Travelling with a baby can be a daunting prospect and none more so than when travelling on a plane packed full of other passengers. In-flight baby breakdowns are possibly the biggest cause of stress and anxiety amongst parents, both before and during a flight.
To help keep stress at bay this summer, here are LapBaby’s top five tips for flying with your baby:
Keep them close… It is understandable that unfamiliar surrounds, unusual noises and sensations may cause a baby to feel uncertain and distressed. With the help of LapBaby you can provide baby with greater comfort and security, whilst having both hands free to eat and play. By having baby on your lap during a flight, you’ll be acutely aware of his/her cues and signals, and have a heightened perception of their needs. A study published in the Pediatrics Journal found that keeping your baby close reduces crying and fussiness by up to 51%, with parents feeling more competent and nurturing towards their children. Being in close physical contact with a parent provides a baby with a rich environment where almost all of their important needs can be met – warmth, love, touch and food.
Keep them amused… You don’t necessarily need to be laden with hundreds of toys, but a few well thought out ones can make all the difference. If your baby is teething, then be sure to have your baby’s favourite teething toy on hand (don’t forget these can easily be attached to LapBaby to prevent them falling on the floor). Avoid electronic or particularly noisy toys as these can cause irritation and unnecessary friction with other passengers.
Books - You can never go wrong with a good book! For really young babies, black and white picture/shape books are ideal for helping develop early focus, whilst for slightly older babies, touch and feel books offer greater engagement.
Nursery rhymes – The sound of your voice has the power to soothe and calm your baby right from the start. Action nursery rhymes add an element of fun and learning to the mix. Try nursery rhymes like: Pat-a-cake; Incy Wincy Spider; Round-and-Round the Garden; This Little Piggy; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
Treasure Tub – Older babies are experts at using their hands, and they're figuring out concepts like ‘in/out’ and ‘empty/full’. Combine these two emerging skill sets by taking along two lidded plastic containers, one empty and one filled with objects (treasure!) that'll capture your little ones interests; blocks, plastic animals, or squares of brightly coloured fabric. Put the two containers next to each other and encourage your pint-sized companion to move the objects from one container to the next, then back again. Though this one won't play well in the car, it's a perfect pastime when you're traveling with baby by plane or train.
Finger Puppets – A great way of interacting using your hands and incredibly space-saving in design too!
Mirror, Mirror – A small, unbreakable mirror can be intriguing for a baby, especially since self-recognition doesn’t kick in until the second-year. Use it to play ‘peek-a-boo’ whilst they’re sitting face forwards on your lap.
Keep them comfy… Be sure to dress baby in layers ahead of the flight so you can add or remove layers depending on the cabin temperature. If your baby suffers from discomfort from air pressure changes during take-off and landing, encourage him/her to breastfeed or suck on a bottle or pacifier. If you’re taking a particularly long flight your baby is likely to want to sleep, so a bassinet and familiar blanket is always a good idea – often bassinets will need to be arranged with the airline in advance, but there are alternative options out there like the Skybaby baby travel mattress.
Keep them hydrated and fed… While there are restrictions on the liquids you can take on a plane, they don’t apply to food or milk for your baby. That means you can take as much as you need for the journey in your hand luggage. This includes: expressed breastmilk, formula, or cow’s milk, boiled water to make a feed (must be in a baby bottle), baby food, including finger foods!
Keep them safe… Assemble a first-aid kit with the supplies you might need to deal with minor medical problems while in-flight. Don't forget prescription medications, even if your baby only needs them on occasion. Fill out an emergency sheet with your child's health information or save it on your phone. Include the contact names and numbers of healthcare providers and a list of any allergies your child has or medications he takes. That way, everything is in one place if you need it.