Flying with baby

The bear was 15 weeks old when we first travelled to Ireland.  We decided to drive back then, which was an epic journey to say the least.   Last week, we decided to brave it and fly over instead with baby in tow.   I read up on forums and blogs to equip myself well to make the journey as stress-free as possible.   We flew with BA, and I had airmiles to use which bought us the luxury of business class for the hour-long flight.  This meant more space and seats up at the front of the flight.

I looked up flying with babies on Heathrow’s website.   We could bring baby food and milk on board, enough for the duration of the flight, and the 100 ml restriction didn’t apply here.  I packed everything into a plastic bag and placed it in the bear’s nappy bag.  At the airport security, I took the plastic bag out and placed it on a container for it to go through scanning, but not before I was asked to taste the formula (I gave it to baby to taste instead).   I had two bottles of formula made up, plus some formula in little containers as back-up.

We brought some toys with us (the bear’s toy rattle and wooden blocks) for her to play with on board, but she was happy enough to amuse herself with the on-board instruction card, magazines and her favourite, the barf-bag!

The air-pressure did get to the bear.  I fed her during take-off and landing which helped, but there wasn’t much we could do during the flight as she doesn’t take pacifiers, although I did pack one just in case.

We decided not to bring a buggy on board.   The bear is still small and light, so she travelled as Papa’s joey (baby ‘roo) in the BabyBjorn (Miracle).   We pre-booked a car with Europcar at Dublin Airport and hired a car seat along with it.

We packed minimally for ourselves, and liquids were kept within the 100ml limit so that we could bring our wheely-cases on board.  We had one each – the bear and I shared a case.

We were staying a night in a hotel and two nights with Grampy.   I decided to pack her favourite pink blanket and Ewan the Sheep to help her sleep in an unfamiliar cot.   I’m glad I did.

My top tips for travelling/flying with baby are:

  • Check with your departure airports (including the one at your destination which will become your departure point on your return leg) their policy on baby food/formula
  • Check with your airline(s) their policy on luggage for babies (buggies, car seats)
  • Pack baby’s food/formula in their respective containers/bottles and place them in a plastic bag.  Pack the plastic bag in your nappy bag.  You will be asked to taste the food/milk so it’s best to have them in the one place
  • If at all possible, keep to baby’s nap/feeds before and during the flight.  Unfortunately, our bear missed her daytime naps because we were busy packing and she was rather unsettled on the flight as a result
  • Bring a familiar cot item which would help baby sleep in an unfamiliar cot
  • The bear doesn’t use pacifiers but I packed one which she rejected as expected
  • Dress the baby comfortably – the bear wore a cotton baby-gro with covered feet so I didn’t have to worry about losing socks.  I did bring a cardigan for her in case she got cold, but she didn’t need it

I don’t think I’m in a rush to take her on a long-haul flight as yet.   The bear is in a very squirmy-wormy stage and would happily crawl on the floor for hours on end.  Which makes it difficult to envisage being on a 14-hour flight.   My hats off to parents who brave long-distance flights with their babies.


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