Updated: This post on travelling with baby on a plane has been updated on October 2020 to reflect new and relevant information.
Are you travelling with a baby or a toddler anytime soon? The this post is for you.
Obviously at the moment as i update this post, we are kind of in a stick era with the whole Covid-19 going around. Causing all sorts of travel restrictions we could imagine.
However as we speak, flights are beginning to reopen and travel restrictions are being lifted slowly but surely too.
Travelling with small children springs one word to my mind only. Extra essentials, Extra supplies, Extra time and everything else Extra!!
Travelling With A Baby On A Plane
If your infant is under 2 years of age, most likely you will be flying with an infant on your lap.
Under 2 years of age it is not required to purchase a flight ticket. So if flying with a new born baby, it’s free (for the baby only ofcourse)!
The best thing to do when travelling with a baby or toddler is pre-plan your journey, allow extra time and sometimes even pack extra items and snacks especially.
Usually when travelling first time on a plane, little ones are usually most what, EXCITED!
They see it on the television, a plane in the sky and for them it’s literally a WOW moment.
I know for my toddler it definitely was. Excitement calms down the nervous emotions, so they don’t feel scared or nervous when boarding. YES! It’s better to be excited.
Tell Your Child About Your Holiday
So first things first, let your child know when they will be travelling and where to.
I embedded this thought in my toddlers head who was 2 1/2 years at that time, that we will be going on a plane.
Also told him the end destination, which was Al haram mosque (You can read my Umrah blog here) .
I started telling him 1 week before the journey. Now although he is only 2.5 years, trust me, they understand!
Show them pictures of a plane especially if it’s their first time, get them all excited like WOW how big it looks and how big it is.
I showed my toddler YouTube videos of planes flying, OHMY! He was obsessed!
It helps build towards the excitement for their trip, so when their actually making their way to the airport, they don’t panic.
Moving onto my infant. She was 8 months at the time. I couldn’t do these steps with her, ofcourse she doesn’t understand a word I say ha!. So you can skip this step if you have any children under the age of 1.
At What Age Is It Safe For Infants To Fly?
According to doctor’s and health professionals, it’s best to travel with your baby once he is over 6 weeks of age.
How do I protect my babies ears when flying?
Feed your baby or give your child plenty of fluids during the flight.
Drinking fluid (water or other fruit juice) encourages swallowing, which opens the Eustachian tubes. Allowing less ear blockage and less pain ofcourse.
Can Flying Damage Baby’s Ears?
Flying on a plane with your baby won’t necessary cause damage to your baby’s ears. It will most like cause discomfort only.
During take off and landing, changes in the pressure between the outer ear and middle ear can cause discomfort.
For take off and landing I used the Alpine Earmuffs.
They come in baby and children sizes. Super comfy and definitely worked a treat.
What To Pack – The Big Items
Travelling with toddlers or infants can be a task.
They can’t walk much or if they can, they get tired very quickly.
Those small little legs use up a lot of energy. I ensured I purchased any big items I needed first.
The first item required is a pushchair. Airplanes allow pushchairs and buggies to board up till boarding.
Sometimes there not even counted in the luggage or hand luggage. Best to check with your airline if they count it in the weight or not.
It’s usually classed as a requirement that the child can carry for free.
Any items the toddler or infant have on them such as small backpacks are usually not counted in the luggage weight.
My toddlers backpack and pushchair were disregarded. It travelled for free!
Everything else like my handbag was ofcourse weighed to ensure it met the weight requirements.
7kg hand luggage is allowed if travelling from the UK and 10kg hand luggage is allowed for an infant.
- Pushchair – I purchased the Gb pockit stroller – the smallest lightweight stroller ever to be invented. It’s so light and easily foldable and also fits into the top compartment of the plane.
- Baby carrier – if you get tired holding your infant with one arm and struggle to do other things also, invest in a good baby carrier and take it along also. That way you will be handsfree!
What To Pack In Hand Luggage – Travelling With Baby On Plane
Il show you a list of what I packed for my toddler and infant. Use this list if your travelling and need a guide.
My infant was 8 months at that time. She’s formula fed via a bottle and wears lots of nappies.
So first of all things, I arranged her milk and nappies.
Depending on the duration of your travel you can pack the amount of powdered milk and nappies required in your main luggage.
I used Aptamil for my baby. As we travelled for 2 weeks I packed 3 boxes of milk (she usually goes through 1 a week) and 2 big packs of nappies in the main luggage too.
