Traveling with a baby is never easy. Air travel with infants in India somehow just makes it all seem a tad scarier! Actually, with the right preparation in place, it’s just fine. Truly, trust me, this is from someone who was a hot mess when she travelled for the first time. The baby? As it turns out, she loved the flight! Was a total trooper throughout.
Let’s get started. I like to carry along a car seat as the baby is strapped in through the cab journey to the airport and you can check in the car seat as well once you reach. A quick note, most airlines don’t let you do a web check-in if travelling with an infant. So, it helps to arrive early to ensure you have seats of your preference and have enough time for any diaper emergencies.
- Travel with light hand baggage: A spacious diaper bag with tons of pockets is personally one of the best baby investments I’ve made. And if you are travelling alone with the baby, make sure that it’s your only carry-on.
Trust me, it’s no fun lugging along a cranky baby with a bag that feels like its full of rocks (heavy ones!). Some essentials to pack include baby’s medicines, moisturising cream, insect repellants, extra clothes for baby, extra diapers, diaper rash cream, changing mat and plastic bags to trash the diaper. One supermom who travels extensively with her baby swears that carrying baby’s blankie from home helps them sleep better with familiar scents.
- Changing the baby: Once you reach the airport, you can look for the baby room to change or feed the baby. This way the baby is fresh, full and ready for the journey. I find the pants style diaper easier to use, especially while trying to change a wriggly infant. Most airports have a baby room, the odd airport that doesn’t? Well, I was once at a small airport in South India in peak summer (45 degrees) with a 3-month-old baby.
Guess what, the aircon wasn’t working at the airport was under renovation! My baby was going red with the heat and me… errr… red with outrage. Till I discovered this cosy corner called the ‘VIP’ room. It was open thankfully and had air conditioning. I sashayed in and informed the bemused guard on duty that my bawling, a red faced infant was a VIP.
Baby and I actually managed to spend a pleasant half hour while the mortified husband slunk away with an “I’ve no clue who that crazy person is” look. Motherhood! Brings out the dragon in the most peaceful of women. (Wish you had a portable version of the changing mat in the image? Evil grin.). Don’t forget to keep the diaper rash cream handy. Try Mamaearth’s diaper rash cream with calendula extracts – it will keep your baby’s bottom soft and moisturised.
- Seating: Most people with a baby prefer the window seat as you can try and distract the baby with the view. It also offers a tiny bit of privacy if you need to feed. And oh, it keeps the baby away from any hot drinks or beverages that may be passed up and down the aisle. Ummm…fair warning, I’m a teensy bit paranoid.
I also carry tons of wet wipes and sanitisers as well and prefer to wipe up the areas that baby may touch on the flight. (But I’m a bit of a wet wipe freak, so feel free to disregard this!). Also, some babies tend to poop a bit during flights, so if you’re in for a long haul, a seat a tad closer to the facilities may help.
- Take off / Landing: Do try and feed the baby during take-off and landing. If you are breastfeeding the baby, and feel a bit shy about nursing in public, nursing covers are awesome. I’ve perfected the art of the “Medusa glare” for anyone who suggests I feed the baby in the loo.
Do you want to eat your lunch in the loo Mister? Ha, thought not! A bottle-fed baby can also get a bottle of breastmilk/water. Anything to keep the baby sucking will help in pressure changes for the ear as the flight takes off or lands. If your baby is of solids, you can have the baby snack on his or her fave finger foods to keep busy.
- In-flight entertainment: So, now that you are onboard and settled, how ‘bout some good old entertainment? Depending on the age of the baby, you can settle down with a mix of old and new toys like rattles, books, puzzles, pacifiers or even teethers.
Also, helps to carry a small new toy that you think may interest your infant. Some babies seem to enjoy trying to engage with the neighbours as well. Oh well! Can’t prep for that. And if you are super lucky, your baby might enjoy the white noise hum of the aircraft and take a nap.
- For those of you travelling alone, here’s what babywearing pro-Sreema Deepak has to say “My first flight with the little one was when he was 3 months old. Wearing him made my travel super comfortable. For smaller babies ring slings are the go-to carriers, very airy, easy to nurse and the tail of the sling makes a good breastfeeding cover. It’s easy to adjust the ring sling, so works well for feeding formula-fed babies as well.”
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy your journey. Here are a happy, stress-free air travels with your infant!
Image Credits: Lucy Scott, Doodle Diary of a Mom