Top 10 Tips to Travel with an Infant
Blog Submitted by Devanshi Maniar
I was keen to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday in Bali, Indonesia. My biggest worry was travelling with her on a long flight where it took almost more than 12 hours to reach destination with a stopover. Thanks to a recently introduced flight route, there was a direct flight from Mumbai to Bali without any stopovers. I remember how anxious I was while deciding whether to book the tickets, since she is a very hyper active child. I was worried about how will she be seated at one place for so many hours, the ear pain that babies get while take off and her meals as she wants to eat everything. Today, I am very confident about travelling with my daughter on long flights to anywhere in the world. From my experience, I know that we both will manage it well. This confidence has come from the first positive experience of travelling that I had with lot of planning and organizing. I am sharing some important tips to make the journey with infants more comfortable for both, parents and babies.
- Get a bassinet seat – A lot of international flights have options of choosing a bassinet seat for your LO. The limit is usually 14 kgs. The extra leg space for yourself and a designated comfortable space for the baby will add to better the experience. If bassinet is not available for your travel dates, change the dates but make sure you get it.
- Plan ahead in terms of food/feeding – If baby is breastfeeding then there is no hassle but even if the baby is breastfeeding it is a wise idea to carry formula milk just in case your body plays up a bit with supply due to travel anxiety. Using hot water from flights is safe to make formula milk. Since my daughter was not exclusively breastfed, I carried small quantities of her favorite snacks like roasted makhanas, multigrain namkeen and filling foods like gol papdi and laddoos. Also, I carried cerelac and dry fruits like raisins and fig. Oatmeal cookies available in the market were also packed in my bag. Ours was a late evening flight so I ensured she had a filling dinner of idli at the airport just before boarding started. Also, I had ensured to keep a shawl handy, for my convenience, in case she wants to be fed. Flights do provide infant foods and fruits which is safe to consume. I managed water from the flight itself since all airlines, these days, give packaged drinking water. Thus, having a mini buffet for my little Miss Foodie, I was all ready to spend long hours in the flight. If you are carrying expressed milk, ensure that you express and carry frozen bags in ice packs. On boarding the flight, hand over the insulated bags to the air hostess to store in chillers. Whenever baby needs a feed just take a bag and warm it up in hot water and you will be sorted.
- Board the flight last – This might sound weird because usually while boarding the priority is given to parents with infants. But I feel that confined space and so many people walking into the alleys can make the baby cranky and restless. It is a good idea hence to board last so that there is not much gap before taking off after you get into the aircraft.
- Onesies for babies – The temperature in aircraft can get cooler for the young ones. From my experience, a warm onesie or sleeping bag is great to make the baby sleep well. A denim pant and a t-shirt worked well for Kiana. I also carried a denim jacket to play safe. Don’t wear too many warm clothes as that too can get stuffy for them.
- Feed at take off and initial descent – The main concern for parents travelling with kids is ear pain during flights. The solution is feeding during takeoff and descent so that sucking helps. A lot of blogs and forums mention feeding during landing and takeoff, but the major sudden altitude drop happens at initial descent and not so much at landing. Ask the air hostesses to inform you before that happens and start feeding the baby at right time.
- Gate check in the strollers – A lot of international flights allow stroller as a free piece of luggage and one can carry that up to the gate. Make sure you specify at the check-in counter that you would like to gate check-in the pram. You can take pram up to the gate and when you alight it is ready just outside the aircraft. On stopovers, it is comfortable to have strollers for both parents and baby. Also at the destination, one has to walk large distances to come out of the airports and having strollers ready as soon as you come out of aircraft it is handy.
- Keep the baby bag handy – Infants have got a few designated kilos to be carried as cabin baggage. Having a well-stocked baby bag will make the journey easy. I carried diapers, wipes, hand and face wipes, nappy rash cream, sanitizer, extra set of clothes (for me and baby), food, toys, paracetamol and other basic medicines, swaddle blankets, denim jacket (sweater) and disposable changing mats in the bag.
- As a parent be calm – Babies sense mother’s anxiety and so if the mother is calm it would help baby be calm too. It is obvious to be anxious about travelling with a baby but if you are organized you will be confident. Relax before and during the journey. Don’t stress even if baby cries during the flight and most of all do not be embarrassed. It is ok even if you see upset faces from fellow passengers. Do not concentrate on them rather be calm and try to calm the baby.
- Keep babies busy when awake – My return flight was a 3 PM flight where my daughter does everything but sleeps. Older babies want to move around and do things. It is a good idea to keep them busy with a toy or teethers or books so that they don’t get restless.
- Massage and warm water bath before the flight – If you have a late night flight, give your little one a massage and a warm water bath before leaving home to help her sleep well. After the feed at night, baby will sleep through the flight comfortably.
Every experience teaches you, either what to do or what not to do. Travelling with a baby is not at all easy but if you plan ahead, are prepared and are calm yourself it is not at all difficult too.
Helpful, isn't it? Do give your feedback in the comments.
Devanshi is a Chartered Accountant by profession and currently a SAHM of a one year old super active toddler. She is an avid reader and developed interest in writing blogs while she was on her maternity break. She realised that motherhood is very easy only until you are an expecting mother. So she decided to help other mummas by blogging about her motherhood hacks. Apart from this, she is a momfluenzer on instagram with her insta handle https://www.instagram.com/