ON BOARD THE FLIGHT WITH A BABY
TAKE OFF AND LANDING
If your little one is under the age of 2, they will need to be on your lap for take off, landing, and whenever the seat belt sign is on. On European flights you will be given a seat belt extension to securely fasten your baby to your seat belt. This will be provided by cabin crew. Having to fasten your baby’s seat belt when you have just got your little one to sleep in their bassinet can be heartbreaking. However rules are rules! If you do not have a bulk head seat, baby must be on your lap for the duration of the flight. Remember, when flying with a baby, the pressure may build up in their ears during ascent and descent. Having your baby nurse or giving them a bottle or dummy will help. The swallow mechanism will relieve the pressure. If you are flying with baby alone, make sure to ask for help. Cabin crew may be willing to hold your baby for bathroom trips and meal times.
KEEPING BABY HYDRATED
Ensure you keep yourself and your baby well hydrated. The low humidity can be quite dehydrating. This is of particular importance if you are nursing. Nursing on board can be a little challenging, particularly with a slightly bigger baby. I have found mastering the jockey position useful for flights (baby straddles your knee). I found there is less room for your arms when cradling baby to nurse. If you need food or milk heated, cabin crew will be happy to help.
KEEPING BABY OCCUPIED
If your baby is agitated or upset, taking them for a walk up and down the aisle can help distract. Very often flight attendants will also allow you to set your baby down in the back part of the plane where there is a little more room for them to move around. Make sure to have your toys on hand (see list above in the preparing for ‘flying with a baby section’) . If you need to change a nappy all planes have a changing table that folds down in the bathroom. Older planes can be quite cramped so only bring what you need to the bathroom. If your little one is asleep, sit back, relax and have a wine!
TRANSIT AND ARRIVALS WHEN FLYING WITH A BABY
Complete your arrivals card in advance. The best time to do it is while your child sleeps on the plane, if you can manage it. Make sure to declare baby food if necessary. Once you land some airports provide courtesy buggies for transit. Be aware that there are often additional security checks during an airport transit. If you are in transit and have some spare time it is an ideal opportunity to give your little one a freshen-up. I am sure they feel sticky after flying, just like us! If you’ve checked and the airport you will be arriving in does not have a parents room then just throw a blanket down on the floor in an appropriate place and let them have a little stretch and a kick before the next flight.