Travelling with a baby for the first time can bring a sense of dread for any mother, well-travelled or not. I’ve learnt this from first-hand experience, as well as from seeing mothers onboard with their newborns. It can be difficult to foresee just how they’ll react to the pressure on their ears, as well as how they will feel about sitting in the same spot for what can seem like endless hours.As an Airhostess it’s my job to make sure my passengers are relaxed, even the littlest! So you may be asking how can someone be relaxed when their flying or travelling for the first time with their baby? My main advice is to be as organised and prepared as possible.

If you’re trying to decide what is better for your baby a long haul flight or a short haul flight, in my opinion there isn’t much difference. You may think short haul flights are great as you’re on the plane for less time and you don’t have to come up with as much in-flight entertainment (there’s only so many times you can watch Peppa Pig right?). However, with short haul flights your leg space is a lot less than on a long haul flight and you therefore, have limited movement. This can be a real pain when you’re trying to feed baby or if you need to keep them calm.

The most efficient resolution for both scenarios is to take a separate bag from your hand luggage which contains everything your baby may need which you can keep under the seat in front of you. This way if you’re lucky enough for your baby to fall asleep you don’t have to disturb them or if they’re awake you have everything at arm’s reach. I always take a separate bag for my baby that I can keep close to hand with nappies, baby wipes, blanket, snacks, a cup of water, a change of clothes, any bowls/spoons you may need if weaning, any teething biting toys, dummies. If you are going to pack these essentials don’t forget there is also a 100ml liquid limit when going through security and you must keep everything in a clear plastic bag.

Another great tip I have come across is that Boots offer a service where you can ring and order any milk you may need and collect it before take-off, this is great as it’s one less thing to worry about measuring before getting through security.

Once you’re onboard having a baby on your knee can be pretty tight, it’s worth asking the onboard crew if it’s possible for your family to use one of the empty seats so you have a little more space, obviously this is only an option when empty seats are available.

During takeoff and landing if your baby is awake I would say it’s essential that your baby swallows to relieve any pressure on their ears to reduce any discomfort. Breast feeding, a bottle of milk, dummy-sucking, and a drink of water are all great ways to help a baby swallow.

I breast-fed both of my children so during takeoff and landing I have always fed them. The sensation of swallowing eases the pressure on their ears; it’s the same principle as an adult sucking on a boiled sweet. I would also suggest comforting your baby by rocking them along to the movement of the aircraft. I have found this usually sends them to sleep!  I would also recommend always taking one of their blankets to help keep your baby feeling comfortable and to make sure that they have a familiar scent if they begin to feel unsettled.

Flying can really dehydrate us, this includes your baby, make sure you keep yourselves and your babies hydrated by drinking plenty of water or juice throughout the flight, this avoids   any unnecessary upset.

During turbulence, takeoff and landing your baby must be fastened in its seatbelt you will usually find your baby will be pretty settled and content during any turbulence as they quite like the motion! If you can, try and avoid unfastening your baby belt from your seatbelt as when the seatbelt sign illuminates for turbulence it can become a different when you have to disturb or wake your baby to sort out your seatbelts- this is also a great excuse to get Dad to do all the to-ing and fro-ing.

If I had to offer one piece of key advice it would be to try not to get stressed; your baby can really pick up on this.  It’s very easy to feel like everyone is staring at you especially if your baby is crying. You may feel guilty that everyone has to listen to your baby cry but it is essential to try and stay calm. If your baby is inconsolable take them for a change of scenery to a different part of the plane.

 

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 AL/1752/07.14/0.002. Date of preparation July 2014 

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