Survival Guide for Traveling with Baby!

Published on: March 27, 2018

With acute wanderlust, former flight attendant Victoria has traveled to over 20 international destinations with her 16-month-old daughter. She takes an informative and irreverent look at traveling with an infant.

By Victoria Davis

If the words “traveling with an infant” send a shiver up your spine, don’t worry. I’m here to help! Yes, it can be challenging but also rewarding. My daughter will forever be able to say she spent her first birthday in Rome! And my husband and I will always be able to say, what an achievement! We did it and we did it well.

My husband and I are compulsive travelers and started traveling with Odessa when she was 6 weeks old. First Brisbane to Melbourne for Christmas with family and then Melbourne to Sydney for New Year’s Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour aboard my dad’s boat.

Utilize all the resources that you can. And above all, try and stay calm.

Luckily for us, Frankie (as she is affectionately called) has the right temperament for travel, being very easy-going, social and happy. She has been on 50+ flights to over 20 international destinations, some long haul, some short. A lot of that, I have done solo with her.

As mothers, we judge ourselves against what we think are other people’s expectations. Traveling with a child is no different. I don’t want to be THAT mother with the screaming child on the plane.

Well, I’m here to tell you, I’ve been THAT mother and I don’t give two figs!

Of course, I am always polite and conscious of others, but when you travel with your child, never apologize for the methods that you use. Utilize all the resources that you can.

And above all, try and stay calm – that is key! By staying calm, your baby will be calm too and you will both enjoy the journey so much more.

My Best Travel Equipment

Baby Carriers

A heavy-duty option and a soft wrap option. Our sturdy carrier converts to a backpack. Having your hands free is essential when traveling. Some airlines (Thai and AirAsia for example) will allow you to wear the baby in the carrier upon take-off and landing, which is great if the baby is asleep or close to sleep.

Stroller

We’ve only recently started using a stroller but when we finally came around to buying one, compact was a must! There are 3 or 4 travel prams on the market; we use the City Jogger Tour, at 7.4 kilos in weight that folds into a backpack. It can be taken on board as hand luggage and is therefore available straight after disembarking the plane. When open, it is a full-size pram, not an umbrella stroller.

Portable high-chair

Described by a friend as ‘a humane way to restrict a child and give you a break’, it has been a lifesaver all over the world. So many places don’t have highchairs or if they do, the chair doesn’t have straps or belts. This highchair retrofits onto just about any highchair or a normal chair with a back. We use Little Beetle; it is very compact and highly adjustable.

The onboard luggage

My wheelie bag is totally dedicated to holding a spare everything! A full set of spare clothes for myself – this is vital – don’t think you can get away with just a spare t-shirt because when you need it, you’ll need it all! Underwear, pants, tops and even socks.

  • Spare clothes for baby. I tend to take multiple layers as airports and planes can be so varied in temperature, easy items that come off and on. A long onesie, short onesie, pants, singlets, socks. Two of everything! It may seem excessive but I’ve used all items on some long-haul flights.
  • Spare favorite sleep toy/teddy (essential if the actual favorite toy gets lost, heaven forbid!). Make sure the spare toy smells familiar by having baby sleep with it for a few nights.
  • Baby headphones. Soft headband headphones can be found online, fantastic for playing gentle music while sleeping and blocking out noise.
  • Baby bag backpack (sits on top of wheelie bag): food, two bibs, two spoons, wipes – I put all into one ziplock bag so it is easy to access.
  • Bottles, teats, caps for formula and water. One small bottle of spare water (this will pass security as it is for the infant)
  • Sterilizing tabs, miniature bottle brush.
  • Medical items (Panadol, thermometer, coconut oil, Band-Aids, antibacterial hand sanitizers, cotton balls). Make sure all liquids are under 100ml and contained in clear plastic bags, then you won’t have problems with security clearance.

My advice for an infant, don’t take a lot of toys. Baby will want to play with everything other than the toys! Teething items yes, toys, no. Books are better.

Make sure nappies and wipes are easily accessible. A great tip is to have one nappy and a few wipes in one ziplock bag that you can grab for each change and be rid of when finished.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used for both baby and self. I’ve used essential oils since Odessa was born and find them invaluable, especially when traveling. Here are our favorites.

***NOTE: Please do your own research to ensure essential oils are suitable for you and your child.***

  • Doterra OnGuard blend: protect against germs and airborne sickness.
  • Doterra Easy Air blend: for sinus.
  • Lavender: calming.
  • Frankincense: 1 drop on the crown of the head for grounding once arrived at the destination.
  • Lemon: ease stomach gas and release poos. A couple of drops onto dirty clothes can help reduce smell.
  • Tea tree: antibacterial.

Ear-popping Gear

Always have a breast, bottle or pacifier ready for take-off and landing.
  • Take-off: Ear popping is always done best between the plane leaving the runway and when the seat belt sign goes off. Babies tend to sleep or be lethargic at this point, due to the drop in cabin pressure. By using this time effectively, your baby should get some good sleep.
  • Top of descent: This is the point in the flight when the plane feels like it decelerates and the cabin pressure starts to condense again. Another key time to work on ear-popping with breastfeeding, bottle or dummy.
  • Landing: Once the plane has landed and is taxiing to the terminal, the final ear-popping should be done.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Be aware that your baby may get extra gas when flying. Frankie is notorious for doing monstrous poos post-flight (or during, if she has been on multiple flights). She has never suffered from ear issues but consistently gets a sore tummy from flying.

Essential oils and sucking can help with this also. Most international airlines carry baby food onboard which you can request at any time during the flight. They will also rinse bottles with boiling hot water if required.

Etihad even has a dedicated nanny service (a trained flight attendant) on their long-haul flights.

Most flight attendants are very helpful when you travel with an infant, particularly if you need to go to the toilet, get something out of your luggage or just need a break.

***I was a flight attendant for five years hence my knowledge of such things!

My Best Airport Tips

We don’t fly business class, but having a baby is THE ticket to accessing all the priority queues like security, customs, and flight boarding, even on the cheaper airlines.

We are lucky that we have access to many airport lounges due to my husband’s frequent flyer status, but some of the airport’s public baby, children, and breastfeeding lounges are incredible! I’m talking about Amsterdam Schiphol! With dedicated pods, full-size cots, soft lighting, zero noise, baby changing areas, highchairs, hot water, and microwaves, it’s a whole other world and free!

Almost all airports have ‘baby lounges’ these days.

If traveling solo – always ask for help. People are generally kind, considerate and willing to assist.

This year we’re off to Laos, Penang, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, so would you kindly take your seats, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!

 

Cover photo by tookapic from Pixabay.

About the Author

Victoria Davis is a professional Astrologer who has been in Bangkok for 12 months, having moved from Australia with her husband and daughter, Odessa. Victoria enjoys yoga, meditation, Thai massage, and spending time with friends and family. She runs a “Community Travel and Living” group on Facebook and her astrology work can be found at “Who Am I Astrology” on Facebook, Instagram and www.whoamiastrology.com.


The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

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