If you are travelling with your baby for the first time, it can be a stressful affair. Babies are unpredictable as it is. And you have no way of knowing how they will behave 30,000 feet up in the sky. You do not know if she will be fussy, if she will sleep well or if her ears will hurt. You are also worried for yourself – if you will get any time to rest during the trip or if you will be able to feed the baby comfortably. You are also worried about the fellow passengers – if they will find you too fussy or if they will complain about baby’s persistent crying in case that happens. Basically, you are worried about everything. Here is a concise guide that will help you sail through your air travel.
It Is All About Planning: How To Plan Your Flight With Baby?
Planning right is half the job done. Take care of the following aspects, and you will feel much comfortable on the D-day:
- Talk to the doctor: Make sure your child’s doctor approves the flight travel. This would mean that the doctor will check the baby for any infection, especially in the ears. Some doctors also prescribe ear drops so that the child does not get ear ache during the travel
- Buy a separate ticket: Kids below 2 years of age fly free. However, we suggest that you consider buying an extra ticket for your baby. Benefits are many: your child will be most comfortable in an airline approved car seat which can be fixed on the flight seat; you will not have to worry about carrying him on your lap throughout the journey; and, you get to carry an extra luggage which is god-sent when traveling with a baby
- Choose nap-time for flying: It is best to choose a time when you know your little one will be napping. This way, the flight will remain more or less uneventful
- Talk to the airline: Understand the airline rules in terms of what you can carry on-board before the flight so that you do not get any surprises on the day of travel. Ask specifically if things like milk or hot water or formula can be packed in the carry-on bag
- Pack it right: Make a list of things that you know you will need during the flight. Extra clothes (for the baby and yourself, in case the baby spits on you), extra diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, food and blankets are necessary items on that list
On The Day Of The Travel: What Should You Do On The Day Of Travel?
You have planned it right. Now here are couple of things you need to do on the day of the trip:
- Arrive early: In case you have not chosen your seats yet, please make sure you arrive early to ensure you get good seats (and not the dreaded middle seat!). Even if you have reserved your seats, it is still better to arrive early so that you are not panicking about missing the check-in time. If you are restless, your child will sense it and will get restless too
- Take the pram/stroller: You might want to consider carrying a pram or stroller. Some of the international airports are huge and you might get very tired carrying your baby around. Even for domestic flights, a pram/ stroller can be handy in case your flight is delayed. Please do check with the airlines if they will let you carry the pram/ stroller in the airplane (most airlines do)
On The Flight: What Should You Do Inflight To Ensure That Your Baby, You And Co-Passengers Are At Ease?
Finally, the day of travel has arrived. You are well prepared. You have arrived at the airport before time. You have got a decent seat. What next? Here are some tips to keep in mind so that the flight is smooth.
- Board first: Most airlines will let passengers with kids to board first. Make use of this. The extra minutes will give you a chance to settle down, put the bags you do not need immediately in the overhead carrier and keep things you will need handy around you
- Feed the baby to reduce ear pressure: If your baby is awake during take-off, make sure you feed the baby, either breastfeed or feed from a bottle. If the baby refuses to feed, try giving her a pacifier. The suckling motion of mouth will reduce the pressure in the ears. Repeat the same step during landing as well
- Be polite to co-passengers: Being polite can go a long way in ensuring that your fellow passengers are not irked by the fussiness involved in traveling with a baby. Many times, people are more annoyed with the parents who pretend to own the airplane than with the little one’s crying. Of course, you can choose to ignore them. But what we are saying is politeness cannot hurt
- Change diaper only in the toilet: Many parents think it is ok to just change the diaper in their seats. This is not cool. The smell, although you are accustomed to it, is a total put off for others. Always do this in the toilet. It is also more comfortable for you to change your baby’s diaper in the changing station in the toilet
How much ever you plan, remember things can go haywire. And this is okay. The idea is to think of every possible eventuality and be prepared for it. And if something unplanned happens, well, welcome to parenthood.