I have flown with my baby multiple times as a solo parent. Not by choice, but because circumstances have changed last minute and my husband has had to fly off elsewhere. Generally it has been too expensive to change the flights or we have already paid for accommodation so I have decided to fly home solo with the baby. Besides, exploring different cities is far more interesting than flying home early to do laundry. So are you considering flying somewhere solo with the baby and want to know how I manage it? Most people call me crazy and proclaim they don’t know how I do it, but here are my tips for how to fly solo with a baby.
And don’t sweat the small stuff … sounds simple enough, right? It is inevitable that the baby will need feeding or changing at completely the wrong moment, the line for security will be horrendously long, or you will drop your things all over the floor. But take a deep breathe, deal with the situation and carry on. If you get upset then it will all suddenly escalate and make everything seem impossible.
My first flight with the baby I packed all of my usual things … a book, my iPad and noise cancelling headphones – now that sounds completely absurd! How I thought I was going to be able to read a book I will never know. And have you tried to put on those headphones with one hand whilst nursing a sleeping baby in the other? Ha! Now I don’t bother taking any of these things with me, I just take what I need for the baby. And when I am on my own I try to limit this as much as possible. I generally just take one small back pack on board and the BabyBjorn* to carry the little one.
TRAVEL A LITTLE LUXE
I quite often suggest this and I know that it is not always possible. But if there were ever a time to splurge, I would say travelling with a baby is the time and especially if you are alone. If you manage to fly business class you will have more room to move around and the flight attendants will be far more accommodating. These seats will normally include food and drink which means it is one less thing that you have to worry about for yourself. If you can’t quite manage a flight upgrade, how about treating yourself to lounge access prior to departure. It will be less hectic than the general airport, food and drinks are included in the price and I have found many have high chairs making it easy to feed the baby.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Rushing leads to stress, stress leads to an anxious baby, an anxious baby leads to crying and this all causes you even more stress. It is a vicious cycle. So schedule your journey in advance and allow for some slight delays, giving yourself plenty of time to arrive safely at the airport, check-in and make it through security hassle free.
ASK FOR HELP
I know lots of women hate asking for help as it is 2018 and why does one need a man to carry their bags? But when your hands are full with the baby, you just have to surrender and ask any bystander for assistance. Its something I hated doing initially as I am independent and love to prove that I can do everything on my own. Nowadays I will ask anyone whom makes eye contact and I hate to admit it but everything is so much easier when I don’t have to struggle on my own.
CHOOSE THE QUICKEST ROUTES
Make life easy for yourself and choose the most simplest route to get from A – B. The flights might be more expensive or at an inopportune time, but the less time you can spend commuting, the better. Some journeys for me have involved a taxi, plane, 2 trains and another taxi. But the end of it I have well and truly had enough so you can imagine how the baby is feeling, and she generally lets me know all about it!
PACK BABY ESSENTIALS
Ensure you have all of the baby essentials in your carry on to entertain bae and cover yourself if there are any long delays. If they are under 6 months and you are still breastfeeding then this will be very simple, just a change of clothes and perhaps a couple of toys. If over 6 months then you will also need some food, water bottle and potentially some form of milk (depending on your feeding preferences). Make sure you have a change of clothes for the baby and sufficient nappies and wipes!
Read more about my adventures of traveling solo with the baby in my previous blog post – ‘Travel Memoirs | Flying Solo with a Baby‘.