12 Tips for Flying with Baby, Infant or Toddler
We are parents of two young boys. Like many other modern and “kiasu” parents, we will fly with our young boys. Middle this year, we flew to Taipei from Kuala Lumpur with our less than two year old son with our in laws. Rachel was pregnant at that time (we have permission with written letter from doctor to fly) and it was a really great experience flying with our son, Zen.
We were flying from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei and the flight duration was around 4 hours 40 minutes to five hours. Thanks to MHUpgrade, we got our business class cheap when we booked with Malaysia Airlines. This is our first time flying on Business Class and it will be better for the family. Lucky for us, Zen was a good boy throughout the flight.
We did lots of research from the Internet before we fly and we still get some hits and misses. Thus, from our experience we listed down the 12 tips for flying with baby, infant or toddler less than 24 months.
12 Tips for Flying with Baby, Infant or Toddler below 24 months:
Get the bassinet. When you book your airline tickets, you can book the seats with bassinets. It is usually in front of the each section. You should able to select it even you book online. If not, call the airline to book. Please take note AirAsia flights do not have bassinets. This is Malaysia Airlines flight so please call your airlines to verify.
Even though some airlines provide sleeping seats and sleeping pods, get the bassinet. The size of the bassinet is good for babies. At first we thought Zen is too big for the bassinet but we were wrong. He fits perfectly in the bassinet with extra space. Thus, he slept well in the bassinet and we were so happy for it.
Please take note that it is hard to place the baby on the seats at all times. Hence it is dangerous too.
That’s why it is important to book your seats with bassinet and the cabin crew will help you to set it up. It is quite simple.
However, during flight take off and flight landing, you need to carry your baby and there is a special safety belt for them. The cabin crew will explain to you.
- The Flight Flying Times
This is another important tip. The flying times of your flight. Please avoid booking early flights or midnight flights.
When you fly too early or too late, breaking the baby sleep pattern, the baby will go cranky. Once the baby is in discomfort, you won’t be flying easy.
Don’t fly early or late just because there are cheap flights. Remember you will be flying with your child so you need to sacrifice for it. Or else, you will get a cranky child on board and that is not a good idea.
- Flight duration
If you are flying first time with your child, try short haul first. Maybe the flight duration is within two to three hour for starter? We took the gamble and flew for almost five hours with Zen.
We got lucky as he was comfortable with the flight. Maybe it is Malaysia Airlines or the bassinet is too comfy for him.
However, don’t fly your child for super long haul like over 12 hours flight. The child might get really cranky.
Try fly on a short haul flight first and see how they react.
- Air Pressure
This is one of the main issues why babies cry on board. When the plane takes off, there is an increase air pressure in our ears. You just need to swallow or yawn to ease the pressure. However, most babies are not aware of it or know the way to ease it.
There are two simple ways to ease the pressure. Use the pacifier or Water/Milk Bottle. Just let them have the pacifier or drink some water or milk so they can ease the pressure in their ear when the plane takes off.
The same goes to fast elevators especially going up to towers or high level building in a short time.
Please take note that not all children have this air pressure discomfort. Zen copes pretty well with the air pressure. Please take note every child reacts differently as they are special.
- Breast Milk
For breast milk, if you are planning to bring breast milk in bottles into the flight, please contact the airline first. For securities, they are usually relaxed with breast milk. Remember please let them know that you are bringing breast milk and please check with them how much are you allowed to bring in.
We do not encourage milk powder as well but this is an option. For Zen, he was on milk powder as mummy has no supply on breast milk.
For water, you can easily get hot water and water from the cabin crew. Flying with Malaysia Airlines, the cabin crews were courteous and they were really helpful. You can always talk to cabin crews as they will help you for sure. Be nice to them, they can help you out in many tricky situations.
For babies who are eating solid food, you can call the airline for special baby food but it depends on airlines. Or else you have to prepare packed baby food which is easily purchased in supermarkets.
- Jacket or Long Sleeve and Blanket
Bring along a jacket or wear them long sleeve. You can easily get a blanket in the plane or just bring one for safety.
We often wear a few layers and start to take off the outer layer to keep ourselves cool. This is called “onion peeling” and it works best in winter areas. We are used to hot weather and not to cold weather so it is better to play safe. As once the baby catches a cold, it will ruins your holiday.
Just let them wear an extra jacket or long sleeve first and if it is not cold in the airplane, just take them off.
Maybe we are just being cautious but this is depends on you.
- Wet Tissues
Bring a pack of wet tissues, to wipe whatever you want. It is very handy and for those who want everything to be cleaned, the wet tissues are the saviour.
You need it during feeding time and also during emergencies especially diaper time. Just bring one or two big pack of wet tissues.
Carry more diapers when you are flying. Diapers are light and you are not sure how many the baby will need as it is their first time flying. If you are planning to fly long haul, please bring more.
You can’t buy diapers in the airplane as is not for sale in the inflight catalogue. Just bring a few more extras in your hand carry, it won’t hurt trust us.
There is one incident Zen was crying in the plane. He was scared of the confined space of the toilet. Thus, he didn’t want to enter the toilet as it frightens him. Thus, we have to change his diaper in our seat.
I know there are certain things you do not want to do during our flight but we have no choice.
- Games or Movies
This is not the best tip but it works. Download your child’s favourite shows or movies on your ipad/tab or smartphone and let them watch in flight when they get cranky.
If there are some educational games your child likes, you can let them play to kill time. When their mind is occupied, they will sit still in the bassinet. Once they are tired, just let them sleep in the bassinet. It works for Zen.
- Walk with Baby
Baby or toddlers can’t never sit and sleep all the time in the flight. For Zen, we let him walk a bit as he is quite a hyper child. If you are worried of turbulence, carry the baby and walk around.
Especially for long haul, walk with them or let them play with cabin crews. Let them have some activities rather than watching movies on the tab/ipad or inflight entertainment all the time.
- It is never easy
The truth is it is never easy to fly with babies. We know some parents brag how easy their child or children is but in actual fact it is never easy.
You need understanding passengers beside or behind you. Sometimes when babies go cranky, parents have tough time to calm them down and not many people understand that. There are no parents wanted their child to cry or get cranky in flight.
Prepare to get those cold and death stares from other passengers. You have to get used to it and pretend everyone else are not there.
If you are traveling with friends or families, they are your best friend. If not, cabin crews will be your BFF. Malaysia Airlines cabin crews are one of the best in the world (and award winning too) and they really helped us a lot especially in some tricky and unexpected situations.
We know there are some hit and misses in our tips for flying with baby. If you have any opinions or any tips, please comment so we can update this story. Thanks and we hope this will help parents in preparing for their flight with their babies.