Travel // Tips For Flying & Travelling with a Newborn

September 17, 2019

I’m not pretending to be an expert on travelling with a baby by any means {all babies are so different plus babies at different ages will bring new challenges} but we just got back from 9 days in Italy, and our first flight return trip with 2 month old baby Freya and this is the kind of post I wanted to read when we were planning our trip. We had no idea before what allowances you had for baggage with an infant ticket for example, and it seems some of you on Instagram feel the same - I had SO many requests for this post. So here’s what we packed, and some tips we picked up along the way;
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On Travelling at this age // We booked this trip relatively last minute as although we'd always said we'd like to go away in September, we had no idea how we'd feel as new parents and what kind of baby we'd have. For the first couple of weeks we were stunned, and couldn't imagine ever really leaving the house to go to somewhere like the supermarket again! But then, we started to find our way, and at 3 weeks old took Freya to Brighton on the train. We realised how confident that made us feel, and as time went on, realised that Freya isn't a huge fan of the car and that trains, and planes, were a much better solution right now {when she's hungry especially and you can cuddle/feed her compared to being trapped in a car seat or having to stop regularly}. And actually 8 weeks old was the perfect time to go away for us. We weren't ridiculously sleep deprived anymore, we started to know when she'd need her naps, she was over that crazy cluster feeding stage, but didn't need much from us entertainment wise and is still super small to transport around/happy to go wherever we are kind of thing. So although countless people said to us, 'wow you're brave', to us it felt a lot less daunting than going away with a toddler in the future! It is a relatively easy time to go away, if you feel up to it.

Packing //

We flew with Easyjet and booked her on as an infant {her ticket actually cost more than ours did!}. 
We didn’t want to pay for a hold case, and didn’t really need to so instead did hand luggage only using the hands free thing with easyJet and the infant luggage allowance. Basically you pay for an infant {under 2}’s ticket where you just pay the taxes and they then get 2 pieces of special luggage {the full list is here, we took a travel cot and a travel buggy} plus a cabin small bag {we bought this one after researching the biggest size allowed}. For us, we had our 2 cabin size suitcases plus I used hands free with our phone network Three to take a basket on board too. If you’re not with three you can pay £7 online on Easyjet to do this {which we did for the way home as it only works on the outbound flight}.

At the airport you queue up for bag drop and then they’ll label your items that are bulky where you then walk over to the oversize luggage section to drop them off and then you go through security as usual. The good thing about checking in items like these is that you can stuff the travel bags full of liquids over 100ml {so we could take all our toiletries and suncream etc} and as many nappies as you can fit in. So in the travel cot case we managed to do this. Ben also had room in his suitcase for enough nappies and so we didn’t have to buy any out there {we actually came home with some spare!}.

For the plane I had my basket on board with me for my iPad/passports/change of clothes for us just in case. Then we had Freya’s rucksack which had the changing pouch in the front of it and spare change of clothes and muslins for her.

Although our buggy will fit into the overhead locker folded up, we decided at this age that she’s better in the sling to go through the airport and so just checked it in. It meant that we were hands free for the airport which was nice, Ben just had the rucksack, I had Freya on my chest and the basket over my shoulder.

To make it easier to carry everything we bought these luggage straps, which also kept everything shut and made it easy to identify. I’m still in awe of Ben carrying all our luggage in between the airport/train/to get to our accommodation though. Somebody on Instagram joked that you need to be like an octopus when travelling with a baby/children.

Things we packed for 9 days away;

  • Babyzen yo yo plus parasol - this was ad/gifted to us but hands down is the best travel buggy that I researched. It folds down, with just one hand and fits in the overhead locker {although we decided to check it in as didn't need it for the airport as Freya is still so small but imagine when she's older we'll use it at the airport and put it in the overhead locker on the plane} and can be carried over your shoulder. We have the newborn attachment but this will now go up until she's a toddler/small child. I see lots of parents using it as their main buggy in England as it's just so easy to lift in and out the car/fold down and pushes like a dream. It does however, have small wheels so is definitely only really suited to pavements/cities rather than off road. We also took the parasol and mosquito net for this. And it has a snuggly pram footmuff which we took, but didn't end up needing.

