My name is Aleesha, I’m twenty six years old and I live in Adelaide. Well at least I do this year. For the last four years we have moved quite a bit for my husband’s work. From Brisbane to Sydney, to London, to Nanango (in Queensland), to Auckland (when I was thirty weeks pregnant) to Adelaide (when my daughter was six weeks old). Since then she’s been on 11 flights, which is one more than how many months she is, and has a New Zealand passport. We’ve become pretty accustomed to flying with a baby and people are always asking for tips. So here’s what we’ve got.
1. Baby Bjorn, always have a baby carrier. Even though some airlines provide strollers when you check in, you have to leave those badboys at the ramp, and juggling a baby, while stocking your overhead luggage; carrying your gear on the plane; trying to find your boarding pass; collecting headphones and still trying to appear normal can all be quite overwhelming. These amazing inventions give you an extra arm. Always have one with you.
2. Feed as you take off. This one is pretty standard amongst parents who fly. If your baby is feeding as they take off they’re sucking which is popping their ears and not going to give them pain and you a nightmare flight. If you bottle feed the flight attendants will stand the bottle in some hot water until you need it. There are no microwaves.
3. Take two bags. This is something I learnt after about the eighth flight. I take my standard nappy bag and then another bag full of entertainment (your baggage allowance permits this). Most of the things in your nappy bag you won’t need on a flight for a couple of hours. So I put that in overhead luggage and take a second bag full of fun things (and a couple of nappies and a bottle).
4. Be kind to your flight attendants. They love babies and will often try and hold them. Let them.
5. When Indi was really little I used to take a zip up swaddle with me and straight after she’d fed put her in it. She would crash, something about the vibrations in the plane are like a kryptonite to some babies and they’re out to it.
6. My biggest tip is just relax. There’s nothing worse than seeing a flustered mum with a screaming baby. People make allowances for you, so don’t panic. Just focus on your baby and keeping them calm and everything will work out.
And the best thing is you get three pieces of extra luggage, so don’t fret about what you’re going to do for a car seat, pram or portacot when you get to your destination. Take them with you.