We’ve all heard the horror stories of going overseas with a baby…
The helplessness that parents feel when settling their baby just isn’t working and feeling like all of the people close to you are getting more and more annoyed by the minute.
Worrying about how your little one will feel about being in one place for a really long time!
Will they sleep? Or just cry the whole time?
Travelling with a baby is a challenge. But it’s not impossible. I’m going to share my recent experience with my four month old and hopefully it will help other Mum’s and Dad’s when they travel with their little ones to ease a bit of their anxiety about flying long distances with their little darlings.
For people who don’t know my story - I’ve been living in New Zealand with my husband for 6 years now. I have always LOVED travelling so when I had Isabella in August 2018, I promised myself that I wouldn’t stop travelling and that I would try to inspire Isabella to enjoy our trips back home.
Being from Ecuador, most of my travels are to the US and back home in South America. My sister lives in Fort Lauderdale so we usually try to visit her on the way to Ecuador which means a stop-over in Houston then a short domestic flight from Houston to Fort Lauderdale. It’s a long trip of around 18 hours in the air and 20-24 hours in transit - not easy with an baby!
When I had Isabella, I wanted to be surrounded by my family so I decided to go and visit my sister who had a little girl, Alexandria, and to see my mum who was helping my sister with her new baby. I had a lot of feelings before we left - I was excited to go but really scared and anxious to travel alone because my husband had to work.
We flew with Air New Zealand which was great. It’s a little bit more expensive than some airlines, but the service is outstanding, especially if you are travelling with a baby. They really go out of their way to help parents and their children. When you book your ticket don’t forget to book a bassinet as well - some airlines you have to book the bassinet when you are at the airport and it’s often first come first served which makes you worry that you won’t have one and can increase your time in transit because you need to get to the airport earlier to secure a bassinet - Air New Zealand let you book it online when you buy your tickets - just keep that in mind!
Here is my advice for you when traveling overseas with a baby...
Book with a good Airline!
I recommend that you book with a really good airline like Air New Zealand that allows you to book your bassinet online - save yourself the worry!
Her Stroller and Capsule
You may think you don’t need them but believe me you definitely do! Of course it depends how far you’re travelling and the length of your stopovers. In my case these two items were the best things I had! The best part is that you take them with you through the airport making it easy to get a bite to eat and keep baby entertained. Then, when you are at the gate about to board the plane you just check them in free of charge. When you land your stroller and capsule will be waiting for you outside the plane so it makes it easy to carry your belongings plus your baby.
I never used a baby carrier because I didn’t see the need to with the stroller and the capsule. But if you have a short flight, I think a baby carrier is a really good idea. It all depends if you will be using your stroller at the place you are visiting or just a baby carrier; and whether you’re travelling a long way or just a short trip.
Bring enough nappies!
When I was researching how many nappies I should bring for the flight I found out that I should bring one nappy for each hour of flying. I put some in the baby bag and some in the carry on bag but honestly I used eight for the whole flight from New Zealand to Fort Lauderdale and that was a 13 1/2 flight from NZ to Houston, a stop over in Houston of five hours and then a two and a half hour flight to Fort Lauderdale.
You do NOT want to run out of nappies!
If your flight in an overnight one, it’s a good idea to have your baby’s pyjamas, especially if that is part of her normal routine. Also bring an extra change for yourself and your baby. You may not need it but it’s better to have more than less!
On our way to Fort Lauderdale Isabella did great - she slept in her PJs and when we were about to land I decided to change her into a fresh set of clothes because I wanted her to be wearing different clothes to see her family. I thought to myself, why did a bring extra clothes? She was so clean that I didn’t really need them. Then on our way back to New Zealand we had two poo accidents! The first one was at Houston airport - I was taking Isabella out of her capsule and I felt my arm wet so I looked down and yeap it was poo we both needed to be changed!
Just remember: accidents happen!
Bring the supplies!
Bring your changing mat, wipes, nappy balm, bibs and any medicine you usually take with you when you go somewhere. I took Pamol just in case but I didn’t use it. If you are taking Pamol or a nappy balm I recommend you to put it in a travel sized bottle which will be easier to carry.
Pack her toys!
Bring some toys for your baby. A couple is fine, but bring their favourite ones so they can be entertained. It also helps for them to feel a sense of normality and comfort while you’re travelling together. Their favourite toys are part of their every day routine so including them on your trip puts them at ease.There are lots of things that you can use on the plane to distract them as well, Isabella loved the magazines and the sound of the plastic water cups!
Bring the same blankets that you use at home for her bassinet/cot. When I was given the bassinet in the plane I used Isabella’s blankets to make the bassinet familiar to her. At that time I was still swaddling her, so I used the swaddle, one blanket to cover the bassinet mattress and the other one to cover her because it can get really cold in the plane.
She slept from 10 pm until 5 am and then got up for a feed and slept two more hours which was really good. Too bad I was checking her every two hours and I didn’t get much sleep anyway.
Formula, baby bottle, baby food, sippy cup and spoons. I didn’t bring any of those things but I think these are the things you should bring when you are formula feeding or your baby is on solids already.
I actually hadn’t introduced to Isabella to a dummy before our flight but when I was going to travel one of my friends told me that I have to breastfeed Isabella when the plane takes off and lands so that her little ears don’t get sore from the change in pressure. She recommended a dummy in case I couldn’t breastfeed at that moment - she was definitely right!
It is so tricky to time your baby's hunger with take off and landing. On our first flight Isabella was ready to eat at exactly the same time that the flight took off but on our second flight she wasn’t ready to be fed when we were landing so I offered her a dummy which worked pretty well. The only thing was that I had to hold her dummy in her mouth so she could keep sucking on it because she didn’t know how to use one yet. I really recommend you to train your baby to use a dummy before you fly so that they know what to do when you give one to them on the plane!
...I really hope this helps with any of your doubts or worries about travelling overseas with a young baby. Of course, if you want to ask me any questions about my experience just reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook - I’d love to hear from you.
Remember we are stronger than we think. If I could travel with a baby on my own you can do it too.
The world is ours