How to Prepare When Flying with a Baby

At 8months-ish, baby V has taken her first plane ride and set her tiny bum in Taiwan! We are back home (in one piece, without pulling out our hair, fortunately, hahaha), and many friends and readers have been asking about our trip (also my first post-partum holiday, yippee!), so the first installation will cover the prep works. Yes, it’s not just the two of us anymore; packing for 3 is a different ball game altogether.

The plan was to scale Taichung –> Cing Jing –> Taipei, 2 nights at each place. So we had to ensure that there was enough of everything for the next 7 days. Bearing in mind that products are never always exactly the same across the globe (they are usually localized or are completely different), so to play safe, make sure there is sufficient of what is needed.

Packing the luggage
This was probably one of the most nerve-wrecking packing exercise that had us checking and rechecking on baby V’s items for fear of leaving out something. Basically this sharpens one’s brains for organizational skills and strategizing, if you think of it. HA!
Tips: Use zipper bags to group baby’s items together. We used a jumbo size for larger items such as towels and clothes and a smaller size for handy items such as toiletries.

Here’s how we categorized them with 1 zipper bag each:
– clothes (remember to bring spares!)
– toiletries including baby shampoo/shower foam (use a travel size 2in1 to bring lesser items), body lotion, eczema creams, Ruyi oil, hair brush, bottom balm
– hankies + bath towels
– pyjamas
– socks and hats
– diapers
– thermometer
– medication (e.g. Koolfever patch, paracetamol etc)
– gripe water and sippy cup (without zipper bags, as shown in pic below. Basically just squeeze in any visible corner.)
– portable fan (without zipper bags, in the end we put this in the diaper bag)
– detergent for baby clothes (if you’re planning to reuse something, this is important. And for those times when clothes are stained with poop!)
– cleanser for bottles, if applicable
– baby’s spoon, bowl
– disposable bibs
– fresh boiled water from home – in bottles for baby

Baby’s stuff on the right side, whilst Hub and I shared the left section! Almost couldn’t close it…

All that for a little baby!

Diaper bag for the NS man
Yup, basically this is for the father to lug, for which i’m grateful for (are you reading this, Hub???), so, he opted to use his Deuter haversack instead of our usual diaper bag. With a different orientation and compartments, once again, some planning was involved. Again, using zipper bags, these are the items to prepare (yes, as if the earlier list ain’t enough..)
– diapers (to replenish for each day)
– extra clothes + hat + baby’s sweater (for the plane rides/cold weather etc) + baby’s sunblock (we used Mustela bebe)
– milk bottle + formula container + thermal flask with hot water + bottle of cooled water (omit these if baby will be breastfed – we brought along as backup)
– wet wipes + tissue
– portable fan
– nursing cover
– baby carrier (we fit this in its own handy bag instead of ziplock bags
– baby biscuits/snacks
– baby’s toys (small handy ones)

Taking flight
We took the noon flight – would have otherwise picked the earlier one so we could reach our destination ahead to chiong, but, byebye single days! Also, we didn’t want to disrupt her sleep by pulling her out of bed that early, so a noon flight was our best bet. With a baby in tow, seats with bassinets are usually allocated plus the leg room comes as a godsend too.
Tips for parents: choose a suitable flight timing to coincide with your baby’s naptime so they can (hopefully) catch some sleep and so can you!

Things to bring out of diaper bag when seated in plane
I’ve intentionally created this list so that it makes it more convenient without having to fumble with a scenario: diaper bag is at the overhead compartment-baby fussing/crying-cabin crew asking you to put on your seat belt and get seated-neighbouring passengers giving you that stare-your wife telling you to hurry up. Okay, i think you get the drift.
– baby’s sweater + socks (if she’s not already wearing them)
– baby’s biscuits/snacks
– nursing cover
– wet wipes/tissue
– toys
– water

You must be wondering where on earth should we put all those stuff? Well, we basically squeezed them into the pockets in front of our seat. Note that the bassinet is only installed after the plane has taken off; prior to take-off, baby will be strapped on with an infant seat belt that’s strapped onto an adult. Baby can then sleep in the bassinet during the flight, however, when the seat belt sign is lit in cases of turbulence, the child must be taken out from the bassinet and strapped back on with the infant seat belt. If you’ve been following us for some time now, you’d already know that baby Vera doesn’t do well with naps, so here’s what happened during the flight.

Playpen, a few thousand miles up in the sky!

Always ensure that the child is never left unattended. Close supervision is required when child is in the bassinet. Baby V pretty much stayed in there for max. 15mins. Throughout the journey to Taipei, she had a 1hr and another 30min nap + nurse session. Nursing mums, time to train those biceps first!

Tips for nursing mums: It’s the best time to nurse your baby during a take-off and landing as the swallowing action will help baby from getting ear blocks/ache. If your bub nurses to sleep (like Vera!), then you’ll be a happy mum for awhile… until the kraken stirs…. heh…

Tips for parents: Certain lavatories come with a diaper changing station too (look out for the signs, didn’t realize it before we become parents. HA!) It’s basically a horizontal board that comes down and calls for some quick diapering skills in those tight spaces! Baby food/toddler meals are served if requested during check-in. For SQ, we were given Gerber’s jar food, which can be warmed up upon request.

Alright, that’s about all for the leg works, we hope you’re not too overwhelmed and that these lists can come in handy. Look out for the upcoming articles on our Taiwan Escapade!