Melbourne was Naomi’s first ever trip anywhere apart from home. It was going to be a new experience altogether – cooler weather, different people, new car seat… everything was going to be unfamiliar. But what made me most nervous was getting on the airplane. Packing for a seven hour flight can sometimes be a bit of a headspin anyway, at least for me as I am never able to sleep on flights. But with a bubs in tow, there are added logistics to think about.
Thankfully, we were traveling to a innately child-friendly country where we’d be staying with fellow-parental-type friends. They had kindly offered us their child seats, strollers, travel cots etc, so a lot of that was taken care of already. But nevertheless being the over thinker that I am, I still packed way too much! Here are some tips that you may find useful if you’re thinking of traveling with your bubs anytime soon:
Pick the right flight
I thought picking a 10.30pm flight on the way over was going to be a great decision. If I could get her to fall asleep at home, perhaps she’d sleep all the way through check-in and then on the actual flight itself. Boy, was I wrong.
Nae was so engaged and curious by the entire experience that she was kept awake well up past midnight. This made for a very cranky baby who was obviously overtired, fighting sleep in the bassinet and just general grouchiness all round. She finally fell asleep after playing peekaboo with someone sitting behind me, so thank god for that. But I think she got 4 hours of sleep tops, and the first day of the holiday was spent getting over her tiredness.
We chose a 7pm flight on the way back and that was so much better (see above). Although 7pm is usually bedtime, she was still chipper enough to beam and wave at fellow passengers, play with the baby next to us and then go to sleep about an hour and a half later. She had almost 5 hours of kip before she got up and that was still okay ‘coz we could put her to bed again when we got home to Singapore at 11pm ish, so she slept till morning. Hubba and I even had time to get a couple of movies in whilst she slept.
I’ll definitely look at flights around this time again if I need to take one in the evening.
Feed at the right time
I read a tip somewhere that the best time to start feeding is not when you’re taxi-ing towards the runway, but pretty much when the plane is going full speed down it and is about to take off. This definitely worked ‘coz it meant her bottle lasted the entire ascent and she didn’t have a single complaint at all about the cabin pressure.
The descent is a little trickier though. You’ll notice your ears start to feel funny already before the Captain even announces that we’re about to commence descent, so just look at the the ETA and gauge about an hour before to have your bottle (or boob) on hand. As soon as you feel like your ears are starting to go, start feeding and then feather her feed so your bottle lasts all the way down.
There’s also the bit where you have to try not to feed your baby that soon before the flight as well, so she actually drinks when you want her to.
Bring a fold-up recycle bag – handbag-sized
You can be all prepped with all your gear on hand in your baby bag. But what I found I needed on my first flight was a little handbag-sized bag to then chuck essentials into during take-off and landing, when the cabin crew insist you stow your bags in the overhead compartment. On the first flight, I struggled to keep pacifier, lovey, ready-made bottle, bib, burp cloth etc on my lap. So on the flight coming home, I brought a little cloth bag I could chuck all these things into, and it helped me immensely in staying organized through the chaos.
Take your carrier
Our Action Baby Carrier was a saviour on this trip. We walked around the airport with her tucked in so we had free hands to get stuff done, and she managed to catch a nap in it before the late flight as well. It also served as a good seatbelt for her during take-off and landing, whereas she’d squirm like crazy if we used the airline’s seatbelt extension.
One of the reasons why I ‘downgraded’ to a Combi Well Comfort Stroller was this trip. I thought it’d be good to have something on hand that Nae was familiar with, so she’d be fine taking naps in it when she needed to. And you know what, it was an investment well made. She was happy sitting in it whenever we needed to rest our backs and she had naps in it when she was exhausted. It was super light to take along and easy to use when I only had one hand. You can read my friend Beverly’s review of it here. She was the one who gave me stroller envy to begin with!
So that’s about it, I reckon! More about what we did in Melbourne to come…. But I think my greatest tip would be…
Be prepared for changes.
You can’t plan everything, even if you’re the type who just has to. With a baby, the best laid plans of mice & man oft go awry.
And that’s a fact!