Everyone knows having a baby changes pretty much your entire life. But one thing we had hoped wouldn’t overly change was our travel. Not because we are crazy travel enthusiasts but because it was something we had come to enjoy so much in recent times.
That’s why when our friends hinted us that their wedding was to be in South Africa in December and just five weeks after my due date – we resolved to make it work. We’d spent about 96 Hours in Jo’burg and CapeTown earlier in the year but you’d recall we didn’t get much done. It was a quick trip in and out. So I was excited for an opportunity to go back. I was finally going to explore everything I missed in Johannesburg – the history, the food, the people. And well, pretty photos.
Plus it was one of our closest friend’s wedding. Tee was the best man, and I was on the bridal train. Surely we had to go. How difficult can it be to travel with a five week old by air? Most airlines allowed babies from 2 days old to fly!
My mum was concerned about the 12 hour flight time. “It’s not a quick 50 minutes flight from Lagos to Abuja” she said. I countered that my friends who recently had kids in the US returned back to nigeria many times with their five week old. “That’s a one way trip!” and “they’re going home not on a holiday”, she countered. I could think of a couple of comebacks but I let it go.
More people raised more concerns:
I’m sure they laughed in my faces.
But to be honest, Tee and I were pretty much bent on this.
And so I started my research. And oh did I research. I needed to be fully armed to make this work. I read blogs. I asked friends. I called the airlines.
And guess what? We booked our tickets!
Before I go on to what happened, let me tell you the most important tips for flying with a baby:
One time we overslept before a trip and the knock of the taxi driver scheduled to take us to the airport woke us up. Let’s just say that if we had a baby then, it wouldn’t have worked. So there’s no room for inefficiency. With a baby early morning flights are probably not the best.
Write out a list of every single baby item you’d require. Find out which can be purchased at your destination (i.e baby food, wipes and diapers) but still take a good amount of this.
In planning have a categorised checklist: feed; bath; clothing; sleep; play; nappy change; transport; bath items, toys, health care and bed time essentials. Do not forget baby travel documents. He or she may be tiny but is a whole and separate human.
Once we booked our tickets we let the airline know we were expecting to fly with a baby at the time. They confirmed that we could check in two of these three: a car seat, a travel cot and a stroller!
Plus the baby was entitled to its own luggage allowance! And once we had the baby, we could call in to reserve a baby bassinet. All of this was good news to my ears.
I pictured us very casually strolling into the airport. Tee pushing all our suitcases + diaper bag and I using our carrier hugging baby to my chest. It’s helpful to get a back pack diaper bag and use a front baby carrier – you would be maximising your back and front.
Sometimes there’s priority boarding if you have a baby – win!
Most people agreed that in flight with a baby would often be a breeze – as they’re likely to sleep a great deal of the journey. One tip they shared was to feed while take-off and landing. This prevents ear aches.
Most airlines allow reasonable amount of pumped breast milk to go through security. If you’re formula feeding – you could consider the ready made travel sized formula.
Dress baby in layers – temperature changes in the air craft. Also consider clothes for easy nappy change.
Oh and in picking seats, if travelling as a couple, pick the aisle and window seats. That way if the flight is not overbooked, the middle seat stays empty and you’ve got extra space.
Ask for help – air hostesses are generally happy to help with washing bottles, pacifiers etc. I mean how many people can truly resist the the cuteness of a baby.
If you’re going to be staying at a hotel, most decent ones are happy to provide a baby cot if you request early. You may still want to take your own sheets for comfort.
If it’s a destination that’s car friendly – hiring a car might also be a good option for the baby’s convenience. You could also hire a car with a car seat which saves on the baggage.
For sunny destinations, don’t forget baby sunscreen
Finally, it’s great to have travel insurance and some sort of hospital / clinic details at your destination – just in case of an emergency.
That’s pretty much it. Take loads of photos – of the baby too!. And ignore any one who looks at you funny if baby throws a tantrum!
So with all of this information I gathered, did we make the trip?
And – it wasn’t because I wasn’t ready or I was afraid or tired. I’m simply blaming it on the fact that it would have been near impossible for his travel documents to arrive in under a month. Why does a five week old need a passport and visa anyway? Ugh!
But I’m not deterred and this information shall not waste.
We’ve got another wedding to attend later this year in Johannesburg! – (making it the third in a year in South Africa – are we missing some memo?). So hopefully that would just work.
