1. Bring their favourite things
You’re heading to a foreign place, so it’s natural that your child will feel more insecure and unsure of his and her surroundings. Bring along a favourite blanket, pillow, teether or rattle – the familiar objects will soother the child a little. Books, snacks and toys can also serve as a distraction when he or she starts to get cranky on the plane. Trust me, these will be a real godsend when that happens. Don’t forget to pack spare clothes for both you and your tot because you never know if a poop or puke accident will happen.
2. Check airline requirements
If you have an infant travelling with you, the 100 ml restriction for liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on luggage do not apply for baby’s milk, medicine and food. You’re also allowed to bring milk powder onboard as well as hot water in a flask. Just present them at the security checkpoint. Most flights should provide warm water too, if you request for it. But best to double check with the airline to be sure.
3. Plan properly
Take your finger off the snooze button: You’ve got to make sure you reach the airport early so you have ample time to check in and clear security. To make the process a breeze, make sure you’re hands-free by putting baby in a carrier and using a backpack diaper bag. Once you’re through, try try to play with your child and tire him or her out, so that they can fall asleep more easily on the plane. Change your baby’s diaper just before you board so you don’t have to wrestle with that in the plane’s tiny bathroom. Needless to say, bring along a changing mat and wet wipes.
4. Be prepared
Pack extra clothes because you need know when there’d be a poop explosion or a puking disaster. If weight is an issue, bring your own baby-safe laundry detergent so you can do your own washing. For diapers, pack enough to last at least two days so you have time to get more at your destination. If your baby is bottle-feeding or if you are breast pumping, bring along baby-friendly dish-washing liquid and sterilising tablets. Simply wash your bottles, teats and breastfeeding equipment with warm soapy water, dissolve a tablet in a non-metallic container filled with cold or lukewarm water (giant ziplock bags will do!) and pop your items in. They should be ready to use in 15 to 30 minutes.
5. Give baby something to suckle on during take-off and landing
If you are still breastfeeding, get your nursing cover ready and latch your baby as soon as you feel the plane pick up speed for lift off or prepare for landing. The sucking motion will help relieve painful air pressure. Alternatively, a pacifier or bottle feeding your baby works too but make sure your baby is relatively upright is she is bottle feeding.
6. Soothe baby on the plane
We suggest picking an aisle seat, because you’d want to be able to pop in and out of your seat easily to change diapers or soothe your baby. In fact, consider choosing seats on opposite sides of the aisle so you and your partner can take turns. Take baby for a walk along the aisle to calm him or her down, or out him or her in a carrier and make rocking movements to send them to sleep. Patting, singing and talking in a low soothing voice helps too.
7. Go according to baby's schedule
Say goodbye to having spontaneous days and late nights. When young, your baby will usually require plenty of naps (every 2-3 hours) so make sure your activities are scheduled around that. Plan for one of two activities in the morning before heading back to your hotel for baby to nap. Once he or she is refreshed, there’s less likelihood of a meltdown during evening activities. You could bring along a pram or carrier for baby to catch a few winks, but outdoor naps are usually short and non-restorative. Remember: A tired baby is an angry baby!
8. Choose your seats carefully
The best bassinet seats are the middle seats (if its just the two of you plus baby flying).
Usually, these are the DEFG middle section seats. The reason being that D and G seats on a 4-acorss seat plan are aisle seats. Therefore, you and your partner only have to jump across each other if you want to stretch your legs, pace the aisle with a toddler etc. The ABC/HJK means that either you will have to climb over someone or they will have to climb over you. Either way a bit of a nuisance. Each airline varies in their seat configuration so we recommend checking SeatGuru to review your seating before booking.
9. Choose a night flight
If your journey coincides with bedtime or starts shortly after a feeding, your child may sleep through the trip. But think carefully before booking a red-eye: While cheap fares and available seats may be tempting, you risk arriving at your destination exhausted. That puts you in bad shape for keeping up with a baby or toddler who may be rattled – or excited – by his new surroundings.
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10. Pack mini goodie bags for fellow travellers
We all know how nightmarish it can be to be cooped up in a plane or a restaurant with a shrieking baby. A small gesture to those around you may soothe the pain, or at least, make them more forgiving. Include earplugs, a sleeping mask, snacks and a handwritten note expressing your appreciation. It’s bound to make them feel better about the whole experience.