With demanding lifestyles, journeys are often a necessary part of the routine. However there are certain factors that need to be considered when planning to travel, whether alone or with a new baby.
For new mums:
The earliest recommendation for travelling will depend greatly on the destination and the mode and length of travel. Every woman is different and has a different recovery period, if you have had a natural delivery, the earliest recommended time for travel is between 2 and 4 weeks. This increases to 6-12 weeks for women who have undergone a C-section. If you have had surgery you might be at a higher risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body, which can be fatal.
In either case you should seek the advice of your doctor or midwife and in some cases your insurance company to make sure you are covered while travelling.
For your New Baby:
It is not recommended for your baby to fly before 2 or 3 months of age as the immune system is not ready to cope with the germs circulating through a plane’s ventilation system. It also gives you time to settle into the breast feeding regime. However as many of us are living overseas going home is often the first thing on our minds. Your baby is essentially good to fly after 2 weeks, provided there’s a clean bill of health and you had a full-term pregnancy without complications. You will aslso need to factor in your baby’s vaccinations before you travel, particularly when going somewhere with tropical deseases. A doctor’s note will be required if your baby is under 1 week of age. You shouls always ask a Paediatrician before flying with a child under 3 months old, just to be safe.
Coping with time zones
Change can leave children feeling anxious and makes it hard for them to relax. They don’t understand the concept of jet-lag, and the excitement of travel and being in new surroundings can be upsetting. There are some handy tips on how to settle your little one in.
- Keep the day after arrival free: Don’t make arrangements to agree to plans, let your child guide you in terms of schedule by allowing them to get familiar with their surroundings, and let them sleep as and when they need to.
- Stay consistent: Keep your child’s routine and sleeping environments the same as you would at home if possible. Your child’s internal clock will adjust but it will take a couple of days. You may find them going to bed later or earlier than normal, but you are on holiday and of course you will need to adjust too.
- Lots of fresh air: The more outdoor activity you can give your child the more tired they will become during the day, making it easier to settle them for naps or night sleeps.
- Pre-departure preparations: Try adjusting your child’s bedtimes forwards or backwards by around 20-30 minutes each night to get ready for the new time-zone chnages, depending on which direction you will travel.
- Meal Planning: When you reach your destination start on a feeding schedule correct for that time-zone this will help all of you adjust quickly.
Questions to ask the Airline Before Travelling:
- Do I have to book seats with a baby bassinet?
- Do you provide a stroller at the airport or can I take my own stroller up to the departure gate?
- What is the baggage allowance for my baby?
- Do you allow frozen breast milk or ready-made formula on the plane?
- Do you offer baby food or a children’s menu?
- What type of entertainment for kids do you offer on-board?
- When does a baby/toddler have to pay full-fair?