While vacationing with a baby might sound like an oxymoron, good planning and preparation can ease off a huge amount of load from the parents. Basically, if you are prepared ahead of time, it could be a smooth experience. I have traveled with V since she was 3 months and by the time she was 1, she had made it to her 18th flight. It was never perfect but it was never that bad to put my travel life grind to a halt. Here are few tips which can help you on those long flights that you are dreading –
- First and foremost, book the front seat with a bassinet – Lot of airlines do give you the option of pre – booking the bassinet seat online but some could ask you to wait till you collect your boarding pass and request for a bassinet seat at the counter. In that case, it will be based on availability, so it is better to check with the airlines beforehand because once the baby is asleep, you can safely place him/her on the bassinet and give your arms some rest. The crew does not fit the bassinet during takeoff and landing, so you will have to manage that time on your own. Bassinet is quite a boon until your baby has reached the crawling/walking phase.
- Lots of extras – You have to forget the concept of travelling light when it comes to travelling with a baby. Layering is important as flights get very cold after they take off, also if you carry layers,you can take them off in warmer temperatures . I always dress V in light clothes which are confortable while travelling and layer her up as and when required.Hence, you should have space in the diaper bag to fit in those extra jackets. Extra outfits and diapers are a must – you never know when there is spilt food/water or for that matter even poop J
- Medicines – One of the most important things which I never forget to carry. I learnt it the hard way in one of the flights back to India when V threw up for no apparent reason and I did not have the medicine handy. Guess what, I went around asking a few mothers on board and no body had a sickness medicine in their handbags. It was a huge mistake and since then, I never forget to carry the whole set of medicines with prescriptions wherever I go.
- Food and fluids – If you are a nursing mother, chances are you will have a smooth flight. Baby should be hydrated at all times as airplanes can be really drying. If he/she has started to munch on few finger foods or other snacks, please do not forget to carry those with you. I noticed V got a lot more curious about food after we introduced solids at the age of 6 months – I didn’t mind giving her a bite of the food we ordered on the flight as well.
- Things baby associate familiarity with – It could be a favorite toy, a favorite blanket or even a favorite pillow. Anything that the baby is used to and is compact enough to be carried must be in your cabin baggage. I have a particular chipmunk soft toy that V relates sleep with. So it becomes a lot easier for her to be calm and comfortable hugging the toy.
- Plan your travel around baby’s sleep schedule – Fortunately, most international flights from India are late in the night. In the initial days, V used to be in deep sleep in the mornings only, so I used to prefer booking the morning flights for domestic travel. Gradually when she started to sleep well in the night, we planned our international trips with most of the travel happening in the night flights.
- Carrier or stroller – Each one has its own benefits, you got to make a choice. I used to carry V in the initial days but it was a pain to take the carrier off each time during the security Check-ins. Although it is the same for strollers as well but the biggest advantage of the stroller is you can let the baby sleep in a reclining position and keep your hands free. Typically, I use carriers during sightseeing and prefer stroller during flight travels.
Guys, come what may, your baby is not going to behave his/her best while travelling unless you are extremely lucky. Let’s understand it is a change of place and by all probabilities an unpleasant one for him/her. So you will get those smirks, frosty stares and unwanted advice from your fellow passengers but good news is it doesn’t matter. Remember when you traveled during college and there were babies wailing in the flight. Could you do anything about it?No!So do not bother with what others are thinking of you – just try to make the baby comfortable as much as you can. Hope you have a safe flight with your munchkin!