Things To Remember When Flying With a Baby

dad on plane with crying baby

Flying with a baby for the first time can be a real source of anxiety for many new parents.

We often see headlines about childless travellers complaining about crying babies or viral posts about parents who buy gifts of chocolate and earplugs for other passengers to help soften the blow should their baby scream the plane down mid-flight.

These kinds of stories only serve to make parents worry about “what if”, so let us start this blog post with point number one - no, you do not owe other passengers apologies, gifts, added comforts or explanations. Why? Because your baby has as much right to be on that plane as they do, and babies cry. It’s completely normal. Every single person on the plane was a baby once, and they will have cried too; it’s how they communicate. It is not your responsibility to take on the feelings and frustrations of those around you.

Now we’ve cleared up that very important reminder, it’s time to delve into what you CAN control and can do to help you and your baby have the easiest flying experience possible.

Take a Baby Sling

Whether your baby is teeny-tiny, a bit bigger or even a toddler, a sling will be your best friend, trust me!

Getting on and off a plane with luggage can be an absolute nightmare, and your arms will tire easily. Being able to strap your baby to you so that you can move safely and swiftly once you’re stood up will make your life much easier.

We have usually always used a sling around the airport after checking in our pushchair because even if you use a travel buggy that can be wheeled to the plane, it’s never usually there when you get off! Don’t get caught short.

I have three types of sling that I prefer to use personally - for small babies, a stretchy sling is perfect. You can wear it throughout the flight and pop your baby in and out onto your chest quickly and easily.

For longer carries around the airport, bigger babies and even toddlers, I love the Ergo Baby 360 for the support it offers. A back carry is best for toddlers, and it helps to minimise any stress on your own body. It can take a little longer to get this one on and off, though. For super speedy and easy carry support, I always take a baba sling hammock sling for hip carrying. You pop this on like a satchel and then sit your baby on your hip as you would usually carry them, but the sling takes the weight. I used one of these while queueing around Disneyland Paris and getting on and off the rides, and it was a lifesaver!

Pressure During Takeoff and Landing

Take off and landing are the trickiest moments for babies as it can be painful for their ears whilst trying to equalise the pressure. Make sure you have a bottle, drink, dummy or breastfeed ready to help them so they can ‘suck’ through the pressure change easily.

Flight Entertainment

Finding suitable toys for flying to keep babies entertained is a must!

Screens don’t always work for little ones as they prefer hands-on resources they can touch and feel. Sucker toys that spin or ping and can be suctioned onto the plane window or tray table are perfect. A favourite in our house was a clip and zip toy, which provided the challenge of doing up and undoing various fastens on a soft toy.

Mark-making tools are perfect, but save the pencils rolling around the plane by choosing an LCD pad with a stylus attached! Hand and finger puppets are great for singing quiet songs and playing whilst baby is on your lap, and don’t forget a hardback book or two - ideally the touch and feel type such as the ‘that’s not my’ series or a lift the flap book.

Feeding Your Baby

Mealtimes can be tricky when flying. If your baby is weaning, then packing lots of snacks is key!

Breastfed babies can, of course, feed on demand throughout a flight, but if your baby is bottle-fed with formula, flights are a good time to invest in a few cartons of pre-made formula that is ready to drink to save you worrying about access to hot water and powder to mix the milk during the flight.

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Sleeping and Napping

Babies under two are required to sit on their parent's lap, so your baby will likely have their nap on you.

If you are sitting next to your partner, you may be able to lay your baby across your legs. Ensure you have muslins, a blanket and a soft toy for your baby. It is also worth carrying a neck pillow, not to wear around your neck but to pop under your elbow or arm for support if your baby falls asleep in your arms.

Cleaning

Take a pack of antibacterial wipes to wipe down the table and surfaces that your baby may touch during the flight - germs can linger and this gives them a good chance of staying healthy. Baby wipes are also your best friend for any spills, spit ups or mess.

Clothing

Dress your baby in layers which are easy to remove! It can get cold during a flight, but then you may land in a very hot country - you’ll need to prep your baby for both eventualities and keep a check on them regularly.

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