Photograph above © Janneke Reid
It seems to be flying season lately, as we’ve had quite a few moms posting in our Facebook group about their experiences while traveling with baby, as well as how much babywearing has helped them cope.
So I asked our Ubuntu Baba mamas to comment with their very best travel tips for flying with a newborn baby, so here we go:
Travel tips for moms with babies, by moms with babies!
I’ve flown internationally 3 times (alone) with my 5 month old. My Ubuntu was definitely top of my list; I also took a backpack so it was easy going and my other saviour was a ringsling as I could walk through the airport while feeding (I hadn’t mastered breastfeeding in an Ubuntu Baba at that stage). She didn’t sleep in a bassinet so I took our Nurture One cushion and Ava has slept through every flight. If you’re organized it really is super easy flying with a baby. Happy in Hong Kong with a beer and sleeping baby!
– Alexandra Ferguson
I found the most important thing is to accept help offered. With our flight two weeks ago so many kind passengers and flight attendants really made the experience so much easier.
– Maggie Marx
Travel as light as possible. Use the Ubuntu to hold all your travel documents so you can whip them out as needed without having to scratch in your bag.
– Emma Davies
At check in you can (and should!) ask for a better seat as a breastfeeding mom and you can ask for assistance with luggage. You are allowed a push chair up until the plane.
– Kat Konczak-Flanigan
Traveling with 2 boys overseas by myself with Ubuntu – possible! Pack light. Keep calm. Ask for help. Breastfeed during take off and landing if possible.
– Ivana Titus
You will never see those people again so do what you need to do to keep little one happy. And if they cry a bit, tough luck. Focus on baby and not on what the people around you will think.
– Alex Michel
If traveling locally, try organizing a travel system from family or friends at your destination. You’re already schlepping your bag plus baby’s, no need for extra stuff. Just your UB! Try book the aisle seat right at the back of plane as the changing table is in that toilet and if baby starts stirring, easy to get up and bounce / settle at back of the plane. If baby is asleep during take-off, they’ll ask you to take baby out of UB. Just unclip and move straps. Try keep baby sleeping in the upright position.
– Claire Ross
A definite flying must have! He was out within minutes of putting him in his Ubuntu (must be that magical sleepy dust!) The only bad part was when I had to take him out of the carrier for takeoff. Easy trip to Cape Town. I would definitely recommend the carrier for all travel purposes!
– Janneke Reid
Babe’s ears hurt the most during descent. Get them to suck. As soon as your ears start (normally before the pilot mentions) get them sucking a dummy, your boob or a bottle. I don’t know if it’s the pressure, but be prepared for some serious poop action. Either during the flight or once you’re waiting to get off. Pack spare clothes for babe in your hand luggage and for you too. Pack a small towel to place on your lap too. If your babe isn’t in cloth, then double up on the nappy.
– Samantha Capewell
Pack LIGHT! Use a backpack as a diaper bag. Take a window seat this will make breastfeeding and resting your arm easier. Change baby’s diaper before flight. Put some toys in the diaper bag to keep baby busy, mine usually sleeps right through because the white noise of the plane helps. Here I was using my Mei Tai, my UB came a week later, after I saw a lady and stalked her asking where she bought hers.
– Marusckha Scholtz
Accept help. Flying alone internationally was extremely stressful and I couldn’t get by without the help from strangers. A carrier is life saving for waiting in lines, boarding etc. Make sure baby has something for take-off and landing – boob, bottle, dummy, whatever. Go with it. There is no way in hell you will be able to confine baby to that seat no matter how hard you try (I’m talking long haul flights). Let them wander, climb the seats, walk and crawl around. It will make everyone’s lives a lot easier.
– Anna van der Westhuizen
I just flew alone with an 8 month old and a 2.5 year old. On a 12 hour flight. That was delayed by 1.5 hours. Lol. The UB saved me. No photos as my hands were too full. But my tip is to pack light. Accept help. Have sugar free snacks on hand (avoid a sugar high on a plane). Relax, people can hear the crying but not as loudly as you think. And keep remembering it will be over soon and a flight is such a short space of time in your life that you probably won’t even remember it one day. My mantra was – only 8 hours left. Only 7 hours left. Etc. That helped.
– Samantha Du Toit
Don’t use a (new) carrier for the first time on a flight. Practice wearing it at home so that you and baby are comfy with it and you know how to use it. If your baby is happily asleep in the carrier and you’re comfortable, don’t bother taking her out and putting her in the bassinet. As soon as the seat belt sign comes on, you’ll have to take her out again and on some flights this happens a lot! Even if you’re not using the bassinet, still book a bassinet seat for the extra leg room. Ask for an upgrade! If there are business class seats open, they might just bump you. Make use of the cabin crew. They’re happy to hold your baby for a while if you want to eat or go to the bathroom and will stow your bag in the overhead compartment or get it for you. Regarding baby food, I find fruit and veg pouches (like Squish) work well and don’t make too much of a mess. If you want to take expressed breastmilk with you, just check the airline’s guidelines. Many (most?) international airlines allow you to take certain quantities of expressed breastmilk on the flight, some will even store it for you in the fridge and others provide ice blocks to keep it cool.
– Carla-Marié Spies-Gaum
Make sure your nappy bag is stocked with enough diapers, few change of clothes, blankets, toys and snacks, although we found the airline (Singapore airlines) was exceptional in this case, they had a lovely baby goody bag for us. Go with the flow, there are things you won’t be able to control and at the end of the day most people get that it’s a baby and you’re doing your best.
– Nishaat Jano Mukuddem
Thanks to all the awesome mamas who contributed to this post! Any tips of your own? Feel free to add them in the comments section below.