How to prepare while travelling with baby?
Disclaimer : So far we have travelled four times in long journey flights with Aadhu in Economy Class (when she was 6mo, 10mo, 17mo, 23mo) and this post is based on my personal experience travelling to and fro London Heathrow to Chennai & from Chennai to Shannon. Over all travel time from home to destination usually takes about 17-19 hours including transit and other delays. I have tried giving some examples/explanation for your reference. Incase if some of the tips or context mentioned in this post feels irrelevant to you or to your baby then kindly ignore 🙂 Have just tried to give maximum info possible to people who are trying to fly long journey flight for the first time 😊
Travelling with baby is definitely manageable however the first and foremost thing that we have to remember is “Everyday is different & Every baby is different”. No matter how many blogs/tips (including mine) we read, few things might not go as planned by us. It is TOTALLY OK and please try to be more kind to yourself and the baby.
1.Flight timing, route & Seat Management :
- Try to book the shortest route with minimum stop overs. It saves time also you dont have to go through the slightly tiring Immigration checks & other processes. If your (or spouse’s) organization is booking tickets then you can request the same to them as well. Most of the organizations book tickets based on the fare hence it is better to inform them prior on your requirements.
In our case, to travel to Limerick S’s organization initially suggested us to take Qatar or Emirates till London and then AirLengus from there (Chennai-Doha-London-Shannon) but we requested them to book BA (Chennai-London-Shannon). This way we just had to change once in London.
2.Many would say book flight timings based on baby’s routine but to be honest it is not possible at all times. We have to be at airport atleast 3 hours before departure and based on your location, travel to airport itself can take time. So depending all that try to adjust baby’s nap/feeding schedule on the travel date according to the flight timing.
This time our BA flight was at 5:30am we had to leave our house at 3:00am to reach Airport. Aadhu woke up at around 2:00am itself since she saw us getting ready. She was wide awake playing at the airport, walking around. Few minutes after flight take off she dozed off for 2 hours.
3.Bassinet is provided for infants under 11kg & as well their age should less than 24 months. The limit may vary from Airline to Airline. Also you can pre book bassinet seats by calling the Airline atleast a week before travelling. JetAirways booked it 3 days prior to our travel when we called them. Qatar & Emirates mentioned that they would allot seats for Infants on the day of travel and didnt let us book bassinet seats prior to our travel. So please call and double check with your Airline.
Aadhu slept on the bassinet when we travelled with her when she was 6 months old. She didn’t even sleep there when she was 10mo 😁 However that bassinet seat was comfortable to keep the diaper bag, her toys etc. I would say until your kids are 10 months old you can request bassinet irrespective of them sleeping on it. I definitely found it useful as a temporary storage space 😁
4.However the tricky part is when travelling with Toddler yet booked under “Infant” category in flights. The best you can do is reach early to the airport on the day of travel and request the staff (while checking-in at the airport) to allot a seat for you next to an empty seat. So that you don’t have to carry them in lap all the time. Most of the times on long journey flights they definitely help in seat arrangement. But it cant be gaurenteed on all flights.
Emirates gave us an empty seat from London-Doha however from Doha-Chennai we couldn’t get since the flight was full. Be prepared 😁
2.Travel Dress for baby :
For Aadhu I usually dress her up in a full sleeve T-Shirt, Pant and then add a sleeveless frock or half hand T-Shirt over that. Then on top of it I add a sweater or light weight jacket in airport & inside flight. Chennai Airport was warm so i didnt even use sweater in airport however when we landed in London & in Shannon I made her to wear her Winter Jacket. Socks or tights is mandatory. Wear whichever is comfortable for them. I too carried a winter hat for Aadhu but she hates to cover her ears and she just remove it in milli seconds 🤣🤣 Toddlers & their preferences.. So this time i didnt compel her to wear it but carried one for emergency purposes.
If the baby is small please do make sure they wear mitten & hat (covering their ears)inside flight. It definitely gets colder when the Altitude is higher. Better to be safe than sorry.
