In the first few months of your newborn’s life, it is unlikely that you’re going to want to be jetsetting around the globe, but for one reason or another many of us find ourselves going to a family wedding overseas or interstate, or relocating for work. Whatever the reason, there is a good chance our little ones will need to fly before you think she’s ready, but with a little preparation and patience, it doesn’t need to be as daunting as you may think.
PLAN AHEAD OF TIME
Pretty self explanatory.
“When you make reservations, let the agent know that you’re traveling with an infant who will have a child safety restraint, as there are restrictions about where it may be placed. (Normally, the seat goes by the window so it doesn’t block another passenger’s access.) Try to get as far forward as possible, because the back of the plane is noisier, vibrates more, and is less convenient for deplaning than the front.” – www.parents.com
In regards to planning for your bookings, try and book the shortest route/flights possible, and make sure you don’t need to rush from gate to gate when changing flights. Allow ample time for disembarking, changing diapers and feeding, recovering, then boarding your next flight.
CHOOSE THE BEST SEAT (IF POSSIBLE)
Sometimes, depending on the airline, you’ll have some option as to where to sit on the aircraft.
“The best place to sit on a plane with kids is debated by parents. Some like the bulkhead because of the extra legroom, and the fact that they can be some of the first to get off the plane once it lands. Some planes, especially for international flights, also have bassinets your baby can sleep in that attach to the bulkhead. But the big downside of choosing this option is that you can’t have your carry-on bag by your feet during take-off and landing, and you’re going to be stressing if the kids are wailing and you need something but can’t get it.” – Art of Manliness
Others recommend the rear of the plane, as it’s likely to have less passengers, and it’ll be near a bathroom. Turbulence is less of a factor towards the rear of the plane, also. However flight attendants tend to recommend to seat your kids closer to the engines. It’s not hard to imagine why. The hum of the engines mimic that of a steady white noise, which can help keep your baby asleep. Remember, the womb was an incredibly loud place for them, so this will feel just like home.
You never know how long you’re going to be delayed for, as is the case on many flights. Be prepared and pack extra, especially in your carry on if you can fit it. Also, don’t neglect your baby’s ears for take off and landing. A bottle or pacifier can help relieve ear pressure and ease any subsequent pain.
A jacket with plenty of pockets is always a good idea whilst travelling. The numerous pockets can save you valuable carry on baggage space and you’ll be able to keep essentials at a hands reach away at all times.
BOOK YOUR BABY HER OWN SEAT
“Airlines in the US let children under the age of 2 sit on their caretaker’s lap. The advantage to this is obvious: you don’t have to buy them their own seat and you’ll thus save a lot of money.” – Art of Manliness
If your budget allows it however, booking your child her own seat reaps many rewards. With her own seat, you can bring along her car seat and strap her in just like you do in your car. This is safer first off, and it is more comfortable for the baby and the parent. Chances are they’ll fall asleep sooner in the seat, and you’ll be free to rest and relax, which is better for everyone.
BOARD AT THE LAST MINUTE
Finally, minimize the amount of time your baby is strapped into her car seat, and board with your baby at the last minute. Travelling in a couple will make this so much easier, as your better half can board the aircraft and fit the seat, and when boarding is closing, you and baby can stroll on, get seated and have hopefully only a few minutes before the engines begin humming and you’re off down the runway!