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Travelling longhaul - with a 3.5 month old or 5 month old?

(17 Posts)
MaMaPo Thu 17-Jan-13 14:35:56

I have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take my baby home from UK to Australia to meet its grandparents. The timing is somewhat up to me so I thought I would canvass opinions.

Important points:
- I'm looking at travelling when the baby is either 3.5 months or 5 months (or possibly 6 months) old.
- I will be travelling on my own.
- It may be in Business Class.
- trip will be for around 3 weeks total.
- baby is exclusively breastfed now (at 6 weeks) which I intend to continue.

Any important points I should consider?

Thanks. It's exciting to consider being able to introduce my baby to friends and family, but the flight itself is daunting!

PrunellaDeVille Thu 17-Jan-13 15:08:44

Hi MaMa
i'm heading off to nz with 3 month old at end feb, thought it'd be better while C is still v. small and his needs are limited.
luckily DH will be with me but i should think you'd be well lookede after travelling alone in business class.
the tips i've picked up:
make sure to reiterate that you're travelling with LO at every step
ask for a bassinette (sp?) pref. in the bulkhead (if economy)
feed on take off and landing.

good luck smile

gregssausageroll Thu 17-Jan-13 19:23:41

Small baby and business class? You don't need to consider anything further, just go. Get evening flights though, much calmer, darkness etc.

Secondsop Fri 18-Jan-13 00:54:17

I'm planning a similar trip (although no business class for us unless we get EXCEPTIONALLY lucky with an upgrade but the chances of that with a baby are nil). I'll be travelling with my husband though, which makes it 100 times easier. One thing that friends who've done similar have told me is that it's an awful lot easier doing such a journey with a small baby rather than one a bit bigger who will notice more of what's going on and whose body clock will be more disrupted, or a toddler who'll be running around and who will want to be entertained. Several friends said their babies just slept for most of the flight. I've also heard the tip about feeding for takeoff / landing but if you're not allowed to have the baby in your arms to feed, a dummy should do the trick. Other thing I've heard is to pack spare outfits in hand luggage for yourself, not just for the baby.

We're doing the trip at this point because maternity leave is the only time I'll be able to take a block of a month off.

gregssausageroll Fri 18-Jan-13 13:25:48

Never heard of not being allowed to feed on take off and landing. Seen it lots and done it lots.

spatchcock Fri 18-Jan-13 18:03:06

Re: the take off/feeding thing, I've travelled a lot with DD and a couple of airlines insist that you have your baby sat on your lap, facing outwards, with a seatbelt on (attached to yours) for take off and landing. Other airlines don't seem to care. So check with the airline on that front.

Personally I think the smaller the baby is the better! I found it better travelling when DD was unable to sit up. After that she was too curious and got impatient and wanted to move around. But every baby is different on that front of course.

gregssausageroll Fri 18-Jan-13 18:54:34

Plus by the time the plane is tanking down the runway, cabin Crewe will be in their own seats and unable to see where baby is attached to.

smearedinfood Fri 18-Jan-13 21:19:07

Yeah I've bf fed for take off and landing on flights to NZ. You get a seat belt attachment that extends to yours. Have to state was not the most comfortable thing to do in those chairs.
I made the mistake of taking formula in with me (in case i wanted DH to take over) and they made DH taste all of it so buy it at boots post customs if you ff.

If you are weaning beware of the sugar content in the baby food. Buy some pouches at boots post customs ( you can pre order)

And cabin pressure on small bottoms, bring a spare change of clothes for small explosions.

Slings are good and less cumbersome.

Be warned you will be shattered at the end of it, as baby will have to readjust it's clock at the other end - on the way back is when in hurts so try and sleep when the baby does even if it's 7pm for a couple of nights..

AmericasTorturedBrow Sun 20-Jan-13 07:12:41

Def smaller the better, we emigrated to California when DS was 3.5yrs and DD 2.5months, 'twas a year ago and I've done trip twice more on my own...DS gets easier amd DD gets harder! Your baby might be starting to wean by the time you go if you leave it, def by the time you leave and travel is just so much easier if you're not having to plan that in.

We did our first flight out business class, I didn't get particularly any special treatment for having a tiny baby with me, never been treated any differently despite having two small children on my own on various flights mores the pity

It is possible to bf so long as they don't see you twist baby round, which they won''ll be the, have a brilliant time!

MaMaPo Sun 20-Jan-13 16:10:34

Thanks for all the tips - ultimately I realised that I will have to travel at 5 months, as 3.5 is bang on Easter! I will prob try to hold off on weaning if I can...

