From packing for every eventuality to crossing your fingers and toes that nothing sparks a screaming fit on board, travelling overseas with a baby in tow is easier said than done. Having taken my little ones (who are one and three now!) on holiday with me and the hubby a couple of times, I thought I’d impart a few words of advice for those who are worried about taking any tots abroad this summer.
Leaving on a jet plane
The first time I took the brood abroad, the idea of sitting among other passengers with major crying fits threatening to surface at even the slightest hint of turbulence was fairly daunting. The best way to avoid this is to ensure your baby is comfortable throughout the flight – think soft layers that can be easily removed and a battery operated fan to keep them cool. Take enough food and drink and a new toy as well as old favourites to keep them happy and occupied.
Screaming fits and incessant crying aside, new parents are often cautious about taking babies on a plane in case it’s dangerous. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests waiting until newborns are at least one week old before flying, but other than that you can rest assured GPs and paediatricians have not advised against taking babies on flights.
Tickets and baggage
There are things to consider before even getting on the plane. It might be easier to choose an airline based on whether you have to pay for a seat and what facilities are available onboard – some have special carrycots (perfect for when we went to Turkey last year!), baby seats and changing tables in the toilets. Some airlines may require you to have a ticket for your little one and others may not give you extra baggage allowance, so check beforehand to work out what’s best for you.
For me, a perfect holiday constitutes lying on a beach and doing next to nothing, so one of the first things I researched before taking the babies abroad was sun exposure. Since their skin is more sensitive and vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays, babies under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight. This doesn’t mean you can’t spend time on the beach – just make sure to take a sun tent and a high factor sun screen.
If you are heading off somewhere hot, you should make sure you are properly hydrated as chances are if you need extra fluids, your baby will too. If you have the misfortune to suffer food poisoning on holiday, since breast milk contains antibodies it is unlikely the infection will pass to your baby – but it is worth eating sensibly to avoid the problem completely. Make sure you have suitable travel insurance in place to cover all eventualities. Questor Insurance, who has just launched their ‘Be Holiday Savvy’ summer campaign have some great travel insurance deals for families.
If you’re lucky you may find that the hum of the engine sends your baby drifting happily towards the land of nod – and if you’re even luckier they will snooze for the entire journey!