It is important that you get out and about travelling with baby as soon as possible. To do this you will need some basic but essential items as detailed below;
- Changing mat or towel
- Baby wipes
- Nappy sacks & plastic bag
- Muslin cloths
- A change of clothes (for both you and the baby)
- Small cosmetic bag containing ear-buds, cotton wool etc.
- “Calpol”/” Nurofen” or similar
- Bottles (pre-prepared with water only) plus the required formula in the dispenser
- Solid food/finger food
- Small toys
- Sun screen
- Sun hat/woolen hat (weather dependent of course!)
- Buggy/car seat/baby sling
The layering of clothes is imperative when taking any trip with your child, even if it is just to the park. Differences in temperature and environments result in the need to be able to cool your child down or heat them up when necessary.
It may seem like a daunting task taking a trip abroad with a baby or toddler. Once you are well prepared it can go very smoothly. It is essential to prepare two separate travel bags, one specifically for the plane. As there are limitations on liquid volumes that you are allowed bring on the plane, ensure that you have a multi-compartment bag/satchel so that you bring extra bottles in case of delays or stop-overs.
A good tip is to change your child’s nappy as close to your boarding time as possible. Attempting to do this on the flight requires a lot of skill so if you can check this off your “to-do” list before boarding the flight it is one less thing to worry about until you are settled on the plane and comfortable with your surroundings.
If you are traveling long haul, day time flights can be very challenging for both you and your child. Night-time flights are preferable as then yourself and your child will have the opportunity to get some rest. Ensure that you ask the airline to arrange for a bassinet (if your child is under two years old). For children over two years old they will have their own seat.
Regardless of your flight times it is advisable to try, as best you can, to stick to your child’s normal routine with sleeping and feeding times. It is a good idea to have a small bag of toys, perhaps even some new ones, for him/her to play with and going for short walks up and down the aisles will also keep them entertained.
With older toddler’s toys can include pencils, felt games, reusable stickers and story books. These are easy to carry and do not make a mess. Older children enjoy having their own rucksack with their toys and maybe even some snacks and treats inside. This will teach them responsibility for their own personal belongings.
Most toddlers and children will be very excited about travelling overseas and getting on an airplane. There is so much activity going on from when you pack bags, to the trip to the airport, checking-in etc. getting onto a plane, taking off, landing and finally reaching your destination.
If your child has particular ear problems i.e. grommets, or suffers from ear infections, you can place two plastic cups over each ear. This causes a natural vacuum which in turn causes the ears to “un-pop”. (This may seem strange advice, but it works every time!)
You can demonstrate to your older toddler and younger children how to “un-pop” their ears. For babies you may have to give them a drink of water or milk (even breastfeed), or a soother. Alternatively, you can assist by massaging their ears. Always have a couple of sweets to assist (but only if they are of appropriate age). This applies to both taking-off and landing. If your child is sleeping for either, do not wake them just leave them be.
Very young children will be in your arms during takeoff and landing. In this way you will be able to reassure them, reducing any nervousness.
Short-haul flights do not cause too great a concern regarding time differences, and you will be easily able to adjust your routine by 1 to 4 hours as appropriate.
On longer flights your normal routine may need to adjust to suit, but this can be done very simply by increasing the number of “playtimes” and also introducing an “extra” nap time or feed in the evening. Your child may go to bed a little later on the first night, but it is vital that you get back into your normal routine the next day.
Upon landing, try to get your child to take as much water as they feel like. The flight will make them dehydrated. If you can take them straight through the arrivals hall to have a walk around outside this is recommended, as waiting for baggage can be very boring for young children, and the moving conveyor belt is always a temptation for young toddlers and young children!
Upon arrival to the hotel, once you get settled in to your room, a walk around is recommended and perhaps even a quick swim, if you are all not too tired.
For very young babies, some “tummy time” can be very useful e.g. bicycle exercises etc. This can assist in getting rid of any build-up of wind that may have occurred on the flight.
It is tempting when you are away from home to make every day a treat day with regard to food! This sudden change in diet can make your children nauseous and also increase changes in behaviour such as hyperactivity etc.
Remember this is a break for all of you, so stay calm and take it in your stride! Have a great holiday!