So despite only travelled abroad once with Flossie, we learnt a lot of what to do (and not to do) on that 9 hour flight, we were also given lots of useful tips by friends and family for travelling with a baby so I decided to collate them altogether and write the top ones;
- Headphones, despite our trepidations of how on earth to keep them on a 12 month old and many failed attempts trialling at home, they were amazing on board the plane. We used these ones suitable from one year of age onwards with noise limiters built in and looked cushioned for little ears. Flossie quickly cottoned on to how the only way to hear peppa pig or the 45 nursery rhyme video (thanks Virgin!) was to keep them on and to our utter surprise she did.
- PRE-ORDER, we are very blessed to still be breastfeeding but when researching feeding abroad, I learnt an amazing tip that you can pre-order your formula to the boots store within the terminals. You can also order food pouches and nappies this is all great as doesn’t count in your luggage allowance using up precious weight allowance allowing for more clothes!
- Carry your baby, so despite taking the pushchair all the way to the gate at both airports they put it through with the main luggage so thank God we had her Tula carrier for getting off the airplane and navigating through security to the luggage carousels, without this carrying her on my hip would ultimately end up with a very grumpy and sweaty mummy. Having our Tula on holiday also meant we could explore places that pushchairs were not permitted.
- Extra clothes, we found that the plane’s temperature varied a lot during the flight, so layers are definitely the way forward. Also remember to pack a top for yourself as a little one eating their meals on your lap is a recipe for squashed biscuits, fruit (damn those bananas) and milk down yourself and trust me it’s not a good look.
- Pack toys to play, we took a drawstring bag with toys in for Flossie, this was great as she was able to pull things out herself and it could squeeze under the chair. We had brought a couple of new things for her birthday specifically for the flight and kept them back so it was more exciting to have new toys. We found stacking cups great and flap books. We also downloaded some movies to an iPad but to be honest, the onboard entertainment is pretty good nowadays.
- Food, snacks and more food, if your child is anything like mine, food is the way to her heart and to keep her quiet. We took so many snacks on board and her lunch and dinner because of her allergies we weren’t sure if they could accommodate us but also be aware that if your little one is used to eating at certain times you may need to be armed with snacks as they serve dinner much later then the 4:30 nursery time.
The rules around food is you can take anything onto the flight, we took grapes, bread, meat etc, however, all meat, fresh fruit and veg and dairy produce must be consumed or thrown before going through the declaration at the other end.
- Good buggy, honestly I spent ages researching different umbrella fold strollers, we use a bugaboo at home and didn’t fancy this getting broken during transit plus it’s just so cumbersome. However I did want a buggy that could still recline down flat for naps and evenings out. We opted for the Silvercross Zest as it only weighs 5.8kg so super light and it also comes with a UV 50 protected hood that extends right over the buggy protecting the whole of Flossie. Since coming home we have also carried on using this one as a quick nipping out one or for grandparents with bad backs!
- That pesky sun and morning light. As mentioned before blocking out the sun rays became a mummy mission on holiday. Two products I would highly recommend is the Snoozeshade and the anywhere black out blind. The Snoozeshade will fit most prams and buggies and comes right down to attach under foot plate so block out all sun and make it dark inside but still allows air through so doesn’t get too hot inside which is the danger of using things like muslins. The blackout blind we borrowed from a friend as Flossie has blackout curtains in her bedroom at home so wanted to make the room as dark as possible. Essentially it’s a massive stick up blind that folds down into a handy bag and can attach to any windows with the suckers.
- Upside down fitted sheet. Yes, I will admit I stole this idea from Pinterest but oh my goodness what a cool one. Place your beach bags or rock in each corner so that the edges fold up and voila you have a sand free play/snack area for your little one. I will admit this works better if you have a non-mobile baby but to our astonishment our crawling 12 month old did stay put for quite a while.
- Time difference – go with it. I think this is one of the biggest worries for all you parents out there, how baby (or to be honest…us) cope with the time differences. The biggest time difference we have done is 5 hours and it was not as bad as we thought. If the time difference is backwards I would try and keep little one occupied, maybe allowing a nap that you wake them from and then put them down near to the correct time in that country. This really worked for us, however coming back where time difference was forward was slightly more difficult as she was still wide awake at midnight UK as only 6pm on holiday so this took a bit of adjustment by us waking her earlier next day and not allowing too late a nap. Just go with it and although it may take 4-5 days they do adjust, just follow the old newborn rules nap when they nap!
With any luck, these top tips will help you out and allow for an easier trip with a baby. Enjoy