Baby travel is a daunting prospect for any parent. It’s even more intimidating when you have to fly long distance and strangers stare you down as you make your way to your seat. At Petit Love, we’ve heard oh-so-many stories like this.
Amongst many of Parent.com‘s tips for travelling with a toddler, they advise;
- Always have baby wipes and hand sanitiser at the ready for those moments when you’re caught off guard
- Pack extra outfits and have them stashed in your baby bag
- Book a night flight so that your little one is sleepy throughout the flight
- Snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks
- Divide and conquer, and try to travel with your child’s other parent or another family member for extra support
But, frequent flyer mom Megan Nieuwoudt, takes everything in her stride. Since her daughter, Emily, was born they’ve lived a life of baby travel. Megan’s husband is an engineer and works all over the world, taking his family with him each time.
She shares her baby travel parenting tips with us, and trust us … if you’re a parent who is soon to hop on a flight, or take a long car journey, this blog is worth the read.
1. Megan, can you tell us a bit more about your life of baby travel?
We are a family of 3 and considered expatriates, so we move around every 2 years. It started just before Emily was born. She was 1 month old when I flew with her to Nigeria for the first time. Our next move is Zambia. Emily is now 1.
2. Despite Emily being so young, you’ve travelled extensively all over the world. Where has she visited so far?
We’ve been to Ghana, Nigeria and Europe with Emily.
3. Do you manage to stick to a family routine for Emily when you’re moving around?
We try and book flights that work around her sleep schedule but it doesn’t always work out that way. For parents, it’ll sometimes be out of your hands and you must be prepared to have a more difficult night ahead of you when you finally arrive at your destination.
4. What is your trick to help your baby sleep in a new environment?
When I’m on the plane or at the airport I find a quiet place. I hold her in my arms and sing to her. Sometimes, it helps to throw a small blanket over your shoulder, which will cover his/her head to make it seem darker so that she/he is less distracted.
5. We’re sure you’re no stranger to eye rolls from strangers on a plane. Do you have a secret to keeping her entertained for such long hours?
I always pack in a few toys from home to keep her busy, and I walk around in the isles with her. It’s good for both Emily and myself to have a little stimulation.
We suggest a collection of books to keep your little one busy!
6. How old do children have to be before they require a passport to travel?
Baby travel requires a passport from birth when travelling internationally. You’ll always have to travel with your Child’s Unabridged Birth Certificate and a consent letter from the other parent if he/she is not travelling with you.
7. What do airlines charge for baby travel, and how does the seating logistics work?
Airlines don’t usually charge for an infant under 2 years of age. They’re booked to sit on your lap. I’d advise that parents try to book the seat with a bassinet so that they can put their baby down when they fall asleep. From 2 years old, parents will need to pay for a seat for baby travel.
View our full range of Travel Systems
Donna is the Petit Love recommended solution for flying with babies. This car seat is approved for air travel in both the United States and Europe, and in airlines in South Africa. Prior to flying, we’d recommend doing research with the airline of your choice. It’s the perfect way to get through the airport, fly on the plane, and then secure your baby in a rental car without a problem.
8. What’s been the most family-friendly airline you’ve experienced and why?
Definitely flying with Qatar. The flight crew are always keen to hold your baby for a while, walk with your baby in the aisles, and give you a small break if you need to use the bathroom. Even the Dubai airport has nursery booths, which I loved. Emily and I often took a nap there during our overlay flights.
9. When you’re on-the-go, what items do you always have in your baby bag?
Wet wipes, an extra set of clothing and more than 2 or 3 bibs. And, always a warm top as the air conditioning can get very cold on planes.
10. Are there any South African baby products that you take back with you?
11. What would be your biggest piece of advice for parents who are travelling with their little ones?
It’s not usually going to go the way you intend it to go, so don’t get worked up about it. Remember that it’s a temporary situation and it will be over soon. Laugh about the situation, and just go with the flow.