My baby was 3 months old when we first travelled with her. At first, it was quite a daunting thought taking the baby on a plane for over 6 or so hours, thousands of feet up in the air, where everybody on that plane could potentially be witness to me struggling with the demands of my baby. All I want to be in that situation, is in the privacy of my own home, on the ground. But life must go on and I told myself that we are not the first couple to fly with a new baby, and so we flew and all thanks is due to Allaah for making it such a smooth and stress free journey. The baby was such a joy on the plane - mashaAllaah - and this was helped by my first and most important tip and that is:
Supplicating to Allaah Before and During the Flight & Putting your Trust in Allaah.
At the end of the day nothing moves, lives, dies, falls except that Allaah knows of it and it is all the Will of Allaah.
So it is He, Allaah, that we ask to aid us in our decisions and aid us in our affairs. So pray istikhara and continue making dua to Allaah by supplicating to Allaah using the supplications of the Prophet Muhammad (salallaahualayhi wa salam). You can find many of them in the beneficial and pocket sized book, 'Fortress of a Muslim', which is also available as a phone app. And don't forget during the journey to make plenty of your own dua as the dua of the traveller is accepted. I always remember this verse when flying, as it helps ease any anxiety alhamdolilah:
Do they not see the birds held (flying) in the midst of the sky? None holds them but Allaah [none gave them the ability to fly but Allaah]. Verily, in this are clear proofs and signs for people who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah).
(SubhanAllaah what does that saying go like... ? Atheist until the plane drops?)
Make sure you grab those bassinet seats.
It is well worth calling your airlines and making sure you have the bassinet seats booked (these are usually at the very front of each section of the plane). You will then be provided with a bassinet for you to put your baby to sleep in so you're not having to carry him/her in your arms throughout the flight. Another bonus is the plenty of leg room which is a blessing especially if your one of those people that suffer with #tallpeopleproblems!
Choose your layovers wisely.
Have a good think about how long of a layover you want, as now that you're traveling with a baby you need to take into consideration worse case scenarios as babies can be unpredictable. Me and my husband opted for a 16 hour layover instead of 4 hours. We booked a hotel allowing for all of us to sleep, wash and prepare ourselves for the next flight, as well as restocking any supplies for the baby. A 4 hour transit might have been too stressful; too little time to do anything and too much time to be strolling around an airport with a baby.
Take a light weight pram.
This is pretty obvious but it is really worth investing in a practical pram (or stroller - whatever you want to call it) to travel with. We have a Stokke Explory and although it's stylish and lovely to take out shopping or to the park, it is nowhere near practical enough for traveling with; so we also end up travelling with something more compact and lightweight. Baby carriers are also handy to take with you for the times when you're left with no pram in the airport.
These are brilliant to take with you for your holidays. They're light and small enough to fit in your bag, eliminating the problem of transporting big and bulky sterilisers These are best done over night - just fill your sterilizing bag overnight with your used bottles, dummies/pacifiers, teething toys etc. and fill with tap water, add one sterilising tablet, hang on a door knob and job done... clean sterilised utensils for the next day.
Dress your baby suitably and comfortably.
I'm sure most of us prefer dressing for comfort when it comes to traveling. Therefore it only makes sense to dress your baby in the comfiest of clothes, and most importantly, something practical so that when it comes to changing their nappies, it is easily done and you're not fumbling with stubborn buttons and layers of clothes.
Take some easy no mess meals.
If your baby is on solids, pack some ready made meals that are easy to feed. I'm all for honest home cooked foods but they are just not practical for long journeys. Ella's Kitchen do a wide range of foods which are organic and healthy, as well as practical, as you simply squeeze the food into their little mouths without making too much mess.
If like me you are mainly breastfeeding, breastfeeding aprons are ideal to give you your privacy. It came in handy throughout my travels but especially on the plane. If you have booked for the bassinet seats you will probably be at the very front where the cabin crew are mainly seated and the toilets are located, so you will more than likely be faced with awkward moments trying to modestly feed your baby without attracting unwanted attention or even offending anyone. These are perfect situations for the apron. You can find them here - this particular one is boned at the top enabling you to see your chip when you look down.
Have an organized bag.
Have a good think about what to take as you do not want to over pack. Get a suitable bag (I learned from my mistake), with nice dividers and separate sections, so that everything is not everywhere in your bag. Writing a checklist of what to take also helps. Here is mine:
- 3 changes of clothes ( this is depending on your baby - mine was 3 months so she wasn't at that age where she got messy real quick)
- 2 Baby bottles
- 2 Sterilizing bags
- 4 dummies/pacifiers (those things are constantly vanishing)
- 1 pack of baby wipes
- Powdered milk
- 2 stuffed toys
- Breastfeeding apron
- 2 muslin cloths
- A few sachets of baby paracetamol (just in case)
Be mentally prepared.
Babies are so unpredictable so prepare for the worst. Your baby may not sleep at all during the flight - they may not be suited to the change of atmosphere with all the new faces, different sounds etc. Their ears may be in some discomfort, they may not stop crying and you may be sitting next to the unlucky couple that have to sit next to the 'stinking, whining baby'. You may not have to deal with any of the above and have a lovely experience flying with your little one, the point is you just don't know. So put your trust in Allaah and remember there is good in all situations. Take the means, prepare and go with the flow as they say.