JetlagandMayhem Tue 22-Jan-13 04:53:47

Hi MaMaPo
Flying with young baby is the best time! They sleep, don't move and still fit in bassinet. My top tip is to take a black pashmina with you. I always use this to drape over bassinet to make blackout, breastfeeding cover and also blackout if they are in Ergo/Baby Bjorn on me.
I write kids travel advice site as I often fly long haul with my kids and it's got lots of flight reviews, packing lists etc. I can't put link due to mumsnet regulations but google my name and you'll find it!
All the best

Zara1984 Tue 22-Jan-13 05:48:36

If you're still breastfeeding and flying business class you will be totally fine! I recently did longhaul to NZ when DS was 4 weeks AND FF and it was a piece of cake!

Get a Baby Bjorn. Totally the easiest thing for transporting baby through airport and onto aircraft.

For that length of flight take 20-25 nappies, 6 changes of vests and sleepsuits. Socks for under sleepsuit because it gets cold on the plane.

2 x cellular blankets (1 spare in case of vom) and one merino/light wooly blanket.

CHECK to see what kind of luggage allowance you get with baby. Get a stroller bag for your buggy and shove extra stuff in it along with the buggy, they won't chck.

As you're potentially in teething territory take Calpol (I'd take baby ibuprofen too, TBH) and Bonjela. Even if your baby is not in pain from teething before you go you don't want to be caught out on the plane. When I do my return longhaul with DS at 14 weeks (next week!) I'm making sure I've got drugs a plenty!

Zara1984 Tue 22-Jan-13 05:49:14

JetLagandMayhem arrrgh I needed you when I was planning my trip in the newborn haze!!

HollyMadison Tue 22-Jan-13 06:26:11

My suggestions:
1. Book a night flight out of Heathrow so baby will hopefully sleep at least to the stopover.

2. Take sling, as others have said. Security make you fold up stroller and put it through scanner which is a mega hassle when it's just you and bubs.

3. At that age you will need distractions/toys. I made the mistake of taking too many clothes (he ended up wearing the same ones the whole trip) and not enough distractions.

4. Hold off on weaning till after the trip!

5. In some transit airports they let you have your stroller back for the transit time but don't worry if they don't as the airports I've been through all had strollers you can just use in transit. Even if you have a sling you will probably need a stroller in transit, even just so you can go to the loo yourself.

6. Phone airline about bassinet and baby in business class. I've not been lucky enough to have flown business so not sure whether there are bassinets in business and how baby travels.

williaminajetfighter Tue 22-Jan-13 06:39:26

I say younger the better. If you're breast feeding just have her on you for a lot of the trip. It's comforting for baby and easy. I did the same.

Moofins Tue 22-Jan-13 07:33:45

Lots of good suggestions. We travelled when DS was 5 months to NZ - it was 3 years ago though. From what I recall the way out was v easy, lots of sleeping we got a bassinette seat so he slept most of the time. I bf on take off and landing and also took a bottle of cooled boiled water for use in case he wouldn't bf. If I recall correctly we took 15 nappies (and only used about half as he slept for so long) and had 3 sleepsuits and vests for DS and clean tops for me and DH in the cabin bag. Typically he was sick on my trousers which i hadnt bought spares of.......! If you are on your own you won't want to be carrying a big cabin bag as well as baby.

Definitly take a pashmina, shawl, bf cover as I felt quite exposed on the plane. You are v close to the person next to you - mind you prob not in business class!

I travelled with DH so this is some advice from a friend who went to Aus at the same time. - for you, wear jogging bottoms or something easy to go to the loo in as you may be doing his one handed/ with the baby in a sling. Also take some muesli bars or easy snack as eating might not be easy. The cabin crew were fab for my friend taking her son at meal times and when she needed the loo. When she was in the airport she didn't have that hence the suggestion re jogging bottoms. But she travelled with a sling only - we had the buggy which made things easier in the airport.

I was going to delay weaning until when we were back but it didnt work out that way, Our HV recommended we start weaning at 5 months and although we didn't take her advice immediately it was clear a week into the 3 week holiday she had a point. It was fairly easy though, fresh fruit and veg, we used a few pots as well. For that amount of time I don't think it was so much of an issue.

The way back was less relaxing as he was more awake, wriggly. It's amazing the difference 3 weeks makes at that age. We didn't get a bassinette for part of the journey (8 hours) which I was v upset about but then there was turbulence for almost te entire journey so no one was allowed to use them! That was a hard part of the journey but again he slept n my arms for most of it. My arms were aching as DH was sitting behind me so we couldn't switch easily.

Good luck, I worried about it for months before we went but actually the experience was much easier than I imagined.

MaMaPo Tue 22-Jan-13 08:56:44

Great tips here - thanks everyone! I booked with Royal Brunei - no alcohol policy so no glass of wine for me once baby is asleep!

Thanks for all the help.

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