Flying with baby
Waaaah! The sight of a baby in the boarding queue fills the bravest traveller with fear.
(Getty Images)
Not too long ago I used to cringe whenever I saw someone in an airport holding a baby. I’d always desperately hope they weren’t on my flight and if they were, (which was often the case) I’d spend almost the entire flight cursing as said baby screamed. In fact, it was my honest belief that only children over the age of 6 should be allowed on planes, a philosophy I stood by for years – until I had kids of my own.

I’ve since discovered that flying with an infant needn’t be so bad. All you need to do, is remember a few simple tricks that’ll keep baby as comfortable as possible – not to mention yourself and the other passengers too!

Before the flight
  • Try booking your flight for a time that your baby normally sleeps.
  • Pre-book your seat based on your needs. If you’re breastfeeding, book a window seat for more privacy. For more leg-room, book a seat in the front row.
  • Find out what facilities your accommodation has. If they don’t have the necessary equipment you can usually hire what you need, including prams and car seats, and get them delivered to where you’re staying. And remember, the less you pack, the less you have to lug around the airport!
  • Pack light. As tempting as it may be, you really don’t need your baby’s entire wardrobe.
  • If you’re going away for an extended period of time, pack only a few nappies and buy more at your destination.
  • Pack travel-size toiletries or sample packs.
  • Take only two feeding bottles and some sterilising liquid.

On the plane
  • Pack a light backpack with baby’s essentials, including Panado, medicine syringe, sterilized water and a light blanket, as well as a change of clothes.
  • Take some form of ID for your baby, as most airlines require this. A copy of the birth certificate or medical aid card will usually suffice.
  • Carry your baby in a baby pouch or sling, this way you’ll have your hands free on the plane
  • Don’t pre-mix your formula. Measure out the powder and fill the bottle with 2 thirds cold water. On the plane add one-third boiling water and mix in the powder. This way you won’t have to chill or re-heat the bottle.
  • As you board let the cabin crew know you might need assistance and ask them to point out the loo with the baby changing station for you.
  • Make friends with the cabin crew!
  • Keep in mind, a baby’s ears won’t get blocked during takeoff or landing if the baby is asleep – aim for this as your number one option.
  • Sucking will help prevent blocked ears and can also unblock ears – either a dummy or a feed will do the trick.
  • If your baby's ears do get blocked, give them infant paracetamol as it can be very painful. This will help them feel better and calm your nerves.

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