‘Flying with baby’ this mere thought may fill you with horror and numerous questions like,
- Is it safe to travel with the baby? What is the right age for the baby to do air travel?
- What all things do I have to carry for baby?
- Do I have to book a ticket for the baby?
- What vaccinations should be given to the baby in case of international travel? Etc.
I was in a similar situation when I was travelling from USA to India. My husband had to stay back for his work. So I had to travel alone with my five months old baby. I was worried of how will I travel with the LO in my lap for thirty hours. But the world becomes a friendly place at such time. Everyone right from the flight attendant to the passenger sitting next to you becomes ready to help you and the baby. You make new friends as everyone is ready to play and giggle with the baby.
My LO being just five months old was only feeding and sleeping.
Based on my experience I have made a check list of items that can make your air travel with your baby smooth and easy.
Get the baby passport ready:
In case of international travel you need the baby passport and Visa. Get it ready before the travel. Getting passport and visa might take few weeks. So make sure you have them ready at least one or two weeks before the travel or before booking the ticket. This will avoid your last minute tension and hassle.
Book a ticket for the baby:
Your baby need her own ticket. Depending on your babies’ age she may or may not have her own seat but she defiantly needs a ticket. Most of the airlines allow you to reserve a seat for your baby immediately after you book your ticket.
Reserve a carry cot or bassinet:
Almost all airlines allow you to reserve a bassinet or carry cots for you baby. The age limit and the weight limit for reserving such bassinet or carry cot is different for different airlines. So check it with the airlines you are travelling. Such bassinets or carry cot are limited and are on one first come first serve basis so reserve them immediately after you book your ticket. Or else you will have to carry the baby in your lap. Some airlines also allow you to carry your own car seats for the baby. So it is always good to check on the airlines website or call them to know about these facilities. To make your journey comfortable, you can also book a separate seat for your baby if she is more than six months old by paying extra cost. During the flight- The cabin crew does ask you to carry the baby in my lap for takeoff and landing or whenever turbulence is hit. The babies’ seat belt is entangled with your seat belt during that time. Once the flight reaches a suitable height they provide you with the bassinet. Trust me it’s worth reserving a bassinet.
Baby baggage allowance:
Most of the airlines do provide baggage allowance for the baby. Check the airlines website for the limit of such allowance.
Most airlines do provide baby meals. But if your baby is formula feed or breast feeding then you will have to carry the formula or milk on board. However there are regulation on carrying liquid on board. Generally any liquid in excess of 100 ml is not allowed on board. However there are no guidelines on carrying breast milk on board. The total amount of milk you can carry is still unspecified and depends on the airport authorities as they have to maintain high standards. In case you carry milk in your hand luggage the airport authorities do scrutinize it at the security point. For babies who are exclusively breast feeding some airlines also allow you to carry your breast pump in your carry-on luggage. I would advise to call the airlines and confirm their policy on the same.
Items to carry in hand bag for babies:
Diapers, Wet wipes, Diaper rash cream, bibs, blanket and pacifier. Identify the toys which your baby love to play. If your baby is too young then it becomes difficult to identify such toys. In my case my baby use to play with plastic bottles very well. So I need not carry any toys. Books can also be good companion of your babies while travel. Extra cloths- It becomes handy to keep at least three to four extra baby clothes in your hand bag. Also keep one pair of spare cloths for you. Nursing cover – Nursing cover is one of the best options to feed your baby in public. My baby was only breast feeding so a nursing cover was must for me.
While take-off and landing:
Baby might get uncomfortable ear popping while take-off and landing due to change in pressure. So give your baby something to suck. A pacifier, formula, bottle milk or breast feeding works well during such time.
Lastly, talk with your pediatrician whether your baby need to be immunized before the travel. It is good to give the baby travel vaccine. But giving this vaccine to your baby depends on several factors. So it is always advisable to talk with your pediatrician. My pediatrician didn’t give my baby travel vaccine because she was less than six months old.
Hope the check list helps you in your travel with your baby.