For the hand luggage we only needed enough to get her from the UK to Saudi Arabia hotel until we could open the main luggage for some more.
I ordered a small milk container from Ebay and stored milk in there, this was enough feed for a few days infact (pack extra incase). Along with the milk I packed around 6-7 nappies and a pack of wipes for her changes. The goal is to pack light… so here goes:
- Water – Take a thermos in your hand luggage EMPTY. Once you’ve checked in via security, get the thermos filled from a cafe with boiling water, also buy a bottle of water to use for the baby’s formula feeds.
- Extra pair of clothing (incase a nappy leak)
- Cardigan (plane journey’s can get chilly, however we noticed her cardigan wasn’t required as the airline gave blankets. – double check with your airline what services they provide.
- A feeding bottle (1 in hand luggage and 1 in main luggage).
- Baby biscuits, tangerine or banana (easy for infants to snack on) – ideally solids as airports don’t allow liquids through the check-ins (unless it’s medicine)
- Baby ear muffs (these are the ones I purchased – Alpine.) These are great for takeoff as the baby’s ears are protected.
- Baby toys (ideally there favourite hand ones – remember pack light, so a small toy is best. Something like a hand rattle or favourite teddy.
- You are allowed to travel with baby food on a plane also.
- Snacks (crisps, biscuits, fruit and water)
- Extra pair of clothing
- Ear muffs
- Nappies if your toddler isn’t toilet trained yet. (ideally up to 4 as toddlers are less frequent than infants).
- A toy to keep your toddler occupied during the journey. A coloring book, or a small gamepad is ideal.
As my toddler is a Type 1 diabetic, I had to pack extra supplies for him which was mostly his medicine. Insulin CANNOT travel in main luggage due to the temperature at the back of the plane which can damage and freeze the insulin making it of no use.
Essentials I packed for his Type 1 diabetes:
- Insulin – vials and injections
- Cannula and Reservoir
- Finger pricker
- Finger pricking needles
- Blood sugar monitor
- Glucose Ketone monitor
- Pump belt
- Testing strips
- Glucoject – hypo treatment
Any medications, apart from condition related should be packed in the main luggage.
Medications I packed in the main luggage (just in case)
- Children’s paracetamol
- Mosquito stickers or spray
- Cough medicine
- Nasal drops
- Rash cream
- Allergy medicine
Everything else can be packed in your main luggage such as all your family’s clothes and accessories.
At the Airport – Travelling With Baby On Plane
When travelling with baby on a plane, the first rule is to get to the airport early.
By arriving early, you and your baby will experience far less stress and it will make the journey starting feeling a lot less stressful.
Top tips when at the airport:
- Let check-in know your travelling with a baby on the plane. Let them know if you have a stroller or car seat with you. They will also allow you to use the fast-track lane when boarding if you have a infant under the age of 2 travelling.
- Check-in as many pieces of luggage as you can. The Less you carry the better and easier you will be.
- Change your baby’s nappy before boarding the airplane.
- Avoid breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby just before boarding. Wait till your seated and that way if they want to nap off they can.
During The Flight – Travelling With Baby On Plane
As much as you’d want to remain in control of the situation, you won’t know how your baby will react once boarded.
Try to remain calm even if things start turning pear shaped.
Top tips during the flight:
- Feed your baby once seated. The first cue to distortion in a baby is usually hunger.
- Keep your baby well hydrated. Water and Juices do the trick.
- Book a leg space seat so you and your baby has more space to move around in. This is helpful for nappy changes.
- Take wet wipes with you and wipe down the surfaces to clean any residue or germs.
- Keep your little one entertained and stick to it’s normal routine. Eat, play and sleep.
Most importantly it’s good to keep a positive mindset throughout. Ups and downs do and will happen.
Check-ins may take forever, your baby may miss a feed, your toddler may throw a tantrum, You may miss your flight call (hopefully not). What I mean to say is, keep calm and make the most beautiful memories.
I remember reaching Saudi Arabia only to find out my toddler wasn’t even on their computer system as a traveler, our luggage arrived 2 hours late and we couldn’t connect to our taxi driver…. But regardless of all the drama, I was with my little family. We had biscuits on hand to keep us occupied whilst daddy and me sorted the arrangements whilst remaining calm. So YES its do-able!
Are you travelling whilst pregnant? Then check out my previous blog for some major essentials you need to pack.