10 tips for travelling on a long haul with a baby
Nine months and 22 loooooong flights later, I have learnt through a lot of trial and error on how to travel with a baby. So, here is my list of suggested to make your big tips with your little people as smooth as possible. If you have any other tips I should add to the list, please comment below.
1. Flight times
If you have the option try and book a flight that disrupts your baby’s sleep routine (haha… I say that like we have a sleep routine!). For us, this means boarding around her bedtime, or a day flight. If a flight that works well for you time wise is a bit more expensive, I think it is worth the money, trust me!
2. Try and secure a bassinet for the flight
Just because you have a baby, that does NOT mean you are guaranteed a bassinet. There are so many variables - loyalty status, the type of plane, how old your kid is, how nice customer service is and when you book. My suggestion is to always call after you book a ticket to request one and get into the airport early and iterate how much you need a bassinet, or ask if you can get a spare seat if you’re unable to get a bassinet.
3. Always have food ready
Boob, bottle, banana - whatever your baby likes, have it ready at all times.
4. Bring some pillows
Usually, the airlines will be good with providing you extra pillows if you have a baby, but I
I love this beach pillow, its inflatable so doesn’t take up much space in your bag and also doubles as a change mat when it is deflated. I’ve used this as back support for myself, a propping pillow for Winnie and also a feeding pillow. I also take this Muji neck pillow, it's long which means it is great for when Winnie is lying across my lap and it also has a hood to put over your eyes (bloody genius!), which I use when I’m using it as a neck pillow and it has a clip so you can just loop it onto your hand luggage
5. Pack spare clothing
Pack more spare clothes than you think you need for your baby. Nappy blowouts seem to time themselves at the most inconvenient times and the last thing you (or your baby) want is travelling in a soiled or wet suit. We pack at least 4 spares. Make sure you also pack spare clothes for yourself. We pack an extra shirt that fits both of us so if Winnie decides to chunder on either of us, we don’t have to stink like sour milk for the long journey.
6. Adopt the ‘better looking at it, than for it’ mentality
On our first flight with Winnie which was only an hour, we came dangerously close to running out of nappies despite packing plenty (or so we thought). We learnt an important lesson than the nappy vending machines do NOT cater to infants, the looked like they could fit a teenager. So pack more wipes and nappies than you think you need, because as Andy loves to say ‘its better looking at it, than for it’.
7. Dress wisely
Dress your baby in the easiest clothing for changing their nappy. Cute outfits won’t look so cute when you’re wrangling a baby in the tiny bathroom trying to change them. I find Bonds Wondersuits do the trick. But it is equally important that you dress comfortably too. If you’re travelling alone or your partner is sleeping you might need to take your baby into the bathroom with you. Wear clothes that are easy to take on and off with one hand.
8. Buy a baby bag
We bought this infant insert for our Mountain Buggy Nano (which I recommend!) and it has been so handy. It is useful for attaching to the pram (obviously), but it is so good for carting Winnie around in, especially going through security and customs. We didn’t need to remove her from it like you have to with carriers. It is also a comfortable and convenient place for her to sleep when we’re at the airport. Keep in mind though, this is only for super young babies, Winnie is petite and grew out of hers at about 6 months.
9. BYO food and drink
Pack plenty of food that you can eat with one hand. If you have a sleeping baby on your lap it is hard (actually, pretty much impossible) to eat a hot meal on the plane as it is very fiddly with everything being individually wrapped and you need your tray down. Eat a big meal before you board and rely on snacks for the trip. Also, bring a big water bottle on board, preferably a pump bottle so you don’t need two hands to open the lid.
10. Accept help
For the most part, I have been so surprised to see how friendly and accommodating people have been on our travels. So many people have been in your position before so if people offer you help, take it. Pretty much every flight we have had at least one extremely helpful flight attendant who will take Winnie off our hands for a break here and there or make sure we have everything you need.