Flying with Babies

Booking your flight:

When booking, inform the airline that you are taking a baby/child and tell them your child’s age. Some domestic flight allows babies to travel free if nursed. International flights usually charge around 10% of an adult fare.

Hunt around and see which airline provides what you need.

Ask for a bassinet, even if your baby doesn’t use it there is more room on the floor for your child to play or rest.

Check that the airline you are travelling on has nappy changing facilities in the toilets.

Check that your airline provide disposable nappies, bibs, milk and baby foods and if not remember to pack plenty of your own. Take disposable items which can be thrown away after use.

Preparations at home:

The key to travelling with children is planning, it is suggested to pre plan your baby’s schedule before flying to try and help your infant to adjust to time changes and jet-lag. Keeping an eye on both your home time and the time of your destination will help you and your baby to adjust when you arrive. As much as possible try not to disrupt your usual routine.

Flight attendants will heat bottles and food some will also offer to help you look after your baby. But if you don't like to leave baby with other people, and you are traveling without your partner, then I suggest you take a sling/pouch to carry baby when you need to go to the toilet.

When taking bottles it is suggested not to pre-make formula as airlines are not allowed to store pre-made formulas or food in their fridge. Take bottles with cooled boiled water and ask the stewards to warm the water when needed. You can then add the formula which can be carried in portion size containers ready for use.

Check with the airline before the flight date, that your bassinet and anything else you may have booked will be available for you. Nowadays you may need to inquire about what you can and can't take on board with you including pre made formula, lotions etc. Some light weight collapsible pram can fit into the over head lockers and may be more convenient for immediate access when landing.

Normally babies travel quite well but it is the parents that end up exhausted. It is not suggested to drug your child to get him/her to sleep while on the flight. Some drugs may back fire and cause hyperactivity.

Travel bag check list:
  • Take a change of cloths for yourself as well as a few for baby especially if it is a long flight.

  • Stock your nappy bag with essentials including – nappies, wipes, bibs.

  • Take a familiar object or favourite toy, a bag of toys to entertain during the flight.

  • Prepare bottles of water for feeds and snacks, formula, baby food and finger food depending on the age of your child.

  • Provide something to suck on for take off and landings.

  • Take a pouch/sling if you are traveling on your own to assist when traveling through the airport system or when you need to go to the toilet.

  • Light weight pram that can fit into the overhead locker.

Before leaving home:

Make sure you infant is wearing layers of clothes to allow for temperature changes. The cabins can get quite cold especially if you are inactive.

Check you carry bag has all the essentials.

At check in:
  • When checking in, ask if the flight is full and if they will give you a spare seats next to you.

  • If you are not taking your pram on as hand luggage ask if it can be tagged differently so it will meet you at the cabin door rather than at the baggage collection. If you need help to carry all your hand luggage the stewards usually offer to help if you wait until everyone has disembarked.

On the flight:

Sucking on take off and landing will help your infant’s ears to clear. If you don’t use a dummy try offering a clean finger to suck on or a bottle of cooled boiled water if it is not feed time. Your infant may be nursed depending on his/her age. Seat belts are also provided. It is amazing how many children travel by air these days and how little thought is put into making it easier on the parents.

Be aware that babies are more likely to vomit on descent so try no to feed too close to landing. Don’t hesitate to ask the stewardess for support and a break if you need it.

Make sure baby has plenty of fluids as due to the air-conditioning we all tend to become quite dehydrated. Stick to the usual breast or bottle feeds but offer cooled boiled water between feeds.

Above all try to relax and enjoy your flight. Have a good trip.

How to Avoid Jet Lag

Here is a link to help you avoid jet lag.

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Disclaimer: Articles on our website are for education purposes only.  Please consult with your doctor to make sure this information is right for your child.