I have been asked by a lovely lady to include this on the blog from another online discussion. So I have basically expanded the tips a little bit and I hope it helps!
You have a well deserved holiday coming up or just a long trip, you have managed to scrape up the money for the flight ticket and other expenses without selling your spare organs - we know the dollar rate these days will make one want to sell a kidney ( who needs two when you can survive with one eh!).
Spending money... check, 👍
Accomodation... sorted, 👍
Luggage... packed....................😩 or not quite!
Why? as a new mum you have a new appendage.... your lovely little bundle of joy, who has their own extra padded seat (your lap) on the plane.
now you have packed their clothes and the odd toy and a few treats, but not quite sure if and what to take in terms of food.
Now if you r child is still taking only milk, its kinda easier,
If your baby has started taking solids, its somewhat tricker. how much do you take, what can you take.
If you are travelling to a location that you can get good food options, you only really need to worry about your journey. if you are going to a location where you are not sure about getting the food you want them you may need to take a few more items, just in case.
Tip 1- Calculate an estimated travel time
For the journey you have to consider the entire the period of time you will actually be traveling. ie. flight or car journey time from your home to your destination, and any transit times you spend in the airport, i.e door to door.
So if for instance you live in Ibadan, travelling to New york and transiting in Amsterdam: you need to carry enough food from when you leave your house in Ibadan till you get to the place you will be staying in your destination city in america, plus a few extra days worth of food as if you arrive at a stupid time, the shops may be closed and you wont be able to buy anything till the next day.
Ibadan to Lagos - lets allow 2 hours
assuming you arrive 3 hours before your flight allow for this in your calculation
Lagos Amsterdam - 6 hours
transit in Amsterdam - 3 hours
Amsterdam to NYC - JFK- 8 hours
Customs, immigration and baggage claims at JFK= 2 hours
JFK to where you are staying - assuming 1.5 hours
total - 25.5 hours
You basically allow for 24 hours food, milk snacks, and bottles for your journey ( handbag and hand luggage) plus a couple of days extra for when you get to NYC ( in your checked in luggage), you can even add a couple of adult snacks for yourself as well.
Why the extra food in your main luggage, first of all I find a lot of people do not really pay attention to time difference in their final destination and what time they may be landing... Personally I try to make sure i arrive at my destination during daylight hours, however Lets paint a scenario:
well imagine you finally arrive at your destination airport at 23:00 and you get to your hotel/ house at a stupid "o" clock (this is any time between midnight and 7:00am when the only reason you should be out doors is clubbing!). All the shops and restaurants are closed for the day, and then you find out the next day, that it is a public holiday. Now if you are in a religious country and the holiday is a holy one...... you may be well an truly stuffed. You may not find any open shops around to do emergency shopping to buy food. or you find out that you have only dollars and no local currency, and need to find a BDC or bank which may not be open at the time you need them.
|Yes, when you are hungry you will consider eating baby rice and formula if it is the only thing available.|
Tip 2: Organise baby's meals
Pack each travel meal separately in transparent freezer bags and label them: for example breakfast bag will contain, milk, cereal, fruit and snacks, bottles, bowls, spoons and bibs. same for lunch, dinner and any other meals
|typical meal pack - milk, fruit pouch, yogurt/custard, jar food|
|Meal packs with bib and spoon, in either cooler bags, or freezer bags like ziploc.|
The main reason for this is that it makes it easier when you get to airport security and you need to bring out your hoard of "liquids" and fluids and food. while you are allowed a somewhat unlimited amount of baby food for your journey, having 6 jars of food randomly strewn about your hand luggage and you forget to bring one of them out before you pass your bag through the scanner WILL cause extra delays that you do not want.
|3 meals set and ready to go!|
The images above are all prepacked meals and milk for convenience however if you don't have access to or are unable to afford the prepacked meals you can substitute :
- Milk - measure out the dry formular powder into your feeding bottle and all you need to do is add water.
- fruit pouch - you can substitute this for actual fruits, apples or bananas work well,
- jar food - you can pre pack your baby's usual cereal with milk in a tight lidded bowl and you need to do is add water.
Why so many options, well, babies are known to be fussy so they may take 2 spoons of one and decide they want something else, so the options are for variety. you can also offer some of the plane food, you never know you baby may just love the cauliflower couscous they serve.
The only other thing i pack are water and a few snacks like biscuits, crackers, puffs and bread sticks
|Snack bowl with water|
Tip 3: Allow Extra time for everything
Allow extra time for travelling to the airport as there may be traffic.
Allow extra time for clearing security, because of the food you are carrying, they will check, swab and scrutinize, EVERYTHING.
