If you are facing the prospect of a long haul flight with your baby, rest assured that I know the stress you are going though! After having moved countries 3 times last year with my family (from Australia to Brazil 39 hours fly time/3 flights, from Brazil to UK 20 hours flight time/3 flights and back again from UK to Brazil 17 hours flight time/2 flights) including a toddler and a baby, I know for a fact that flying with a baby can be daunting.
But it doesn't have to be! In this blog post, we will outline everything you need to know to make your flight as smooth as possible. From packing essentials to dealing with potential issues, we have you covered!
It can be stressful and exhausting, but with the right preparation and attitude, you can make it through your flight with your sanity—and your baby—intact. Here are our top tips to help make flying with your baby as painless as possible.
When packing for a flight with your baby, it’s important to focus on comfort and convenience. Bring along items that will help keep them occupied (i.e. books, toys) and also make sure you bring enough diapers and wipes in case of any unexpected delays or cancellations.
There are some great car seat trays that work on airplanes that come with full entertainment centers that are worth their weight in gold!
It's a great idea to bring a spare outfit for everyone travelling including underwear and socks. We never know when a poo-splosion will happen!
For snacks, bring along simple favorites that don’t need to be heated up or refrigerated; things like applesauce pouches and crackers are perfect for keeping little ones happy during the flight.
My biggest tip here is DON'T OVER PACK!!! Our first flight (bare in mind we were permanently moving countries) we had 8 suitcases and 8 hand luggages along with a pram and a car seat. We flew though Sao Paulo where we had to pick up out bags and walk for 3 hours with all our stuff. And guess what, babies don't carry their own stuff! Even the two trolleys we had couldn't cope with all our stuff and it was an absolute hell. Proceed with caution!
Dress for comfort
Make sure everyone is dressed comfortably. Even if you’re flying during the summertime, it can get quite cold on planes, so dress yourself and your baby in layers so that you can adjust accordingly when needed.
If you have space in your hand luggage its also a good idea to bring a spare blanket. Also, avoid clothing that is tight or restrictive; save those outfits for when you land!
Schedule your flights for sleep times
If at all possible, try to schedule flights around nap times or bedtimes in order to maximize sleep time while in the air which will ultimately make your life much easier! I flew my UK to Brazil leg at 6am meaning the entire flight was in the day time, and wouldn't you know, my just turned one year old was awake for the entire 17 hours.
Flying Australia to Brazil I had the good sense to leave at 9pm and my then 4 month old slept almost the entire first 17 hour flight and a bunch of the next one too.
A sleeping baby is preferable on long haul flights!
Another way to help baby sleep is to bring along a neck pillow, head support or inflatable leg box. We had one on for our first flights and it worked so well! Unfortunately the airline wouldn't let us use it on the next move so its a good idea to check with your airline if they have restrictions or not.
And always give yourself plenty of time before departure; rushing through airport security with a child isn’t exactly fun!
Don't forget noise protection! For babies under two years old, invest in some good noise-cancelling headphones so they don't have to suffer through the loud engine noises of takeoff and landing (they'll thank you later). You can check out the guide I put together ono the best noise cancelling headphones for babies to get all the information you need to make an informed decision about if this is something that will work for you or not.
Most airlines allow parents traveling with small children to board early so take advantage of this opportunity since it will give you extra time before takeoff to get situated or entertain restless kids who aren't quite ready for their seats yet!
This also goes for lining up for check in, immigration and security oftentimes, so be sure to double check if you can get through quickly.
Ask for help (it's ok!) . There's no shame in asking for assistance from other passengers or even airline personnel if need be; chances are someone will offer a helping hand when they see how overwhelmed you are trying to manage everything on your own—especially if there are multiple children involved!
Airline staff are often super happy to take babies while you go freshen up or even play with toddlers for a bit to give you a break, so don;t be afraid to call someone over and ask for a hand.
I learned the hard way after being totally unprepared the first time we flew (we'd also had to move out of our rental that day, sell all our furniture, attend a Doctors appointment for my son's 4 month vaccinations, return our rental car, pack, clean our rental, return the keys, have an outgoing inspection....then we flew at 9pm. So yeah, I wasn't at all prepared and was luck to even make the flight in the torrential rain we had to get to the airport in after all that!!)
You never know what may happen during a flight so always come prepared with any necessary medications or supplies just in case something goes wrong mid-flight (you'll be glad you did!).
Flying with infants can be daunting but it doesn't have to be stressful if done properly! Just remember these seven tips when preparing for your next family trip by air and hopefully everything will go off without a hitch! After all, happy travels begin before takeoff – not once the plane hits cruising altitude – so make sure you plan ahead accordingly! Best of luck and safe travels!