  • Soft stretchy wrap and ergo carrier. In hindsight we could have done without taking the ergo. She was either awake/asleep in the buggy or the wrap was good for transport days or when she was overtired {it’s guaranteed to get her to sleep fast}. The wrap was probably the best thing we took as it protected her from the sun too and wasn't too hot. The ergo will be great for an older baby though as it's more structured and has a sun shade, it just means you have to drape a muslin to cover her arms/legs. 
  • Thermometer. We found this a must take. We use it at home for her bath and it does both bath and air temperature so we’d put it in her cot in the day to look at the temperature just before, to know how many layers to put her in at night and then put into the sink for running her a bath to use it for the water temperature. 
  • Night light. I didn’t know what kind of lighting they’d have in the bedrooms so this was good for middle of the night feeds or checking on her without waking Ben up or being too bright for Freya. It's really small and rechargeable.
  • Travel cot. We bought this one from ALDI that was £35 in the baby/toddler events that they run a couple of times a year and it folded up really well. 
  • Sleepyhead. Ben managed to fit this inside the travel cot for transporting it and she slept so well in this. I think the big cot would have been too huge for her at this young age. 
  • White noise snuz cloud. {previously gifted} We wanted to recreate the bedtime set up we have at home so this went in the travel cot too. 
  • Nappies. Pack of 44 in Ben’s suitcase. TMI? But Freya is at the stage now where she only poops once a week now with breastfeeding, I didn’t realise once they get to around 7 weeks+ it’s common for this so it made the whole changing/nappy thing a lot easier not needing to change her, or as messy, as often. 
  • Packet of water wipes
  • A handful of nappy sacks
  • Changing mat 
  • Antibacterial hand wash for changing on the go, we have the honest natural one that I got in target.
  • All of this went into a clear pouch to pull out on the plane easily/take in my basket for the day easily or shove under the buggy.
  • Sun hats. I ordered 2 from gap last minute before our trip in the end of summer sale. 
  • Little pot with a few of her non bio washing liquid tablets 
  • And a good shake of napisan for any soaking emergencies. 
  • Cellular blanket. Didn’t end up using this but wanted to take it just incase 
  • Muslins. Around 6? Including some big ones that are good for laying out in a park or wrapping her up, sun shade or covering when feeding if needed. 
  • Sleepsuits. Around 6. 
  • Spare muslins for night to cover the sleepyhead to minimise washing emergencies. 
  • Love to dream swaddles x 2. She sleeps in these at home, they’re 1 tog and I use this guide to work out how many layers to put under them depending on the temperature. 
  • Nipple shields. Specific to me and our feeding right now. 
  • Breastpads.
  • Dummy plus clip. She needs this for getting to sleep if she’s overtired in the day. We have these bibs dummies and this clip to keep it from being lost. 
  • Dummy sterilising wipes. Ordered these just before we went away and found them useful for sterilising on the go if needed. 
  • Microwave steriliser bag. Didn’t end up using this in the end as I had enough shields and we used the wipes for the dummy but wanted to take one just in case {both of our apartments had a microwave, if not we might have taken cold water sterilising tablets or boiled things}. 
  • Vests to go under sleepsuits depending on the temperature at night. 
  • Couple of little toys although we barely used them. She’s more than happy seeing our faces as entertainment right now or looking around. An older baby would need these though. 
  • Outfits for the day. Took such a range as although we looked up the forecast in advance, we were 9 days out and in 2 different places. Took a mix of rompers for warm days that could be worn on their own, long sleeve vests to go under them if it was cooler, and then a few other outfits and little trousers if it was cool. We definitely took more than we needed as you never know how often she’ll need changing & I didn’t want to be constantly washing stuff. In the end she didn’t need to get changed during the day which was a miracle compared to the earlier newborn days. {and the apartments both had washing machines}
  • Lavender oil for the bath. We put a few drops in everynight as part of our routine now. {neither place had a bath so we used the bathroom sink!} 
  • We took baby child’s farm wash with us but didn’t really use it. Mainly the plain water was enough.
  • Flannels
  • Her hooded towel. 
  • Her vitamins, breastfed babies over 1 month old are advised by the nhs to take vitamin d. We got given these from the health family centre where she gets weighed. 
  • Thermometer for her temperature. We didn’t end up using it but wanted it for piece of mind/in case we were worried. 
A few things we didn't take but would think about for next time;

It’s not advised to put suncream on babies under 6 months so we didn’t and instead were scrupulous about keeping her in the shade with the buggy parasol/shade of the buggy/sling/sunhat etc but this would be on our list for any trips over 6 months. Muslins were good for a temporary solution but they do still let the UV through.

Car seat - still can't decide for future trips where we'd need a car whether to hire one or take ours.

Nail scissors. We didn’t think to take these but wish we had as her nails grew SO fast and she ended up scratching her face a couple of times 😭 making me feel like a bad mama. I know lots of people say to bite them but we couldn’t!