If you do not leave enough time you may miss your flight!
Tip 4: Prioritize the meal packs for easy access
Take only the meal pack you need in the plane or car journeys in your handbag put the others in your hand luggage.
if you feed your baby just before you leave home, put the first food pack in your handbag, you may need it in the car so it should be within easy reach.
when you get to the airport, during transit or before you land move the meal pack for the next meal into your handbag. because when you get to your destination whoever picks you up may put your hand luggage into the booth and there may not be a good place to stop the car and retrieve it so either you keep it with you or you move what you need into your handbag.
Pack the foods you know your baby like and take without much drama, this is not the time to be experimenting if you have a fussy eater.
Tip 4: Timing is key
Aim to feed and do your nappy changes before: you get into the car, plane and before you land. - Immigration queues can be long. if you arrive at the same time an A380 packed to the brim is arriving from China, or India, immigration will be packed to the hilt and you can easily be on the line for an hour or more. the airport staff may not even see you to give you preferential treatment due to the crowds so plan ahead.
During take-off and landing, you may want to give your baby a bottle of milk as the sucking action helps relieve pressure build-up in the ears which could be very painful even for adults
If as in tip 2, you plan to give your baby's food to that flight attendant to heat up for you, remember it will take time and they may be in the middle of doing other stuff as well, so give it to them for heating well in advance of when you think your baby will need it.
Tip 5: Plan for convenience if transiting
if you are checking in a buggy, and you are transiting and will need it in your transit airport- IMPORTANT!!! Make sure you let the check in staff know you will need it in your transit location (there is a special tag that lets the ground staff know it needs to be returned to the plane doors at the transit hub - because your buggy can be collected from you and the next time you will see it is at your final destination! very very annoying!!!
It may pay you to get a longer transit time: first of all a flight with a 12 hour wait in the transit airport can be loads cheaper than a 2 hour wait. But what will you do in a transit airport for 12 hours....
Well if you have no visa limitations and can leave the airport, go check into a hotel: have a shower, stretch your legs, sleep on an actual horizontal bed with soft pillows, have a meal, have some private time to walk around butt naked if you wish, allow your baby roam free for a bit (no one likes being restrained for long periods and believe me a baby will show his/her frustration), go get some fresh air! many airport hotels in big transit hubs have free shuttle ( usually a 30 mins drive) to and from the hotel as well as free breakfast and wifi! just leave ample time to get back to the airport and since you have nothing to check in, its basically a walk straight to the departure gates and clear security.
|Airport hotel room|
|Airport lounge. the choice is yours|
If you have visa restriction, check your transit airport facilities as some modern airports have hotels within the airport, although more expensive than the ones outside the terminal, you may be pleasantly surprised that it may work out cheaper than having a short transit, as well as not being as stressful, even 4 hours sleep on an actual bed can work wonders!
Tip 6: keep your hands free
Take a baby carrier - for a good number of reasons..... lets start from when you leave your house:
- In the event that you take a taxi to/ from the airport, you may not be able to carry your carseat, i find a good baby carrier with baby facing outwards for older babies is ideal. that way you can strap both of you in with the seat belt - you may need to adjust the belt strap from going across baby's neck or face but i usually use one arm to add and keep some slack to the seat belt.
- When your buggy gets taken off you at the door of the plane, you suddenly have 1no. baby to carry, 1no. handbag/ baby bag, 1no. carry-one luggage ( it is wise to get one with wheels), 1no. boarding pass to bring out to check your seat number which may be at the very end of the plane and you have to navigate between the narrow aisles to get to your seat..... oh by the way you have only 2 hands.
- In the event that your buggy gets fastracked to your destination. sometimes it doesn't come out by the plane door, your may need to go pick it up at baggage claims. a baby carrier will allow you to have your hands free to juggle your handbag and hand luggage and meander through the airport.
|Hot dad with a baby bjorn carrier.|
.....If you cannot afford to buy or you are reading this at 1 am the night before you are to catch a 10:00 flight and you don't have a baby carrier.... carry a wrapper with you and back your child! there is no Sisi involved in these things.
Tip 7: Have an adult travel companion if possible
Definition: A travel companion MUST be a USEFUL somebody. It can be stressful doing a solo trip with a baby in tow, so if going on holiday, travel as a family so you have assistance. do not let your hubby trick you into going alone on a trip he is paying for in the guise that it is a treat.... It is not! you will be 30,000 ft above sea level when the full magnitude of the situation hits you. if it is a treat, please buy me first class tickets with airport assistance, and a nanny in tow. 😁