There is a dramatic change in the way you travel once you become a parent. Before parenthood happens, travelling is all about spontaneity and new experiences. That said flying with a baby is no less an adventure. And in this case, you have to be prepared well ahead for all the spontaneous surprises your little one throws up and the overwhelming experiences they have in store for you, more so if you’re doing it solo.
Here are some tips and tricks for first time parents based on the experiences of those who have traveled with babies.
Time your flight right
Travelling around nap time (or at bedtime in case of international flights) is preferable because your baby can sleep and possibly you too. If you’re travelling on a weekday, avoid early morning flights because then you and your baby don’t have to keep up with agitated business travellers. By flying at off times, you can also get a better deal in airfare.
Book a direct flight
As the parent of a baby or young child, it is imperative to keep the number of connecting flights to the minimum. Landing typically puts pressure on those little ears, causing pain that makes them very cranky on air. Moreover, the lesser time spent in transit means less chances of mid-flight tantrum.
So pay a little extra for a non-stop flight if you have to. The journey could become a lot smoother and easier for you and the baby. Connecting flights do get delayed, or worse, cancelled, which is no fun for anyone, especially families with young children.
If you book a connecting flight, schedule extra time on the ground between flights, ideally two to three hours. A longer layover gives families more time to reach the gate and take care of their baby’s needs. You can use the spare time in the airport to grab some fresh meal, let your child run around for a while or change a dirty diaper.
Don’t be that mom who goofed and packed all of her baby’s diapers in her checked bag. Your check-in and carry-on luggage must have sufficient supply of extra diapers and wipes. Your carry-on bag must also have an extra shirt for you for those situations of spit-up and spills, besides travel food for babies, toys, a pacifier or three, infant formula that is ready-to-go and lots of Ziploc bags for storing different types of trash.
Reach the airport with enough time in hand to get through the process with ease. Give yourself at least fifteen minutes extra than you usually do to get to the airport. The idea is to be on time but not to reach too early either. On reaching, always try for curbside check-in. When you’re with a baby, you must try to get rid of the check-in luggage as soon as you can and avoid waiting in the queue inside. If your budget allows, upgrade to economy plus for more space and comfort while travelling with a baby.
Carry Food Essentials
If you’re using infant formula, bring a prepared bottle for the airport; it can help keep your baby content while the check-in process goes on. Make some ready formula bottles before going out for the day. Pack some extra formula in your carry-on and checked bag. Feed the baby during take-off and landing. You can also pack millet cereal mix that can be quickly made in just a few minutes. Slurrp Farm cereals are a great option to carry when travelling with kids. They are 100% organic and do not contain any additives or preservatives.
Keep baby happy with distractions
Forget the days of enjoying a magazine, a good book or action movie on board a plane. Your focus now is going to be on placating your baby or toddler the entire flight. So you need to keep that baby happy on board the plane in all possible ways. This means reading board books to your little one, letting them play with some travel toys and actively playing with your child.