Ollie has successfully completed his first adventure travelling by plane! I’m going to write about a few things I did to make it easier for him and how he coped to hopefully put some people’s mind at ease if you’re worried about travelling with a baby.
Stick to your Routine.
It might be easier said than done in some cases but as much as possible stick to your routine. I can’t speak for everybody but my baby is 9 months old now and he has made links between things and knows what certain things mean and what is next in his day. For example, when his dad get homes he knows it’s dinner time and sometimes if his dad is early he’ll start doing his hungry noise and getting restless if we don’t eat straightway. So on the day of the flight we did a normal days routine but just in a different place!
Have a Later Flight.
We were flying in the afternoon so it meant that we still went to Ollie’s swim class in the morning, and we got to the airport in time for his normal bottle so he had an almost normal bottle (I’ll move onto that next!) and a biscuit in the afternoon sitting in Wetherspoons at the airport. We were due to fly at 4.15pm which was perfect because that’s when Ollie naps so I thought, great he’ll just sleep the whole time! According to my prediction, we’re waiting to board and he’s rubbing his eyes doing all the tired noise and I’m thinking, #MommaKnowsBest *smug face*. We sit down, and…. Captain announces… We’re delayed on the ground due to French air traffic strikes. So now Ollie is overtired and getting bored because he’s trapped in this tiny little space and has got used to crawling. We finally took off almost two hours later and the vibrations of the plane and a little bottle sent Ollie straight to sleep. He woke up about an hour later wanting his dinner, we had one of those Ella’s Kitchen pouches that can be served at room temperature so we gave him that and he was happy.
Feed During Take-Off.
I’d done a bit of research before our holiday and everything I’d read said give them a bottle during take off because the sucking action has the same effect as us sucking a sweet and helps their little ears. So I had a little bottle ready which is why he didn’t have his full bottle at 3pm because I was saving some for take off but I didn’t want him to not want anything when we took off so I gave him slightly less than normal for his afternoon bottle. If you’re breastfeeding then you don’t have to worry about packing bottles but if you’re on formula I recommend the Cow & Gate Starter Packs because they’re less than 100ml so there’s no messing about when you go through security and then it’s all disposable so you don’t have to worry about rinsing out the used bottles.
It might sound rude but don’t apologise for taking a baby on a plane. You’re all paying to be there, no one is entitled to anything special unless they pay for first class so don’t feel guilty if the person in front is tutting over crying. They don’t feel guilty for swearing in front of your kids or snoring really loud when you’re trying to chill out so just focus on you and your baby. Your baby needs to feel safe and secure with you, everyone else is old enough to understand that he might be uncomfortable sitting in a small space for a few hours. Don’t stress out, if you’re chilled out it will help your baby to stay chilled out.
I didn’t realise that parents with pushchairs have priority boarding. I queued up at the gate as normal and somebody told me I was allowed to go first. Then on the return we were in the toilets when they announced for parents to come forward so we missed it again. Get to your gate in plenty of time because you’re allowed to go first, presumably so they can take the pushchairs and give you more time and space to board comfortably.
Have Some Snacks and Toys.
Ollie was a really good boy for the flight but he did get really bored. I think it would’ve been easier travelling with a smaller baby because he just wanted to crawl and climb everywhere now. He had a couple of treats because baby biscuits kept him occupied for a while and he liked playing peek-a-boo with his toys.
Ollie was fine with both take-offs but he hated the landings. (I’m sorry if your ears hurt Ollie!) All of the staff were really helpful and kept checking asking if we wanted anything for him and on the return they got hot water for us and we forgot a spoon so they gave us a disposable. He was a really good boy and I would take a baby on a plane again. Don’t be put off flying because you have a baby. If you think about it and make sure you have his normal things with you it’s not a drama at all. And even if they scream the entire time… It’s over in a couple of hours then you get to enjoy a holiday with your baby and have some chilled out family time. Ollie loved his holiday! See what he got up to here.
Some people might think, why would I put my baby somewhere where they might be unhappy and cry for hours? You could say that about anything, you’d never leave the house. They might not cry. There’s only one way to find out. I was worried when I took Ollie on the bus for the first time in case he didn’t like it. I had to do it if I wanted to go further than my local shop! If you want to travel, you’ve got to do it at some point! Think positive!
I have also written about Travelling with a Weaning Baby which you might find interesting.