Flights out of Australia are, by the rest of the world’s standards, pretty brutal. We’re big, and we’re far (but our beaches are chef’s kiss). Getting out with a baby in-tow can make the former flights look luxurious, but it’s not always what you expect. So we spoke to three mums about their experience of baby’s on a plane. The good news, for 99.9% of trips with babies, the pain is totally worth the reward.
Mirte and Alfie, 17-months, Melbourne to The Netherlands
The plan My husband and I were flying together with our son to go see my family in The Netherlands. We were expecting hell on earth, but figured, it will be shit, but we’ll just get through it. Even though we didn’t have to (as he was under 2), we booked an extra seat for him. It’s an extra expense, but if you can, it’s a life saver. That way he could just sit next to us. Yes, he did end up sleeping on us a few times but because of the extra seat I could lie down with him which made all the difference. We flew there at night, so the whole flight to Europe was mostly in the dark which made it very “easy” for his sleep.
The on-flight crew We took the lot. The carrier was ideal for getting him on and off the plane, standing in line and calming him down during the flight. The yoyo stroller was perfect for the five-hour stopovers in Singapore. On the flight, we had heaps of snacks and downloaded lots of shows he could watch with his own headphones. Up until then, he hardly watched TV but for the flights we threw all our “rules” out the window. He could watch as much as he wanted! We also took some toys, books and a busy board. But we didn’t bring them on the way back as he wasn’t that interested.
The takeaways In terms of jet-lag, Australia to Europe is pretty doable. We were pleasantly surprised. It was a breeze! However, flying home, it was constant daylight which made it incredibly hard for him to fall asleep. And as we all know, once they are overtired, forget about it. Then, the jetlag was brutal! A friend had already done the trip and warned me, but I had not appreciated just how intense it would be. It took us 10 days back home to find some form of rhythm again but it was intense. So, if you can, have some extra days off once your home to help ease them back in.
Alex and August, 5-months, Sydney to Sicily
The plan My husband had been working in the middle east for two months and we had an opportunity to go and be with him for a two-week holiday. It meant I flew with August, solo, to Dubai where I’d meet up with my husband, stay the night there and then fly all-together to Rome, and then a few days later to Sicily. I used a travel agent to book everything as there were so many moving parts and at her recommendation, we were on a Wednesday, 10am flight which was relatively empty. Not only did I have the bassinet seat, but a whole row to ourselves. We were definitely in a “family” zone as the people on the rows beside and behind me also had families, which really made me feel like we were all in it together, particularly as I was flying by myself for the most part.
The on-flight crew August had not started solids on the way there, so he was all milk and I just breastfed him often. For food, for comfort, for popping ears - I fed. I wore a button shirt that made it easy to do so, and a cardigan over-the-top for if I got cold. I also had a bottle and portioned formula as backup, two dummies, nappies, wipes, a muslin wrap, four changes of zip-suits and singlets, a teething toy and a sensory book. My