I have been receiving quite a few emails from new readers asking how and why we decided to travel with the kids and the main questions seems to be “How do you travel with an infant?” “Can you travel with a newborn?” and “What are your tips for travelling with a newborn?”. I figured I’d share my tips on air travel here for everyone!
Why we chose to travel with a newborn
The hubs and I are avid travelers and so we knew from the very start that we didn’t want to stop travelling once we had kids. In fact, I’d say we travel more SINCE having kids than we did before. When we were due with Little Monkey, we decided to make the most of my maternity leave and travelling seemed a good use of our time and resources. My parents were living in India at the time so we knew we’d have a home base if we headed that way. The idea of travelling with a newborn didn’t seem absurd to us, yet the response we got when we shared our plans with friends and family ranged from “My, aren’t you bold?” to “Don’t you think that’s a bit crazy?” the best was “Oh just wait until you have kids, you’ll soon change your mind”. We figured we’d take our chances, and just before Little Monkey reached two months, we embarked on a month long trip to India, London and Paris. We not only survived, we had a thrilling adventure soaking in the Parisian culture (complete with fondue sessions down hidden alleys), marveling at the stunning architecture of the Taj Mahal, and even breastfeeding in one of Westminster Abbey’s chapels. Fast forward two years, and with the addition of another baby, we still continue to quench our thirst for travel. Perhaps we are crazy, but we’re happily crazy!
Tips for travelling with a newborn
With over 33 cities and 8 countries under our wings, we’ve figured out quite a few tricks to ensure that the passengers around us aren’t ready to push us overboard at the end of a long flight. Being calm has probably been our most effective approach; babies feed off your energy, and if the parents are calm, cool and collected, chances are good that a baby can be quickly soothed. That said, sometimes a crying fit can and will eventually happen, but those soundproof lavatories on airplanes have been good places to visit for quick timeouts. We also travel with extra ear plugs to offer to any passengers around us if we get a sour look. Luckily, we haven’t had to offer those to anyone…yet! Also note that taking your baby carrier on board is a fab idea as it helps you fall asleep with your kid strapped on outside of take-off, landing and turbulence.
Infants are easy to travel with because they don’t need much gear and they sleep for the better part of the day. Breastfeeding can be challenging during turbulence, take-off and landing, but having some pumped milk on hand has always been helpful. If you’re formula feeding, I highly recommend travelling with your own water source for sanitary reasons. Cabin Crew are busy and definitely not there to wait on our every demand but they’ve always been very happy to assist us with some ice (to keep milk cold, perhaps in the waterproof airsickness bags) or hot water in a cup (to warm milk bottles). Just make the requests well in advance of feeding time.
Bassinets are hard to come by on most flights these days but they are truly a parent’s best friend and worth paying extra for if the option exists. Alternatively, a blanket on the floor by your feet also works as a makeshift bed as long as there’s no turbulence, and it sure beats having a baby sleeping on your lap for over 8 hours.
The biggest concern we hear from other parents is probably the dreaded effect of altitude on a child’s ears. I find that the best solution is to have them suck on something when the cabin pressure changes. Bottle feeds, soothers and even offering a finger to gnaw on has helped us to limit pressurization issues during the infant stage.
Whether you’re contemplating an hour trip across town or a day long journey across the globe, travelling with infants can be daunting, but as long as you’re a little crazy and mentally prepared for the adventure, you’ll have a thrilling experience. The way we see it – creating memories and continuing to fuel our own passion for travel have made us happier parents, as does knowing that we’re exposing our kids to a world of culture and adventure.