Top tips for plane travel with baby and toddlers
Now let's talk about the serious business of how to make flying with baby and the kids a bit more pleasant. http://www.babycenter.com.au/baby/travel/flybabyexpert/
- The minimum age for flying ranges from 2 days to 2 weeks (check with the airline) and 10 days post caesarian.
- International flights require a passport for the baby.
- Carrycots are available on most international flights - need to be pre-booked. Flights within Australia vary on this.
- Babies require a ticket to be booked for the flight. Most flights in Oz don't charge for bub but some international flights do.
- Make sure your bub or child is healthy to travel and free from ear infections. They need a clear nose and ears to equalise cabin pressure. It may help to feed baby on take off and landing to help equalise ear pressure. If they can't equalise and their ears hurt, the act of crying will automatically do that for them, or a pacifier/dummy will do the same thing.
- Are you flying to a country that requires travel vaccines? Are they the right age for the vaccines? Are they up to date on their scheduled vaccines? It's easy to catch whooping cough in a confined space.
- Try to book flights that will fit in with your baby's sleep routine. This will make travelling as pleasant as it can be, but you will still have to cope with jet lag when you get to your destination. In that sense, a night flight may be ideal. Baby's cope with the change in time zones so much more than 'us' adults do. So don't worry too much about routine, just try and go with them.
- Make sure you are carrying enough milk and food for bub. A hungry bub or toddler is an unhappy one. Likewise, if you're breastfeeding keep your fluids up as flights can easily dehydrate you. Check with the airline for requirements relating to fluids and foodstuffs on board the plane.
- Have an activity bag for a toddler full of interactive things e.g. Shapeeze, quiet books (see the previous blog), new toys that test thinking, pencils, crayons and paper always go down well.
- A repertoire of interactive songs e.g. 'this little piggy went to market' and 'the little green frog' and 'the wheels on the bus'. Children NEVER get bored of songs and they learn by repetition.
- Download nursery rhymes, songs and white noise onto your smartphone.
- Sleep toy and maybe a favourite blanky.
- Take some new toys as new has more fascination. Avoid anything noisy as it may irritate fellow passengers!
- Dress baby in layers to cope with temperature changes on the plane and in the airport. You may leave the cold and arrive in tropical climates. So it's good to be prepared.
- Take baby Panadol and or Nurofen with you, for a temperature or teething. The gummee glove is a great teething device that may help you on the flight.
- If breastfeeding ensure your fluid/water levels up, flying naturally dehydrates you.
- Baby on solids? Take a squeeze pouch food and spares such as banana & avocado, Weetbix and Cruskits.
- Plenty of nappies, wipes and nappy sacs. Put a full change of clothes in separate plastic ziplock bags together with wipes and a nappy, you won't need to take the whole nappy bag to the bathroom. A portable lightweight change mat can be folded up and is easy to clean.
- Pack clear plastic bags to take liquids and creams through airport security – do this at home and keep all liquids handy at the top of your bag.
- Spare clothes - at least a couple of changes, just in case of 'accidents' and spills.
- A carrier/sling in case bub is unsettled on the plane.
- Use a lightweight stroller or pram that folds easily when you board. You can use it in the airport to calm an unhappy baby or toddler and it'll save your arms.
- CoziGo can be a lifesaver, blocking out light to help babies sleep in the bassinet on the plane https://nurtureparenting.com.au/product/cozigo/
- One mum I know put a piece of muslin over her baby's bassinette with some gaffer tape like a tent onto the cabin wall. The gro-blind is v useful as it blocks out light and so helps baby sleep.
- A backpack can be helpful for travel with a little one as it frees your arms up.
- Once you get to the other end, of your long-haul flight, try and expose the baby to natural sunlight in the daytime and hopefully there will be some!!! It helps reduce jet lag and helps reset their sleep circadian rhythms.
- For older babies and children tryptophan is your friend to help increase melatonin production for sleep. See this blog for more info https://nurtureparenting.com.au/diet-and-baby-sleep/
And most important - it may only be 26 hours or so out of your life. Most toddlers and babies are not a problem for that amount of time. It may only be an hour or two and you may find a helpful passenger to give you a break. We are out there...
Flying with a baby may be a wonderful adventure. Hopefully, you've got family and/or friends at the other end to see you through the jet lag when you arrive.
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