Are you planning on taking a flight with your baby soon? Whether you’re taking your first-ever family holiday or are visiting relatives abroad with your little one, it can be daunting to think about taking a flight with a baby. We’ve all been on a plane before with a baby whose cries feel relentless, and none of us want to be in that situation and feel that our little one isn’t happy, so planning and preparation are a must.
Read on to discover five top tips for making a flight as seamless as possible when travelling with a young baby.
Make Your Airline Aware
It’s worth making your airline and any other travel companies aware that you’re travelling with a baby. Some airlines are able to offer extra accommodations for those who are travelling with a young child. Oftentimes, airlines will offer earlier boarding to those with young children so that they don’t have to deal with rushing onto a plane and are able to get seated and comfortable before take-off.
Think About Where You’re Going to Sit
When booking your tickets, it’s worth spending time considering where you’ll be sitting whilst on the plane. If you’re able to reserve a specific seat, you’ll be able to pick a location on the plane that will work best for you. This might mean being closer to the door for a quick entrance and exit, being closer to the toilets, or opting for business or first class to have more room.
We spoke to Karen, mum of four and the mind behind Travel Mad Mum, who recommended a certain choice of seat that she’s found works well in the past: “My number one tip is to book bulkhead seats so that you can make use of the bassinet for baby. It allows parents to be hands-free during naps and for baby to stretch out a little. Although bassinets have a weight limitation and babies over 10-11kg will usually have outgrown them, it’s still a great seat on a plane for some extra space as a parent.”
Prepare For the Change of Pressure
One of the main things that can cause a baby to be upset whilst flying is the change of pressure in the cabin as you ascend and descend. Something that can make all the difference is bringing a dummy for baby to suck on during take-off and landing to help relieve this pressure. It can also be useful to breastfeed or bottle-feed during this part of the flight to alleviate too much ear pain.
The National Library of Medicine offers some insight and guidance on this: “Changes in cabin pressure can be painful, especially for younger children with smaller eustachian tubes (a tube in the ear that helps even out pressure). For babies, breastfeeding or sucking from a bottle or on a soother may offer some relief, especially during take-off and landing. For older children, chewing gum or eating lollipops may help.”
Consider Sleeping Times When You Book
Although it might not always be possible, trying to align your flight time as closely as possible with your baby’s sleeping schedule can be a useful way to make it a seamless and sleep-filled journey. Look for flights that depart in the evening so that you can try and encourage the baby to sleep through the trip. Try to avoid flights that leave early in the morning when you know the baby might prefer to be awake, as this can mean they are more restless throughout the flight.
Accept it Might Not Be Perfect
With all the will in the world and all the perfect preparation, you have to accept that it still might not be perfect and not everything will go as planned. From baby being in a bad mood to running out of supplies or experiencing flight delays or cancellations, there is plenty that might not go as you want it to.
READ MORE: What to do if your flight gets cancelled
This is advice that Victoria, a family travel blogger at Bridges and Balloons, shared when we asked for her insight. She told us: “No matter how well prepared you are for your flight, remember babies are unpredictable. Teething, illness, bad moods, etc., can turn all the best-laid plans upside down. It’s not your fault if the flight doesn’t go perfectly. And just like childbirth, you tend to forget the stressful bits once you arrive at your amazing destination!”
We hope you’ve found this article helpful and your first trip with your little one goes off without a hitch! Travelling doesn’t need to be stressful, and from ensuring you’re prepared for your first flight with a newborn baby to making sure you’ve got holiday insurance with pre-existing conditions included, there are steps you can take to make sure it isn’t.
If you’re looking for more travel insights, including destination guides and answers to frequently asked travel questions, you should check out our travel blog.