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Planning guide for young moms planning flying with a baby

May 9, 2019
Planning guide for young moms planning flying with a baby

How to make flying with a baby easy

Jeffreys Bay - Having an extra little person in the family to think of when planning your flights can complicate matters, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming, and shouldn't stop you from travelling.

The question we hear most often is: why do babies ears hurt when cabin pressure changes during take-off and landing? As adults, we naturally adjust to changes in air pressure through our Eustachian tubes, which connect our ears, throat and nose. In babies these tubes are narrower and sometimes they don't open as easily, which can lead to pain, and a fussy, crying baby.

There are a few things you can do to keep your baby calm and receptive to soothing techniques in-flight. Follow Mango´s easy guide to prepping for a smooth lead up to your flight and a fuss-free journey.

Calming your baby (and yourself) before the flight:

  • Your baby will pick up on your nerves if you are chaotic - a mindset of having fun with your new little buddy and calm energy are your biggest assets;
  • Give baby a bath with a few drops of chamomile or lavender essential oils in the water before your flight to help them relax ahead of traveling. You could try a diluted mixture in a spray bottle generously spritzed onto their pillow, car seat and clothes for extra calm;
  • Baby-wearing is not only very soothing for you both, but it also makes for an easier trip through security as you will be asked to remove your baby from their car seat or stroller. This way your hands are free, baby can remain asleep and walking through the plane is easier;
  • If your baby is under five months, swaddling is recommended for flying to keep them feeling safe and relaxed;
  • Try playing the same music to your baby for a few weeks when you put them to sleep at home and bring it along with headphones and some small toys to minimise overstimulation from people;

Planning your flying with a baby:

  • Mango allows infants under two to travel on your lap during flights. We charge a small fee of R130.00 (ex. Vat) for infants-in-arms to travel. An extension seat belt will be provided for safety reasons;
  • If you can, buy a ticket for your baby and use the car seat in the plane allowing for minimal disturbances;
  • Try and choose your flight to match your baby’s schedule. All Mango´s local flights are less than two hours, so it's easy to plan your flight around nap time;

Check-in, seats and boarding:

  • Mango does not require unabridged birth certificates for domestic flights but you will be asked to provide your infant's birth certificate at check-in, along with their passport;
  • Check-in and select your seats as soon as you can to give yourself seat options. An aisle seat allows you to move freely but a window seat provides more privacy;
  • Generally, you can ask to board early, but if baby is niggly, get some help from a flight attendant to store your luggage first, and board last with baby in your sling;

During your flight:

  • An infant's immune system isn't fully developed yet so make sure you and baby drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and fight off travelling germs better.
  • To help combat potential ear pain, keep your baby close to you during take-off and landing and encourage breastfeeding, drinking from a bottle or cup or sucking on a dummy.
  • Don’t take too many nappies, they take up space and you can always buy more;
  • With baby in the front, opt for a backpack baby bag to keep both hands free and even weight distribution;
  • Travel lighter by selecting clothes from the wardrobe that are interchangeable (for adults and tots) and crease resistant. Vacuum bags are also a great way to save space. 
  • Pack a second, smaller bag with just essentials like two nappies, a baby grow, small pack of wet-wipes, a thermometer, a feeding bottle and hand sanitiser for quick access;

Checklist: One week before your flight

  1. Has your baby been suffering from any nasal congestion from a cold or allergies? Ask your pediatrician to check for any sign of ear infection and whether you should give your baby an antihistamine/decongestant for the flight to reduce swelling of the Eustachian tubes.
  2. Make sure you know what your maximum weight allowance is for all your luggage and baby equipment to avoid last minute repacking or extra fees.
  3. Contact Mango´s medical bookings division on 086 10 10 214 to request that Mango make their special infant restraints available to you if you need it, or if you aren't sure.

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