One of the things I was sure I didn’t really wanted to give up after a baby was travelling. However, once she was born I didn’t really felt like travelling much anymore. I’ve packed my camera in the drawer and have barely using it ever since. But as she starts to get older I’m starting to wish we could venture out a bit more and have part of my old life back.
Her first trip
Our first trip together was during my maternity leave when she was 5 months old. Having read all the tips around flying with a baby I was more then prepared.
Rule nr 1 – take the baby carrier – (I used a babybjorn sling)
This will ensure you have a free hand to carry luggage and travel as light as possible. I can’t imagine flying any other way. Although on our first flight I had my other half, on our second flight I was actually alone! Thanks to the carrier it was all so much easier (for both of you!)
(similar at amazon here)
Rule nr 2 – Breastfeeding / feed / dummy during the flight
No need for any medicines or special ear plugs, all you need is to breastfeed (if you are breastfeeding) or just a dummy during landing and take off. I was breastfeeding until very recently and she never felt any discomfort in her ears. Nowadays it’s dummy. Normally you will get a window seat so except from whoever is sitting next to you, nobody else will notice you are breastfeeding, and even if they do, well it’s the most natural thing ever.
Rule nr 3 – Golden one for me – time the travel with your little one’s routine
This is the most important thing I’ve learnt really. With 7 flights already in the bag, I always time them when I know it’s her nap time. It’s far more comfortable for her if she’s asleep otherwise she gets frustrated of being in the flight when she doesn’t want to. Out of the 14 flights only 1 she didn’t sleep because the flight was delayed and the routine went out of the roof. Normally she does sleep comfortably in my lap.
So if there’s a time when your little one is especially cranky, avoid that. This means a bit more planning ahead to ensure the flights are not too expensive or even sold out. It’s worth the planning!
Rule nr 4 – Pack light snacks for your little one
(This is only valid from 6 months onwards) I always pack her favourite snacks for the flight as there might be delays and eventually she will want to eat. Mostly I pack bananas (which are quite resistent to temperature, fruit pouches, water, grapes or whatever is easy to carry).
Up to 2 years you can also carry milk (I used to pump at least 1 feed in case I wouldn’t find the time or the place to feed her) beyong the 100ml. This is only valid if you are travelling with your baby and you need to be reasonable about it. No point carry milk for over 5 days. Wherever you are going you should be able to buy milk for your little one (no such worry if you are breastfeeding!!!)
Rule nr 5 – Pack enough nappies and extra clothing
Somehow she always manages to realease a big giant poop in the flights, so it’s worth being prepared for all eventualities. I normally travel with a small handluggage where I put some extra clothing for her (also in the case if the main luggage gets lost). Believe me, you don’t want to run out of nappies or clothing for your little one. Eventually you will be able to find a place where you are going to buy some extras, but until you do better to be prepared.
Rule nr 6 – Pack entertainment in the baby bag
For us it means 1 or 2 teddy bears, 1 notebook and a pen. I used to travel with a magnetic board but she broke it and in the meantime i’ve bought her a bigger one which is not so easy to carry. But a simple notebook and a pen will keep her entertained for a bit. So think about what your little one enjoys and bring something that will keep him entertained and it’s light packing. They can get distracted with things around us, so no point bringing all the house with you. Even a cardbox, a pen, a bottle. If you need, think outside the box on how to match their prefered entertainment. Their favourite book should also work. I always travel with at least 1 book and they are light to carry (in her babybag as it needs to be within easy reach).
Now here’s some extra stuff I’ve learnt on my last trip to Rome
Rule nr 7 – Think about where you are going and the weather at the time of the year you are going
I’ve regret having said yes to go to Rome. But after 2 years of not joining my family’s annual trip together (to celebrate my parents anniversery) I really wanted to go and wanted her to make part of the trip too. What I didn’t consider when I’ve booked the flights was that:
a) Rome is really crowded and between June to August is the worst time of the year to go
b) Rome is really hot, so being in the queues with her in the heat was really far from ideal
I even had rented a backpack sling but due to the heat she didn’t felt comfortable in there so I kept on using the pram. Rome is not very pram friendly with all the cobblestones. But the heat was seriously the worst. I spent the whole time wishing I had gone to Scotland instead.
So I would say it’s really import to consider where you are going, so it’s not too hot or too cold for them.
Any tips you would like to share? What worked for you?