Helloo All 😊 So happy to meet you all here after a long long time. No, I AM still writing, just that most of my posts go on my IG and FB pages now until it needs a lot of detailing to be done.
Air travel with an infant/toddler is an often-discussed topic on many mommy forums. It can be quite a challenging one. Don’t worry I have got you covered. I have traveled internationally with my daughter Dhanya (D) when she was an infant and also a toddler. Travel was between India and the US via Singapore airlines; hence I request you all to consider this as a guideline and check with your respective airlines for specifications.
- Baby Carrier: I have always loved wearing D and she loves it too. I have been wearing her for more than 2 years now since the time she was 2 months. She loves being worn and jumps into the carrier at the sight of me unwrapping it. Baby wearing is something I swear by if you are going to travel with your little one. The long waiting queues at the immigration counter/boarding line have all been made easy for me with the help of my Soulslings carrier (The pic has a mei tai though). Yes, she does get restless with waiting, but I have been able to pacify her with some singing, little movements. At times she has even slept peacefully in it making the wait easy for me. I personally prefer a carrier rather than an umbrella stroller, particularly if you would be travelling alone.
- Seat/Bassinet: Each air carrier has specifications on the age, weight, height etc. of the child to decide on using a bassinet or a separate seat. So, I recommend calling and checking with them. During my travels with D, I opted for a bassinet when she was 2 months old and then a separate seat when she was 13 & 23 months. Lap travel is something that can be very tiring for both the parent and child. Hence, I highly recommend to avoid it. Some do take a chance to use the empty seats, if available, but I have never been lucky with that, so I book a seat to be on the safer side. One best investment I made was to buy a Fly Tot.
It was quite expensive, but gave so much comfort to the kiddo and she enjoyed her travel and sleep.
- Take Off/Landing: This is an important phase of travel as due to pressure difference that occurs during take-off and landing anybody can develop ear block/ear pain. A child, unable to communicate, would definitely start crying in pain. To avoid this, it is advised to ensure that the child sucks on something during this phase so that any kind of block isn’t developed. Hence, you may choose to either breast feed/give a pacifier/suck some water or milk from a feeding bottle or sipper.
- Food: When D was an infant, all that I had to carry was water and some formula while I continued to breast feed her. I carried Similac pouches with me to save space and to avoid formula getting exposed to air/water unnecessarily. Airport authorities do check the water and formula, but they allow without any issue as long as it is meant for the baby. Airlines also provide warm water upon request. I have never pumped inside a plane, so I do not have any experience to share on that front.During D’s travel as a toddler, I subscribed to the kid’s meal (she was a self-fed kid) and also carried some home-made snacks. I observed that she doesn’t eat much during travel and I let her be as I always trust her comfort with food. I carried some of her favorites like dry fruit laddu (lot of recipes available on YouTube), Paratha, Crackers, Bread Toast as backup or to eat during transit. The kid’s meal also contained some of her favorites like pasta, cheese, paneer and strawberries, so she was happy.
- Transit: It is advisable to book your trips with less transit time so that you don’t end up running behind your active little ones for long hours. I have kept my transit time to a maximum of 1.5 hours at Singapore and it has been sufficient for some running, diaper change, security check and boarding. Do allow them to run a bit as they would’ve gotten super cranky with a long flight journey which is usually silent and dark as well. Movement would help them ease and also get tired giving a higher chance of dozing off on the next flight 😉
- Diaper et al: Having a diaper bag that has a detachable pouch is super useful. You can easily fit in a diaper, rash cream, a scented bag (I bought mine from Walmart), changing sheet, wipes etc. and carry them easily while heading to the restroom for a change.
Kindly do not change diapers in a passenger seat! The size of restroom and changing tables in a flight can be super annoying, but I just be gentle with D, keep talking to her and do the change. She is a lot less naughty when it is just the two of us.
- Engagement: While travelling as an infant was much easier as she slept in her bassinet peacefully, I had to figure some ways out at the later stages. Having someone travel with a kid in the nearby seats was helpful as both the kids entertained each other for a while. I allowed her to walk in the aisle way for a while, then carried some books to entertain her. She wasn’t fascinated by the screen so that did not help (she did end up researching the remote control to a great extent 😉) Try scheduling the longer leg of your flight journey during the night so that they might sleep. I haven’t been able to do this, but she slept on the second flight which gave me some rest and energy to handle things while landing at our destination.
So that’s all folks… Few tips I could share from my travel experience. Please do share any further thoughts you have in comments below.