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Travelling with a newborn - don't know what to do

(23 Posts)
catski Mon 12-Oct-09 20:41:35

Here's my situation.

I live outside the UK and would like to travel back to see my parents over the new year period, when our new baby will be 3.5 weeks old. My brother and his family (who normally live in the US) will also be there and we only get to see them every few years, plus my parents are getting older and realistically I think it may be one of the last times we will all be able to get together.

I'm apprehensive about travelling with such a young baby at that time of year though. I'm conscious of exposing her to various illnesses that can come when being in a confined space with lots of other people over winter (swine and regular flu being foremost in my mind). Plus, if any of us do get ill, we're not registered with the NHS in the UK, and although we should be covered because we're in the EU, I'm sure it will be more complicated/take longer to get any necessary treatment.

I've considered the different possibilities. Unfortunately there's no direct flight, so if we fly it will be two two hour flights plus a few hours stop over in amsterdam. If we go by ferry, it will be a five hour drive to get to the ferry (plus stopping time for breastfeeding), an 18 hour ferry trip, and then another five hour drive at the other end.

I would really like to be able to go and see my brother and it seems like a great opportunity to introduce our new baby to my family in the UK but I really don't know what to do. Am I insane to be considering it, or am I overreacting?

EldonAve Mon 12-Oct-09 20:44:12

I would fly

It shouldn't take any longer to get medical treatment if you need it

jenpet Mon 12-Oct-09 20:46:56

Well, I would go for it, but it has to be your choice.

We only live in France, but took DS2 to visit family in the UK at 9 weeks, and it was fine, babies sleep almost constantly when travelling by any means.

As I understand it a GP or hospital in the UK would treat you first and seek payment later (assuming you confirmed you had the means)

How long is it since you have visited the UK previously?

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Mon 12-Oct-09 20:59:27

What would your plans be if your baby arrived 2 weeks late?

scrappydappydoo Mon 12-Oct-09 21:03:33

I would fly - fairly easy with such a young one. I guess you just have to take a chance with viruses and stuff - much the same as going out anywhere that time of year..
Have you thought about how easy it would be to get a passport at such short notice?? Especially over xmas??

Pingpong Mon 12-Oct-09 21:08:23

Travelling with a newborn is much easier than travelling with a toddler, they tend to sleep a lot and if you are breastfeeding then you have all you need right with you. Also with BF they are less likely to get bugs.
I'd rather fly than do the drive/ferry myself.

PoisonToadstool Mon 12-Oct-09 21:09:59

I would definitely fly, it will be so much easier with a 3 week old than it will be next year

catski Mon 12-Oct-09 21:11:38

The baby's coming by c/section, so shouldn't be late Dragon. Getting a full passport will be cutting it fine Scrappy, but my husband's checked it out and we should be able to get a temporary one even before a birth certificate is issued.

Thanks for your views - I'm encouraged that a few of you would travel in the same circs.

BertieBotts Mon 12-Oct-09 21:15:56

Medical treatment - I think they would treat first and then there may well be mountains of paperwork later, but it would be ok.

Flying would be easier especially if you are breastfeeding as with a newborn you usually have 3 options for settling them - breastfeeding, motion (pram or car seat) or walking around. (The baby dictates which will work if any!) You can do at least 2 of those during the flight and only one while driving.

When you say 3.5 weeks - are you basing that on your due date? The latest time after that? Are you having an elective c-section? You may well not be feeling too good that soon after the birth. It would probably be ok though as for a flight you'll be sitting down.

I recommend you get a decent sling - a stretchy wrap if possible

And don't forget practical things like hiring/borrowing/buying a cheap carseat to use over here.

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Mon 12-Oct-09 21:19:32

Are you going to be up to flying 3.5 weeks post c-section then?

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 21:19:40

It's actually really easy to travel with a newborn.

The biggest thing at that age is getting a passport. 3.5 weeks is tight!

As for travelling - put the baby in a sling. Unless you have a C-section, it will be a breeze to carry the baby. A backpack for essentials ( 2 nappies, some wipes and a babygrow, a muslin and a teeshirt for you). Put your main luggage in a wheeled suitcase and check it. Don't worry about a pram - if you need a car seat, check that too.

