Travelling with your baby for the first time – Part Two – Taking Flight!

When I was with you last time, I said I would write a follow up to travelling with your baby for the first time. So, in this blog, I’m going to focus on what I thought was going to be one of the scariest things we’ve ever done – flying off for a holiday in the sun with our first little man!  

Admittedly, when we took a young Jenson (JJ) on his first foreign holiday, he was very slightly older than Tommy is now. But I have to say, I would do it again tomorrow. Especially if I could guarantee Tommy will love flying as much as JJ did!

I’d built it up to be this huge, daunting thing, but it really wasn’t bad at all for us. Don’t get me wrong, Chris looked as though he had literally bundled every single bit of baby baggage we had all in one huge stack of suitcases, changing mat, travel cot, sun creams, hats, nappies. You name it, we took it!

It was like a massive game of Jenga at the airport when we needed something out from the pile!

I really chuckle when I look back at the photographs. And considering that was only a couple of years ago, even with two small children now, it wouldn’t phase me at all.

Baby gadgets and travel equipment have progressed so much even since we went away with JJ. Some of which I’m really chuffed to say are going down a treat with our customers here at Designer Baby.

I’d love to help you prepare for your first holiday abroad, and know you’re going to enjoy it as much as we did. So these hints and tips will hopefully send you on your way with a smile on your face, and a flutter in your heart (of excitement, not panic).  

Staying Safe

I mentioned last time that whatever you are doing, and wherever you are going, safety must come above everything else.

There seems to be this thing about going on holiday, that as soon as you step on a plane or even into the airport, you forget your brain. Come on, admit it, I’m not the only one. Obviously with a baby, or little ones, in tow, you just can’t – no pressure!!

So, as well as keeping your brain fully functioning, remember too that your young ones (obviously not a newborn) might be quite confident already rolling or toddling around at home – the place they are familiar with. But somewhere completely different is going to throw them in terms of their recognition of surroundings, smells, feel of things around them. And they’ll want to look around and explore more than ever (if they are at that stage). Whilst you may think you’ll be more relaxed in the sun, afterall, you are on holiday, your mini-me will be on sensory overload.

So, keep your eyes peeled, brain and senses in gear, and be ready to leap off your sunbed to the rescue!

With safety in mind, I referred to car seats in the earlier blog, and the same applies if you are hiring a car on holiday. Make sure you have one confirmed in your booking (if you’re not taking your own), and that it is safely and securely fitted before you set off to your holiday destination.

Speaking of which, you need to decide where you’re heading off to!

Choosing your flight and holiday destination

Travel time – in the same way you would be better to plan your car travel around your baby’s routine, the same goes for timing your flight and transfer if possible. Having said that, there are two schools of thought here (typical!)

If your little ones are good sleepers through the night, a night flight might cause less disruption. Alternatively, a day flight could wear you all out just enough to guarantee you’re all sleepy enough to just get fed, watered, and then flop straight into bed.  

I know for us, psychologically, a short-haul flight was enough to tackle for our little man’s first flying experience, and we know we can head further afield for a long-haul feeling a lot more confident now. The bonus being none of us were jet-lagged and there was little by way of a time difference.

Whatever you’re feeling though, don’t forget, you know what’s going on. Your baby doesn’t, so will likely be a bit tetchier than you!

One of the other great bonuses of travelling with your little ones is that you get to board first. Wehey! As I said, JJ absolutely loved his first flight, and smiled his way through most of the journey. Other than when he was eating or sleeping. In fact, it was a pleasure to see him staring out of the window in amazement, then snoozing comfortably. Those neck cushions are a definite must-have though.

We made sure we were well prepared. And that’s one thing I will say, try to book a front row seat or bulkhead if you can. Get yourself any extra space you can muster and be prepared for achy arms from holding your baby much of the time. Even a relatively short flight can still be uncomfortable – especially with a little chunky monkey like mine! But if you can’t get extra space, at least try to get seats together so you’re not having to shuffle up the aisles to see each other. This is where pre-flight confirmations and checking every detail really matter.

