Updating my blog has taken a long time, no excuses of course but I have been on a holiday traveling with my baby since early March and just returned couple of weeks ago back to Bondi with my baby.
It’s been a roller coster drive for sure. Meeting so many family members and friends in two countries, changing place every night for a period of time, and then dealing with a sick child good couple of weeks while traveling. No doubt there is a lot to tell about this holiday, but first wanted to share my input to the topic of flying with a baby.
I was lucky to have my partner flying with me and our son from Sydney to Doha, and again to London. When I returned I fly back by myself with my son. I have to say the experience was better than I expected. My son was eight months old when we left Sydney, and again ten months old when I returned, so my experience is obviously connected to his age. Below some tips and thoughts.
How to get your baby to sleep in the airplane?
Everyone told me don’t bother to book a newborn bassinet for your son, he is too big and mobile for it. However, I wanted to have that option just in case if we would be lucky enough to somehow make him to sleep in it. Our son was a bit too big and mobile for it for sure, however we managed to make him to sleep in it two sets of few hours, which was a relief and gave some rest to me and my partner. The secret was to rock him to sleep in our lap first, and then very very gently move him to the bassinet. We also had a Flybabee or nowadays called Cozigo, which was useful because Qatar Airways had a flashing screen just on top of our baby’s bassinet! Flybabee blocked the light and helped our son to sleep in the bassinet. If you are traveling by yourself you have to be careful in case if your baby is able to sit, roll, crawl or stand. Our son woke up and was sitting in the bassinet ready to jump off, luckily my partner was awake that moment. Otherwhise our baby could have dropped down and injured himself. The other tricky thing about the airplane baby bassinet is that if there is turbulence based on the rules you need to take your baby out of the bassinet.
The other easy way for a baby to sleep in the plane is obviously in your lap. We did that as well, but personally I find this very exhausting. I have to stay still in one position, arms, legs and back can get really sore and it’s impossible to go to the toilet or little walk when you hold your baby in the lap hours and hours. When I traveled back to Sydney with my son by myself, sleeping in the lap first seemed to be the only option because he was totally grown out of the baby bassinet at the age of ten months.
Third way how we managed to make our baby to sleep in the plane was to utilise the free seat that was next to us. We placed our bags and some extra pillows on top of each other and placed them in front of the free seat so that the seat was kind of longer and created a little bed for our baby. Our baby slept few hours in this seat, he clearly liked the fact he was able to roll over on his belly. Though, also this arrangement requires parent attention, in case if the baby wakes up, they can try and crawl off. However the drop down is a lot less than from the bassinet. I heard some mums using some air blowable leg rests or other suitable items, they tuck these between the seat and the chair in front of their seat, and similar way make a bed for their baby or toddler. If you are lucky and get two free extra seats next to you, then you could do what I did when I traveled back to Sydney from Doha. I was totally exhausted after holding my son in a lap (and already traveled from Finland to Doha…), I placed my son to the floor on top of the blankets, however the airline staff strictly said that’s not allowed. I started to panic because I was so tired and felt physically unwell, and there was still 12 hours of traveling ahead of us in the plane. Luckily the staff was lovely and one Air Stuert gave his helping hand to baby proof two extra seats for my son (he was using extra bassinet frames and pillows) so that he wasn’t able to drop down. So my son got a nice little bed on top of the two free seats and the bassinet frames and pillows blocked him from dropping down. I’m not sure what I would have done without this extremely lovely and helpful Cabin Crew member. I owe him a massive thanks!
In my opinion flying with a baby is not fun and definitely not relaxing, but it was easier than I expected, and the time goes quickly when you travel with a little one. Good luck to all little travellers and their parents! You can do it!