Updated: Apr 17, 2020
The holiday season is almost upon us and many of you will be taking their baby on the plane for the very first time. As I have 3 children (one of them a newborn) and most of my family lives abroad I have over 10 years of flying with children under my belt. Below are a few tips that I learned over the years and which might help make your trip go smoothly.
First of all if you can avoid it, don't take your main (expensive) buggy with you. If you do need to take it, then think about investing into a bag to protect your pram. I have had countless buggies twisted and broken whilst in transit. I usually use a stroller type of buggy, the easier it is to fold the better :) There are now strollers on the market that fold down to the size of cabin luggage, this is great as you always have your stroller with you. When packing remember to bring spare clothes for baby but throw in a top and maybe a pair of leggings for yourself. You will be grateful for this if your baby decides to overfill their nappy or throw up their feed while on your lap. There is nothing more fun than walking around with a poo stain on you for the duration of your journey :D
If your little one uses dummy pack it with you with a dummy saver and a few spare ones.
Most airlines will let you take two pieces of baby equipment on the plane. These can be a buggy and a car seat or a buggy and a travel cot, etc. You will be able to take your buggy to the gate with you. Bear in mind that you will most likely need to fold the buggy and send it through the x-ray machine at security.
If you are packing formula and baby food with you, those will need to be tested. They used to ask me to taste the milk etc in front of them, now they seem to have a machine they put it in to scan that it really is what you say it is. You are only able to take baby milk/powder and boiled water or baby food. I saw a family with juice for little one in a bottle being told they can't take that with them through security. If you are flying from Gatwick, there is Boots in the terminal after security and you should be able to pick up some baby food and milk there (this came in handy a few times).
Once through the gate you will be asked to leave your buggy either at the gate or fold it and leave it right by the door to the plane in the tunnel. You will be given a little seat-belt extender on board of the plane. You loop your seat belt through this and put around the baby. Babies under the age of 2 need to travel on your lap unless you purchase a separate seat for them.
The pressure inside the plane can make your ears hurt during take off and landing, it is a good idea to give baby a breast or bottle feed or let them suck on a dummy. If they are asleep leave them sleep :). Once you reach your destination the chances are that your buggy will only be returned to you by the conveyor belt with your luggage (sometimes it gets delivered to oversized luggage point). So you will be carrying baby and all your stuff through the airport and believe me, lots of them it is a fair old walk (and then you queue for passport control, juggle baby and bags trying to get your luggage which invariably arrives BEFORE the buggy). Here comes my best part of advice. Use a sling. If you use a wrap or an ergonomic baby carrier, use it. If you don't then I suggest getting one and learning to use it before you go. You can get an elastic wrap for little babies for under £20 and it will free your arms and save you a headache :)
Our little lady LOVES her sling wrap. She would live in it if she could and would not even want to be fed :) Out of the wrap she cries for food every 3 hours, in the wrap I tend to have to wake her after 4 hours to feed her! On our trip last week she slept from being in the gate, through the flight and all the way to baggage reclaim! The only sticking point was the seat belt extender but after a bit of thinking I managed to feed it between her and my belly under the wrap and strap it around her without waking her :D.
I hope some of this was helpful. If you have any questions please do ask, I'll be happy to help.
Safe journey .