I have never imagined in my whole life that I will be that woman in a plane travelling with a baby. During flights , i never took notice of it , I just brushed it off , ignored it , especially when i saw that there’s a screaming baby on board .When you are single , you never really care about Kids and stuff.But when you have a child of your own , it is an eye opener , an overwhelming experience.
This becomes a surprising truth to me when I realized that I would be spending almost 10 hours flight with my 11 month old daughter from Kuwait to Amsterdam.Yes,for the first time flight with a baby!The truth is,it scares me.What if she cry all the way?What if she can’t sleep? What if the pressure really hurt her ears? So many questions, besides I would never want to put any inconvenience on other passengers,or at least received those bat-eyed stares. Ughh!
So How did I manage to survived it? Remember that it’s only temporary , you will reach your destination in a matter of time.You won’t even see those fellow passengers again in your life. I wanna share to you Mamas out there who will go on your first adventure of flying these 10 things every Mothers should know while Travelling with Infants & Babies and how to enjoy the experience of flying with your child on board. Here it is;
1.Do your Homework
Start by looking for child Friendly Airlines & Airports ahead of your intended travel date .Choose your flight schedules , timings and seat plan wisely .If possible, get the early morning flights to avoid crowds during Airport check-ins,lines,and weekdays.We choose this schedule because it gives my daughter a chance to nap or sleep through the night even travelling.It always gives you that extra leg room to get the Bulk head seats just in case your toddler wants playtime. Be familiar with the bathrooms , changing rooms locations and play areas inside the terminal.
2.Request and avail of the Bassinet offers from your Airline.
We fly through an Emirates A380 plane from Dubai to AMS so we expected that it’s going to be a full flight , and unfortunately its summer so it’s tourist season in Netherlands and yet we made sure that we reserved & requested the Bassinet functions of each flight .Check with your Airline for this features.Get this done while booking.Emirates Bassinets measure approximately 75 x 33 x 22.3cm (29.5 x 13 x 8.8 inches , l x w x d) and are for babies who weigh up to 11kg (24.2lbs). Emirates even have a complimentary Stroller which you can use during your stop over and transit from gate to gate through the spacious Terminal in Dubai. You need to take out your child from the Bassinet during Take-offs & Landings.
3.Pack that Baby Bag.
We all know that Babies carries a lot of stuff.You can start making a list on what to pack depending on how long is your holiday,duration of the flight & itinerary.I recommend packing as early as 2 weeks before your flight for you to see how much stuff needs to be in that bag.On the last minute,you can just double check for what is missing.This bag should be one of your hand carry luggage.Most airlines allows baggage allowance for babies.Invest in a good bag that could contain your Little one’s essential and won’t be too bulky for you to carry.
See my post for What to Pack for your Baby Travel Bag for essential things to pack for your baby’s Handcarry luggage.
4.Expect the Unexpected.
This is the very reason why we prepare.Expect the unexpected.Sometimes,no matter how we prepared,things doesn’st work out the way we wanted it to be.Delayed flights.Long stop overs.Your Baby cannot sleep and refuse to drink milk.Anything could happen,even losing your cool.This is where you need your mind to be active.When you are under stress,your child will surely catch it so try to maintain your sanity even when you are sleep-deprived,tired & exhausted .In short word,Expect to be Busy.Really Busy.
5.Have a Buddy-System.
If you are travelling with your Spouse,relative,or partner,then the load can be done easily once shared.It is much more stressful for others who are travelling alone with a child.If possible,having someone to travel with you could give you that assurance that things are manageable and you get the support you need.Having a Buddy System works wonders like alternate holding the baby while the other goes to bathroom ,eating, going though long lines , pushes the stroller,taking stroll with your child while in the terminal.Believe me,you need each other.On our first trip , I’m so grateful my husband is with me to give a hand. Plus, the memories of your first family trip together makes it all worthwhile.
6.Make sure your child is ready.
Your child doesn’t have any idea what is going on.But the moment she cries and becomes unsettled , you know that she needs to be comforted. New surroundings could either make her hyper or break her.Make sure that you prepare your child in a way that she had a good rest , dressed comfortably , and well-fed on hours before and during your flight.If you are travelling on the same time that disrupts her nap routines,try to get her tired enough to sleep.I let my daughter play along the chairs in the waiting area ,the bright airport lights amuses her.My daughter sits on my lap the whole flight and she becomes cranky during take-offs , I prepared her by offering something to drink, her favourite toy,and lots & lots of cuddles. Parents, protect her ears.
7.Wear your child.
Bringing your sling and wearing your Baby around you works wonders for me.From the moment we check-in her stroller in the gate,i put her in the sling.It always good for your hands to be free while your baby is snug as a bug in your arms.This is great for walking her through the aisle or when you need to get her to sleep.For going through spacious and far end side of the terminal that we literally need to run after to get there on time,wearing your baby is a smart move. This will prevent any injury or bumping your child’s head or back that might happen inside the aircraft.I really don’t know How could i ever do things without a Sling I highly recommend it.
You must ensure that your child travel with appropriate (CRS) Child Restraint System that enhances flight safety.If your baby is over 14 days old and under two (2) years of age, not occupying a separate seat,She may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older,with only taxes to be paid). Make sure to ask for the Seatbelt extension for Infants & Babies provided by your aircarft. Most flight attendants will show to you how to put it on with your baby.If you purchased a seat for her,you must make sure that you bring along an FAA- Approved car seat.
9.Take the fine print with you.
Depending on your destination, I recommend to always bring along your child’s Fine printed documents such as copy of Birth Certificate,Medical Prescriptions,Permission to travel/Custody letter from your spouse if you are travelling alone and other related documents that you might need during the course of your trip. I have these documents on the side pockets of my bag so its easily accessible.
10.Create Memories of your First flight
This would be one of the exciting stories you would be telling your kids once they get older.No matter how long the flight,You will reach your destination. It’s the memory of it that will last.For Mamas out there,make sure you smile when you took pictures with your Little One.My daughter became the center of attention by the Flight Attendants, they carried her & she gamely posed for the Polaroid shots given by the staff.We have made friends in the flight and we even met one in the airport lounge . The key-She recognized my baby!
Thank you for reading & Safe Travels !