12 tips for flying with babies and toddlers
By Mim Jenkinson, Aussie mum of 2, blogger and founder of lovefrommim.com
When my daughter was 3 months’ old, we travelled long haul from Australia to the UK for a month’s holiday.
I’d have to say I was pretty terrified at the thought of it beforehand having been on so many flights pre-motherhood where I’ve heard babies scream the entire journey and seen parents pacing the aisles looking pale, wide-eyed and frazzled only 30 minutes into the journey.
I was also the first of my ‘mummy friends’ to undertake such a long journey but luckily I did have friends with older kids who shared their much-needed advice and helped me prepare – mentally as much as anything.
I had 2 main fears – firstly, that my baby would scream and be in pain from the discomfort flying can cause to their ears and secondly, that I would be judged by other passengers for disrupting their journey.
Of course I now know better than to be too overly concerned by other people’s potential judgments but having been the judger myself in the past, I knew what the potential was. I know better now – now at the very least I offer other parents sympathetic smiles or pretend I can’t hear the commotion of another child having a tantrum so as to make them feel less paranoid! How times have changed.
I prepared and prepared and prepared for the flight and I’ll detail how in the tips below. The flight went so much better than I expected and we even had passengers pass us when they disembarked and say they didn’t realise a baby was on the plane. Phew!
Since then I’ve flown short and long haul countless times.
My top 12 tips for flying with babies and toddlers:
1. For babies under a year old, I’d recommend booking seats (long haul flights) at the front with the bassinets.
My daughter actually hated sleeping in the bassinet and refused to sleep longer than 20 minutes at a time in it but it was great to be right next to the toilets for changing her and having all of the extra legroom to store the nappy bag etc.
Be aware that these seats have hard sides rather than arm rests as the tray table is stored there so they are not quite as comfortable as normal seats but hey, you’re not really going to be ‘comfortable’ at all when flying with a baby.
Also bear in mind that there is often no guarantee that you will get the bassinet seats as they seem to be allocated to the youngest babies first. Book them in advance but get to the airport earlier than you normally would to try and reserve them again.
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