For some, the idea of travelling with kids can be both stressful and overwhelming. However, it doesn't have to be this way.
If you're planning a long haul flight with a baby in the coming months, following these simple tips and tricks will help to make your journey more enjoyable.
Invest in a sling or a baby carrier.
A sling or baby carrier may just be your holy grail when flying with an infant. In fact, you could just borrow one off a friend to help save a penny or two.
It will keep baby comfortable and close especially during nap time, allowing you to be hands-free to catch up on your favourite book or grab a bite to eat.
Try to plan both your flights to coincide with bedtime. Understandably evening flights can be more expensive but if ease is what you’re after, a sleeping child is a blessing for everyone.
If you have to make a connecting flight, plan it wisely with plenty of time in between both flights. The last thing you will need is a mad dash through an unfamiliar airport with a tot in tow.
Bring more of everything.
When packing your baby bag for a long haul flight, think ahead and pack extra nappies, a spare soother, paracetamol and our top tip - an extra change of clothes for both of you because who knows what disasters may unfold.
Make sure to bring familiar foods.
Prepare your babies favourite snacks to keep them fueled travelling through the airport and mid-flight. Long flights can be exhausting and the familiar foods that your baby likes will keep them from feeling cranky and hungry. While you're at it, make sure to rustle something up for yourself that can be eaten one-handed.
Make use of the baby changing facilities.
All aeroplanes have baby changing facilities so try not to stress about nappy changes. Keep in mind, however that the toilets are pretty cramped so try to only bring what you will need.
A portable DVD player could be your new BFF.
Borrow a portable DVD player and rent a bunch of DVDs from your local library for free or pre-download some baby-friendly programmes on Netflix such as Pocoyo, Word Party and Sarah and Duck.
Double-check what your airline can offer.
Most, if not all airlines allow you to bring an extra piece or two of baby luggage when flying such as a pram, car seat and/or travel cot. Check with your airline in advance to see what you bring with you.
On most flights babies under six months must sit on your lap throughout the duration of the flight - again this is one you will need to research yourself. Most airlines give you the option to book a seat and aircraft approved travel car seat.
During long haul flights with babies, some operators give you the option to request a cardboard bassinet cot for your baby - it's definitely worth looking into especially if you are travelling solo.
Prepare for flight delays.
You are allowed to bring formula on all flights, however, you may be asked to taste it to verify it is, in fact, baby milk. You can take as much milk both liquid and formula you will need but we always recommend you bring an extra bottle or two in case of delays.
Make sure both you and your baby take breaks.
Take frequent breaks - preferably every hour. Expecting babies to sit still for long periods of time is unrealistic. Walk up and down the aisles of the plane when it is safe to do so.
Take turns if at all possible. If you're travelling with someone do a baby swap every so often so you can catch a breather.
Get your baby to latch while taking off.
If your baby is breastfed, try to get your baby to latch during take-off and landing to help prevent their ears from popping - sucking a soother is a good option too.
And remember, if your baby chooses the worst possible time to turn into a screaming beast from another dimension, take a deep breath and try to keep calm - we have all been there.
Other than that, make sure you bring a few familiar toys from home, like books and teething toys to keep them entertained mid-flight and rotate them every couple of hours to help prevent boredom or better yet, get them something new.
Here at Family Friendly HQ, we're all about making life easier for you and your family. Our podcast, Motherboard, has teamed up with Lidl to offer you 20% off the award-winning Lupilu baby range. Available at all Lidl stores in the Republic of Ireland, you can get your voucher here.