Also on the day of travel & while packing diaper bag better use the clothes that are already worn by them and the ones that they are used to. That way it is easier for you to change them as well as they don’t get overwhelmed by something new. Again this is totally based on Aadhu’s reaction to new clothes 😁😁
3.What to pack in Diaper Bag :
Once the flight is sorted make sure to pack your baby’s bag two or three days before your travel date so that you don’t miss out anything important.
- Diapers atleast 5-6 in your diaper bag. (Carry few in your handluggage/Cabin Baggage too). I feel pant diapers are easier especially during travel and have been using that only for the past one year.
- Wet Wipes
- Disposable bags
- Extra clothes for baby and for yourself too. Always have one lr tTop & Pant
- 5-6 Veshti Thuni (or small used hand towels that can be discarded). When I travelled alone with Aadhu there was a terrible diaper accident lol 🤣 Luckily i had these waste clothes. I wiped everything and had discarded them.
- Essential Medicines (Calpol, Syrup for cold&cough,Thermometer, Infacol(colic drops for babies)). Make sure you pack the liquid bottles in a ziplock bag and then place them in
- Baby Moisturizer
- Diaper Rash Cream. Apply generously during every diaper change. Change nappies frequently just to avoid rash or infection.
- Teethers for babies and other toys based on your baby’s interest
- Books, coloring stuff for Toddlers just to keep them engaged.
- Ipad or Tab. (I personally feel this is a hassle. Everytime during immigration you might have to take it out for security check.So I didnt carry this time.) The kids channel on flight tv is enough to keep them engaged for sometime however if the kids are older and if you feel Ipad or Tabs are necessary then go ahead and take it with you.
- Towel to wrap them. Though they provide extra sheets in flight, having a towel handy in your bag helps when you want to wrap them when they sleep during waiting time in Transit. It just gives extra warmth
If your baby is breastfeeding you can definitely feed them during take off & landing. Don’t use any cotton or baby plugs on their ears. This is what I was advised by my doctor when I asked about first time travelling in a long flight with a 6mo. He said that sometimes unwanted bits and pieces of cotton may cause ear infection. It is better to leave it open.
Also Moms if you are feeding formula to your kid please pack powder, bottles and other things you need. You will get hot water in flight.
5.Baby Food :
This is one of the main concerns for Moms travelling with babies. So keep this is mind that just because your baby skipped a meal or not feeling interested to eat particular food in-flight doesnt mean he/she will lose 10kgs in 24 hours.
Being Adults we cant even handle long travels and at times feel like throwing up or tummy getting upset etc. So lets not force them to eat until we assume that their tummy is full. In other words dont stress too much about the amount of food they intake. Let them be well hydrated. Give them few sips of water, juice and few spoons of yogurt.
6.Solid food for babies & Toddlers :
When I travelled with Aadhu (when she was 10mo) I packed two porridges (Oats, Multigrain). Those where her favorite and I knew she would eat it without making any fuss. I also packed one small idli. Based on your baby’s food preference pack solids. If they like banana or apple or any fruit purees you can pack them too. Have never fed ceralac or anyother readymix for Aadhu so i havent mentioned it here. You can pack such readymixes as well if your child is comfortable eating it.
For Toddlers :
This time Aadhu was almost 23 months and I had stopped breastfeeding too. Her food preferences and her appetite was different from the previous baby phase. So I decided to pack some of her favorite solid meals and snacks. Also “Infant meal” served in British Airways was decent too. She didnt finish off entirely whatever I packed but since there were different varieties of food she ate few spoons of this and that 🤣🤣
- Kesari (It stayed good for a longer time and A loved it.)
- I roasted & powdered Oats+Cashewnuts+Almonds together. Then made a thick porridge out of it
- Two small roti smeared with ghee
- Roasted Makhana with ghee & black pepper powder (lotus seeds)
- Ragi Laddu
- Oats cookies
- Make sure your porridge is not too runny to avoid spilling in diaper bag.
- You can get sugar & water from crew and add it before feeding to your baby.
- Have never carried milk in flasks fearing that milk wont stay good for a long time. So not sure how that works.
