Going on Holiday with a baby
Gone are the days where it’s just the two of you, you can jump on a plane to anywhere in the world, suitcases or backpacks, street food or restaurants, but not now because you have a little one – what will you do? Travelling with a young baby is perfectly normal as they may sleep for the majority of the flight, you may still be on maternity leave and don’t need to pay high fares to travel during the school holidays! It’s perfect! Many of us are put off by flying with little ones and will choose to holiday somewhere closer to home. Some may wish to start with a domestic or short haul flight.
Get your passports ready, because it is possible!
When to travel?
You are best to check with your midwife or health professional, babies can travel at any time from birth as long as they have no health implications. As a general guide, most airlines ask that babies are at least two weeks old before they travel, however some airlines may require a note from your GP if you are travelling with a new born. It is best to check with your airline before booking your flight. You also may wish to travel when you have an established routine.
First of all, you need to make sure your baby has a passport (they will require their own), you may also be required to present baby's birth certificate. Select the right travel insurance for the whole family and check if you need any visas or vaccinations. When you feel ready to book those flights remember to have an accessible seat, preferably an aisle seat. If you choose to have baby on your lap you will be charged an infant fee and remember to explore the baggage allowance at this time too. Most airlines will allow you to take a baby carrier at no extra cost and some allow infants to have their own hand luggage. Please check with the airline if you can carry on a full changing bag.
Remember to pack light! When you start to approach your departure date, it is important to ensure you are both well rested and prepared. A good flight time will help, however this can be difficult to avoid with international travel, therefore it is best to stick to your routine and you can gradually adjust in country as per the time zone or more often than not baby will dictate the routine.
How to transport baby?
Selecting the right carrier will make your trip a lot easier, you may wish to consider a sling so you can transport baby with ease abroad. Using a sling will keep your hands free for security checks in the airport, shopping, excursions, taking photos and map reading etc. You may also wish to consider taking a pushchair so you can transport baby to and from the airport and until you board the flight. Just make sure you receive a checked baggage tag for the pushchair at check in and make sure the pushchair is classed as one piece, as you may require multiple luggage tags, depending on the gear. If you are visiting a hot country a pushchair is always a good option as baby may get too hot in the sling.
The flight and what to take!
You may well feel exhausted, but flying with a baby is possible and can be an enjoyable experience too! The movement in the plane can often help baby sleep. Remember to pack baby’s favourite toys, comforters and soothers, and plenty of food and drink. To reduce earache and pressure during take-off and landing, try to feed baby, if you breastfeed and are using a sling, this will allow you to nurse discreetly. If you are formula feeding, you can buy travel sized packs and remember your baby’s milk and food does not have the same liquid restrictions, therefore you can carry the amount you require for the journey, however always double check the restrictions as each airline may differ.
Remember to pack enough wipes, nappies, nappy bags, sterilisation pots (Milton have a range of mini portable soother sterilisers), disposable steriliser bags for bottles (if required), and antibacterial hand gel to help keep germs at bay. Baby blanket and muslin cloths, spare clothes for you and baby, favourite toys, books, music, food and drink. It may also help to have a small toiletry bag you can top up when required so you don’t have to carry the full changing bag to the toilets and this will also be handy to have within reach, especially if baby is sleeping on you.
Remember to ask for help if you need it, don’t sit in silence and struggle. If travelling with a partner, take turns to soothe baby so you can have some time to read, sleep or watch a movie.
If you are still feeling nervous about baby’s first holiday abroad and how you’ll cope with this, why don’t you ask Granny and Granda along too, the extra help will be a blessing!
If you have any top tips or travel advice for other parents, please share these below. We would love to hear from you!