Flying Tips for Parents
When flying with your little ones, expect the unexpected and accept that you can't predict or control everything up in the air. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your flight.
Flying with a baby or infant can feel overwhelming. Getting organised in advance is a great way to get a head start on reducing that sense of overwhelm. Start by making a list of the things you will need with you on your flight.
Depending on how long your flight is, have a think about all of the things you have on hand at home over the same period of time. How many bottles, nappies, wipes, toys, books, dummies or extra clothing will you need to pack?
The Gidget Foundation Australia team recommend pre-packing zip lock bags ready for each meal and change time. Pack a nappy, bib, a change of clothes, and everything else you might need to have on hand in your zip lock bag. Have your wipes on hand at all times and then you can use your zip lock bag for your rubbish as well.
Think about what else you use at home to soothe and entertain your little ones that could also help while on your flight. Be sure to pack their favourite comfort toy or blanket, and you may want to gift wrap some activity based toys or books so they can unwrap them at different intervals during the flight.
Being prepared is the best place to start to reduce your anxiety when flying with a baby or infant.
Load up your smart phone
There are lots of amazing apps and tools you can use when flying. We recommend pre-planning entertainment for the flight and access to WiFi where available.
If your child has a favourite show, download it onto your own device before your next flight or check out what's on offer on Virgin Australia's In-flight Entertainment system. Be flexible with screen time and use headphones where possible.
Music is another great way to ease the anxiety of flying with little ones. There are also lots of music tracks and playlists available on the In-flight Entertainment system.
Take off and landing tips
Babies and infants can experience ear pain and discomfort during take-off and landing so it's a good idea to have some strategies in place. Having a bottle ready or timing breastfeeding can help to alleviate the pressure and discomfort on the ears. Alternatively, have a dummy available or snacks for toddlers to chew on, and any other distractions on hand.
Ask for help
The cabin crew onboard are experienced in providing support to parents. Many have children of their own and know exactly what you're going through. Reach out and ask for help if you need a little walk or toilet break and you're on your own.
Smiling Mind, the experts in mindfulness and meditation, have a number of their meditations available on the Virgin Australia In-flight Entertainment system. Pack your headphones and a set for your little ones if they are old enough to tune in.
Listening to a meditation while your baby is sleeping or feeding is a great way to help you relax and create a sense of calm. Remember that your little ones can sense your mood and will often take their cues from you.
Pack your favourite books
A small collection of much loved books in your carry on will help to make flying with your little ones more fun! Having their undivided attention during a flight is the perfect time to capture their imaginations and further grow their love of reading.
The Gidget Bunny Books collection is the perfect set for new parents as it also includes psychological strategies for new parents. The collection includes a set of four children's stories, each based on different techniques to help new parents step into parenthood happily and confidently. Visit our website for more on our book collection.
ABOUT GIDGET FOUNDATION AUSTRALIA
GIdget Foundation Australia is a not for profit organisation that provides programs to support the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents, education in the community, workplaces and for health professionals.
Gidget was a vibrant and joyful Sydney mother. She had a loving family and wide network of caring friends. Gidget took her own life while suffering postnatal depression. Her baby was 9 months old.
The Gidget Foundation evokes Gidget's warmth and lively spirit. Established by her friends and sisters, the foundation is now supported by passionate individuals, community leaders, businesses and health professionals.
New babies bring delight along with challenges. Nearly 1 in 5 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers will experience perinatal depression and anxiety (known previously as Postnatal Depression), with suicide a leading cause of maternal death. That's around 10,000 Australians each year. Nearly 50% of all parents experience adjustment disorders.
For more information and to get involved, please visit www.gidgetfoundation.org.au.