- Pack the porridges in small boxes an place them in a ziplock cover along with a small spoon & some tissues. You dont have to search for spoon when the baby is hungry. Also in immigration you may be asked to take the liquids and put them on tray separately for checking. It will be easier at that time
Infant food will be served according to the Airline Menu standards and you can always call and check the team to get an idea of what type of food you can expect. Qatar served fruit purees and luckily the food they served for Adults had Rice, Yogurt and daal. Similarly British Airways’ Infant meal was better too. It had bun, butter, Mango flavored yogurt,juice,chocolate and fruit cake. Food wasn’t a problem in our journeys thankfully.
7.Pram/Baby Carrier :
This is your personal choice. Few Airlines suggest the prams should be able to be folded into one piece. Generally in Dubai & Doha you will find Emirates’ & Qatar’s prams that can be used during our transit. It is free of cost. Am not sure about other Airports & Airlines. You might have to check based on your destination I have always used my Boba 4G baby carrier with Aadhu until she started walking. During Security Check you will be asked to remove your carrier and send it across too. Make sure you to use a carrier that you are extremely comfortable with.
8.For women travelling alone with a baby :
- Wear comfortable leggings and a top with a simple Leather or any comfy Jacket. If you wear Jeans or Pants with belt you might have to remove for security check and with baby in one hand it will be difficult.
- Leggings are most comfortable in loo as well. I took little A to loo along with me. Again this is my personal choice however if you are comfortable leaving your kid with co-passenger or some crew member you can very well do it.
- Don’t carry Tab, laptop or any extra gadget other than your mobie phone. Again taking this out from your bag and passing it through security check is a hassle.
- Always keep your passports, biometric cards & boarding pass in a separate pouch. We tend to do 100 things at a time and sometimes forget to keep a check on these important things. Always double check if you have your Passports with you.
- If you are a breastfeeding Mom wear something that will be easier for you to feed your baby at any time of the travel. Be it in Queues or be it inside flight don’t hesitate to feed them if you know they are hungry. You can even buy a Breastfeeding Apron if you arent used to feeding baby in Public.
- Use one Backpag as a cabin luggage. Place all your baby essentials and food in the bag. It will be easier to use Baby Carrier too. Instead of a trolley this will be super comfortable.
- If you are using prepaid mobile dont forget to topup and make sure you have sufficient balance to do international call or quickly send an sms. Most of the airports have free wifi as well you can connect and inform parents/spouse that you have reached and waiting for connecting flight.
- Ask crew for any help you need in-flight. ASK and Do not hesitate. I flew to Birmingham alone with Aadhu in Qatar and absolutely loved their service.
9.General Tips :
- Don’t bother about what others might think about your parenting skills or how you handle the baby. You know your baby well and you know what works when your baby/toddler cries or throws a tantrum. Handle them just like as you do at home. Let people judge you and we aren’t there for some parenting championship or anything. So just BE YOU. If they cry uncontrollably there is only so much you can do. They will get calmed down in few minutes and babies will start behaving like nothing happened and it is us (moms especially) will over think much and waste our time, energy unnecesaarily 🤣 So as i said before please be kind to yourself. There is nothing with your parenting.
- Generally during travel babies/toddlers start crying when they feel hungry,feel sleepy or sometimes when they get overwhelmed by the crowd, new environment etc. So try to see what is making them uncomfortable and act accordingly.
- In-flight you can carry them and walk around for few minutes, try playing with their toys and try to engage them
- When there is turbulence or if the seat belt sign is shown ensure your babies are not placed in Bassinet. Keep them in your lap and latch the additional baby belt they provide to you.
- Toddlers and their silly preferences can drive you crazy especially during travel they do all such dramas 🤣🤣 Once in Dubai Airport we bought plain milk for her and i started feeding her suddenly she cried her lungs out and demanded only her father should hold the cup. For a moment I got so angry 🙄😁 Then calmed down myself. After few minutes she started hugging me and kissing me as if nothing happened. 😊
I wrote whatever came to my mind based on our travel experience. Not to intimidate anyone by givimg way too much of information. Amidst all dramas and craziness trust me there is a sense of peace when you hold them tight and watch the beautiful skies and clouds up there. Enjoy your travel with baby ❤️❤️ Make beautiful memories with them.