From Laos to Langkawi, Bali and back, multiple domestic trips to Sydney and the Sunshine Coast, I took 20 flights with my kids when they were between 3 and 23 months old. I will start with a disclaimer justifying the number and nature of flights we took as new parents by blaming my inherent wanderlust and fear or missing out (FOMO), which became amplified by parenthood and this increase in hours spent at home while on maternity leave.
Suddenly the southern sun wasn’t sunny enough nor the water warm enough and I needed to be anywhere and everywhere more tropical, and immediately. There was also the chronic sleep deprivation contributing to an exponential increase in screen and internet hours with most of my travel planning occurring between the hours of 3-5am. I hence take little responsibility for the decisions that followed. But was it worth it? Absolutely.
Buy your kid a seat. Just trust me.
There will be milk.
Suck. suck. suck. breast or bottle feeding on take off and landing will help your little one adjust to sudden changes in atmospheric pressure. A dummy may well do the trick also if they’ll take it. BUT beware the supply/demand issues. It may be the best remedy you have but comfort feeding for plane travel and the disruption of time zone and usual routines can wreak havoc with your milk supply. This can lead to over-engorgement and may well impact those bikini selfies when one boob is the size of a watermelon. Just saying. If you travel in the first 3 months and are breastfeeding you will squirt milk all over the man in the suit sitting next to you as you wrestle with milk supply and space issues. Hopefully this is your husband, but it probably won’t be. You will wonder why people in Economy wear suits.
Stop trying to make holiday outfits happen.
Changing out of your pyjamas into travelling harem pants (that still resemble pyjamas) is as good as it gets. You will start out with high sartorial style expectations and picture yourself wearing a straw fedora and curve-accentuating bather onesie while lounging poolside on a day bed indulging in your latest book.
You will leave the fedora and any other small non-essential items on the plane because your brain can’t remember five minutes ago and eventually will be grateful when your boob isn’t exposed at check-in. You also won’t notice that both of your feeding bra clips have been undone for the duration of the flight until you reach your destination and change clothes for the first time. Not to mention your book won’t come out of your suitcase, your kindle is on the plane and your onesie doesn’t fit, but that’s another story.
Bring ALL the baby things.
New mums are liable to over-pack everything but the kitchen sink. Among the 38 cloths and nappies just make sure you have a couple of complete outfit changes for the flight including another layer for yourself in your carry-on. Those nappy explosions in the first six months can be brutal and no doubt one will occur the minute the first seat belt sign has been turned on.