After a very long and busy year we ‘re starting 2014 with a little break to New Zealand. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really looking forward to putting my feet up, catching up with friends, a family wedding and having some fun!
But before that I have to handle the airport run (including a long check in time and customs clearance) with my two.
After many trips we’re seasoned travellers, but I still have to psych myself up to the packing and preparation plus the journey itself. The first trip with baby Tildey was at 6 weeks old, and boy it seemed as though I had packed the kitchen sink! Over time we’ve gotten it down to a fine art, so I’m passing on my top tips to make your first trip with baby nice and easy!
Start to shortlist all your essentials a few weeks before you leave.
Note the things you use every day (steam steriliser, bottles, sleeping bag, muslin wraps, botty cream, favourite toys…) so you know you won’t forget anything essential.
Allow plenty of time for check in, transport, extra feeds and nappy changes.
On a previous trip away I was congratulating myself on a smooth trip to the airport and an early check in only to go to the completely wrong gate and have to run carrying Sam, a heavy bag and dragging a screaming Matilda along behind me. So add on extra time to your commute and double check your gate number!
Contact the airline to reserve a bassinet.
Baby bassinets are available at the bulkhead for babies under 10kg. They’re limited and priority is usually given to smaller babies, but if you manage to score one your baby can manage to catch up on some zzz’s in transit. You’ll need to pick him up if there’s any turbulence and on take off and landing but they’re worth their weight in gold if you’re flying a long distance.
Drinks on take off and landing.
Provide a drink on the flight, especially during take off and landing when little ears can feel sore. It’s also a lovely comfort if your baby is upset, tired or out of their routine. Flight attendants are great at providing warm water to heat bottles in. (Also check out the travel bottle warmer below…)
Spare clothes for baby (and/or you!)
If you have a particularly spilly baby or one that burps up a lot of milk after a feed then you might want to pack some spare clothes to change them. Explosive newborn poos can also find their way onto your clothes. (A delightful tip I have first hand knowledge of from my first flight with Tilda!)
While she doesn’t look that happy, Matilda (9 months here) was a great little traveller!
If your baby has started solids take plenty of snacks, fruit, baby food or sandwiches and water.
Food is part sustenance and part entertainment. The squeeze pouch baby foods you can buy at the supermarket are fantastic for travelling (see below) or a kids thermos with your own homemade variety is perfect. For baby bottles there’s an allowance for liquids on international flights, but if you have these packed separately when you go through customs you can show them and take them through.
Pack toys for in flight entertainment.
If your baby is starting to be mobile they’ll need some entertainment on the flight so pack a few squeaky, sparkly or all time favourite toys. For your older baby the iPhone or iPad is always appealing (but be warned that getting it off them is always a drama – even with my bigger two!)
A travel wallet will help you keep a track of your boarding passes and passports.
I always grab a few extra incoming and outgoing passenger cards each time I travel and I fill them out before we even leave the house. It helps reduce the amount of time you’re hanging around. This is absolutely the time tempers get frayed and babies, particularly mobile ones start to get grumpy.
A baby carrier is a fantastic way to stay hands free.
Much easier to push a trolley without a baby on your hip or a in stroller. You’ll need to take the baby out to go through the security section, which can be a bit stressful when you’re already carrying bags but usually there are extra people to help you with the baby if you’re on your own.
Look into hiring equipment like strollers, portacots and car seats to make your packing a little easier.
Try www.hireforbaby.com Australia wide. Note that if you’re hiring a car the seats most likely won’t be installed in the car. You’ll need to check it thoroughly and more than likely install it yourself to make sure it’s installed safely. Most hire car companies have capsules for really little ones but some only provide rear facing car seats (which are suitable from newborn).
Choose clever portable travel equipment:
Quicksmart Easy Fold Travel Stroller $229.00 (I have this one and love it.)
Travel Bottle Warmer $24.95
Only Organic baby food available at Woolworths.
Thermos for homemade baby food on the go
Phil & Teds Traveller Travel Cot $199 (and for a round up of other great portacots click here).
Ergobaby Baby Carrier from $159.00
Have fun, try to find time to relax (massage, magazine, an afternoon sleep) and enjoy. You’ll have a lovely time and it does get easier the more practice you get!