15 May 2018, by Flora Isabelle
I just came back from our first family holiday to Perth!
And I’m mighty pleased to announce that not only did Nate (and his two front teeth) survive the flight, the entire plane did too.
In fact, he barely fussed/ cried on both the flight there and back (I hope I’m not jinxing it for my next trip!), I thought I would share some tips that helped me.
A little background, the hubs and I have been trying to plan a holiday with bubs since like… forever but I was always paranoid about EVERYTHING. Especially the flight!
I think it’s the idea of being stuck with a baby on board in a cabin and the uncertainty of what to expect but now that I have gone through it, it really is a lot easier than expected and I wish we had done so earlier!
Here’s how you can make your trip a lot less turbulent – literally and figuratively haha.
Number One: Flight timing
I know many people suggest doing a red-eye flight so the baby will sleep on the plane but from reading up and asking around, most babies actually DON’T sleep well or at all when on the plane.
So I really wouldn’t suggest messing up their sleep schedule, otherwise it will mean a lack of a sleep for both baby and parents and that could mean a difficult start to the trip.
Maybe it would be different for a long haul flight but because Perth is just 5 hours away, I figured that with the lights on and noise etc during meals and take off and landing, it will effectively mean only 3 hours of quiet time on board and that will be wayyyy too little sleep at night, since Nate does a solid 7.00pm to 7.00am sleep daily.
We took the 9.30am flight, landed at 2.30pm, got the car, drove to the supermarket to pick up some essentials (he napped when we were grocery shopping), got to the hotel, checked in, gave him a nice and warm bath, fed him dinner and promptly got him to bed by 7.00pm.
Coming back was a little tricky though, as we would only land at 7.15pm and I was afraid that he would be sound asleep by the time we get home and I would then have to struggle with the dilemma of whether to bathe him or not (especially since the plane is so filthy!!!).
As it turned out, he was wide awake as we cleared immigration and on the bumpy taxi ride (once again, confirming my suspicions about a late night flight) but thanks to the efficiency of Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport (and divine intervention for keeping the roads clear), we were back real quick and I could give him a bath and got him to bed by 8.00pm.
Number Two: Bassinet
While Nate didn’t exactly sleep in it, the bassinet was super useful for us to keep him entertained for a couple of minutes while I shovel food into my mouth.
It also made a good storage spot for his toys, books, food, etc. and a pretty spacious diaper changing area. Plus, it helps that the bassinet row is usually where the other kids are so Nate had a great time waving (and flirting hahaha!) with the other babies on the plane.
For Singapore Airlines, I think you are automatically assigned a bassinet during booking if it’s available but for some other airlines (example ANA) you would have to call in to arrange for one. Check with your airline. Which brings me to my next point…
Number Three: Know your rights
NOT in a demanding way of course! But knowing beforehand what you can or cannot bring on board will make your packing (and life at large) a lot easier.
For example, if you are travelling with a baby you can bring more water than the standard 100ml (we brought a thermos of hot water to rinse his spoon and bowl since he’s already on solids) and I guess you could possibly bring more if you are on formula.
Additionally, the airline also provided us with baby food options (food jars, I know… but one meal wouldn’t hurt!) and could warm it up for you if you prefer. That being said, I had also packed some of his favourite snacks up the plane, just in case nothing on the plane is to his fancy.
Number Four: Toys and Books
Bring both old favourites and new toys that they haven’t played with yet. The WH Smith store at Changi Airport has quite a good selection of children’s books too. But be mentally prepared that your child will end up exploring the seat belt, the buttons on the seat etc which also means,
Number Five: Disinfectant
I think it’s no secret that airplanes are dirty so please bring the disinfectant sprays and anti-bacterial wipes and spam them like crazy.
Number Six: Don’t board early
Airlines often allow passengers with young children to board first but that could mean an additional 30 minutes of trying to confine your child to your lap… which we know isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Boarding a little later and keeping them entertained with the different sights and sounds of the waiting area might be better.
Number Seven: Feed baby during take-off and landing
This helps them to deal with the change in cabin pressure. Either latch, bottle-feed or offer a pacifier, this forces them to swallow and helps to prevent their ears from popping i.e. no crying! Yay!
Number Eight: Make friends with your neighbours
So they won’t hate you when your child is competing with theirs for the screamer of the year award.
Number Nine: Babywear if it’s nap time
You will be required to take your baby out of the stroller when going through security checks but if they are in a carrier, they don’t usually ask you to take them out. But you might have to get a pat down and a drug / explosive test swipe but that shouldn’t wake your baby up. Having a carrier on board also means your arms can be saved from all that carrying.
Number Ten: Take your time and RELAX
At the end of the day, just tell yourself that people can wait. Don’t stress yourself out which will in turn stress baby out… and we all know how THAT will turn out!
Hope this somewhat convinces you to take that first holiday with bubs.
Trust me that it is so so so worth it and experienced mamas out there, if you have any other tips and tricks, do share them with me too!