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Travelling with babies – it can be done!

The thought of taking a newborn baby on holidays is enough to send sheer terror through most new mums, let alone the idea of the plane trip required to get there.

The preparation seems insurmountable and visions of desperate attempts to sooth your screaming baby as fellow passengers send daggers your way can be enough of a deterrent, preventing you from even bothering to try.

And of those who have taken the plunge, well most have had their fair share of disasters – from mid-flight poo explosions and vomit bugs to forgetting key essentials once you reach your destination.

But according to Nicola Burke from JetLag & Mayhem it is possible to take a newborn travelling – and have a good time – despite having had her own share of disasters.

“My worst travel disaster involved a 12 hour flight from London to Hong Kong with my 8 month old daughter,” she says.

“About 2 hours before the flight, I could not stop vomiting, then I spent most of the flight on the toilet floor retching my guts out!”

But it’s these disasters which taught her the lessons to make traveling with babies smooth(er) sailing.

“I look back at that flight and think if I can do that, I can do anything!”

According to Nicola, it’s all in the planning. 

  1. Allow plenty of time to get to the airport so you can feed in comfort. If it’s an airport you’re unfamiliar with, search for referrals on the nicest feeding rooms or restaurants to base yourself in.  You will also need to allow time to pass through security with all your liquids.
  2. Pack like a genius!  There’s nothing worse than forgetting your baby’s comforter/dummy/milk.  The best way to do this is to print off a packing list and tick things off as you go.
  3. Always bring your baby carrier.  You never know when you’ll have to hand over your stroller/buggy and it is useful for jiggling baby to sleep on a plane.
  4. Pack a black shawl in your hand luggage.  Useful for planes that like to keep the temperatures at arctic levels and also for creating blackout over a bassinet or if baby is asleep in a baby carrier.
  5. Budget for more nappies than you think you’ll need but don’t overpack.  There’s nothing worse than lugging around a heavy hand luggage bag AND a baby.
  6. On that note, it might not be the most glamorous way to travel but a backpack will make things easier for you than a cumbersome shoulder bag.
  7. Pack any infant meds you might need including a dispensing spoon/syringe.

Mum of 2 Rebecca Kerston from Happy Travel With Kids can attest to the importance of planning, thanks to her own on-flight disaster.

“When my daughter started getting a bit grizzly, I popped her on my lap for a cuddle, but before I knew it she’d power vomited and gravity caused most of the vomit to land in my lap.

“So, even though I had a clean top to change into, I had to spend the rest of the flight with vomit soaked pants…right through to my underwear.”

While planning is important, you can’t predict how well your baby will handle the airport wait or the flight itself.

So you’ll need some tricks up your sleeve to keep baby – and yourself – as happy as possible.

According to Rebecca, the following tips will help keep things calm throughout the flight.

Distraction is the key

Depending on your baby’s age, make sure you have plenty of toys, rusks or dummies to keep him occupied.

“For a long haul flight, I go to a discount store beforehand and buy a bag load of goodies which I keep hidden until we board the plane,” says Rebecca.

Choose your airline carefully

Not all airlines are equal when it comes to catering for babies and children.

Do they provide blankets and pillows? Do they have bassinets available for babies (these are baby beds that either attach to, or fold down from a bulk head wall) and can you pre-book them?

“These are all questions you should ask beforehand.”

Choose the right seats

If you’re travelling with a baby or child and call the airline in the lead up to the flight, they should let you request your preferred seats.

“If I’m travelling with a baby, my preference is to request the bulk head row seats. If baby bassinets are available on the aircraft, this is where they will be,” says Rebecca.

Mother carry her infant baby during flight

Play the baby card

If you’re travelling with a baby or child, milk it for all it’s worth!

“I just park our family as close to the gate as possible and have always managed to get on the plane early, which helps both in terms of not being rushed getting the child settled into their seat, as well as scoring an overhead compartment close to your seat for your luggage.

“Some airports also have specific lines for families, but if yours doesn’t don’t be afraid to ask if they could pretty please speed things up for your family.”

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help once you’re on the plane. Whether it’s having someone watch your baby while you duck to the bathroom or helping to lift your bags off the carousel, people are usually happy to help those traveling with babies.

Another tip is to remember – if you’re flying with just one baby – to sleep when she sleeps. Don’t be tempted by the movie selection – you don’t know how long you’ll have until your baby wakes up.

To make life even easier, both on the plane and once you reach your destination, it’s a great idea to arm yourself with the right gear and gadgets.

Here is one of our favourite products to make travelling with babies a little less stressful:

Cherub Baby Newborn Travel Pack
The Cherub Baby Newborn Travel Pack (Wide Neck) has everything you need – borosilicate glass baby bottles, teats, bottle brush, spare travel seals, Click N Go Travel Bottle Warmer and a handy cooler bag so you have convenience and peace of mind of the safest products all ready to go.

Cherub Baby newborn citrus travel gift pack

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