Tips for flying with a baby

Tips for flying with a baby

From takeoff to landing we’ve got all the tips you need to navigate baby’s first flight experience. In this blog we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting through security with baby, how to keep baby entertained on the flight, as well as tips...

From takeoff to landing we’ve got all the tips you need to navigate baby’s first flight experience. In this blog we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting through security with baby, how to keep baby entertained on the flight, as well as tips on managing their sleep and feeding routine while up in the air.

How do I book infant tickets for air travel?

First things first, when it comes to booking a flight for your family, it’s worth knowing that most airlines allow babies up to 24 months or that weigh less than 18kg on the day of travel, to fly free of charge, sitting on an adult’s lap. You still need to add them onto your booking so make sure to select their age. They will also need a passport to travel. If baby is over 24 months or weighs more than 18kg they will need their own seat, therefore their ticket won’t be free, however many airlines give children under 12 years a discount on their fare. 

If bringing your baby’s car seat onboard for the flight, baby will need their own seat for the car seat to be fastened into and you’ll need to check with your chosen airline their policy on car seats. Your baby’s car seat must also be TÜV-approved (they would usually have a sticker on them saying: ‘certified for use in aircraft’). Made for Mums has a great article that highlights car seat criteria for most airlines here.

Packing checklist for flying with a baby

Before you head on your vacation make sure to pack the following infant travel essentials in your hand luggage when flying with your baby:

  • Food items: ready to feed formula, sterilised bottles, breast milk, baby food pouches, vacuum flask of sterilised hot water, powdered baby formula, bib/ muslin, spoon, wipes, weaning snacks and fruits.
  • Nappy changing items: nappies (bring more than you think you’ll need), baby wipes, foldable changing mat, scented nappy bags, hand sanitiser, small travel size nappy rash cream, spare clothes (for blowouts and leaks). 
  • Entertainment: age appropriate toys that are small and don’t make lots of noise; such as soft, interactive books, teething toys, finger puppets, small animal toys, board books with flaps and activity toys.
  • Soothing items: favourite cuddly toy, baby sling wrap for contact naps, a blanket from home, dummy. 
  • Larger gear: baby carrier, pushchair, car seat (optional), changing bag (consider a backpack for ease).

Preparing for security checks with a baby 

So you’ve made it to the airport and now need to navigate security - the bit that everyone dreads. Fortunately most airports in the UK have a family lane at security, dedicated to families to offer more time and help to ease this part of the journey. 

As a new parent you’re probably wondering what are the UK regulations for bringing baby items through security? So here we go:

  • If you are travelling with your baby and they’re under 2 years old, these are the items you are allowed to take with you in your hand luggage. 

    • breast milk
    • baby formula
    • sterilised water for baby
    • baby food
    • cooling gel packs. 
  • There is no legal limit to how much you can bring with you, but it’s recommended to check with the airport you intend to fly from. 
  • Make sure any of the items listed above are kept together in a separate bag in your hand luggage, so you can easily access them to remove from your bag and put into the tray to go through the x-ray scanner. They will also require extra screening by security.
  • Many airlines will allow you to bring your pushchair through security and up to the aeroplane door, where they will then put it into the hold. There are also some models of pushchairs that can fit into the overhead locker such as the Babyzen Yoyo. If bringing your pushchair through security, you’ll need to remove baby from the pram and carry them through the scanner with you, while your pushchair is checked by security.

Well-travelled mum of two Ally, shares her top tips for flying with baby. Check out her video here, or head over to our YouTube series all about travelling with baby here.  

Tips for handling baby's first flight experience

Now you’re past security you can relax. Here are a few airport tips for parents before we go into tips for when you’re on the flight:

  • If baby is at the age where they’re crawling or starting to walk, make the most of letting them be active before you board your flight. A lot of airports also have soft play areas for tots to burn off some energy.
  • Try to avoid nap time while waiting for your flight so that they’re more likely to sleep on the flight. Keep them entertained and busy until you board.
  • Give them a meal before you board, it will allow you time to do this comfortably without so much mess. 
  • Change baby’s nappy before you board.
  • Most airlines will board families first, but a little trick from us - have one parent board first with hand luggage and pushchair. While the other parent holds back and let’s baby walk/ explore a little longer - it will save you 30 mins of extra time in your cramped seat with baby.

