Whether travelling with a young baby or while pregnant, having what you need can take away the stress, advises Sofie Jacobs.
Travelling while pregnant
The most important thing before travelling while pregnant is to consult your doctor to make sure you are absolutely safe to travel.
Air travel is generally not recommended after 36 weeks but may be even earlier if you have complications. Once you’ve confirmed you’re safe to travel, here are a few things to consider:
Check the airline’s policy in regards to travelling while pregnant. Different airlines have different guidelines and some require a letter from your doctor to travel.
Promote circulation. Take occasional walks up and down the aisles. If you must remain seated, flex and extend your ankles often. Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothing. Invest in travel stockings.
Drink plenty of fluids and avoid gassy foods and drinks. Gases expand at altitude and can mean some nasty heartburn and serious discomfort during the flight for both mother and baby.
Have a contingency plan. Consider obstetric care during your trip or be aware of hospitals or clinics in your area in case of emergency.
Travelling with a baby
Flying with your new little “carry on” can be a daunting task. But believe it or not, flying with a baby who is under one year is probably one of the easiest times to travel with a child.
Treat your journey like an extended day out. Bring what you normally would – a few changes of clothes, wipes, spare pacifier (if applicable), comforter, extra diapers – then add a few extra diapers (always add a few extra!). Also bring an extra set of clothes for yourself because, as we know, baby’s messes become our messes very easily.
Parents of formula-fed babies, make sure you have ample with you. You are usually allowed to travel with expressed breast milk or formula for babies, but you may be asked to sample the milk at the security checkpoint. It’s advisable to double check with the airline prior to travel about restrictions.
When it comes to milk feeds during the flight, be aware that many babies will go off their usual feeding schedule and that’s fine – breastfeeding or formula feeding on demand during the flight (and in the early days of the holiday through the jetlag period) is the easiest option. Breastfeeding mums need to make sure they drink enough water. Take an empty bottle or flask with you and get the crew to fill your bottle.
If your baby is eating solids, take food that you know they will eat rather than relying on the baby food offered on the airplane.
Also be sure to pack a medical kit with essentials you may need, such as Panadol in case of fever, teething remedies, gripe water and Infacol for colicky babies. Be sure to ask your doctor what they would recommend, too. Nothing is worse than dealing with a minor ailment at 30,000 feet and having nothing to soothe your little one.
Before you fly, check with the airline what services they offer to make your journey more comfortable. Reserving a seat with a bassinette, or not sitting near a high traffic area such as the galley or the toilet, can help your baby to sleep and avoid unnecessary noise. They may also have pre-boarding arrangements, assistance in getting to the gate or stroller to the gate services.
If your journey is a long one over several time zones, prepare for jetlag as early as you can. Set your watch to your new time zone as soon as you board the plane. It takes about a day to adjust to each hour of time difference so the sooner you get started, the better. If going for less than a week, don’t force the baby into a new time zone; just go with the flow – remember you are on holiday!
When you’ve reached your destination, exposing yourself to daylight helps the body clock adjust, so try to get outdoors. The natural daylight will help stimulate the baby as well. Homeopathic remedies Arnica and Gelsemium are excellent remedies for both parents and baby and help ease the system through jetlag.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy the holiday. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to make everything perfect. Happy Travels!