Our guest blogger Rachael Matthews from Lotus Point talks about her tips for travelling with your baby over the holidays.
Here are some travel tips I have come across when doing some research with different airlines, mainly Qantas, American airlines and British airways.
If you are flying internationally with your baby, they will need their own passport. This can be tricky getting them to stay still for the passport photo so it better to organise it as soon as possible. Most airlines allow babies to travel from 48hrs old.
Baby carry- on luggage:
Use a bag with multiple compartments so you can find what you are looking for easily.
o Nappies enough for 1 per 3hrs of travel plus two extras, wipes, nappy rash cream.
o Changes of clothes, lots of thin layers are good as the cabin temperature on the plane can fluctuate quite a bit during the flight. Outfits with a top and pants are best for nappy changes.
o Enough formula of the entire trip plus two extra feeds for take-off and landing if needed.
o If your baby is on solids pack premade foods that can be given at room temperature.
o Dummy, blanket, favourite toy, favourite book, bibs and a wet flannel for clean-up.
o Food and fluids and medicines may be over 100mls if traveling with a baby.
Baby check in baggage consists of a collapsible stroller, a collapsible cot, a baby capsule or car seat.
Some airlines will fit the baby car seat next to you if you have paid for a seat for your baby.
Airlines have their own collapsible strollers you can take all the way to the plane and staff will take it from you when you board the plane.
Feeding and changing:
There are change tables in most plane toilets. Find out when you board the plane which toilet has changing facilities.
Have your bottles already sterilized with the amount of water in them for your babies’ feeds Use a formula container with pre measures compartments so you don’t need to take the whole tin onto the flight.
Some airlines provide a limited range of baby formula milk, bottles, cereal, and rusks. However, it is a good idea to bring all the food your baby is used to.
Inform the airline at the time of booking if Your baby has any food allergies or intolerances.
Soothing ear pain while taking off and landing:
Everyone can experience ear pain while flying especially on take-off and landing due to the rapid ascent and descent of the plane. Adults, children and babies are more susceptible if they have recently had an upper respiratory tract infection.
One thing which helps alleviate most of the pain is sucking on either on lollies or chewing gum for adults. Babies and toddlers can be offered a dummy or bottle to suck on at this time. If your baby is crying during take-off or landing, they probably have sore ears.
Baby sleep times:
As there may well be a time difference traveling from one country to the other. Keep the same routine, don’t try and convert bub on the flight home as they may become unsettled.
Unless you have bought an additional seat for your baby and are planning to use a rear-facing car seat, the bassinets or sky cots will be available to you to use. These special seats must be prearranged so you don’t miss out. The bassinets are 71x31 cm and 26 cm deep. They go up to a weight of 11kg.
Tips for the parent who is travelling while breastfeeding/ expressing.
Here is some information which hopefully will help you navigate traveling and breast feeding. As we all know every woman and baby are individual so this information may not be helpful for all!
If your baby is 0-6 weeks you may still largely be demand feeding and at times cluster feeding in the afternoons. Try and maintain this pattern while travelling to maintain your supply and satisfy their little tummy with regular feeds.
The breastfeeding parent will benefit from loose comfortable clothing for ease of feeding in the confines of the plane cabin.
As traveling in air conditioning can be dehydrating have plenty of water and snacks available also.
If you are taking expressed milk on the plane a fridge bag with ice bricks will keep it chilled for up to 6 hrs. You may have planned to combine breast and expressed milk in a bottle for the flight to give the lactating parent a rest and offer the other parent an opportunity to feed Bub also.
You may find packing a hand pump in your carry on beneficial if pumping has been part of your regular routine at that time.
Some babies become fussy during taking off and landing, this is due to pain in their ear canal from built up pressure. This can be relieved through sucking. Breastfeeding your baby during take off and landing will help calm the baby.
Remember not to over dress your baby as you may be feeding more than usual during the flight and therefore holding your baby more closely for longer periods. Babies can easily overheat in this situation and become very distressed.
This information is a guide only based on 25 yrs experience, is not a substitute for your own instinct as a parent.
Enjoy your trip. Preparation and planning will help you feel like you can tackle any situation which arises on the plane.
Our Lotuspoint Training DADS HIVE and MUMS NEST sessions are available to assist you to discuss the above recommendations!
Rachael Matthews Director of Lotuspoint Training Programs, Creator of DADS HIVE and MUMS NEST.