Packing for the flight means snacks, toys, and any form of distraction (same as I said for travelling by car), and make sure you have easy access to nappies, muslins, and all your changing bits and pieces.

In fact, make the best use of the seat pockets too. Bottle, food pouches, wipes, dummies, change of clothes for baby and maybe a clean top for yourself – have you ever known the shame of having mushed up veggies and dribble (or worse) down your top, and being stuck with the stench for what feels like in an eternity, all in an enclosed space?!

Feeding time - A great piece of advice I was given was to try and feed at take-off and landing. As adults, we are often advised to suck on a sweet to stop the ear pop, right? Feeding baby at the same time does the same and of course creates another distraction.   

Transfer time – going from the airport to your holiday destination, whether you are hiring a car or using a coach transfer, it’s another whole different experience and can be quite exhausting for everyone. Our transfer time wasn’t too bad at all. Time of day as well as length of time the transfer will take should be taken into consideration, as you just want to get there as soon as possible.

Family friendly locations - always a winner – we had great fun!

Self-catering, half board, full board, or all inclusive? I can’t say which is going to be the best option for you, because you know your own preferences and requirements in terms of cooking, catering, or just letting everyone else take care of that for you.

We were well cared for, and thankfully, my little munchkin was well received by the hotel staff – good job as he constantly wanted to say hi to everyone, hands in everything, amusing all the other guests with every move, watching them eating and drinking, and wondering why he couldn’t sit on their sunbeds with them too!

Honestly, being around families in the same situation as we were made it so much easier. Laughing at all the shenanigans, rather than feeling we had to apologise to them with every burp, gurgle, and giggle.

Packing for the holiday

Preparation - Gone are the days of last minute, over packing, for yourself! You can’t be setting off with a different pair of shoes and clean outfit for each day, and even more for evenings out. How many swimming costumes do you really need anyway? And you’ll be in the sun – a couple of pairs of flip flops will be plenty!

As for baby, all-in-ones (long and short-sleeved), suntan cream, sun hat, sunglasses, and bathing suits with arms and legs for ultimate sun protection. Does anybody really care if they see your little ones in the same clothes more than once though? Don’t worry too much, and if there’s laundry facilities on site all the better. If not, you can wash their little clothes in your room anyway.  

Other baby items:

  • Passports – might sound obvious, but many people aren’t aware that babies need a  passport too. Much as we all know how much they’re going to change even in their first 12 months, so all the struggles to get the perfect passport picture are kind of in vain, they are still required.
  • Nappies and changing supplies – swimming nappies too – and your usual baby toiletries.
  • Meals, snacks, and your usual feeding equipment.
  • Blankets, sleepsuits, baby monitor, and a plug-in night light. So, an extra adaptor plug might be useful.
  • Travel cot* - if you haven’t requested one in your hotel, lightweight buggy, and baby carrier or sling.

*Like I said in the previous blog, I very rarely link to items we sell at Designer Baby, that’s not what my blogs are all about. But we have just started to sell the most amazing new travel items which are proving popular already, and I so wish we’d had when we first went away with Jenson!    

The POD Bag ® travel crib is the all-in-one solution for your travel needs. They are a brilliant design which takes you from a changing mat, opening into a travel crib which is just perfect for overnight stays or your first holidays with baby. I love them!

We have baby carriers too. These are a godsend, taking the pressure off your arms and shoulders, and perfectly safe and comfortable way for your baby to be carried. Some even pack away into their own little bum bag, so you don’t even need to worry about having yet another thing to add to your load. Just pack it away, fasten it round your waist with its own belt, and off you go!

And finally ….

The holiday itself is here, we’ve got you to your destination with all your kit and kaboodle. So now, please just relax, and enjoy yourselves!

Yes, you need to keep your wits about you, be ready to leap into action quick as a flash, but this is an opportunity to create some fantastic memories. We look at our pictures and think back to our little JJ’s first sunshine holiday, and honestly can’t wait to take Tommy just as soon as we can.

It'll be great to hear about your holiday experiences. Follow us on Instagram to keep up to date with everything going on with the Designer Baby family and let us know what’s going on with your families too.

Take care, stay safe, and much love,

From all here at Team DB xx