I’ve talked about travelling with toddlers before but wanted to go more in depth about travelling with babies and young children. Today I will be focusing on newborns and young babies, stay tuned for toddlers and young children later in the week!
Fact: Travelling with a baby is possible. You have to be organized, but you can do it.
You’re on maternity leave, you have a new baby you want to spend time together as a family and perhaps show off your new bundle of joy to friends and family who don’t live nearby. Your baby is free to fly, you get a free upgrade (for one passenger) to the front row of the plane with extra leg room so you can use the bassinet on overseas flights. You get special attention. Why wouldn’t you want to travel with a baby???
My husband and I travelled from Alberta, Canada to Spain and all over the UK when our son was 6 weeks old and guess what, we survived and plan on doing it again with our next child! Here is my wisdom passed from me to you.
I obsessively stressed and over planned for our trip. We got to the airport, checked in our luggage and we were waiting at the gate to board our flight to Heathrow Airport. I had a backpack on, a diaper bag over my shoulder, and was carrying our infant son. My husband had removed the car seat from our stroller and had placed it in our car seat flight carrier to protect it and was wearing it as a giant backpack. He had my nursing pillow around his neck like a giant flight pillow. He had another carry on bag and our stroller. A woman was watching us, she said, “your first flight with a baby? You’ll learn to travel lighter next time.” She smiled sympathetically but didn’t offer to help.
That was great advice although we also learned from experience. I was glad to have the nursing pillow as I could lie our son on it when he wouldn’t settle in the bassinet, it made nursing easier and I enjoyed having it on our holiday. What I would’ve changed…just because you’re allowed 2 pieces of carry on luggage each, plus an extra one for your baby does not mean you have to use them all! Try to limit the amount you have to juggle after you fold up your stroller or lose your luggage cart.
When you travel with a baby, you are given priority boarding. We had plenty of time to organize our things while I propped our son on the seat with the nursing pillow. I had prepared a few bags with candy and ear plugs in and I now sell them in my Etsy Shop for your convenience!
These went over so well! Everyone thought they were so cute and such a nice idea. It broke the ice and everyone was understanding when my son became fussy. I sell these 3 packs for $5.00, by the time you hit up the shops that sell these items, pay for items in quantities that they’re sold in, print off a message and put them all together, it’s worth saving yourself the time and hassle and allow me to do the work for you! 🙂
After we were settled in and the flight attendants were going around doing their checks, they will come and explain everything you need to know about travelling with your baby. Every airline is different. Some want you to hold your baby up against you during take off and landing, however, most are open to you nursing and holding your baby securely as nursing your baby or encouraging them to suck on a bottle or soother helps relieve discomfort in their ears. Some airlines have an extra baby seatbelt that attaches to yours but I have only seen this in Europe, I was still able to nurse our son while he was wearing it. They should also offer you a bag to dispose your diaper in in the bathroom garbage and point out which bathrooms are equipped with change tables. If they don’t offer a bag, ask them for a few, because if your baby is going to have explosive poop after explosive poop, you can bet it will be while you are conveniently located 30,000ft in the air!
This was my reality…your baby has pooped, the seatbelt sign is on, it smells. You wait and wait. The seatbelt sign finally turns off. You grab your diaper changing items (that you’ve packed in a small convenient bag because there isn’t a lot of room on airplane bathrooms!) and you head for the bathroom with a change table. There’s a line. You are now holding your smelly baby inches from people’s faces. You’re humiliated, it stinks.
This has happened to me and it’s not fun. Don’t be afraid to ask people if you can jump the line to save everyone from suffocating or talk to a flight attendant, they’re usually very understanding and helpful and might even be able to give you a heads up when the seatbelt sign is about to switch off so you can jump in line first.
On our flight home, our son was 9 weeks old at this point, I had a nasty virus and was throwing up all over security. Thankfully they still let me fly but I was completely out of it and my poor husband had to juggle all of our things as well as our son because I was too dizzy to hold him. Everyone was so helpful. I slept the entire flight, we didn’t have any formula or pumped milk with us so my husband would nudge me and place our son on the nursing pillow I kept around me and I would subconsciously nurse our son. Again, the flight attendants and other passengers were very helpful, people are kind and you can’t be afraid to accept help.
Travelling with a baby is work, you need to be on the ball, you don’t get to sit with your headphones on and watch all the inflight movies you used to look forward to. The reality is that most people have family scattered all over the world these days and travelling with a young baby is often necessary. If you’re organized and prepared, I promise you, you will survive it!