Monday, 6 July 2015

Flying with Bebe - lessons learned

I have been  meaning to write this for ages. But you know, life and stuff.
Then a pal of mine messaged and asked if I had some tips so I was like, okay, I will get my ass into gear.
So now my ass is in gear.
And here we go.

These are my tips for flying with a baby.

Give yourself a lot of time.
We are chronic “early arrivers” at airports. But even with all the time we gave ourself, we ended up rushing. Things just come up with babies. For us, we were on time until we hit a big cue at the petrol station on the way to the airport. And, then, as we were packing our stuff on to a trolley and about to head to the airport bus, Soph had a poo-splosion (her first ever – right out of her pants, into the baby carrier and down my front). So we had an emergency nappy, and outfit change in the car boot in the dark in the carpark.
Double check everything.
But not at 3 am. The night before we left I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited to see my parents. So I decided to check our luggage allowance on the website. Read it wrong. Got up and repacked the suitcase. Added more things.
Then when we checked in the suitcase was 8 kilos over and we had to be the people that go to the side and repack all their bags. Much to Robs horror lol.
Checking baby stuff.
As far as I can see, most airlines give you an allowance for certain baby items. You know, like a portacot, pram/stroller and maybe a car seat. Check it out first. But yeah, from what I can see most normal (like, non-budget) airlines give you an allowance to check 3 baby items. Keep in mind though, you will probably need to lug them down to oversized luggage section. Another reason you want to give yourself heaps of time.
Wear that baby. If you aren’t into wraps, get a more conventional baby carrier. Either way, it makes it was easier. Gives you your hands back. And makes each process smoother.
Also - in the time leading up to your trip, if you or babe aren't so comfortable with the baby carrier, try and use it around the house and get used to it. That way there is one less stress.

Limit your carry on items and stuff you carry. So, what I mean is, if you have jackets and aren’t wearing them - have them in a bag, if you have multiple carry on items, plus a baby, you are bound to get frustrated and wish you had packed differently. Or, if you have multiple carry on items, make one a backpack so your arms are free. Have one as a nappy bag with babes stuff in it. If you have a laptop or ipad and need to take it out as security you will appreciate having your arms free. 
Check what babe requires. All babies need passports for all international travel. This much I know. Domestic travel policies vary in each country. For domestic travel within Australia, you need to have your Medicare card with baby's name on it. I am not sure what you need in the US, probably your SSC. 
Before you turn up, know what you can take through. EBM, formula, water for making your formula? If you are in the States, wear slip on shoes so you don’t have to then sit down balancing a kid while sorting your shoes out.
When you go through security, baby HAS to come out of the carrier. The carrier has to be xrayed and baby needs to be carried through. So if they are due for a nap, TRY to keep them awake until you get through the security checkpoint. Soph fell asleep just before we went through and lost her shit when I had to wake her up.

This is what it looks like when Sophie finally falls asleep, and then gets woken up to go through security. 
Poor thing. 

Take off and Landing.
Babies have to wear the little seatbelt when taking off or landing, and this can be when they are in most discomfort because of the pressure changes. If you can, feed/nurse them now – it serves as a nice distraction, plus the sucking helps relieve the discomfort. 
Be prepared to take turns eating. It is worth eating a cold meal (which I am sure you are pretty much used to at this point) to not have babe flipping out.
Note to breastfeeding Mamas. I normally drink heaps and heaps of water during the day, however, on flights I hate getting up and normally don’t drink much at all – this led to a sudden and massive milk supply drop. It bounced back a few days later, but yeah, it’s not worth it. Keep drinking water!
If you can it is worth having an extra seat between you for babe or babes things. I couldn’t book one when I chose our seats ahead of time but the check in lady helped get us some extra space which was lovely.
Air Hostess Pals.
Make friends with your flight staff. They can be a huge help whether you are flying solo with baby or in a couple/group. They have pillows which help with nursing or balancing a sleeping babe. They can help juggle babe if you need to use the toilet. And they can bring you an extra wine if you need it!
Plan ahead.
How much of parenting is planning ahead? (And then usually changing things up on the fly :P). How long is your flight? Do you have all the changes you need? Do you have enough nappies and wipes?
Can you book connecting flights with a generous lay over? Like, not super long but enough time to account for an hour delay. Is babe teething? Do you need to bring panadol or bonjela with you? Make sure they are small enough to bring in your carry on.
Chill Out.
You know what? If your baby cries the whole time and you are worried about pissing people off, don’t worry. They will get over it. There is always gonna be someone who gets annoyed about nothing. Most people will love the cute distraction of a baby.

And chances are, this is far more eventful for you than babe. For them, its just another day hanging out with you (except with a lot of randoms around). Soph was a champ. She totally rocked it and enjoyed sleeping and playing. 

Keep calm.
Baby reads your feelings (as I am sure you have heard heaps already). We once saw a family rushing to catch their next plane, they were so stressed. They were so stressed in fact that the father was rushing to get their documents to the Customs officer and dropped the passports down the side of a gap in the desk and they then had to wait for the whole desk to be taken apart by airport staff. Rushing made them miss their connecting flight all together.

Oh and lastly, 
Don’t bother buying a magazine.
Chances are, you won’t get time to read it haha.


  1. Ohhhh this is why I won't fly with a baby! I have too much going on in my head I would make it be far too stressful. You guys rocked this. And uhm. What is a panadol and a bonjela?

    1. I did have a mild panic attack when we first got on the plane, but I tried to concentrate on Soph so I wouldn't get my flying fear too bad.
      Also, lol, um, Panadol is the brand of Acetiminophen(sp?) or mild painkiller..There is a baby formula. And Bonjela is a numbing cream for teething babes mouths.

  2. I loved the parts about flight hosts and baby reads ur mind! You are awesome!

  3. I loved the parts about flight hosts and baby reads ur mind! You are awesome!

  4. I loved the parts about flight hosts and baby reads ur mind! You are awesome!

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  6. That completely sucks that they make you take baby out of carrier at security, in NZ I was always allowed to keep baby in carrier, silly other countries!!


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