When I moved to Poland, my twins were just 10 months old and I was dreading the journey. Whenever I thought of traveling with two infants, merely the thought gave me jitters. And I think all the parents feel the same, especially when traveling for the first time with the kids. So, it becomes very important to plan your journey adequately in order to ensure comfortable and stress-free travel. Here, I am sharing a few practical tips to keep in mind while traveling with a baby.
Planning, planning, and planning:
This is the foremost important step when traveling with infants. As you are no longer alone and have the responsibility of your little one/ones too so plan the things well in advance. Prepare a checklist of the things – big or small, you would need during your journey. Starting from the feeding bottles to bibs to diapers to wipes or changing mat etc. By writing down everything, it is less likely that you forget anything at the last minute.
Here is a sample checklist of the necessities you can refer while packing:
- Lots and lots of diapers and soft tissues/ baby wipes. Carry in a buffer in case of any flight delays.
- Keep 2 to 3 set of clothes for the baby and at least one set for yourself too (in case baby throws up, you may want to change) Clothes include – tees, lowers, thermals, socks, mittens, caps, and bibs. One good way to do is packing every set of clothes in different zip pouches. This comes handy as you need not open the entire bag if the baby needs to change. Just pick up one zip bag and you are sorted.
- Changing sheets /drying mats.
- Snacks and water tumbler your kids (if above 6 months).
- Baby Blanket.
- Rattles, toys, stuffed toys, teether, pacifier (if your baby uses)
- Extra polybags /ziplock bags for keeping soiled clothes.
- Nursing pads, cover-ups, shields for breastfeeding.
- Sufficient formula and bottles if you plan to bottle-feed.
- Bottle cleaning brush.
- Baby stroller, my life savior.
- Baby carrier or sling when the cranky and refuses to sit in the stroller, this comes handy.
- Earbuds for the take-off and landing time.
- Medicines like for Colic pain, fever, ear pain, etc. If the baby is already on any medication, do not forget to keep that medicine in the diaper bag.
Booking the Flight:
Book your flight according to your kids’ usual sleep routine. If your baby is sleepy and crying at the time of security check or boarding the flight, it would be really difficult for you to handle the baby along with settling your luggage. So, the flight timing becomes really important. Ensure your kid is well slept, fed and feels fresh while doing the paperwork and boarding formalities.
While making your flight reservation, provide the age of all of the passengers traveling with you and ask the airlines if there is any limitations or regulations you should know about. A few airlines may not allow the newborns under two weeks to fly. A few may not have bassinet facility available. A few may charge extra for carrying the baby gears like strollers and car seats. So, prior to booking your flight, address all your queries and be informed.
Always request for a front row seat which allows you extra leg space as you can’t compromise on the comfort while traveling with kids.
Book bassinet in advance:
Many airlines take bassinet request online whereas many book on first come first serve basis, so make sure you reach the airport well on time and book bassinet for your kid.
Ask for help:
This is something many parents hesitate to do but I strongly recommend. Whether it is shifting your luggage to your seat or getting hot milk/ water for your baby, feel free to talk to the flight attendants. Inform them once you settle in your seat that you might have special requirements as you are traveling with the baby. You can also ask them if they have any entertainment for kids like crayons, coloring sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.
Most of the airline are kid-friendly. Once the flight is about to take off, the cabin crew get busy and then you have to wait. So, it is always better and advisable to talk to them as soon as you board the plane. Ask for their help in boarding, deboarding, settling the car seat or baby stroller.
Feed your baby during taking off and landing:
It is strongly recommended to feed the baby during take-off and landing because air pressure may cause pain and discomfort to the babies while flying. If you are breastfeeding, make yourself and the baby ready and sit in a comfortable position on time. In case of formula feeding, prepare the milk and keep the bottles ready as soon as the flight starts. The sucking motion helps in relieving the pressure and the little one feel better. You can also use the earbuds for yourself and the baby during both the times.
It is a very notable point when traveling with a baby. Keep the diaper bag (preferably a backpack) handy. As you need to carry the baby, try to minimize the hand luggage. Pack all the essentials but don’t overload yourself. The less luggage you carry, the less stress you have in keeping a track of everything along with the baby.
Wear your baby during security checks:
Baby slings are very helpful during security checks. When both your hands are full, babywearing is the best idea.
Prepare your baby:
Nobody enjoys creaming and wailing tiny human beings, even if you have made them yourself. With infants, you can’t reason much but you can definitely freshen them up before boarding the plane. Don’t forget to change your baby’s diaper before boarding the flight. It is always easier to use the spacious airport washrooms instead of the compact ones in the flight. If traveling with 2-year plus, prepare him/her beforehand that he/she will have to sit in the flight for a longer time and fasten the seat belt also. I remember I had a tough time with my toddler during my flight to Amsterdam. My elder one was sleepy and not at all ready to fasten the belt and the air hostess was after my life to get it done. It was a chaotic situation and we learned a lesson for life to prepare the kids well in advance.
Visit your pediatrician:
Before traveling, get a full check-up of your baby and carry all the prescribed medicines along with the prescription. Many international airlines do not allow medicines without a prescription.
Traveling with kids is daunting but if planned properly with a little mindfulness, things go well. Once you take 1-2 successful trips with your kids, you will earn the confidence to travel even more with them. So, bon voyage.