Don't worry about illnesses. You are breastfeeding and she will have the benefit of your immunities. The NHS will cover you for emergencies, and you will have an EHIC card.

You are insane to be worried about it and definitely over-reacting! Go for it. Seriously, the main concern I would have would be getting a passport.

Dominique07 Mon 12-Oct-09 21:22:34

I travelled with young baby (2 weeks) and found a big scarf/shawl useful for BFing.

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 21:24:21

I hope not for hiding, dominique!

pipWereRabbit Mon 12-Oct-09 21:28:16

Would you get travel insurance flying 3.5 weeks after major abdominal surgery? Is there increased risk of DVT?

Also, I think you need to have registered the baby (to get birth certificate) before you apply for a passport - in our area it was taking 10 weeks to get an appointment to register (and you can't book an appointment before the baby is born). Might be worth checking your local register office's circumstances well in advance.

catski Mon 12-Oct-09 21:42:00

That's a good point about travel insurance - I will check it.

I ended up with a c/section last time and found the recovery quite quick, although that's no guarantee that next time will be of course. Probably preferable not to be doing really long drives which would make flying a better option than taking the ferry though.

My husband swears blind he's checked it and we could virtually go straight from the hospital to the airport and get a temporary passport if necessary. It would be issued by the swedish police at the airport itself.

SCARYspicemonster Mon 12-Oct-09 21:51:55

I don't think you're insane to be considering it but I'd definitely consider worst case scenarios before you book. What if bfing doesn't work out? What if there's hideous delays? How will you cope if your recovery isn't brilliant and there is a long walk at the airport to get to the terminal? As long as you're prepared for all eventualities, you'll be fine.

I wouldn't worry about flu (swine or otherwise) because your baby is going to be so close to you (and so far from other people) that the chances of her getting it are minimal. Plus your breastfeeding will protect her to a large degree. And you will get treatment first and then they will ask for details later I'm pretty sure if the worst should happen.

I'd go for it.

mumblecrumble Mon 12-Oct-09 22:00:04

Oh yes! Go for it! Much easier now than later. Attahc to breast and away yougo!

Have a lovely time

hobbgoblin Mon 12-Oct-09 22:03:30

if you're going to (over)think this wink

what about dvt risk post csection?

mumonthenet Mon 12-Oct-09 22:13:45

I flew, alone, with a 4 week old (3 hour flight) - a doddle. A lady at the back of the plane had to hold her while I went to the loo.....not that the lady minded - she was tickled pink!

Everyone else's advice is great, - just one other thing - check if the airline has any restrictions regarding baby's age.

catski Mon 12-Oct-09 22:30:09

Great advice - thank you everybody. I definitely need to check airline and insurance policies i.r.o. me and the baby. I think I should also check with the doctor that I would be okay to fly so soon after surgery. It's possible I will need a fitness to fly certificate.

LolaAnn Mon 12-Oct-09 22:48:51

Great thread. Okay - next question - at what age after birth would be the most ideal to fly from New Zealand back to the UK? I plan on flying home to have my baby and be with family etc next year, maybe stick around for a month and come back? It would be two 11 hour flights with a one night stop over in the middle?

snowwombat Tue 13-Oct-09 06:39:25

catski in agreement with the others-travelling with a newborn is easy. We did long haul at 6 weeks and I have done a few 4hr flights since.

My concern is will you feel up to it post section? You say your flights are only 2hrs which is good for minimising DVT risk. Maybe consider wearing anti-DVT tights for the flights?

lolaAnn we had a great experience long haul at 6 weeks. Flight attendents brilliant (all mums). They brought lots of water for me, pillow etc for breastfeeding. Staggered our meals so one could eat and the other hold the baby. Had a bassinette, although DS2 slept on us in a sling most of the time.

Have a lovely time!

ADragonIs4LifeNotJustHalloween Tue 13-Oct-09 08:16:17

I agree that the actual flying with a newborn is, perhaps, the least of the potential problems. DD was, I think, around 8 weeks when I flew with her and her 2 brothers to Spain with no other adult. With no other problems (passport/c-section etc) it was a piece of cake. A pouch/wrap sling was, I think, the key to success.

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