This week, we welcome a guest post from Ashley Onadele. Ashley is a Mum of two, living in California. She is also a prolific blogger who shares her passion for travel via her blog – From my World – which inspires other families with little ones to get out there and explore the world. Italy holds a very special place in her and her husband’s hearts and she can’t wait for the time when she can travel back to Italy and share this love with her two little ones. Here she shares her top tips with us for travelling long haul with a baby.
Long-haul flights can be rough for adults, let alone children and babies. But there are ways to make the long flight time easier on your infant and thus easier and more enjoyable for you. Plus, when Italy is your final destination, the long travel day is absolutely worth it. Even still, below are some tried and true tips for long-haul travel with an infant.
Plan Your Travel Around Nap Times
Babies thrive on schedules and that is still true of travel days. So when you can, schedule your time in the air when your baby should be napping. The noise of the plane’s engine will help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Just like a white noise machine that you might use at home, the noise from the plane is soothing and helps them block out all other noise.
For your long-haul flight to Italy, which will probably be a 8+ hour plane ride depending on where you are traveling from, a red-eye or late evening flight would be ideal for your little one to get the most amount of sleep. The white noise of the plane will help them to sleep longer and (hopefully) be well rested for your first day of your vacation.
Double and Triple Check Your Baby Bag
The last thing you want is to be half way through your flight or travel day and run out of an essential item. Running out of formula, especially when your baby isn’t old enough for milk yet would be a travel nightmare. My baby carry-on/backpack packing formula: pack enough diapers and wipes to change your baby every hour and enough formula for 1 bottle every other hour (of travel time). I find that having more than you need is always better than not having enough. You will also want two outfits to change baby into just in case there are any accidents.
In addition to diapers, wipes, formula (or breastmilk), and water, you will also want to pack additional snacks for yourself as well as for your little one. Don’t forget about yourself during this time. A change of clothes and something for yourself such as a book to read while your baby sleeps will ensure that you feel taken care of as well.
Make sure that everything you might need for baby is either within hands reach in front of you or under your seat or easily accessible in the overhead bin. Do not check any items that your baby will need for two reasons: in the event that the airline loses your luggage or you run out of diapers, wipes, etc. and you will not be able to get more. You want to have everything your baby will need easily available to you.
Pack 1-3 New Items to Play with
Once your baby starts to be awake longer, you may notice he or she getting fussier more often and wanting a lot more face time and stimulation. In reality, this is when parenting is about to get fun, in my humble opinion, but it’s also when it’s about to become a lot more work. So if you can bring a few toys and books on board that are brand new, it might keep their interest better than if you brought a toy that they already know.
Pop-up books, toys with lights and noise (the plane will be so loud that most people won’t be able to hear it so don’t worry about disturbing others), and singing will go a long way. Walking around the plane, either being held or walking on their own, presents an opportunity for a change of scenery that your baby will enjoy as well. I would not recommend toys with too many pieces that could get lost and if you bring something really special, be sure not to forget it anywhere.
Tire Them Out Before Take-Off
This is one of my favourite tried and true tips for long-haul flights with an infant or kid of any age. If you can, wear that baby down before you even get on the plane. There is a sweet spot between tired enough to be rocked to sleep and over-tired and unable to fall asleep. You know your child best so this tip will be modified for each child, but if you do this right, your baby might even be asleep by the time the plane reaches cruising altitude.
Tips for Pressure in Ears
Your baby’s little ears might feel pressure during take-off and landing and they won’t know how to feel better. As adults, we understand that swallowing or chewing gum/food helps to remove the pressure and babies need help with this. During take-off and landing, be sure that your baby is either taking a bottle/nursing or has a pacifier. The act of sucking should ensure that they avoid painful pressure in their ears. Not all babies need this but most do. For the random outbursts of painful crying that may erupt on your long-haul flight, try giving your baby a bottle or nursing to help alleviate any pressure they may be feeling in their ears due to changes in cabin pressure.
Follow these simple tips for your long-haul flight with a baby and your Italian vacation will be off to a fantastic start! Buon viaggio!
Read more from Ashley Onadele on her online blog – www.frommyworld.com/