Wednesday, August 19, 2015
On Air Travel with an Infant
We were forewarned that flying with an infant would present new challenges. What to do if she was unable to equalise the pressure in her ears? What if she screamed for the entire flight? What if she became frightened by the sound of the engines? How would we manage if she became ill? How could we ensure her comfort whilst she sat on my lap?
Thankfully, we packed for as many different scenarios as possible, with our central focus being on helping her to equalise during ascent and descent.
Here's what we included in our carry-on luggage:
Natural rubber teethers x 2 (a spare in a clear container) and a clip to tether to her clothes
Baby bottle with filtered water
Spare napppies and baby wipes
Soft baby rattle
Spare change of clothes
Her first flight was, thankfully, a breeze. She breastfed during our taxi to the end of the runway and was asleep before the rumble of the engines and the familiar feeling of inertia pressed us firmly into our seats. We flew domestically, a short flight of only 45 minutes from take off until landing. She slept for the entire duration and only blinked as our fellow passengers began to disembark at our city destination.
The return flight was however, a very different story. A storm cell passed overhead as we arrived at the airport. As predicted, this caused a short delay to our flight and so we retired to a food court where Byron and I dined on Mexican fast food in front of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the grounded planes and dismal, grey sky. Love breastfed as I picked at vegetarian nachos and slept for almost 45 minutes (if you're familiar with baby naps, you will know this to equal one sleep cycle).
As soon as we entered the aircraft it became apparent that there was something seriously wrong with the air-conditioning as it was like stepping into an overcrowded sauna. This then created fresh challenges as we needed to remove a few clothing layers, which can be quite tricky with a wriggly baby in a confined space. Thankfully, we had dressed her in sensible layers, which buttoned down the front, rather than needing to pull a sweater off over her head.
The infant seatbelt was very easy to use, it has a small loop stitched into the centre of the belt, which slips over your own seatbelt so that in an event of an emergency, you only need to unclick your own seatbelt and hers will slide right off.
We didn't request a bassinet as Baby Love is generally more comfortable in my arms, which is where she needs to be in order to breastfeed and let's face it, the bassinet is unfamiliar in appearance, feel and scent.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts and planning, babies just don't feel comfortable on planes. The descent can be particularly challenging if your baby won't drink (either formula or from the breast) and so, small sips of water really do help her to equalise her ear pressure.
I've compiled a very handy list for international plane travel with your baby. The list is divided into PLANNING and PACKING, with a link to a video we created, detailing our own experiences flying to Borneo with Baby Love.
Eat a light meal
Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS)
Claiming Duty Free
QR Code App
Go to the Toilet
Share Travel Itinerary with Friends/ Family
Online Check-In or Arrive Early to Check-In
Reserve an Aisle and Window Seat
Request to Block Middle Seat
Multi Plug Adapter
5,4,3,2,1 Packing Rule
Non-Plastic Reusable Water Bottle
Carry On Luggage
Natural Baby Wipes
Non-Aerosl Face Mist/ Moisturiser
Toothpaste & Toothbrush
New Toy/ Baby Mobile Apps
Spare Change of Baby Clothes
Camera + Charger, Spare Battery, Memory Cards
Laptop + Hard Drive
Baby Carrier (We Used Ergobaby and Sakura Bloom)
Be sure to check out our video on our YouTube channel and please share with us your top baby and toddler travel essentials in the comments below.
As a side note, I cannot quite believe how much Baby Love has grown from her first flights, back in April (pictures 1 and 2) to her most recent flights (picture 3) at the beginning of August. Has it really been four months?!