Sorry, I know. I took forever with this post. But, the experience was so traumatising, I needed a few months to recuperate.
I'm okay now.
Here are my top 10 tips on traveling with a baby on flights but even so, gooood luck buddy.
NUMBER 1 - LIMIT YOUR CARRY ONs!!! I was allowed to take one carry on, a diaper bag, and a purse or backpack. I decided to ditch the purse and take the backpack since it would be easier to carry through terminals. But, taking a diaper bag and a carry on as well was just a disaster. Next time, I will try to just take a carry on and MAYBE a small bag.
2 - If your baby is under the age of 9 months, take advantage of baby jar food. Some people told me that they freeze meat dishes and by the time they get to the plane it will be good enough to eat. I am just like, oh my Goddd just relax. Your baby can be vegetarian for just one day and they will survive by not having a home cooked meal for just a couple of hours. My God. There are meaty baby jar food as well for the carnivores who just can't resist. But I was all like, ummmm it aint Halal.
3 - Put all of your food into one or two bags max so that when you get to customs, you just pull the bags out quickly to declare. They will appreciate your organisation skills as it speeds up the process.
4 - Put wet wipes, spoons, few nappy bags, disposable or cloth bibs in each bag that you have your foodin. I had one smaller bag that had enough for each plane ride as well which I tucked into the little pockets in front of my seat (where they put the magazines) so that I didn't have to keep carrying that one massive bag of food. I recommend using disposable bibs because you don't want to be stuck with wet bibs throughout the flight. Use your bibs to keep him from wetting his shirt from drooling if he is teething. You want to limit the number of times you need to change his clothes.
5- Make sure you get the bulkhead seat so that you get a bassinet on the long haul plane rides. The bassinets was useless for Hasan because all he wanted to do was crawl or walk, but it was great for me to chuck in his toys, wipes and food without all of it being on my lap. Call the airline a couple of times to make sure they secured your seat and check in 24 hours before your flight. Once you check in, your seat is secured.
6 - Let your child crawl or walk across the aisles. It might seem weird at first since everyone is looking at you and your baby walking back and forth but it is way better then them crying and disturbing everyone. The show off flight attendants might get annoyed so just avoid eye contact. Hasan was much quieter when he was walking and eventually he got tired and was more willing to sit later on and then eventually by the grace of God, fall asleep.
7 - As soon as your baby falls asleep it would be a great time to go to the bathroom, clean up around your area as I am sure you are covered with biscuits and plastic cups and all that jazz, and have your meal. You will feel so much better when you clean up and much more patient when the little devil wakes up again ( <3 )
8 - Don't give your baby all the toys that you took with you at once. Give him a few at a time so that he doesn't get sick of it by the first couple of hours.
9 - Reading books helped me keep Hasouni in his seat while the seatbelt sign was on. He was also so fasincated by the plastic cups that the flight attendants gave us. I don't know why but it didn't matter to me. He loved it and I loved it.
10 - Only take with you small toys and books but make sure they are no smaller than the size of your hand. The last thing you want to do is find the little car that he dropped which you know is underneath the man sitting beside you who just had enough.
I hope that helped!! On my flight to Canada, these tips saved me. On the flight back, Hasan decided that he no longer liked baby jar food, was definitely way too big for the bassinets, and chucked every book I gave him. It was much harder because we had 3 stop overs and the first two were right in the beginning so by the time we went on our 14 hour flight back to Sydney, he just had enough.
I will try to write more often! Sorry we also had to learn how to get Hasouni to sleep through the night and that has been quite the experience. Maybe I will write about that one day !