To remind me for future as she grows;
  • Toys
  • Books 
  • Swim nappies/swim suit/rash vest
  • Car seat 
  • Snacks/food/bibs when she’s weaning 
  • Mosquito repellent/nets depending on where you're going. I need to look up a baby safe one.
Packing tips // 

We organised and packed her things in ziplock bags {I had a big pack of these from Ikea, although I’m not sure I feel that comfortable about going out to buy new plastic ziplock bags right now. There must be more sustainable alternatives? Anyway I’ll reuse these for future trips}. My Mum came round to help me pack - she's the QUEEN of organisation - and so we grouped sleepsuits together, outfits for warm days, vests for layering, muslins, accessories etc all into different bags. It just made it really easy to know what was where and see things at a glance if we needed to find them in a hurry. 

Also having a spare outfit and the changing pouch easily accessible on the plane was really handy. 

Airport tips // 

Our flight was at 7am, and whilst we normally get to the airport around 2 hours in advance, we left a little more time because we'd need to queue at bag drop and go to the oversize bit, and we didn't know how Freya would be. It was cheaper for us to book a taxi to the airport than book parking for the trip {with our nearest airport anyway, for further away ones we normally book parking in advance} so we booked a local taxi firm who are small enough that would store our carseat for us and pick us up with it at the end of the trip. We always remember Ben's friend with an older baby talking to us about how carseat dynamics become a huge part of trip planning, and we never really got it until now! But yes, that was super helpful to have a taxi that would take us with it for piece of mind {our parents were both away otherwise we'd have asked them if they could drop us!}. I wasn't looking forward to an early alarm at all, it was the first alarm I'd set since Freya had arrived, we left at 4am and I didn't know what time Freya would wake to feed in the night. I didn't want a hungry screaming baby on the way to the airport so set my alarm early to wake her up to feed. In the end, she woke up naturally at 3.30 to feed and then went back to sleep so it worked perfectly. We just lifted her into her carseat in her sleepsuit and then she slept the whole way to the airport, got lifted into the stretchy wrap that I wore her through the airport in {still asleep} and then had to lift her out at security to get her patted down {still asleep!} and then woke up for a feed as we got on the plane. I definitely don't think we'll get that lucky with future trips. You just never know with these babies! But the moral of that story? Allow extra time. Having her in the sling hands free was really great for the airport though, and I imagine for her it's really disorientating and bright and noisy so to be snuggled close to her mama probably helped. I then fed her on plane at take off and landing and the white noise of plane helped her sleep - she's usually pretty good sleep wise in the mornings anyway and it was a short ish flight anyway. On the way home, the flight was at 5pm and it was similar in that she mostly slept through the airport & on the plane - I just had to feed her for some of it.

// On being away;

I think 2 months was a really great age to take her away as I've mentioned above. We're past the cluster feeding growth spurt. End of wonder week’s leap. Doesn’t need entertaining right now, just happy to be with us. She can't move. Sleeps pretty much anywhere right now. Not in set routine. Feeds/sleeps on demand. I imagine as she gets bigger, and we start to introduce more of a routine, it will make it a bit harder to travel/be out all day? But in Italy she just slept really well on us in the day when we were out, either with the sling or the buggy and so we'd walk as she slept - taking it all in and then would stop for feeding & play stops when she woke up.

I had fairly low expectations of the trip, almost treating it as a change of scene for feeding with better food than when at home but it was so much better than I ever imagined. Went with her but that meant being out a lot as she sleeps so well in the sling/buggy compared to when we try to get her to sleep inside in the day sometimes. Can feed her anywhere. Change her anywhere. Sleeping well at night. Small enough to be really portable. The weather was great so we could be outside and the Italians LOVE a bambino.  It actually felt a lot easier than being at home as although Ben had his laptop to do some work in the evenings, we were both really present on her. There was no stress trying to do chores or work like at home. Nowhere to be, nobody else to see or anything to do. Just went with her {and ate a lotttt of gelato!}.

Travel days. Alll the luggage. 

Baby girl's first flight.

Lastly, I'd say check that your travel insurance covers you for dependents {we've found really great travel insurance through a bank account that we pay monthly for}. And know the local emergency number. This is something I only thought of when I saw an ambulance by the lake one day and suddenly panicked I should look up the number in case something happened.

I hope that helps! I'll update it as we travel as she gets older and inevitably everything will change. I think it really depends on your mindset though, and if you accept that travelling with a baby is essentially parenting in a different place {but hopefully with better weather, views and different food} then you'll be onto a winner because I feel like it's almost always worth it when you get there. It's never going to be exactly the same as it was pre children, but I truly value a change of scene, making precious family memories & also as she gets older and is aware of the world will be so, so much more enriching too. Travel doesn't have to be expensive either, this trip was done on a real budget with stupidly cheap flights, train fares and reasonable airbnbs. We ate in 90% of the time, going to the local markets and supermarkets and we couldn't have been happier. Will blog our travelogues on Lake Garda & Lake Como soon!

What would you add to this? 

R <3 xx 

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