Flying by itself – especially for a first-timer – can be daunting, stressful or even wearisome. The jetlag, going through strict screening in the customs, baggage claims, and the dull incessant hum of the fuselage can easily water down what was to be an exciting flight to a mind-numbing experience. Enjoy my Tips for Surviving a Long Haul Flight with a Child.
Tips for Surviving a Long Haul Flight with a Child
Things get even more complicated if you have to tag your little bundle of joy along. However, it is not all gloom and doom as it seems on paper. You can make things a lot smoother by taking some time to plan ahead for the upcoming flight.
Of course, as a parent, your first natural instinct will be to make sure that your baby is as comfortable as it can get. But then again, it is only courteous and humane to take your immediate fellow travelers and into consideration too.
That being said, here are some great tips for surviving a long haul flight with a child that you should have as part of your travel arrangement.
Choose a Strategic Seat
First things first. Make sure that you remember to book a suitable seating position to make your baby’s maiden flight as trauma-and-incident free as possible. If you are to be accompanied by your spouse, nanny or older sibling, both of you should take seats adjacent to the aisle across one another. This means that it will be easier to take turns holding and cuddling the baby particularly if it is a long haul flight.
Otherwise, one of you can take the window seat and the other to occupy the aisle seat. This leaves the middle seat conveniently vacant unless the flight is bound to be full.
On the other end of the spectrum, occupy the window or farthest aisle seat if you’re traveling with your dribbling bub unaccompanied. Not only does this make this nursing your little guy easier, but it also significantly minimizes personal contact with strangers.
Get a Checklist for your Baby’s Personal Effects
Resist the urge to pack your carry-on luggage without a comprehensive checklist. Yes, it might take some time, but it is better to be over-prepared than ill-prepared. So on your checklist, there should be the usual necessities such as a diaper changing pad, a clean set of changing clothes for the baby, a baby carrier/sling, Ziploc bags, comfort toys, nursing pads, and wipes, warm and comfortable receiving blankets/shawls, etc.
Then there is the more sensitive part – your baby’s bottles and nursing paraphernalia. Truth be told, it is not as comfortable to breastfeed your child on a plane as it is at home. Therefore, the best approach to take – if they are still on breast milk – would be pump it beforehand and store it in a clean bottle. You can explain it to the customs officials when going through screening. Furthermore, they will only scan your nursing bottles using a completely harmless hand-held device.
Preparing for Takeoff
It is not uncommon for little toddlers to wail or shriek during takeoff. And if you’re not careful, they can end up crying and cranked up for the better part of the flight. That’s why it is important to distract them just before the plane touches down or takes off. Offering them a pacifier, a nursing bottle or the breast for them to suck on greatly reduces the impact of the rapid pressure change while the plane loses or gains height within a short time.
Check your Baby’s Gear
If you have to bring a stroller along, then make sure that it is incredibly light, collapses easily and rolls smoothly. The last thing you would want after the humdrum of a long flight is to deal with a rickety or bulky stroller. Otherwise, you can just opt to make work easier by wearing your baby using a carrier or a comfortable chest strap.
As usual, no one fancies having their trip interrupted or inconvenienced by the howling of a child right next to you. So to compensate for this, make an effort to be a little friendly and considerate to your flight mates especially those seated adjacent to you. If it helps, you can strike off small talk, buy them their favorite drink and let them know that you’re doing the best you can to make sure everyone is super comfortable.
Speaking of which, extend the same nice treatment to your flight attendants. You’ll be surprised how far a little courtesy, decency, and empathy can go. I hope you enjoyed my list of Tips for Surviving a Long Haul Flight with a Child and find them useful.
Megan P. Richardson is a mother of 3 lovely kids and the founder of Kudkid. She created this blog as a gift to her kids. Kudkid is concentrated on discussing about fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice and sharing them to help you through pregnancy, birth and raising your kids.