Holiday travel can be exhausting at the best of times never mind when you’re pregnant or travelling with little ones, especially for the first time. Even the idea of it can be terrifying! But don’t worry, being prepared- both mentally and physically, can make all the difference. So sit back, relax and arm yourself with these tips to keep you sane at 30,000 feet.
Flying with your new little “carry on” can be a daunting task. What do I pack? Do I need a bassinette? What about jetlag? Believe it or not flying with a baby who is under one year is probably one of the easiest times to travel with a child. Treat your journey like it’s an extended day out. Bring what you normally would, a few changes of clothes, food/formula, wipes, extra nappies. Then add a few extra nappies- always add a few extra!! I recommend one nappy for every hour of travel. Plus bring an extra set of clothes for yourself because as we know baby’s messes become our messes very easily. To carry your little one, opt for a fabric sling rather than a backpack or car seat. They are much lighter and portable. Also be sure to pack a “medical kit”, with essentials you may need such as Panadol in case of fever, teething remedies and more. Be sure to ask your doctor what they would recommend. Nothing is worse than dealing with a minor ailment at 30,000 feet and having nothing to soothe your little one.
Check with the airline before you leave to see what services they offer to help make your journey a little more comfortable. Reserving a seat with a bassinette, or not sitting near a high traffic area such as the galley or the toilet can help your baby to sleep and avoid unnecessary noise. They may also have pre-boarding arrangements, assistance in getting to the gate or stroller to the gate services.
Most airlines will relax their rules with regards to carrying on liquids when it comes to infant formulas and medicines. It’s always best to check with the individual airline concerning these rules first. Chances are it may take a little longer getting through security, but have prescriptions handy and point out any liquids you are carrying to the agent so you can save the time and hassle of them pulling your bags apart.
If your journey is a long one over several time zones, prepare for jetlag as early as you can. I always tell my clients who are travelling overseas- set your watch to your new time zone as soon as you board the plane. It takes about a day to adjust to each hour of time difference so the sooner you get started, the better. If going for less than a week, don’t force the baby into a new time zone, just go with the flow-remember you are on holiday. Exposing yourself to daylight often helps the body clock adjust so try to get out whenever you feel the urge to nap. The natural daylight will help stimulate the baby as well. Homeopathic remedies Arnica and Gelsemium are excellent remedies for both parents and baby and help ease the system through jetlag.
Many new parents worry about unsettling other passengers with a crying or fussy baby. This can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety even before you board the plane. My best advice is put yourself and other passengers at ease by taking it one step at a time. Try to stay positive upon boarding, it can be a disruptive time, the calmer you are the calmer your baby will be. Smile and make eye contact with fellow passengers. You’ll be surprised how many are actually smiling back. Also if your baby does start to fuss, try to get up, walk around or simply cuddle your little one. When others see you making an effort they will be a lot more sympathetic.
Never change your baby’s nappy on the seat, no matter how inconvenient getting up may be. It’s unhygienic and very offensive to others no matter how cute your little one is.
If you’re up to the challenge of travelling with your baby and toddler, you really want to be prepared, because chances are your toddler won’t be. Toddlers can get grouchy or excited very quickly when travelling. The last thing you need is a temper tantrum and a crying infant. But if, and when, it does happen, stay calm. You may want to start screaming yourself, but remaining calm will help you think and also help your toddler calm down. Ask a flight attendant for assistance if you really need it. This will come in handy at times like when you need to take a trip to the toilet. Because try as you might, there is no way you will all fit in those tiny airline toilets.
Besides the above tips that will prove useful for both baby and toddler, you’ll also want to consider a few others to help ease the journey:
Last but not least treat it as an adventure and take your time. Travelling while pregnant or with young children can be done and enjoyed. Chances are it won’t happen many times in your life so take it step by step and try not to stress out. No matter how long, crazy or exhausting the flight will eventually end. You may arrive at your destination a little more haggard than usual, but the joy of embarking on a holiday or seeing loved ones on the other end will definitely make it all worthwhile. Remember what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Happy Holidays and Bon Voyage!
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