There is no minimum age for your baby to take his or her first flight. It is highly dependent on the parents’ comfort (or confidence) level or, in some cases, a necessary decision. Some parents could already be flying overseas with a newborn in tow, while some may prefer to wait till the child is older. Whatever your preference is, do take time to discuss with your spouse and family members, or speak to other experienced mums to gain insights into what to expect and prepare.
We’ve gathered some tips that may also help ensure a smoother trip for you and your young first-time flyer:
- Consider taking short trips to orient your baby to flying as well as to ascertain how both you and your baby take to the flight. If possible, opt for a night flight so that your little one gets to spend most of their time sleeping.
- Pack essentials. Extra clothing for you and your baby; wet wipes; light toys to keep your child entertained; your toddler’s familiar item for example, a pillow or blanket; and very importantly, medication. Pack them in your carry-on bag so that you don’t have to waste time rummaging for any of these items.
- Carry a sling bag or a backpack for hands-free movements.
- Find out the services offered by the airline for passengers with young children. Do they serve child meals, are there on-board entertainment for the young ones? Importantly, request for a bassinet for your baby as well as seats with plenty of legroom.
- Board earlier, especially if you’re juggling a baby and a handful of other stuff! Most airlines would allow passengers with children to board first. Do the reverse upon arrival. Take your time to pack your items as you prepare to disembark.
- Remember to change your baby’s diaper before boarding. Preferably, pack diapers that hold a larger capacity, such as for night use.
- Letting your baby drink during the take-off and landing will help ease air pressure on tiny eardrums. You can either prepare extra milk or reschedule his or her feeding time. Alternatively, you can consider using a pacifier.
- Wipe surfaces that your baby will potentially come into contact with, such as the tray table, bassinet, etc.
- If you’re breastfeeding, you can use a nursing cover or get a window seat for more privacy.
- Remain calm at all times, especially when your baby starts acting out. Some may give you disapproving looks, but most people are understanding. Moreover, when you’re stressed out, it affects your baby’s anxiety as well.
- If you’re travelling to a place with a different time zone, you can help your baby adjust to the new time zone by re-scheduling his or her sleeping or feeding schedules.
- Evaluate what works and what doesn’t so that you can be better prepared for your next flight with your baby.