Air travel with Babies & Toddlers June 22 2015, 3 Comments
Flying with little ones can take some careful planning especially if you have a weaning baby or a fussy toddler to contend with. Our top tips for feeding whilst flying will help you plan the perfect trip and be prepared for anything:
- Try to fly direct! Stop offs make things a lot more complicated when travelling with tiny ones as it’s an extra security check point to go through and more time hanging around or dashing to another gate. If it’s unavoidable just call up your airline before-hand to check the logistics.
- Despite restrictions on liquids, this does not apply to milk for babies and toddlers ie. cow’s milk, soya milk, formula or expressed breast milk. You can take through airport security any amount that is needed for your baby or toddler to eat or drink on a flight. Consider how long your flight is and how much your baby / toddler will really need and then add a bit extra in case of any delays! you may be asked to try some of the items but many airports now have special machines that scan the food and drink.
- If you are taking expressed milk in bottles there is no limit on the bottle size or how much you take but of course you will need to keep it cool. You won’t be allowed to take a large ice pack through security. Small ice packs (under 100ml) can be used and placed in the zip lock bag with your toiletries at security checks or you could freeze your milk overnight. As above you may be asked to taste the milk.
- Breast feeding on a flight is simple. Dress in what you are comfortable feeding in. Despite all your best planning you may find yourself sat next to stranger so take a cover up if you prefer to use one. The lights can be bright at times so this can also help shield your baby’s eyes and stop then getting to distracted. Your little one may feed differently on a flight. Try not to worry too much and keep yourself extra hydrated.
- If you use powder formula and make your bottles on demand you can take pre-boiled water but this must be in baby bottles.
- Note that you can generally buy ready-made formula at most Boots (Air side) stores in UK Airports. Check on Boots.com and find an air side store. Call the store to book what you need at least 24 hours in advance to pick up before you fly.
- Ensure that you take enough sterilised bottles for your baby’s milk feeds if you plan to buy milk at the airport. You can also look at purchasing ChilliPeeps teats to use with the formula Cartons or bottles – try these in advance to be sure that your baby will be happy using a different teat.
- Take a Tupperware / icecream container with you that could easily fit the whole bottle inside for sterilising (just in case of accidents or you need another bottle made up) – don’t forget to take a few Milton sterilising tablets in your hand luggage for this. You can use the container to store dry snacks or anything else for the journey (toys, clothes, clean nappies etc). You can also use it during your holiday for sterilising and heating up bottles or pouches.
- Baby Food Pouches are a great way to feed pureed food or liquid snacks such as smoothies on a flight. Pouches heat up very easily in hot water which is the only option on a flight so they make complete sense. If you prefer to take your own home-made food or your child has allergies then using a reusable food pouch works brilliantly. The one disadvantage of reusable pouches is that they must be kept cool. To get round this you can freeze one of more of the pouches over-night and use this as the Ice-pack in a good quality insulated bag. The longer the flight the more you will need to freeze. You can also use the small ice packs as mentioned in tip #3. As with milk you may be asked to try one or some of the pouches to prove that they are in fact food. If you can’t squeeze any of the frozen ones out just open the side zipper and take a little bit to taste. If you are taking processed baby food pouches make sure that the ones opened at security are kept cool or used within a couple of hours. As with formula you can usually buy Ella’s Kitchen pouches at Boots Airside stores.
- Just because you book a seat for your toddler, don’t assume that your airline will book them a toddler meal – call up and check what they serve and book this in advance. Some airlines may also provide baby food meals. Take your own baby/toddler cutlery in your hand luggage to make eating easier.
- If your toddler is a messy eater make sure you take a large bib/cover up (and lots of wipes). Consider taking a reusable food pouch onto the flight empty so you can put the yogurt from the airline meal into it to reduce mess. There’s always a yogurt! You might be able to get an extra pot from the cabin crew to give your little one if the airline food isn’t to their liking.
- Take sandwiches, pasta salad or extra snacks for your older baby, toddler or any fussy children in general as these are not restricted to take on board. If flying within Europe you can take them off the plane with you if they don’t get eaten but if travelling beyond Europe you will most likely need to throw them away when you land.
- Take your child’s favourite sippy cup onto the flight and keep this topped up with water to keep them hydrated, particularly on long haul flights.
- Whilst taking off and landing try to get your baby to feed and toddler to drink or suck on a pouch. This will help with the pressure change and hopefully help avoid any tears.
- If you feed pureed food and want to keep this up on holiday (assuming you are self catering) invest in a hand blender or mini blender that can be packed into your luggage. You can then store your meals in reusable pouches for easy feeding during your holiday. Check if your accommodation has a freezer so you can store meals for the whole duration. Some restaurants may be happy to blend food for you, don’t be afraid to ask but check if things have been cooked with salt.
- Overall, try not to worry too much…you’ve done everything you can to make sure that familiar options are available but your child may just not be as hungry as normal or may be extra hungry! Your baby may feed lots or hardly at all but they will get back to normal once you are settled on holiday or back home.
There are so many things to think about when travelling with babies and toddlers (sleep, clothes, toys, time-zones) especially when travelling long haul. I hope my tips help with the feeding side but for the rest take a look at these tips from Baby Centre UK
Leave me a comment if you have some great tips of your own so we can share them around!