How to Travel with an Active Infantby Jasmine Gurney
Travelling with babies can always add a little extra stress on any trip. It’s a fact. Some mothers would say otherwise, but let’s not kid ourselves, they’re lying. We all know, to other passengers, there’s one thing worse than an active infant on a plane… an active infant on a plane, who’s bored. The judging eye rolls, sideways glances and head shakes of disgust are all too familiar to mums. Unless you’re on a long-haul trip around the world, flights don’t last forever, and nor do tears and tantrums, so don’t despair, travelling with an active infant is doable!
Not all babies are a handful, granted. Most sleep through flights and are perfect angels but you’ve got to remember, it may be their first time flying and the air pressure and noise may not agree with them, resulting in a very restless child. With our tips and tricks on how to travel with an active infant, as recommended by our wonderful Facebook fans, you’ll be a travelling pro in no time! Though be warned, these tips may not work for everyone, but motherhood is all about trial and error... right? First and foremost, you need to start adopting a ‘what happens, happens’ attitude and accept that if your baby gets upset, it’s not your fault, and nor is it theirs.
Whether it’s your first time travelling or are a frequent flyer, getting everything to fit in a carry on can be a challenge. The lighter you travel, the easier your trip will be, so wear the baby where possible using a harness or wrap as this will also to give you more hands to juggle everything else. If you’re going straight from the airport into a hire car, you can get away with taking larger bags, if not, pack essentials and request things like cots from the accommodation ahead of time.
Order what you can’t Pack
For nappies, formula, fruit puree and other pharmacy essentials, a great tip is to pre-order them from duty free shops like Boots and pick them up when you’re at the airport - this also means you don’t have to make room for them in your luggage and be on hand for that inevitable mid-flight poonamis! Also, make sure you’ve booked an aisle seat, preferably at the very front or very back of the plane, closest to the toilet as not to be at risk of ‘accidents’ or disturbing too many fellow passengers.
Entertain them with Enrichment
Babies can be very easily distracted, whether it’s with your jangly keys or mobile phone, keeping their brain active is sure to keep them quiet and may even send the little one off to sleep. Whether you’re pro ‘electronic babysitter’ or prefer to stimulate their minds without technology, a plane doesn’t have room for your child’s plethora of toys. So here are some apps for your phone or tablet to keep little ones stimulated for as long as they can stay awake - testing their motor skills, hand-eye coordination and aiding their development.
Our Top 5 Free Apps are:
- BBC CBeebies Playtime
- Baby Wooden Blocks
- Kids Doodle
- Peppa Pig Paintbox
- Baby Games - Balloon Pop
For those looking for enrichment away from the blue glare of a screen, there’s plenty of offline activities to keep your little angel’s cries at bay. A great recommendation came from many of our mums to bring a library of sticker books, depending on your little one’s age and interactive storybooks with things to touch and feel.
Our Top 5 Baby Books are:
- Usborne My First Sticker Book
- Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Play Book by Fiona Watt
- ‘That’s not my…’ range from Fiona Watt
- Jellycat Jungly Tails Children's Soft Book
- Hello You! (Baby's First Peekabook)
- Travel During Nap Time
Travelling during nap times may ease some stress, giving both you and baby a chance for some shut-eye. Wear them out for long enough and they’ll be out for the count! This tip does come with the obvious risk - babies get insanely cranky when they’re tired and can make an absolute racket - to the annoyance of other passengers. You know your baby, use your judgement to see if this would work. If this is the first time you’ve travelled with them, they may surprise you, but always pack onboard activities as a contingency.
Know your Luggage Restrictions
Different airlines often have different weight limits for bags, and restrictions on the number of carry-on items you’re allowed. You are usually allowed to bring a baby changing bag and a handbag on board with you, so you can fit a few spare clothing items and other essentials for the flight. If it’s big enough (but still within their size limits) you can fit a bit more in there to free up space in your hold luggage. Be careful with liquids though, as you’re not allowed more than 100ml of products like nappy cream and oils on board. As mentioned above, get as many liquids as you can from duty-free as airport shopping bags are sealed and exempt from their restrictions. Most airlines allow you to take buggies and carriers all the way to the plane then put in the baggage hold too which may give your baby some comfort and your arms a rest.