I'm guessing that if you're reading this, you're either thinking about flying with a baby. These are exciting times for you and your newborn! You're about to embark on that first trip with baby. And with that, you may be nervous about what flying with a baby will be like. Well, you've landed in the right place.
First of all, if you were traveling before you had a baby, that doesn't have to change now that you have that precious mini human in your life. I'm sure you've heard at least one person tell you, "once you have children, you won't be able to travel." I'm here to reassure you that (with all due respect), that's a load of crap. Yes, traveling with an infant is possible. Will it be different? Yes. Will it be great? Also, yes!
Now that we've cleared that up, let's get down to business and talk about flying with a baby...
How did our first time flying with a baby go?
That's is the question you came here for right? You can click on the above video and watch my entire experience flying with my baby girl or continue reading...
My husband Siya and I took our first flight with our daughter Kai from Toronto, Canada to London, England. It was nearly an 8-hour flight and Kai slept pretty much the entire way. Lucky? Perhaps. But, then she slept for the other 3 flights we took as well. Quadruple luck? Nah. I believe it has a lot to do with the pre-planning and fact that babies are pretty great at this travel thing. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't cool as a cucumber leading up to our flight. I was pretty nervous - hello postpartum anxiety!
I had no idea what I was in for. Would Kai's ears hurt? What if she cried the entire time? Would other passengers be angry with us? Did we pack everything we needed? How helpful would the flight attendants be helpful? Many questions ran through my mind.
Two things that made me less anxious was knowing I'd done a really good job packing for my baby. I also called the airline a week in advance and reserved a bassinet (which you can get for free on many airlines flying international). Preparing ourselves with a great carry-on along with reserving a bassinet made our flights not just tolerable but enjoyable.
The hardest part of each flight was timing take off and landing with feeding Kai. She would get really hungry, and I would have to hold off from feeding her until we were taking off or landing. Why? The constant swallowing helps babies with popping their ears during the changing air pressure. On all three flights, I ended up feeding her too early, and she would be asleep for take-off and our landing. The first time I tried to wake her, she wasn't having it, so I let her sleep. Luckily she was fine. I would recommend that if your baby is sleeping during to take off and landing to just let them be. If they wake up, you can start feeding them to help pop their ears. If they continue sleeping, lucky you!
Another thing worth mentioning is if you're bottle feeding at any point, whether that's breastmilk or formula, you can ask a flight attendant to warm up the bottle for you. Since Kai was sleeping for hours at a time, I had to pump and put my milk in a bottle. The flight attendant kept the bottle in a fridge and warmed it up for me when I needed it. If you're feeding formula, I'd recommend bringing bottled water with you on the flight. The water filters on most airplanes are pretty...disgusting.
Summing this all up, traveling in England and Malta with our 4-month old baby was a very enjoyable experience. Was it different than a solo backpacking trip or travelling as a couple? Sure. In fact, it made traveling feel new all over again. I felt that fear of the unknown, discomfort, curiosity and enjoyment for the little thing in ways I hadn't felt in years. Traveling with your baby is not only possible, but it's also freaking awesome. So, the next time someone says to you, "once you have a baby, you won't be able to travel." Politely smile and reply with, "watch me!"
Thank you so much for this blog! We are looking to travel about 4 months with our baby and I was worried it wouldn’t work but this has reassured me no end!!
A daft question… when In your destination country we’re you able to put car seat in taxi/ rental car no problem?
Great piece! We also did our first international flight when our daughter was just 4 months old (and that was Australia to France, so slightly longer than 8 hours). The early days are so much easier to travel with a little one – she made it to 19 countries and did 16 flights before her first birthday (and pre-COVID), though by the end she was crawling and pulling herself up so the trips became much harder.
For super long haul flights, we would start staggering sleep times from a few days earlier (where possible), to reduce jet lag in someone who can’t “just power through” or “eat breakfast right now to acclimate”.
Timing feeds around take-off and landing also helped, though it didn’t always work and she seemed OK. It’s weird that babies don’t yet have the mirror neurons to copy when I yawn in their face!
I can’t wait to jump on a plane with her again soon.
Wow! Your little one is quite the traveler already. I love it! I’m sure you have the travel itch to get away again. We came to Costa Rica in December and it was our first flight with a toddler…and during a pandemic! A bit different but it went so well. I’ll be putting together a blog post shortly but you can check out our video here: https://youtu.be/pvJTtDrlQYk
Travel with a 4-year-old baby it’s very difficult but as you know the internet is the solution to everything many people use ready made websites for sale and they are earning with that.
Nice reading this post. Thanks foe writing it.
Nice reading this, and good piece of advice about helping a baby pop her ears by timing the feeding time to coincide with landing or taking off.
I think you are really great to travel with a baby. We can’t maintain a baby at home either. Please take care too and your baby was really lucky too.
I agree! It is so important to find a good solution when traveling with a baby/toddler. I have been traveling a lot and living in different countries. One of the best hacks that we found was a stroller that you can bring with you as hand luggage. Before I used our own stroller and sent it as special baggage, but no more! It is not convenient at all.
We bought our stroller here: https://baby-turtle.com/collections/travel-strollers/products/lightweight-portable-travel-stroller?variant=14328501927991
Is the best investment evver.
Could not agree with this more!!!!!! My husband works for an airline so we are lucky to be able to fly standby for free. For the past two years we’ve been gone more weekends than we’ve been home, traveling all over, from nearby trips like New Orleans, to faraway places like Japan. As soon as we got pregnant, everyone was like “oh man, your life is going to change since you won’t be able to travel any more!” and frankly it pissed me off! Why would you say something like that when you know how much we love traveling and how important it is to us? Becoming parents is already scary, why would you try to make us feel like things we love are being taken away?? Ugh, tangent.
Anyways, I would always politely tell people that while I was sure we would slow down, we had ZERO intentions of not traveling with our baby. We love to see the world and go on adventures, and that is something we really want for our kids, too.
I am happy to report that we proved everyone wrong, taking our first trip at 3 weeks, going to Europe on a roadtrip around France at 3 months, and taking countless trips now up to now at 7 months. Actually we are heading out again tomorrow! And the baby has been AMAZING! Like you said, it’s different, but travel really does feel new and exciting in a way it wasn’t before. Trips are so much better now with a baby to share them with!
I am of the opinion that babies do well with what they’re used to. So if you start putting them in the car and taking roadtrips as a family then they will be good at that, and if you take them on planes then they will be good at flying, etc. It’s no coincidence that the families that travel a ton have kids who “are good at travel”.
Best of luck to you guys on all your future travels! Go off and prove everyone wrong 😉
Thanks to the superb article, especially the tip of giving baby food at take off and landing. I hadn’t thought of that at all.
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