Travelling with a baby or toddler can be a challenging experience, especially on a plane.
Here are some tips to make the journey as smooth as possible:
Plan ahead: Research the airline’s policies on travelling with children, including the allowed number of bags, and any other requirements. If you’re wanting to make up a formula bottle on the flight make sure you understand what you can and cannot take through security. The air crew will be absolutely prepped on making up bottles for babies so just ask for advice once you are strapped in and comfortable on the plane. Also, consider booking a seat with extra legroom or booking a bulkhead seat with a bassinet attachment for really little ones. Some airlines now allow you take on cabin luggage which can convert into a toddler leg rest like the Stokke Jet Box which may help your child relax and be more comfortable on long flights. Check ahead of the fight so that you know you can take it on board.
Pack carefully: Make a list of essential items you’ll need during the flight, such as nappies, wipes, bottles, formula, and extra clothes!! Bring along your child’s favourite toys, books, and snacks to keep them entertained. Download films or favourite cartoon episodes onto a device and make sure you have charged it up fully before the flight the night before.
Arrive early: Arrive at the airport early to allow time for unexpected delays, security checks, and to board the plane early. Most large airports will have a separate security check for families making it less stressful than trying to be super efficient in the queue so as not to hold up any non-parents behind you! Also, consider checking in online and printing your boarding passes in advance. Yes, you can add your boarding passes to the wallet on your phone but in my opinion having to access and swipe each pass one at a time whilst trying to get the kids through can be a faff compared to handing over the printed ones to a member of staff.
Use a baby carrier: A baby carrier can help you keep your hands free while boarding the plane and moving through the airport. It’s also a great way to soothe your baby during the flight. It’s worth bearing in mind that you are used to the noise and size of an airport but for tiny ones it can be really overstimulating and unsettling.
Bring earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones: The noise of the plane can be overwhelming for babies and toddlers. Bringing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones can help protect their ears and make the flight more comfortable and will hopefully help them zone out when watching their favourite programmes that you have downloaded.
Offer a dummy or bottle during take-off and landing: Sucking on a dummy or bottle can help your baby equalize the pressure in their ears during take-off and landing, which can help reduce ear pain. I also struggle terribly with ear pressure, particularly when coming into land, and if I’m not feeling good then my tolerance to help my kids will be stretched so think about yourself too and what you need to help you manage. I often ask my husband to make sure he’s in control of passing them sweets to suck on or getting them to drink water during this time so that I can try to deal with my own pain!
Stay calm and be patient: Travelling with a baby or toddler can be stressful, but try to stay calm and patient. Remember to take breaks and ask for help if you need it. I guarantee there will be people around willing to help if they can. A fair percentage of passengers will have experienced travelling with young children and won’t expect children to just sit quietly and not be a little disruptive so don’t panic if your kids are playing up, it’s not a reflection on you!!