A stressful start to your family vacation can be managing airport security with babies or toddlers. Whether you are a first time parent or not, the prospect of taking your little ones on the plane can be daunting. With a little organisation, travelling with a baby/toddler can be great.
I have been travelling with my children since they were 4 months old, and have experienced navigating the airport and getting through airport security with different challenges. In this post, I hope to give you some ideas for making your family vacations, truly memorable- for the right reasons, of course! 😉
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I have to say, breastfeeding was the easiest way to get through security. We would get to the airport early and schedule feeds just before security and right after. For ease and comfort, I always wore my feeding apron. The neck design is great, allowing me to see my baby. It also folds neatly so it fits in the change bag. I also found it super comfortable to use once we boarded on to the plane too.
#2 Formula feeding
Now, formula feeding definitely needed some organisation. What worked for us? Being prepared. I had already bought the complete feeding set by Tommee Tippee, which included travel accessories. Literally the only set I used for both my children!
I would pre-weigh the formula in to the storage pots and write on the container what volume of water I needed. For example, 5 scoops of formula = 5oz of boiling water. The storage pots held up to 7 scoops of formula. The great thing about the storage pots are that they fit snuggly inside the bottles, so, taking up less space.
If baby was due a feed prior to the security gates, I would make up the bottle at home, before we made our way to the airport and store it in the insulated bottle bag. So, even if you are stuck in the checking-in queue, you can feed your baby with ease.
An alternative, is to use the ready-to-feed milk, which are handy if your baby is happy drinking them- mine didn’t for some reason!
Once through security, if my baby needed a feed I would use another pre-loaded storage pot and get some boiling water from a café/restaurant. I also carried my travel food warmer and filled that with boiling water.
So, if I needed to make up more feeds on the flight, I had some to hand. Lets face it! Who wants to wait for the flight attendant to give you boiling water when your baby is hangry?!?
My second child was just coming up to 6 months old when we flew to the Caribbean. I remember panicking about being able to introduce solids to him abroad. In the end, I decided to keep it simple and give Ella pouches (the single veggie flavours). See my Weaning Blog for more on this.
You can take baby food through security with no problem. I put his food for the journey in to a clear food bag, so it was less time-consuming, when passing them through security.
I always found that dealing with breakfast on the plane was the most challenging, as I would usually give porridge. To get overcome this hurdle, I would pack the HiPP Organic breakfast jars and both mine would happily eat them. As they become better at eating, this becomes less of an issue, as you can just buy food or eat, once you get through security.
This has to be one of the main worries about travelling- how do you get your baby to nap?
This could be at the airport and /or on the plane. I found the best way for baby to nap, was on me! So having the right baby carrier is so important. I used the BabyBjorn carrier for both my children and loved it!
It’s super easy to put on and doesn’t need the help of another adult. It’s really padded and the waist strap is very sturdy, keeping my baby snug and safe. All without putting any strain on your lower back.
You can also deal with the luggage as you are hands-free! I cannot recommend this baby carrier enough. The carrier was also perfect for when you landed at your destination. Once the plane had stopped, I would strap baby in and comfortably make my way through the airport to pick up our luggage and buggy.
#5 Two under Two
Yep! What a crazy time! Going to Caribbean, with an almost 6 month old and 21 month old, definitely tested our nerves. For me, having a compact and lightweight pushchair that I could also use on holiday was important.
I also wanted the pushchair to recline in to the flat position, so making it ideal to use from birth, was essential. After much research, we opted for the Joie Nitro Stroller. I would recommend it! We have been on several holidays with it and it is still going strong.
Key features include, it has an easy and compact fold, multi-position reclining back rest, calf support, full suspension and a large basket for storage. At the airport, If my baby was showing signs of being tired, I would carry him in my carrier and my toddler could then lie in the pushchair.
The other issue we had when trying to encourage our toddler to sleep was the lighting. She was very sensitive to it and could not switch off and sleep, despite being exhausted.
Our problems, were solved with one simple item…the snooze shade. It provides the same form of ‘black out’ as black out curtains, making it much easier for your little one to go to sleep.
It has tiny holes that do not let light in but make it breathable. The peep hole zip at the front allows easy access to check that your is okay. There are plenty of Velcro straps on it so it can adjust to different makes of pushchairs. I love the fact that it can be used for not just sleep.
We would manipulate it to cover just the feet and legs from the sun or just to provide extra shade over the hood to shield the eyes and face. And if that doesn’t convince you, it is also UV protected. Definitely not a gimmicky product!
I always see posts about ways to entertain your children, especially on the plane. So, here are some of the things that I have done.
- Pack plenty of snacks. You can take them through airport security, so, make the most of it. It also saves you having to buy them at a store once you are in the departures area.
- Take an iPad. In a previous blog (click here), I talk about an amazing App, that allows you download videos and songs from You Tube, which can be played in ‘aeroplane mode’.
- I also let my toddler pack a few things that she likes to do in her own trolley bag. It is perfect for a toddler who is confidently walking, as they can pull it and it can be taken as hand luggage through security. She loves to colour and draw, so she packed a colouring book that only needs water. It was great, as I did not need pack a crazy variety of colouring pencils for her. It had her snacks, iPad, spare changes of clothes for her and baby and even the snooze shade, that I used to cover the bassinet in the plane, when my baby wanted to sleep.
It’s almost, always the case…you are looking forward to going on your holiday, washed and packed everything and feel super smug. Then your baby gets ill…aarrrrgggghhhhh! I am talking about getting a cold, cough or a low-grade fever. You cannot do anything, except, find ways to soothe your poorly baby.
Here’s some reassurance…you can pack pain relief medication, such as Calpol or Ibuprofen, but it has to be 100 ml in volume or less. You can get these in most supermarkets and you simply put in to a clear plastic bag and it will get through airport security, with no problem at all.
I hope my blog gives you reassurance and some tips to make the start of your holiday an amazing one!
Please feel free to comment on what has worked for you- together we can help each other.