Tips for in-flight:

Entertainment ideas for babies on a plane:
  • Pack a variation of toys and weaning snacks to keep baby entertained.
  • Once the seat belt sign is off you can potter up the aisle with baby.
  • Sit by the window so baby can look out.
  • Play a game of peek-a-boo.
  • Bring some books to read through (babies love to read the same book over and over).
  • Farm animal toys are great for practising animal sounds. 
  • Sing songs with hand actions.
  • Looking for ways to calm a fussy baby on a plane? Give baby something to suck on for takeoff and landing such as a bottle of formula, a dummy or mum’s breast.
Managing baby's sleep on a flight
  • Try to plan your flight around baby’s nap time if you can. Otherwise try to keep them entertained before you board so they doze off on the flight. 
  • If you’re flying internationally, night flights are much easier to navigate as baby will likely stay asleep for most of the journey. 
  • For international flights you can also, depending on your airline, book a baby bassinet for lap infants to sleep in during the flight. Check with the airline you intend to fly with if you need to reserve or book in advance. Some airlines work on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Managing feeding schedules on a flight
  • Try to stick to your baby’s feeding schedule when flying. Bring all the food items you’ll need for the journey. 
  • If formula-feeding our ready to feed follow-on milk can be easily decanted into a sterilised bottle and served to baby at room temperature. If making a fresh feed, make sure you have steriised hot water with you and pre-measured formula powder scoops.
  • Some airlines may provide baby meals but we would always recommend bringing your own weaning food pouches, based on the foods your baby is sure to like.
  • If baby is at weaning age don’t forget to offer them water with their meals to keep them hydrated. 

How to prepare for unexpected delays or cancellations when travelling with a baby?

Your flight could be delayed or even cancelled. There are also times where you’ve boarded your flight and may face delays: your flight might be sitting on the runway for longer than anticipated and delayed from setting off or your pilot may be asked to hold off from landing or your flight might even get diverted to another airport. 

  • Always pack more formula and food pouches than you need.
  • Always pack more nappies than you think you’ll need.
  • Always pack an extra sleepsuit.

For more travelling tips check out our blog on Tips For Feeding Baby While Travelling.

related articles

15 Apr 2024

How to navigate the newborn phase

Whether you're a first-time parent or a seasoned pro looking for a refresher, join us as we journey through the newborn phase together, focusing...

read now

05 Apr 2024

Caesarean section recovery; everything you need to know!

For most expectant mums,one of the most worrying thoughts behind having a caesarean section is the recovery! Don’t worry, as we’re going...

read now

02 Apr 2024

Tips for flying with a baby

From takeoff to landing we’ve got all the tips you need to navigate baby’s first flight experience. In this blog...

read now

21 Mar 2024

Introducing new follow-on formula to baby:Tips for a smooth formula transition!

From understanding how to switch baby from one follow-on formula to another, to helpful strategies for a smooth...

read now

15 Mar 2024

Tips for feeding baby while travelling

Travelling with a young baby can feel daunting but with a lot of preparation and some tried and tested parenting hacks you’ll be wondering...

read now

27 Feb 2024

First Mother's Day Gift Ideas

For all new mums celebrating Mother’s Day this year we’ve carefully selected a range of special gifts that they’ll love!...

read now

23 Feb 2024

Body After Baby: A Guide to Postpartum Fitness

Your body has been through some major changes during pregnancy and childbirth, and it needs time to heal. You may be keen to get...

read now

16 Feb 2024

Empowered Birth: Navigating Choices for an Optimal Birthing Experience

Hey soon-to-be parents! Welcome to the rollercoaster of emotions, excitement, and a bit of nervous anticipation that is the journey...

read now

06 Feb 2024

Rekindling romance after having a baby

As soon as baby comes along, the romantic side of your relationship with your partner tends to take a back...

read now

04 Jan 2024

New Parents: A Step-by-Step Guide to Well-Being

Bringing a new life into the world is an amazing experience, but let's be real – parenthood can be tough...

read now