Flying to or from Australia with a baby? Here’s Mum’s advice…

Flying with a baby can feel daunting, particularly the first time.
Around this time of year many parents will be planning flights with
their little ones. Whether you’re relocating or visiting on holiday the
flights to and from Australia are the trickiest. Here are some useful
tips, and responses to common questions parents have when travelling
with small children.

Should you travel with a pushchair?

A while ago some friends in the UK asked whether they should take
their stroller with them when flying down under. They were wondering
whether having their six month baby in a carrier would be easier. Mum’s
quick response was; take the pushchair.

The only negatives I can think of to travelling with a pushchair are
the time you’ll spend checking it in and waiting for it on arrival, and
that it might get damaged during the flight.

Waiting for the pushchair on arrival can’t be helped but if you’re
very attached to your current pushchair , or it’s particularly
expensive, Mum suggests buying a light-weight stroller for your travels.
This stroller is suitable from 6 months: Babyway Park Stroller Black .

There are many benefits to travelling with a pushchair. Baby can be
fed it in, sleep in it, entertained in it, and you can use it to store
bags.

How to keep baby entertained
There are plenty of toys and books to keep even the youngest babies
entertained, although in Mum’s experience the free magazines and flight
safety information often end up being of most interest! For toys and
book ideas read Mum’s article: Travelling with children: Six products you shouldn’t fly without and related comments.

Baby food and formula, what you can take with you
Baby food and formula may be imported to Australia provided the
products are commercially prepared and packaged and are for the
consumption of the accompanied infant. You can carry baby food and
formula in your hand baggage, as well as checked in luggage. A single
opened can or tin of milk-based foods for infants is allowed; all other
items must be unopened.

When arriving in Australia you should have no more than 10 kilograms
or 10 litres of infant formula, and you should declare the items you
have. To learn more about baby formula brands sold in Australia, and
sourcing familiar home brands read Baby formula in Australia – brands sold, where to buy, and cost .

In terms of the baby food you select it may be worth paying attention
to the percentage of meat contained in the items you bring. If you get
into the detail of what you’re allowed to bring into Australia, it can
depend on how much meat is contained in the item. If a product has more
than 5% meat content the regulations may change depending on what’s
going on in the world; for example an outbreak of foot and mouth disease
can change the regulations.

Top tip! When we travelled with our children as babies, we found
fruit purée and Weetabix to be great options. Weetabix (or Weet-bix if
you’re from Australia) are particularly easy to travel with. If your
baby is drinking cow’s milk this can be provided on board and at most
airport cafés.

Finger foods are also a good backup. There’s so much to look at
during the flight that it might be difficult to give baby their usual
quantity of food; filling up and being kept busy with finger food is a
winner!

Avoiding sore ears
It’s years since Mum has been on a flight where they pass round a
basket of sweets before landing to ease passenger ear pressure, but
parents would be wise to factor in the discomfort of sharp ascents and
descents.

A common trick with infants is to feed them during takeoff and
landing. Depending on how they are strapped in breastfeeding might be
tricky, but not impossible. If they’re bottle fed or taking water from a
bottle, let babies suck or sip on their bottle.

For older babies who are eating finger food, if they won’t drink from a cup, chewing will have the same affect.

Top five carry on items
By way of a quick recap here are Mum’s top five carry on items for parents travelling with babies;

  1. Baby bottle with water or milk for sucking during takeoff and landing (to ease ear pressure).

  2. Toys and distractions; include something familiar and something
    new. For babies, bath books are a great idea; you can attach them to
    your table with the suction tab and wipe them clean after the journey.
    Here are a few examples;

Bath Buddies: Fluttery Fish
Glug, Glug, Glug: Baby’s First Bath Book (Usborne Bath Books S.)
3. For feeding, several clean bowls and spoons. Take extra spoons as they’ll end up being played with and are easy to lose.

  1. For older babies, finger food (rice crackers, chopped up fruit etc.)

  2. Assuming your baby eats it, Weetabix is a great food to carry with
    you. If you get delayed it’s healthy and filling. When we arrived in
    South Africa my son ate it for most of our initial day whilst I got to
    grips with local ingredients and baby food brands.