After we booked our recent trip to the UK I instantly started to dread the super long haul flight. 26 hours travelling in a confined space is a long time for an adult let alone a child. Pre-baby days it was just a case of watching unlimited movies while sipping on free booze with the occasional nap. However it wasn’t like that anymore was it? Now we have an 9 month old to travel with us! My mind raced with a million different things I needed to prepare for and my anxiety level increased at how she would behave. Would her little ears hurt? Will she scream the whole time? Will she sleep? We were about to find out.
We went with a night flight so that (Fingers crossed) she would be able to sleep more or less straight away – My mind hurt too much thinking about time differences etc. and the night flight just so happened to be the cheapest so it was a done deal. We only booked this 6 weeks in advance, so it was pretty last minute. A friend told me to book bassinet seats but I was worried we wouldn’t manage to get them since it was so last minute! I rang the airline who confirmed and booked this in on each of our flights. (Phew…Pretty painless)
Then came the packing – I knew she would be totally spoilt by family and friends so didn’t actually take too much. But what about formula? Food? Could I even take those things on the plane with the whole under 100ml only regulation? WHO KNEW? After lengthy research and many FAQ pages later I found that baby formula/food is exempt from this regulation. They just may do extra screening and/or testing which is fine by me. I was super excited to use Rosie’s little matching backpack and mini suitcase. (Kmart special ladies!)
We also had so much to sort out at the other end – Car seat? Pram? Cot? I really did not want to take all of these on the plane. All the car hire company’s quoted a crazy amount extra a day just for adding a car seat so we decided to just buy one at our destination country which saved a lot of money. Our family just picked it up for us and brought it to the airport. If you don’t have family in your destination country then think about hiring the car seat for a day or two, which will give you a chance to pick a seat up. This can save A LOT of money.
Now when the day came to fly and we checked into the airport I honestly felt like a VIP. I did not look like one in my baggy, comfy pants, mum bun and big cardigan but because we had this super cute baby everything and everyone were super helpful, accommodating and just generally really nice. Which was great and everything but I felt like they knew. They knew what hell we were in for or so I thought.
Security put our baby bottles through separate screening and we were given the short queue since we had a little one in tow. Robert enjoyed a beer whilst I went shopping. (duty free come at me!) Boarding time came and again VIP treatment. We boarded ahead of first class and made way to our seats, the airline staff could not of been more professional and loved making a fuss of Rosie. We sat down, took a deep breath and started our trip.
The number one tip I received from my experienced travel mum friends was that you should give your baby a bottle whilst taking off and landing so that their ears can equalise to the pressure. This really worked. As for the bassinet, it was pretty small and we found that every time she would get settled we would go through turbulence and the seat belt sign would be turned on which meant she had to be taken out. (Just our luck) We ended up baby wearing, using the ERGO 360 carrier. She fussed a bit at first but soon settled and we had an extension seat belt so that she was secure.
What we did notice was that she was very thirsty. She drank way more than she usually does so we were glad we packed extra bottles. Understandable really with all that dry air. Nappy changes were not as bad as I was expecting. On all flights pre-baby I have never noticed baby change on a plane – or anywhere for that matter but was pleasantly surprised with the size of the change table. Yes, it was a squeeze in those tiny toilets but us mums learn to change anywhere!
Before we knew it our trip was over and we had managed it with minimal fuss.We had landed and everyone clapped (Is that a thing now?) We had strangers commenting on how well behaved she was. (Proud mama moment) I personally think they were just glad she didn’t scream the whole trip. (Me too people, Me too)
So after 4 flights and countless time zones later my top tips are:
Bring Entertainment – Toys, Teddy bear anything that is going to keep your little one entertained
Book bassinet seats in advance – By having these seats it meant we had extra room so Rosie could sit and play in front of us and also had the option of her sleeping in the bassinet when needed. Just be sure to check weight/length requirements with your airline.
Be prepared – Delays, turbulence, Anything can happen so ensure you pack extra so you aren’t left in any awkward situations.
Take more food and milk than normal – I know all that dry air makes me Thirsty (Wine anyone?) so our little ones are bound to get super thirsty too.
Take changes of clothes for both you and your baby – I can’t stress this enough. No one wants to be covered in food or poop 30 minutes after take off. Take a few spares so when you land you don’t feel like a total grub.
Try to travel light – I know, I know I have told you to pack extra of everything BUT only of the essentials. Try and make sure you don’t fill your cases to your weight limit so that you can buy things in your destination country!
And finally – Just GO WITH THE FLOW. If you are stressed and anxious. You will find your baby will be too. And remember part of the fun is getting there.