The thought of travelling with a baby can be daunting, but often the fear is worse than reality. If you’re flying with a baby this year — or thinking of booking a holiday with one — we’ve compiled a list of travel tips to help you through the flight.
The in-built entertainment system probably isn’t the most baby-friendly device, so it’s best to pack your own baby-compatible entertainment. Think light and slim; touchy-feely books, snacks, and a tablet pre-downloaded with apps and favourite TV shows will help keep your little one amused.
Prepare for Delays
Even the shortest of flights can be unexpectedly delayed, so make sure you have at least a day’s worth of milk/nappies/spare clothing/emergency chocolate stashed in your hand luggage.
If you a warning ahead of the airline’s announcement, you can use websites such as FlightRadar24 to monitor whether the plane you’ll be travelling on is running to schedule or not.
In larger airports it’s usually possible to pre-order items such as milk, nappies and wipes from gate-side retailers (such as Boots). The click-and-collect service means that you don’t have to transport these bulky items through security — and carry-packs of nappies will be particularly useful if you have a long-haul flight and small baby.
Pack a Sling or Carrier
Although you usually get to keep your pushchair right up until boarding, you’ll usually have to wait to reclaim it with all the other luggage after security. Depending on the airport, this could involve a pretty long walk wrestling a small — yet surprisingly heavy — wriggly baby alongside your hand luggage.
Book a Baby-Friendly Flight
If your baby gets a bit tetchy later in the day, book an early flight. Or you could book a bedtime flight in the hope that they’ll settle for a long nap for the duration that you’re up in the air.
Reserve an Aisle Seat
Whilst it might be tempting to hide away in a window seat, an aisle seat is a more practical choice — ideal for popping to the toilet for nappy changes or taking your little one for a wander up and down the aisle.
Save Feeding for Take Off
Feeding your baby during take off and landing can help calm them, and the sucking action will help equalise their ears as the air pressure changes.
Pack your hand luggage into a backpack to keep your hands free for negotiating the airport, security, duty free, the plane itself… Although pack strategically — don’t bury bottles and nappies at the bottom. There’s nothing worse than desperately rummaging for something you can’t find with a screaming baby in tow.