When you don't live near your family and in our case they are either on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, you get used to traveling.
But traveling solo or as a couple is EASY!
Traveling with a baby, not so easy.
This Christmas just gone we decided to travel to Scotland to visit my husband's family and enjoy a cold festive season together.
BUT... We had to get there first!
I'm writing this blog because I want to help other mums out there - I researched, aka googled, how to manage flying with a baby and only found a few useful tips, so here's hoping this helps others - it's very detailed!
I was FREAKING out about the mere thought of a long haul flight months before we were set to go on holiday.
Trying to manage in a confined space with hundreds of random strangers.. No thanks.
So, two things ...
1. We had a practice run about a month prior, Perth to Melbourne, and it was relatively stress free.
2. Also ... We flew Business Class on the way over to Glasgow.
Now before you say, 'oh who the hell flies business class' ... I hear you!
We were very fortunate to have enough points to book our flight... But only one way!!
Coming home was a different story ... You can read about that later!
I'm not going to lie it was AMAZING.
Only down side was that I couldn't make the most of the bottomless Moët or Veuve Champagne! (typical).
But having said that, I still barely slept and didn't watch any movies.
We flew Emirates on the way over and Etihad on the way home. I love Emirates, but it is hard to compare the two as we flew business and then economy. Both were good.
So here are my tips to survive a flight with a baby (Ayla was 3 months old at the time)
WHAT WE PACKED
Don't worry about cute little outfits, it's not worth the hassle!
Make sure you pack for hot and cold temperature though. I found throughout the flight it got hot and cold so it was handy to have a short sleeved onesie.
I packed three onesies and I made sure I changed her during our stop over in Dubai and also again on the flight. Thankfully she didn't have any accidents so there were no emergency outfit changes.
We only had an hour stop over in Dubai so I packed enough nappies for 2 days (just in case). Obviously it's better to pack more than you think you'll need just in case.
Just one pack of your prefers brand is fine. We use Gaia or Water Wipes.
4. Muslin wraps
I packed 4 - they doubled as spew cloths and to cover myself when I was feeding.
Ayla drools a lot, I packed heaps!
6. Changing mats
I have a reusable changing mat that I always use but for the flight I also packed a few disposable ones just in case. I'm a bit crazy when it comes to hygiene and sometimes I would put the disposable mat under my mat to add an extra layer of protection!
I packed a blanket that Ayla usually sleeps with so that she had something familiar to her.
This is the best thing ever! It's a special bed made from organic cotton that you can put anywhere... I put it inside the bassinet provided by the airline. Again for hygiene purposes but also comfort and familiarity. It made the bassinet extra cosy.
The only thing with taking this is that it uses space in your carry on luggage.
We put it inside our carry on suitcase. Trust me it's worth it!
It also came in handy in Dubai, we had it on the floor in the lounge so that Ayla could stretch out rather than have us hold her.
9. Hand sanitizer & wipes
I have mini bottles everywhere! In almost every pocket of the baby bag - again just in case. I also used detol wipes on arm rests and trays etc.
You have to remember that protecting your own hygiene is so important on flights, especially when feeding.
10. A toy
I packed a soft giraffe rattle for Ayla to play with. Again it was also a familiar item for her.
I only introduced a dummy when Ayla was about ten weeks old, before that she wasn't interested. But - LIFESAVER! Especially when flying. I packed 6!
A dummy is also great to help with air pressure when landing if you're not breastfeeding.
Ayla LOVES her sling from My Wild Bird. She falls asleep within minutes of me putting her in it. It came in very handy as I walked around the plane trying to get her to sleep.
The Marsupi carrier from My Fertile Mind - This was awesome for in an around the airport. Don't need to take it off when going through security either!
14. Change of clothes for me
I often pack a change of clothes when flying overseas anyway. But, Thankfully this time Ayla didn't throw up on me (which she normally does).
CHANGING A BABY DURING THE FLIGHT
The quicker the better!
No one likes the toilets on a plane, so the least amount of time in there the better.
One tip is to have a smaller bag within your baby bag so that you don't have to take the whole thing with you into the toilet.
I have a reusable changing mat that folds up. It also has a compartment for wipes. So what I do is put a nappy and a plastic rubbish bag inside before folding it up, that way I only have to take the mat with me as everything I need is inside.
The reason that babies become so restless during flights is because of the change in air pressure.
The tubes in their ears aren't fully developed yet and therefore when the plane is taking off and landing the change is pressure can cause babies a lot of pain.
One of the best things you can do to help them, is to feed them.
I breastfed Ayla during every take off and landing.
You can bottle fed too of course and other parents give their child a dummy.
The idea is to get their jaw moving - just like we would move our mouth to help 'pop' our ears - the same applies for babies.
I only breastfeed so I'm not sure what the process is for those who bottle feed - but all the air hostesses were very helpful so I'm sure they are prepared to assist with formula etc.
Children also get special kids meals - but of course this didn't apply to us.
Ok, so flying business vs. economy is very different!
I packed all the same things, but the difference with coming home in economy... Was that it was a lot less comfortable!
Firstly, You need to arrive at check in early so that you can secure a bassinet seat! These are given out based on a first come first served basis!
Basically you won't get much sleep if any! And no watching movies.
Eating will also be very difficult!
There is literally no space to stand up if you've got your tray table out and your baby is in the bassinet. So of course I wasn't going to eat if Ayla was awake in the bassinet because she would start crying and I wouldn't be able to get to her without without spilling my meal all over myself!
So, my husband and I took it in turns to eat our meals.
The air hostesses are very accommodating, and helpful. They were more than happy to heat my meal when I was ready.
Another thing to mention, turbulence!
Whenever the seatbelt sign comes on, babies have to be removed from the bassinet and sit on your lap... Of course this sucks majorly if your baby was fast asleep.
Thankfully Ayla didn't get too upset when this happened, and she fell asleep in my arms after taking her out of the bassinet.
So next time you're flying and you start to hear babies crying once the seat belt sign goes on - spare a thought for the poor mums who have just woken a sleeping baby! You should never do this! Haha.
Ayla slept a lot of the flight, but I didn't get any sleep!
But overall the flight wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be.
The hardest part... Is the jet lag!