In the meantime, I’m exploring other travel options. Because it appears babies and infants barely pay any fare price until they turn two. Hopefully we can take advantage of some cheap flights.
Have you travelled with babies or infants? At what age and how did that go? Share your tips, advice and must haves!
pS: We got a refund on my ticket and Tee went on to represent us on there. Does this count as one of our travel mishaps again? And I’m still not sure if this was worse than the dubai vacations that never happened.
ppS: This post is in collaboration with TravelStart
'DaraMarch 15, 2018 at 12:14
But really why does a 5 week old baby need a visa and a passport? Lol! Glad you get another opportunity to go back to Johannesburg. Itching to see the pretty Johannesburg pictures.
DebsMarch 15, 2018 at 12:31
Oh Kachee, you are super creative. I have read other collaboration post with this link and yours is by far the most original.Very interesting tips you’ve shared.I choked on laugh about the picture part.www.debwritesblog.com
BababiMarch 15, 2018 at 20:47
Awwwwww that must have sucked.A friend of mine travelled by air recently within Nigeria. She was alone with her 2kids (both under 3yrs). They fussed and fussed and she was so overwhelmed. One of the kids wanted to pee, their mother asked one of the hostesses to help her take her child to the toilet. The hostess responded with “It is not my job to take your child to the toilet”. This caused a scene on the flight. Other passengers had witnessed how my friend was stressed out and they all poured out their anger on the rude hostess who knows nothing about customer service.#thingsthathappeninNigeria.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 17, 2018 at 02:11
It did suck, but I’m over it now.Re air hostess, that’s such a shame – especially as the mum was overwhelmed, not casually sitting and asking her to do it.
KCMarch 21, 2018 at 18:36
I can imagine! Travelling with young kids can be overwhelming. But just to point something out, although the air hostess should have been more polite in her objection, for security reasons, you are better off taking your kids to pee, whichever way, anyhow….. You will be amazed what happen to kids these days in terms of child abuse like being touched inappropriately. Believe me I totally understand because I just recently became a mom of 2 kids, and I have also traveled with my first kid at 6 months years back. Just food for thought.
Olufisayo AdelekeMarch 15, 2018 at 20:59
All the while I was reading, I kept thinking about why you didn’t post the awesome Jozi pics 😂 until I got to the end…so so sorry about the whole visa thingy…hopefully you get to go for the next wedding
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 17, 2018 at 02:10
Hahhahaa. You know I would have. Fingers crossed on next one. xx
Desire UbaMarch 16, 2018 at 08:03
This was such a fun post to read!Babies are always the cutest!!Honestly, I think I might come to you for mummy tips in a couple of years 😏PS. I keep hearing that people don’t read blog posts without pictures, and even if I had no proof before, KacheeTee.com is the ultimate proof!www.desireuba.WordPress.com
Chidimma NjokuMarch 19, 2018 at 07:21
Kachi! Always great reading your posts. I don’t understand that tip about feeding at landing and take off to avoid earaches. Whose ear?
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 19, 2018 at 07:32
Baby’s ear! Sometimes the pressure from takeoff and landing could cause ear aches (also affects adults too) – so feeding at those points eases it for them.
Dee OlateruMarch 19, 2018 at 13:12
HAAA! I didn’t know you got your tickets already, but it is such a relief to know that you got it refunded, phew! That was a short timeline to get a passport, UK visa, and South African Visa. From someone that often takes visa risks, you were cutting it close o!
yevandyMarch 19, 2018 at 15:04
it can be soo disappointing to plan a trip and not get to go… But i guess its all good as you got refunded and you have another trip planned to the same location..cant wait for you to share your experience travelling with the baby..becomingyeva.com
Dooshima Dapo-OyewoleMarch 19, 2018 at 17:54
I can soooo relate to this post!!Once I read the title I knew you would have a similar ending like mine…so sorry you did not make your trip!Live in the Uk as well and I had grand plans too..to be the super organised mummy at the airport..in my comfortable and stylish yummy mummy outfit 🙂 ..till NIgerian embassy hit me with a 12 week wait for little one’s passport..then add on the up to 8 weeks Home office takes for BRPs…to get over it I looked at it this way…we are ready for summer!and the little man is older so will be able to enjoy any trip too now as he is curious about his surroundings.we will be on our way soon!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 19, 2018 at 18:47
Hahahah. I was being overly optimistic! Thankfully we’ve scaled through this now and BRP just and through so time to get that comfortable yummy mummy outfit!