It's always the way. You have your first baby and everyone want's to give you their best parenting advice. I've done my best to pick and choose from the advice overload, but a consistent message I've picked up on is once a little one hits the 9-12month mark - long haul flights for travelling become somewhat of a nightmare. They're at the age where they don't want to still still, teething is causing sleep issues, and their determination to crawl around on the floor (which is prohibited on all major airline carriers) is in full swing. Even worse is the request for a bassinet is 'never' guaranteed with any airline - it's on a request basis only. Turns out the younger the baby - the better chance of getting the bassinet!
So with all of that in mind, I've decided to ignore the naysayers, and we're about to embark on our first long haul flight with our 11month year old daughter. Even better - we've booked overnight flights, so as a air hostee friend of mine recently told me, it's going to either be 'really really awesome' decision or a 'really really bad one!'
So in an effort to make the journey as painfree as possible, I've done some research into the best and new products on the market that make flying with babies a lot more palateable, and here's my favourite picks:
1. Comfy plane mattress - I love the idea of the Sky Baby, a portable mini mattress they can snuggle in and you can hold to make lap time comfortable for you both. This is a great alternative for plane bassinets, particularly for little ones perhaps too big for the average weight maximum which is around 9-11kgs. I was recently on a 2hour inter-state flight and had my daughter in my arms in a blanket, and within an hour I had dead arms and an incredibly sore back - so I love this idea.
2. Suitcase and Entertainment - the iconic Trunki suitcase for little ones has become a hit with parents everywhere, and I thought it was only something for older little ones. But a friend of mine recently travelled with it with her 1yr old and she said the 'novelty' of the design, particularly the pull lead entertained her little one at the airport and was the perfect size for packing plane essentials. She also loved how solid/stable it was so her little one could practice their 'standing' at the airport.
3. Privacy and darkness - a very clever new product that creates the ultimate safe and dark zone, the 'Cozigo' is the world’s first multi-purpose sleep & sun shade cover for all baby strollers, prams and airline bassinets. The design is lightweight, and has so many travel purposes. For us on a night flight, I've been reminded that whilst we're going to board at 11pm, the last 'meal and drinks service' will be at around 1am, so I love this idea so we could block out the on flight stimulation.
4. Stretch out - created by the clever team from Cozigo again, the Plane Pal is a incredibly convenient cushion (blow up) that turns your average seat into an extended space for the little one to stretch out to lay or sleep. There's a few of these devices on the market now, but this product seems to have incredibly high reviews, and I love the compact size of the product when deflated.
5. Sleep tight - ok, so this one is technically not a on-plane product, but I had to include it as I have gone through personally trialling 3 travel portacots before we found one that wasn't as hard as cement! The Baby Bjorn travel cot is a market leader and I understand why. Compared to others on the market, the mattress is thin on appearance, but incredibly soft and comfortable. We have never had a problem with our little one sleeping in it, and the see through mesh makes it easy to have view of your little one no matter where you are. Really lightweight and easy to lift and pack, this is my top pick for a good nights sleep when travelling.
As you may already know, some airlines have started to introduce some of their own policies into what child related products you can and can't travel with, so always check out their own regulations before flying.
If you know of any other genius products for travelling with little ones, feel free to get in touch and I look forward to sharing my own long haul experience next month!