7 ways to make flying with a baby easier, from a frequent flyer mum
Champagne, movies for hours and naps in between - gone are the days of relaxing international flights once you become a parent. We won't lie, flying with a baby can be a challenge. But there are ways to make it easier.
Our co-founder Julie is a frequent flyer, having flown at least 20 times with her little ones in tow, even once flying with 3 kids aged 4 and under, on her own, overnight (not reccomended, please don't try that one at home).
Here she shares her advice on how you can make travelling with a baby easy...easier.
Book the bassinet. Being prepared starts from before you even step foot on the plane. Flying with a baby gives you first priority for the roomy bulkhead seats with the baby bassinets. Even if you don't intend on putting your baby in the bassinet, book these seats anyway. You'll get extra leg room and you can always use the bassinet to store the baby’s toys, blankets and others bits and pieces.
Skip the queues! Want to get through security faster? Well now you can. Frequent flyers know there is a special queue at the airport for pregnant women, and parents with babies and toddlers. The staff here are used to families coming through and this allows you to get through the security and immigration checks quickly and easily.
Baby food gets a sweet deal. We all know the rules about not taking more than 100ml of water when flying internationally. But what if you're flying long haul and need to formula feed your baby? The rules here have quite a lot of flex. Relax easy, knowing you can bring as much formula and water as you need when flying with a baby.
You can also bring baby food such as jars or pouches of puree, tetrapaks of milk for toddlers and even toddler snacks like crackers! To ensure you get through security smoothly with your water and baby food, use the aforementioned special queue and make sure you let the security staff know you are carrying baby food with you, and in which bag. That way they’ll know what to expect when they see it coming through the scanner and will let it through without a fuss.
Feed on take off & landing. The changes in air pressure on take off and landing can really hurt a baby's ears. Sucking helps release babies blocked ears and reduce the pain. The best and easiest way to prevent your baby from getting sore, blocked ears is to feed them or let them suck on take off and landing. Breastfeeding and the bottle work equally well. If your baby is over 6 months old you can also give them water if you'd prefer not to feed.
Pack some pain relief. Whether it’s an unexpected fever or painful blocked ears, it's wise to pack your baby medicines like baby Panadol or Nurofen in your hand luggage. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst! If getting your baby to take liquid medicine is like wrestling a tiger, you might find Paracetamol suppositories a better option.
Wipes, wipes & more wipes. There is never a time that the humble wipe is more useful than when stuck on a plane for 12 hours. Bring several packets: antiseptic wipes for disinfecting and regular wipes for cleaning messy hands, and for nappy changes.
Babies love touching everything and exploring by putting things in their mouth, and unfortunately, research has shown that airplane surfaces are not hygienic. So it’s a good idea to wipe down the tray table, the entertainment control (babies love pressing the buttons on these!) the light switches and the arm rests with antiseptic wipes. I always bring 3 sets of wipes in my B&E Baby Refillable Wipes Pouches:
- A pouch with antiseptic wipes for disinfecting
- A pouch kept handy in the passenger pocket with wipes for cleaning messy hands & faces after meal times
- A pouch packed into my B&E Baby Nappy Change Clutch for nappy changes
Easy nappy changes. There’s nothing worse than waiting in the queue for the airplane toilet to change your baby’s nappy only to realise mid nappy change that you’ve forgotten the wipes because you took them out of the baby bag to clean your baby’s hands a minute earlier. Or laying your baby down on the cold, hard surface of the airplane baby change table wondering when it was last cleaned - yuck!
Nappy changes on airplanes shouldn’t have to be so hard. We designed the B&E Baby Nappy Change Clutch for nappy changes on the go. With a padded centre, waterproof lining and clever pockets to store up to 6 nappies, wipes, travel sized nappy rash creams, and disposable nappy bags or a spare outfit, you’ll always have everything you need at your fingertips for easy nappy changes on the plane. And the peace of mind of a clean, comfortable surface to change your baby while travelling. One less thing to worry about!
Written by Julie Rout, Co-Founder & Director at Ben & Ellie Baby. Julie is an Australian expat mum of two living in Hong Kong. Having taken her first international flight with a baby when her first born, Ellie, was only 10 weeks old (as soon as the baby's passport was ready!), Julie has since flown internationally with a baby more than 20 times, including several mum and baby solo flights (sucker for punishment).