Are you worried about flying with your newborn? For some, the thought of carrying their newborn in the flight is just simply overwhelming as not only for the newborn, but also for the first time mothers the experience is very new and they are simply not prepared for the outcome.
Being prepared is the basic thing, which all you new mothers would definitely know. But the question is how to prepare yourself for the dreaded first flight since the journey is going to be a totally new experience for you with your baby along. Moreover, there is a possibility that you are still feeling exhausted after delivery and are yet to completely recover from the painstaking process of childbirth.
But not to worry, here are few tips that can surely help you in making a good preparation and a trouble free plan with your newborn.
11 Tips for Flying with a Newborn
1. Pick up the Best Time
After a couple of days, you start understanding the sleeping and relaxation timings of your baby. Although, with the newborn, changes are so frequent that there cannot be a set pattern for more than a week. Even then, you can find out the best time when he sleeps more or is relaxed and can schedule your flight accordingly. Early morning flights are better as the newborns that do not sleep a wink during the night are sleepy all through the first part of the morning. Contrary to that, if your baby sleeps well during the night you should choose an evening flight.
The lap infant regulations vary according to the airlines you choose to travel. Some airlines offer free flights to the lap infants or kids under two years, whereas, some do ask for a physical boarding pass even for the newborns. Check up with your travel agent or the airlines prior to booking your flight about these regulations. Moreover, some airlines insist booking the ticket for a lap infant physically as the services might not be available online.
3. Opt for the Window Seat
The window seat is the best option when you are sitting with a newborn on your lap all through the flight. The fellow travelers do not disturb you when they want to move; your baby gets a little more privacy and is more relaxed. You can stretch a bit with him on the lap and feel more comfortable.
4. Food- Formula or Whole Milk
Depending on whether you are breastfeeding or giving formula milk to your child, you should carry the necessary things such as feeding bottles, formula milk powder, flask with warm water and more. Keep everything more than you require because flight delays can disrupt the whole schedule and you cannot have your newborn wailing for food halfway in the air. Try to feed him while taking off or landing because the process of sucking prevents popping of his ears. Moreover, the baby will be concentrating more on sucking, so he or she might not notice the sudden change in the surroundings, for the most part.
If you are using bottles to feed the formula food, then the best way is to keep pre-measured food in different bags or container for individual servings. This will keep you free from the hassle of measuring the food from the container each time you need to feed your baby. Also, it will save you from spilling the formula powder and spoiling your clothes. If possible, try to arrange for soft-sided, small cooler to keep anything that needs to be kept a bit cooler.
5. Pack in Extra Clothes
Blowouts are a common thing with newborns, especially when they are anxious. Even if it rarely happens with your baby at home, the stress and excitement that he feels through can cause major blowouts. And don’t be surprised if they happen at the most inopportune moments. Hence, be ready for extra diapers and clothes to avoid flying with your newborn in wet clothes. Along with the diapers, keep a complete set of clothes including shirts, trousers, and socks handy in case your lil one spills a drink accidently!
Be sure that you are going to need more diapers and wipes on the flight than you use at home. Delays in flight can be unpredictable and hence the more prepared you are, the less problematic it will be for you and the baby. If usually you require 2 diapers in a two hours time, pack in four diapers for a 2 to 3 hours to be on the safer side.
7. Keep the Wipes Handy
Keeping a large Ziplock bag full of wipes is better because the poop or pee can come out any moment and you need to be prepared to clean up the baby immediately. From the hygienic point of view, you should keep on cleaning fingers, mouth and hands of your baby if he has the habit of sucking the thumb or putting fingers in his mouth so that the germs on the carriers and at the airports do not cause any tummy problems.
8. Dress Up in Layers
Make sure that you put on layers of cloth on yourself and your baby prior to the flight. The airflow during the flight can vary making the inside of the plane extremely hot or cold. Since the newborn will be constantly on your lap both of you will feel hot due to transfer of body energy. This will make you feel warmer than normal. Moreover, whenever the baby pees the diaper automatically gets warmer making you warm. You can always remove the upper layers if it is too hot and make yourself comfortable. Contrarily, you will not have to look for something to cover your baby and yourself if it gets extremely cold on the flight.
9. When to Change the Diapers?
You might be wondering what kind of question is this. Of course, you need to change the diaper once your newborn poops or pees. But common sense says you should change the diaper just before you board the plane, say about 10 minutes before because there is always a possibility that the plane might have to wait on the runway for its turn to come and this period can be anywhere in between 20 minutes or even one hour. You cannot possibly change the diaper with seat belt buckled around you. Moreover, it will be impolite to disturb your co-passengers immediately after the take off to change the diaper. Diaper change just prior to boarding will ensure that you have enough time at hand for the next change and can be relaxed during the take off and settle for several minutes to make the next change.
10. Strollers and What to Pack for the Flight
Some things are indispensable, just like the strollers that make carrying your baby, clothes, baby food, drinks and bags easier keeping your hands free. These can be extremely helpful, especially if the stroll to the security gate is long and you do not have a companion with you on the flight. Almost all the airlines allow the use of the stroller, even the BOB jog stroller; however, some airlines have some strict guidelines regarding the use of these strollers. So, get all the details beforehand so that if you are not allowed the use of stroller, you can think of something else for carrying the baggies that you would need during the flight. Decide beforehand what you would need on the flight so that the moment you pick up the stroller, you can immediately put things in it without wasting any time.
With the infant on your lap, it would be simply difficult for you to carry a large bag by yourself. To ensure that you do not have to juggle for things at the last moment due to limitations of space, carry only those essentials with you on the flight that can fit in the front seat pocket or can be placed on the floor near you. So, what would be the essentials? Important ones should include formula food, bottle, diapers, wipes and a pair of clothes. You can make your own list keeping in mind the things you might require and the capacity of the front seat pocket.
11. Bring a Small Pillow Along
Usually doctors advise resting the head of the baby on the pillow for comfort during feedtimes. Although the airlines do provide pillows, they are much smaller and at times slippery. We suggest that you carry your own baby pillow or if possible, rollup few baby blankets/airplane blankets to make a soft and cozy pillow to hold the baby comfortably while feeding.
It is but natural to feel overwhelmed for your first flight with the newborn. But small considerations and proper planning can certainly make this experience hassle free and enjoyable.