When my son was only 10 month old we traveled a total of 12 hours flight to the Philippines and an extra two hour connecting flight to my City. I like to share a few things that might come in handy as you start your wonderful journey with your own children.
Ask for a basinet from the airline in advance
When you book your flight this is the one important thing you ask for. Not a lot of airline agent will offer it to you unless you ask. I know it wasn’t brought up to us on our flight to Europe. This will give you more leg room for you and a comfortable baby. It gives you more room to move, a space for you to eat your meal and a hands free sleeping baby.
Exercise is good
On your arrival to your gate walk around with the baby in a carrier like this infantino carrier. This helps you exercise and get your blood flowing before a long flight. This idea also engages the baby to bond with you and open them to the idea of crowds, loud noises, commotions and traffic. This is also a nice trick to get them to nap. I know I’ve had the kids fall asleep on me several times while taking a steady stroll up and down from one airport gate to another.
I would advice a diaper change one hour before boarding time. This gives you at least the next hour to sort things out and even have time to read the news. Prepare for the milk just when you get to board the plane. I know many airlines give priority to seniors and travelers with children and infants. When you get to your seat in the airplane prepare the milk and have it handy in advance. For my family we have always put baby powdered milk (exact ratio to water) in a small container like this and transfer to a baby bottle that has the exact amount of water. Always bring enough powdered milk. You can always ask for water in flight. The bottles can also be washed clean as well if needed.
In flight and take off
Feed the baby just on time for take off to get them relaxed from the loud engine noise and acceleration. This will also relieve ear pressure on sudden altitude changes. My wife and I used to time them to feed so we can have them finish feeding when we have reached a certain altitude to where we can move around if we needed to. Most of the time this will give them to nap anyway.
Ready the diaper change while everyone is eating their meals. This prevents you from foot traffic on the plane, a line wait for the bathroom and a dry baby just as everyone in finishing up their meal and getting ready to freshen up. Get ready to feed the baby just before landing and a pacifier in between.
Bring out few toys or better yet a drawing tablet to entertain them during the flight. Make sure to save the mobile phone for emergency if ever every other toy fail and they become fuzzy! Especially during landing when you have them strapped on to you and you are secured in your seatbelt.
Always have plenty of time for your connecting flight. We don’t advice lay overs less than three hours. You need time for TSA, feeding sessions and diaper changes.
Have time for play. Airports have playgrounds. Ask where they are located. Walk with the baby to the play area to get them moving, release energy, hydrate and ready for another diaper change (Yes! Unfortunately). Carry them back just in time for the next flight and nap!
I know it’s impossible but hear me out. Bring less cary ons with you when traveling if possible. I carry a 60L hiking backpack. You can compartmentalize it to your own liking. Have a space for the baby diaper, milk, snacks and medicine in a smaller ‘bag’ to pull out during the flight. Make sure it’s easy to reach overhead and easy to put back in the backpack just in time before landing. The rest of the bag have space for dry clothes (bottom compartment) while in transit, easy to carry camera (middle compartment), and a space for documents.
Continue reading on to our essential item page to learn more about gears that we have found helpful in our travel with the children. Here is a look into a 12 hour flight with children.
We will continue to create blogpost like this in the future as we adjust to the kids needs. It takes both you and your spouse or partner to work together cohesively for a much smoother flight. Have each other take naps as much as you can. Remind each other to hydrate and eat. Simple and important things like these are easy to forget in a fast paced transition as you travel. Enjoy each other. Enjoy the flight!
I appreciate the coffee! See you on the next blogpost.
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