Baby flight

Flying with a baby can feel daunting, particularly the first time. Around this time of year many parents will be planning flights with their little ones. Whether you’re relocating or visiting on holiday the flights to and from Australia are the trickiest. Here are some useful tips, and responses to common questions parents have when travelling with small children.

Should you travel with a pushchair?

A while ago some friends in the UK asked whether they should take their stroller with them when flying down under. They were wondering whether having their six month baby in a carrier would be easier. Mum’s quick response was; take the pushchair.

The only negatives I can think of to travelling with a pushchair are the time you’ll spend checking it in and waiting for it on arrival, and that it might get damaged during the flight.

Waiting for the pushchair on arrival can’t be helped but if you’re very attached to your current pushchair , or it’s particularly expensive, Mum suggests buying a light-weight stroller for your travels. This stroller is suitable from 6 months: Babyway Park Stroller Black.

There are many benefits to travelling with a pushchair. Baby can be fed it in, sleep in it, entertained in it, and you can use it to store bags.

How to keep baby entertained

There are plenty of toys and books to keep even the youngest babies entertained, although in Mum’s experience the free magazines and flight safety information often end up being of most interest! For toys and book ideas read Mum’s article: Travelling with children: Six products you shouldn’t fly without and related comments.

Baby food and formula, what you can take with you

Baby food and formula may be imported to Australia provided the products are commercially prepared and packaged and are for the consumption of the accompanied infant. You can carry baby food and formula in your hand baggage, as well as checked in luggage. A single opened can or tin of milk-based foods for infants is allowed; all other items must be unopened.

When arriving in Australia you should have no more than 10 kilograms or 10 litres of infant formula, and you should declare the items you have. To learn more about baby formula brands sold in Australia, and sourcing familiar home brands read Baby formula in Australia – brands sold, where to buy, and cost.

In terms of the baby food you select it may be worth paying attention to the percentage of meat contained in the items you bring. If you get into the detail of what you’re allowed to bring into Australia, it can depend on how much meat is contained in the item. If a product has more than 5% meat content the regulations may change depending on what’s going on in the world; for example an outbreak of foot and mouth disease can change the regulations.

Top tip! When we travelled with our children as babies, we found fruit purée and Weetabix to be great options. Weetabix (or Weet-bix if you’re from Australia) are particularly easy to travel with. If your baby is drinking cow’s milk this can be provided on board and at most airport cafés.

Finger foods are also a good backup. There’s so much to look at during the flight that it might be difficult to give baby their usual quantity of food; filling up and being kept busy with finger food is a winner!

Avoiding sore ears

It’s years since Mum has been on a flight where they pass round a basket of sweets before landing to ease passenger ear pressure, but parents would be wise to factor in the discomfort of sharp ascents and descents.

A common trick with infants is to feed them during takeoff and landing. Depending on how they are strapped in breastfeeding might be tricky, but not impossible. If they’re bottle fed or taking water from a bottle, let babies suck or sip on their bottle.

For older babies who are eating finger food, if they won’t drink from a cup, chewing will have the same affect.

Top five carry on items

By way of a quick recap here are Mum’s top five carry on items for parents travelling with babies;

1. Baby bottle with water or milk for sucking during takeoff and landing (to ease ear pressure).

2. Toys and distractions; include something familiar and something new. For babies, bath books are a great idea; you can attach them to your table with the suction tab and wipe them clean after the journey. Here are a few examples;

3. For feeding, several clean bowls and spoons. Take extra spoons as they’ll end up being played with and are easy to lose.

4. For older babies, finger food (rice crackers, chopped up fruit etc.)

5. Assuming your baby eats it, Weetabix is a great food to carry with you. If you get delayed it’s healthy and filling. When we arrived in South Africa my son ate it for most of our initial day whilst I got to grips with local ingredients and baby food brands.

Related articles: Renting stuff in Australia part two – baby equipment, Buying disposable nappies in Australia – which brands, what should you pay?, Breastfeeding in Australia – official line, attitudes, and products, Baby formula in Australia – brands sold, where to buy, and cost, Baby food on sale in Australia, Baby bottles and teats – brands sold in Australia.

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