Giving birth to a beautiful new baby is a huge milestone in any parent's life. After a long 9 months of pregnancy, you may now be thinking that a relaxing break is just what the Doctor ordered! However, for many parents the thought of travelling with a baby after recently giving birth presents a multitude of concerns and worry, pushing the thought of travelling out of the window. Whether you're already keen travellers or looking to escape on a short break, travel is in fact possible with a baby on board. Our guide explains it all.
When to Travel?
Each airline will set their own age ranges; some can fly as soon as they are born, whereas others must be 2 days old or even 14! If your baby was premature, this is often calculated from the original due date and not the date of giving birth. You may need to produce a letter from your Doctor stating that you and your baby are fit to fly, so it is always worth checking beforehand to avoid any preparation mishaps.
Travel Documents and Insurance
Your baby will need to have their own passport and travel documents, as well as being added on to your travel insurance policy. This is pretty simple and straight-forward to do, but just make sure this is completed in advance of travel.
If travelling by car you can take the same approach to travel as you would do at home. Make sure your baby's car seat is secure and that the seat belts are threaded correctly, alongside having window shades.
However, if you're flying you will have to do some research and preparation prior to travelling. Each airline will have their own rules with regard to babies and flying. Some will let them fly for free, whereas others will require your baby to have their own plane ticket; in these cases, they will be allocated their own seat. Often the airline will require a ratio of one adult per child. Therefore if you have had two or more babies, you may need a few extra pairs of hands! Check with your airline provider prior to purchasing your tickets.
In the days leading up to travel, it is important that both you and your baby firstly get plenty of sleep and rest. If your destination is in a different time zone, bear in mind that your baby can get jet lag just the same as adults do. To help combat this, try to alter your baby's sleeping pattern gradually in the week before you travel - that way, it will be less of a sudden change (and less stressful for you!).
If bringing a pushchair and other equipment, like other luggage this will need to be screened and checked at security, as well as being allocated a luggage tag. You are able to take your baby in her pushchair to the aircraft door, in which it will then be folded up. If you have a smaller baby, you may find it easier to travel with a baby carrier.
If your baby is allocated their own seat, the baby carrier can fit snugly beside you and can be safely strapped in. For safety, your baby should be facing forwards and not overlapping the seats either side.
Many airlines aim to make parents' trips as easy as hassle free as possible. Some airlines have on-board carry cots, whereas others have on board baby seats. Most airlines will have a baby changing facility in the toilet area of the plane. Although this may be cramped and not ideal, it is important that you use it; other passengers (and staff) won't be too happy if you decide to change nappies on the plane seats!
When packing for babies, there are always lots of things to bring! Dummies, nappies, sleepsuits, toys, bibs, feeding equipment, spare clothes... the list goes on! Bringing a checklist is a great way to stay organized!
Keeping Your Baby Happy
Keeping your baby happy whilst on holiday can be tricky, especially during the stages of travel where things can get long and tiring. There are a variety of different ways to achieve a happy journey, the first one being toys. Some ideas for toys to bring for the journey include rattles, teething rings, mirrors (baby-proof), pop up toys, soft animals, plastic keys and anything that is shiny or crinkly. Take your baby's favourite toys alongside a couple of new ones. New toys can be brought out to keep a constant flow of entertainment once your baby shows disinterest in the old ones.
If travelling with other people, it is worth being considerate and bearing in mind that they may not appreciate hearing musical baby toys throughout the entire journey. These can always be packed in your hold luggage and used at your destination.
Simply giving your baby a change of scenery during the journey can also work wonders. Walk around the plane with your baby, interact with talk and play and let them see what's out the window. Unless your baby is asleep, let your baby kick her legs at least every hour to keep the blood flow moving. It is important to also adhere to the airline safety regulations at all times and strapping your baby in her seat during moments of turbulence.
Feeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding your baby whilst travelling on holiday is easy to do and requires minimal equipment. However if formula feeding, you can buy travel sized packs of ready-made formula from your local supermarket or chemist.
Remember to check your airline's rules regarding bringing baby food and formula on board prior to travel. Although the normal airline restrictions don't apply as you are allowed to bring as much food needed for the duration of the journey, you may be asked to try and test the formula when you reach airport security. Airline staff will usually be happy to warm up any food or formula for you.
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