid down or cried for a bit until she eventually falls asleep.
Hope these tips help! Any questions please feel free to comment below…