Flying Across The World With Infants

Let’s be honest, the thought of flying across the world with not one, but two one-year olds, sounds like hell!  We did it — and we lived to tell about it.  Here are some tips that we learned:

In preparation for the flight:

  • Kids under 2 can be lap infants. However, when flying international, you need to actually book a lap infant ticket. It typically costs 10% of the fare and includes meals (ask for kids food), as well as a checked bag and a stroller (depends on the airline).
  • If your kid is under 23 pounds, request the bulkhead seats with a bassinet.  All airlines have different rules and procedures, so make sure to look it up and all multiple times to confirm.  If you don’t get a bulkhead, make sure you have an aisle so that you can easily get up and down with your baby. NOTE: if you get a bulkhead and don’t plan on using bassinets, the arm rests don’t rise, so if you want to lay your kid across the seats, that won’t work.
  • Make sure that you have enough toys, foods/snacks, but don’t have too much.  Too much “crap” will weigh you down, literally.

What to pack in the carry-on-bag:

  • Food: puffs, nosh’s, late July peanut butter crackers, applesauce, pouches, water cups, bread, rice cakes.
  • Clothing: PJ’s, t-shirt, new outfit, swaddle blanket (for sleeping), blanket
  • Accessories: Monkey Mat, hand wipes, face wipes, anti bacterial wipes, carriers (Ergo 360 and Beco), Solly wrap (my favorite), airplane pillow (for mama).
  • NOTE: we decided not to bring car seats on our 3 month trip. If you bring car seats, inquire with the airline whether there is room on the flight and if you can bring your seats on board. You’ll have to ask at the airport, since they won’t give you approval ahead of time if you haven’t booked an extra seat.

Pre-Boarding (day of):

  • We prefer to bring our stroller and carriers to the gate. This way, we can wheel them around until the flight is ready to board. We also brought our carriers (Ergo 360 and Becco), so we could be wearing them as we boarded. This made for an easier transition to our seat.
  • Don’t forget to bring the babies passports as well as a copy of their birth certificate (just in case).
  • After security, we let our kids crawl around to release some energy. Yes the floor may be dirty, but it’s better than cranky kids. Some airports have an area for kids.
  • Change diapers before boarding and buy a large bottle of water for the flight — not only is it important to keep kids hydrated, but also mom and dad.
  • If you’re nursing, I’d suggest waiting to feed them during takeoff. Also, make sure they’re not starving, but also feed them on board, as this will take up some time.  If you’re pumping, many airports have nursing/pumping rooms. Google before you go.

On the flight:

  • Bring anti-bacterial wipes and clean the entire area near your seat, armrest, buttons, tray table. I also suggest putting a mat of the tray table (we don’t go anywhere without or Neat Solutions disposable placemats).
  • Nurse, bottle feed, water feed or just feed during takeoff. This will help their ears.
  • If you’ve requested a bassinet, they won’t set it up till after takeoff. Usually they are clean and provide some sheets/pillows, but I suggest bringing your own blanket as well.
  • Toys, distractions, whatever you can do! We brought a handful of toys that the babies could play with. We also utilized magazines (to rip up), tissues (to tear up), books, iPhones, you name it.
  • Many times during the flight, we utilized the space near the bathrooms to play with the babies. Keeping them confined and quiet in one small space is not easy.

Lessons we learned:

  • Book a night flight – we flew during the day (and the night) and it was hard to get the babies to go to sleep at 3pm.
  • Bring an extra person with you! We had our nanny and we don’t think we could’ve done it without her.
  • Utilize help around you
  • Pre-board
  • Pay for a porter before check in
  • Don’t bring too much stuff!
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