Flying with a baby might be stressful for parents. Sometimes, even just thinking about it or planning to fly with an infant, especially the first time, might change the travel decision or impact the overall experience. These are unforgettable moments, but how to turn them into positively unforgettable ones?
The world is more and more connected. We have more opportunities to visit new or known destinations. To visit family or friends, to fulfill any personal need, or to relax. Forget asking yourself if you should take your baby on board! ? Don’t overthink if it is complicated or stressful. We are creating these moments, so prepare well, but not too much. Read the below tips. And then relax, fasten your seat belts, and smile!
Our Little One recently marked 12 flights, domestic and international, being 6.5 months old. We love to travel. And to share our passion with our two girls. It gives me a lot of new experiences. Not only to enjoy each travel more but also to convince others: flying with a baby can be fun!
How do you turn it all into unforgettable moments?
It all depends on our mindset and attitude before the travel. Your little one will not even fully realize that the journey is ahead, that it is time to board the plane or fall asleep in your arms – just in another seat. The more positive and happy you are, your baby receives better vibes.
It was easy for me. I was too excited to travel, both with the entire family (the first time 4 of us) and traveling myself again. Being a miles’ traveler, I missed getting on the plane again. The last months of the pregnancy were on hold for me and then issuing of documents. Once we could travel, our Little One was 2.5 months old, and I was so happy that day! I think she felt it and just smiled, ate, or slept! Ideal flight!
✈️ PACK SMART & TRAVEL HANDS FREE
A super important one. Many items and tips here!
- Check the airline for the baby luggage allowance. It might be the same as yours – usually checked-in only (e.g., Lufthansa), a smaller (e.g., Qatar), or none (e.g., AirAsia). Useful information. Additionally, most airlines will allow you one baby item to bring for free: stroller, baby car seat, or baby basket carrier.
- Smart packing, especially when flying with a baby or toddler, for me means checked-in luggage and cabin luggage as per guidance (heavy as per guidance, I should say ?). Tip here, something that I have learned from My Better Half. When traveling with babies (or pregnant or in any medical condition), you can ask, during check-in, for your cabin luggage to be checked in for free as well. It always worked.
- Travel hands-free: when your cabin luggage is checked in, keep with you only a small backpack or comfortable bag where few items for the baby, documents, and money can fit. Your hands are free now to push a stroller or to carry your little one.
- Stroller: some airlines give an option to check it into the final destination, while others allow keeping it during transits. It needs to be kept in front of the plane door and picked up by the airplane door post landing. For the latter scenario, most of the airports during security check will ask you to pass it through the security check scanner. Be prepared to close it or divide it into parts; if you decide to take it with you.
Our stroller story: we kept it with us for the connection, and it got lost, ‘lucky’ us! The plane, Boeing 747-800, instead of parking at the gate, let all passengers commute to the terminal by buses. In all this, our stroller got missed! Three hours of a stopover: firstly, figuring out who can help us – believe me, it wasn’t easy; secondly, trying to understand where is our stroller – we failed here, and finally: enjoying our ‘gymming’ – lifting 7 kg of our Happiness for 3 hours during transfer. But most of the stories have a happy end! So did our: airline managed to match our lost stroller to our final destination and just before entering the plane we saw it being loaded with our suitcases, hurray!
✈️ BABY’S ESSENTIALS FOR THE FLIGHT
Don’t over-pack. I know we have the tendency, I have been there too! Remember, previous advice is to travel hands-free. And I am sure you won’t enjoy carrying a frame rucksack on your back! 😉 Airlines always provide pillows and blankets, even during short flights, so no need to over-pack. Using a baby carrier, especially when flying with a baby alone can work miracles.
Tip number one: check online if the airlines provide anything during the flight especially for the baby so you could avoid taking too many items. Recently we traveled with Qatar Airways and that was a great experience, taking this into consideration! Not only they provided a toy and ready to eat a meal (bio one – but yes, nothing replaces natural food) but also a full set for the baby: 2 diapers, baby wipes, baby lotion, and powder. Great, isn’t it? Do explore it in advance so that you can travel light!
✈️ BABY’S EAR PAIN?
Many of us might worry about flying with a baby and ear pain. Yes, this isn’t medical advice. It is just a friend to friend or a parent to parent suggestion. We have consulted doctors before our travels, most of them recommended some medication. We trusted our own feelings. What is the most important: no one knows your baby as well as you do! So follow your judgment, if no medical conditions or limitations in place. The best recommendation is: feed the baby during take-off and landing, especially take-off. Nothing helps as much!
I always feed the baby during take-offs. It is just important to plan it well. Don’t over-feed the baby before getting on the plane. Good timing is important, don’t feed as soon as you sit on the plane. Your little one might be full by the time plane reaches the runway. 😉 Before the first flight together I wasn’t sure if feeding baby with seat belts on (for both of us) will be comfortable. My worries disappeared after take-off, all went well. When landing, knowing that Our Little One is fine flying: I feed her or just softly press her ears. She never struggled because of ear pain. I often smile that she was used to it anyway: I did so many flights during pregnancy that she is totally used to it and did more than 12 flights by now!
✈️ SHORT VS. LONG JOURNEYS
I am not sure if Our Little One differentiates between short and long flights. She seems to be enjoying both. If possible, it might be good to test flying on a shorter flight or without a connection. And it isn’t a test for the baby but rather us who take care of the baby during the journey, as most of the logistics readiness and potential worries might be at our end. So, try to select a shorter flight, maybe domestic. Limiting timezone changes can help too.
Our first flight was Bangalore-Mumbai, short and domestic. Indeed, it helped us a lot to understand how is Our Little One during travel. It also gave me more experience for the next flights. If you are traveling on longer flights / international, call the airlines to book the seat with a baby bassinet in advance. It is free of charge. However, the number of bassinets is limited per flight. Also, when you do the final check-in, cross-check to see if your seat is in the first row. Just that one allows for bassinet fitting. On our pre-last flight, some ‘magical change’ took place, and I ended up with Our Happiness six hours on my lap.
✈️ ECONOMY VS. BUSINESS
Is business class more comfortable for flying with a baby? I am not sure. Also here calling airlines is needed to book the bassinet in advance. I guess that the overall service of business class isn’t fully directed at children but for sure you, as a parent, will relax more, eat better and be fresher to enjoy your coming days.
My tip is: when flying business class, bassinet might not be as good as – keeping baby with you on the seat. Seats open to nearly flat-bed versions. It is much more comfortable to keep the little one next to you and enjoy few hours of sleep together. Since the bassinet in business class was very high and next to A/C, sleeping together worked magic for us.
Well-known item. Prepare all documents in advance, in particular, ahead of the first international travel. It can remove stress or surprises, no matter how much we love them. Check not only the country of the travel requirements but also any stopover. Be it ID, passport, visa, or any other document needed for the baby travel – have it handy with you.
Hmm… here we had a bit of fun. It is not easy to settle formalities being dual nationality family. We learned it the hard way. Our unique case: in the first six months, Our Little One already had three passports issued. Now only one is valid. Also, her second passport was a temporary one only. Luckily, we found out – nearly by chance – that not all countries accept traveling on temporary documents, even if it is only a flyover. Before travel, have your ears open but don’t panic. All is doable! ?
Moments that matter, no matter the altitude.