Flying long haul with a baby – Part 2 The Flight
Flying long haul with a baby – The Flight
In my last post, I wrote about how we have flown quite a lot since my daughter was born 11 months ago. As I mentioned previously during that time I have been on eight long haul and two short-haul flights with my baby Willow and husband, Mark. Our longest trip in February was a two leg journey of over 30 hours to Australia for a friend’s wedding. Although each new trip will present us with new challenges we have already learnt many things about travelling with a baby that I wanted to share with you.
In the first part, I gave you some tips for preparing to fly long haul with your baby for the first time. Below are some more of my top tips to help you survive the flight itself.
1. Give your baby something to suck on when taking off and landing.
One air hostess told me that often the reason for crying babies on a flight is as a result of sore ears. Nurse, feed or give a pacifier upon ascent and descent to help prevent their ears from popping.
2. If your baby eats solids give them some healthy, nutritious snacks that won’t create a huge mess for you
Food is obviously essential for nutrition but also provides a great distraction for 10-15 minutes. Try to give your baby healthy foods (whether it be finger food or mashed). Filling them up with sugar filled snacks or drinks might pacify them short-term but will not help when trying to get to them to sleep. Some ideas for an easy go to food option are; rice cakes, banana, plain yoghurt, veggie sticks and humus. Depending on where you are travelling you might not be able to bring fruit and veg through security but most airports now sell these foods in their terminal shops.
Disposable bibs are also great to help prevent a huge mess and can be thrown away once used.
3. Medicate with caution
I’m not a fan of medicating as a form of prevention and would avoid this if you can. We brought some baby Tylenol as a last resort for our teething baby who we could see was in pain a few days prior. Thankfully we didn’t have to use it. Some medications can often do the opposite of what you hope and cause a baby to become more hyper or fussy rather than sleepy or drowsy. Some even contain additives like sugar which again is not ideal for helping to get them to sleep. If you are planning on giving your baby some medication it is probably best to test it out before flying to ensure they don’t have a negative reaction to it.
4. Try to relax and stay calm
If your baby does begin to cry try to remain calm and as relaxed as possible (I had to work on this one for our first flight especially and still continue to do so). Willow was over tired by the time we had boarded and getting cranky which started to stress me out as it was very early in the flight…. I reminded myself (as did Mark) that I needed to stay calm and relaxed (as babies can sense our stress). I took a few deep breaths and I really feel this helped to calm both myself and her and it wasn’t long before she went to sleep. If your baby does continue to cry try not to worry too much about others around you. Most of them will have headphones on watching the tv (which along with the white noise of the plane drowns out most other noise)
5. Sleep when you can
If flying with a partner or husband at least one (if not both) of you should try to get some sleep whilst your baby sleeps. This is a team effort and if one of you can be somewhat rested it will make things easier all round. This will be especially beneficial if your baby does start to fuss or won’t sleep when you get to your destination. If flying alone and you are able to put your baby in the bassinet when they sleep it is a good idea for you to try to get some sleep here too. I know it is easy to get distracted by all the good movies on board but try not to. You will feel far better if you can get even a few cat naps in.
6. Try not to take it out on each other
Travel and long journeys are tiring and getting cranky and cross with significant others travelling with you can easily happen. Try not to take it out on your travel partner or be snappy if baby does start to fuss (This is another one I had to work on). Before getting pregnant I had seen many parents on flights bickering with each other (which is understandable when everyone is overtired and the baby is fussy)..I had vowed I never wanted this to be like that…. This is often easier said than done once in the situation… I did, however, make a point of trying to keep reminding myself not to do this as it served no purpose other than to make everyone feel worse…Although I faltered sometimes myself and my husband did work on this from our very first trip which I think generally helped our overall moods and thus our baby.
Anyway, I think that is it… Again as I said in my previous post this was our experience. On our longest flight over to Los Angeles, Willows first tooth popped through so she was slightly crankier than normal but even still it really wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Often we worry ourselves unnecessarily and the idea of something is worse than the reality of it. Many of my friends here in Toronto have also flown with young babies and had positive experiences so don’t presume yours will automatically be bad. Even if your baby does cry a lot or have a meltdown remember the flight is means to an end and it will not last forever (despite sometimes feeling that it might). I hope you find these tips useful. Feel free to comment on your experiences below or share any tips that I have left out as I would love to hear from you