When you have flown for as many years as I did it’s no surprise that when you have a baby you have no qualms (or maybe some just not as many as others) about taking your baby on a plane. I mean it’s easy right? Thousands, millions and billions of other mothers have done it before and they all got off the flight ok right? Well what I probably didn’t notice was just how harassed they were getting off that flight. Now I know that harassed feeling as Flynn has been lucky enough to have a few flights already. I jump at any chance to go away, its in my blood. Although my blood is now thinning as it’s getting more and more difficult. Fancy a camping trip round Scotland anyone? Er actually no I’m fine I’ll succumb to the flight.
So flying with a baby has its pros and cons. Pros an exotic holiday destination (hopefully) at the end of it and cons well everything else.
So here are a few tips I’ve discovered over the years as a flight attendant and more importantly over the last 9 months first hand as a travelling mum.
Always get to the airport early. Being a flight attendant I always arrived one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. You may ask why so late? Because that is when check in closes and they know if there is space left for any standby passengers. So why would I not arrive so late these days? Because no doubt baby will need feeding of some sort, may have a nappy explosion and just generally you have so much stuff to check in, re arrange and trundle through the airport with that one hour is about three hours too little.
Make sure to take enough stuff onboard but saying that not too much stuff. Take enough food or milk for the flight and a bit of a delay (and don’t forget the journey after when you land) but don’t take enough for days on end as seriously you won’t use it and you will just end up carrying a heavier bag. And guaranteed you will be carrying baby and that heavy bag at the other end when your pram or stroller goes awol. Oh and also very important take a change of clothes well several for baby as who knows what will happen and at least one for you (it’s not a good look being covered in puréed carrot walking though an airport).
For older babies take toys. I cannot stress this enough as this will be the only day they refuse to play with a plastic spoon or the in flight magazine.
Pick a flight with good timings. For baby not for you. To be fair we all want to land in the exotic destination looking like we’ve just stepped off of the cover of Vogue but in reality that’s never going to happen when travelling with a baby. Also don’t forget most airlines put lights on for services and if your baby is anything like mine he will want to be part of the breakfast service not dozing his way through it like a first class passenger.
I had always been given this advice and passed it onto my passengers (although I actually had no clue myself since never having breastfed a baby before Flynn, funny that) to breastfeed them on take off and landing. Yes the sucking motion does help their little ears, saying that have you ever tried to get a baby into position over you and your nipple whilst not showing it (your nipple) off to all the other passengers around you as the plane is hurtling down the runway or worse still as it lands with a big bump (ouch). So this piece of advice is for people in enclosed first class suites or even better still in private jets. So if anything give them a bottle. Milk, wine, vodka.. I’M JOKING the wine and vodka is for you once the flight takes off.
So after all this and not to mention several hours of thinking when is this going to be over you land into your exotic destination and all is forgiven. You now just spend the next week mentally packing, planning and panicking for the return journey.