Simple tips and insight into flying with a baby for the first time
I have to admit, the thought of flying with our baby was really daunting to me. One of my biggest fears was having to deal with Emma on my own and the fear of other people’s reactions and comments about her if she started to act up. On the way to Nice (Emma’s first flight), I had an experience that changed my views about this.
When they notice there is a baby on board
I need to thank two women for this – one who was lovely, and one who was not so lovely – as they both confirmed and changed my fears. As per usual, when we fly within Europe, we use a particular budget airline well known for its cheap flights with a 90% delay attached.
While waiting in the airport having been delayed for about 45 minutes, Emma started to get a little bit bored, so we let her quietly watch some cartoons and eat a banana as she sat in her pram. The not so nice lady gave Emma dirty looks and started huffing. Eventually, she sighed and moved from her seat.
This made me feel pretty gutted as we kept Emma relatively quiet, and she is a very good girl. It was unfair that she was experiencing negativity, and I felt sorry for her.
When it was time to board, we had to stand in big queues, which is where the lovely lady comes in. This lady looked like a female John Malkovich with all the character to boot. She lowered herself to Emma’s level and began having a full-on babbling conversation with her without caring about anyone who was looking or what they were thinking.
The actions of this woman made me question myself and my fears. I realized that not everyone automatically becomes an ass as soon as they see that a baby will be on the flight. Not everyone is quick to judge, and not everyone will give us a hard time
I also felt a strong sense of “If you have a problem with Emma, then you have a problem with me,” and I, too, stopped caring what people think. I should be to my daughter what this woman was to her, and so I did.
When we boarded the flight, Karma stepped in.
Out of all 300+ people on the flight, guess who we were sitting next to? The lady with the problem!
The flight went pretty smooth, we kept Emma occupied, she had a nap, and a feed, and all was well. The female John Malkovich praised us as we left the plane, telling us we did very well. Emma and I came through for each other – high five!
Our tips for keeping a calm head during a flight (for babies and parents)!
Plan in advance
This is by far the best thing you can do when prepping for a flight with a child. Make sure to have essentials in your hand luggage and make sure they are easy to reach, such as nappies, wipes, food, favorite toys, dummies (I keep these in my changing bag).
I also like to load my phone or tablet up with cartoons for Emma. I download Emma’s favorite episodes on the CBeebies app, which allows us to play them during flight. Some parents may disapprove of kids and electronics, but this is a game-changer for me. I also tend to give Emma a snack, bum change, suckle, and cuddles before we get on the plane.
A note on tablets – For Emma’s first tablet we bought her an Amazon Fire Kids tablet. It was the perfect size for her little hands, powerful enough for some basic games and had enough space to hold enough apps to keep her happy.
For her 2nd Christmas, we bought her a new tablet. This is a simple android tablet, however, it offers good specs. It replicates a Samsung tablet, is high spec and powerful enough to play games that require more power. It also has room for a sim card, plenty more storage space and is much cheaper than the kindle.
Stop those ears popping
Starting your journey with sore ears is a bad start. It’s so common for our ears to pop during take-off, but so easy for adults to deal with. Young children, unfortunately, don’t understand what it is they are feeling and why it is happening.
I find that the best thing to help aid Emma’s ears during take-off and landing was to offer her my breast or a dummy. Emma tends to nod off when she breastfeeds, so if she takes a suckle from me and falls asleep, it helps ‘shorten’ the journey for her.
As stated earlier, a loaded tablet or phone is a game-changer. However, if Emma gets bored with this, I always have her favorite toys at hand. Luckily for me, Emma enjoys playing with small handheld items, so these are perfect for taking away with us.
I use the tray on the back of the seat as a table and let her potter about. I also break the journey up with yummy snacks and allowing her to read the in-flight magazines.
These are some of Emma’s favorite toys:
- L.O.L Surprise! Dolls Sparkle Series A
- Cry Babies Lady The Ladybug Doll
- WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Fingerlings
- WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet with Tempo Control
- L.O.L. Surprise! Furniture Road Trip with Can Do Baby & 10+ Surprises
If your little darling decides to become a little monster, then just remember to keep your cool and breathe. Take it one step at a time with dealing with their behavior. Fighting fire with fire never helps; it just escalates the tension and atmosphere.
Also, don’t be embarrassed, ashamed, or scared of what other people think – it’s their problem. Just know its temporary, you are trying your best, and you will probably never see those people again.
So there you have it, a few simple tips to help you get through the flight. We also have a very good article on getting through airports with baby equipment, baby food, and the must-haves for in your changing bag.