You've welcomed your little one into the world and now it's time to take them on a small adventure or two. They might not be ready to take on exotic locations just yet, but there's plenty of excitement to be had just in a little visit to see family, or in baby's first holiday abroad. However, first they need to master the art of riding the train or taking a flight. To make their plane or long rail journey go smoothly, have a read of our top tips for travelling with baby.
travelling with baby from birth
If you’re wondering when you can fly with your baby, it’s probably sooner than you think. If your little one is at least two days old, most airlines should be happy for them to fly. However, some airlines will insist that your baby is at least two weeks old. Some may also ask you to provide a fit-to-fly letter from your doctor if your baby is less than two weeks old. Since there are no standard regulations, it’s always best to check with your airline before you book.
plan, plan, plan
Before you've even booked your tickets, it's a good idea to think about what travel times would work best for your little one. For example, peak train times tend to be a bit hectic and space can be at a premium. If you're flying, you might want to try and go overnight, as this will hopefully mean baby sleeps most of the way.
choosing your seat
When you're flying, being tactical with your seating choices can make all the difference for both you and baby. If you have older children, sit them by a window so they have something to look at when they're bored. However, it's better to sit younger ones closer to the aisle so you're not squeezing past plenty of passengers each time they need the loo. Try to grab a seat near both the toilets and the exit. Many airlines give priority boarding to those with children so getting on the plane should be a doddle.
If baby is under two years old, they’ll probably need to sit on your knee. The cabin crew will give you an extender seat belt to secure them in with you. Some long-haul flights provide a carrycot but these are usually first come first serve, so make sure you check ahead of time.
surviving feeding time
When your little one gets hungry, they’re likely to get a little grouchy. Try feeding baby regularly to avoid temper tantrums. While there are strict restrictions on carry-on liquids for flights, you can take as much baby food, milk and formula as you need. You’ll be allowed through security with:
• expressed milk, cow’s milk or formula • boiled water (it has to be in a baby bottle) • baby food and snacks
Breastfeeding on the flight means you'll have less to carry through security. Equally, feeding during take-off and landing can ease pressure on baby's ears too.
packing your hand luggage
Luggage restrictions do make packing for trips a little tricky. However, planning ahead and tucking these small things in your handbag can make the journey much easier:
• a few little toys • a sterilised dummy • a change of clothes (for you and baby) • nappies and wipes in a small, separate wash bag • muslin cloths • enough food and formula (pack more in case of delays) • a sling or carrier for moving around on-board
Most airlines and trains provide changing tables in their bathrooms. These may be cramped but they still provide a better experience than wiping baby's bum in your seat! Remember to bring extra nappies as airlines don’t always cater for different sizes.