As a new Parent, the first time you face flying with your Baby is often something which instills abject terror. Many avoid it for as long as possible. others exchange folk lore horror stories “did you head about my neighbours, sisters, colleagues baby who screamed so much the Pilot had to land the plane?“.
I was incredibly apprehensive when we set off on Intrepid Bebe’s first trip, which, inclusive of waits in Airports and the drive totalled 38 hours of travelling. I’ve already told you the benefits of flying with a baby who is a total sleep thief, nap hating, insomniac here. Now I give you the reasons that flying with a baby is actually BETTER than staying at home, along with a few hack for making things run smoother! If the prospect of landing in an exciting new place, perhaps seeing longed for family, or getting some Sunshine isn’ enough to keep you going, hopefully the following will help you feel a little more confident as you board your first family flight!
Things babies love: being held, your attention, cosy environments, dull white noise
Thing a plane journey offers: all of the above. Chances are they will spend the vast majority of the Flight in a carrier or in your arms, which is their natural spot, and they are unlikely to complain.
Of course you dote on your baby everyday, but you also have things to try and get done, be that work, household chores, or even just checking social media. On a plane, there are minimal distractions, keeping bub happy will be number one priority at all times.
The dull lights, and dull hum of the engine is like a giant white noise machine, plus the noise drowns out a lot of baby noise!!
Things which are hard about being at home with a baby : there’s no one to chat to, there’s no spare pair of hands when you’re trapped feeding, you have to try and have enough handy to prepare meals, there’s no one to entertain your baby when you need the loo
Things a plane journey offers: all of the above
Even if you aren’t flying with a Partner (which was no where near as hard as I imagined FYI), there are plenty of people around to chat to, or ask to give you a hand, or simply people watch. Chances are fellow passengers won’t be able to resist cooing and playing boo with your little one. And the Cabin crew have always been great offering to holding Intrepid bebe so i could go to the loo. Plus they bring you tea-hot tea, to your seat, and sometimes they’ll even feed you.
Trouble shooter for flying with a Baby fears
Ears popping: SUCK-be that boob, bottle, dummy, or if all is lost fruit pouch or lollypop. On take off, landing, and any any large changes in altitude. The action of sucking and swallowing helps the ears equalise as well as provides a welcome distraction.
ALL the germs: as well as water free antibacterial hand wash for you all, I always recommend friends take some antibac wipes with them. These can be used to wipe down the arm rests and other plastic surfaces, plus and dropped teething toys etc. There’s nothing more miserable than arriving at your holidays destinations with stinking colds-and far more come from touching those surfaces than the myths about recycled air conditioning.
Poo explosions: honestly pack extra nappies and extra outfits, it’s tempting to chance it but the fall out is well, messy! We used 50% more nappies than in the same time period at home. I blame the cabin pressure!
People will roll their eyes and resent sharing their cabin with a baby: I read this on forums before flying and terrified myself. the reality has been that I have only ever received positivity and friendliness from fellow passengers in all the flights we have been on with our Daughter. I wrote here about why I do not believe in handing out ‘apology bags’.
And here are a couple of things I have to break to you
It won’t be like the flights pre kids. I managed 24 hours without one Movie and barely a proper meal because I was so focused on keeping my little one entertained/sleeping/changing yet another nappy. Try and readjust your expectations. yes you will probably do laps of the plane, but hey, there that’ll reduce your DVT risk no end!
Unless you are Parent on a freak baby (eg. I am SO jealous), they won’t sleep the whole way, even if you’re on a night flight, or it’s their usual nap time. Don’t get me wrong, they might, but do not rely on that!! Pack toys, snacks as though you were flying through the day. Preparation is the key to flying with babies.
They will probably cry at some point, but it won’t be the WHOLE time. If you are on a long haul flight, there’s a fair chance at some stage there will be some crying. To be honest, my daughter (who cried A LOT in her first year of life) really didn’t cry a lot on flights. But when they do, stay calm, it’s no where near as loud as it sounds to you. They will stop, and you will get off the flight, and it will all be okay!! (repeat mantra as required).
If you have any specific queries about preparing for your first flight with a Baby, I am very happy to do my best to answer based on our experiences.