On our way to the airport for the early morning flight to Joburg, we laughed about how Baby Nur’s first flight was a far cry from our first airport experiences. We grew up going to the airport excited in our special clothes, skin plastered in Vaseline, and ALL this was just for escorting the traveler!
We took the 6.30am flight to go and process some applications and returned on the 9pm flight back. We were all exhausted afterwards but here are a few tips on what worked and what didn’t go well.
1.What to carry
Taking just one baby bag, a small cooler bag, my hand bag and the Doona we kept light and easy.
The usual nappy bag contents:
• First aid kit
• 2x change of clothes (for warm and cold temperatures)
• Wet wipes and change mat
• Disposal nappy bags
• Sophie la Girafe and 2 other toys
• Dummy (For popping ears on takeoff and landing)
• Muslin towel, spit cloth and bib
• Plastic fork, her spoon, banana and a storage container
• Mineral water for both of us. You also use this to wet baby’s cloth, I don’t like using wet wipes on her face (eczema woes)
• Sanitizer (liquid and wipes)
2. Make up and dress for Mom
• My easy go-to make-up look of pink eye shadow, lipstick (also tap lipstick on cheeks for blush) and tinted moisturizer.
• I wore comfy sweat pants, a t-shirt, sweater and running shoes.
3. Flight Tips
• Check-in early
• Wake up earlier so you don’t rush
• Eat well on the flight especially if breastfeeding keeping a bank card nearby if you don’t carry food
• We let baby sleep in comfortable clothes she could wear on the journey so that we didn’t fuss so early in the morning, we gently carried her into her stroller
• Doona is convenient for Uber and movement but didn’t fit into overhead compartment of the Kulula flight. No problem though, the hostess took it
• Dummy or breast feed at takeoff and landing to pop ears
• Engine sound is soothing so it was easy to get baby back to sleep once we were cruising
• We asked for and were given the infant seat belt/ belly loop belt but the plane host gave us some advice about studies proving it’s not so safe. I wish I had read up more about it before to make an informed decision but we chose to follow his advice
4. Changing on the Plane
• It was easier for my husband and I to go together. He held the change bag and handed the diaper, wipes etc.
• Wipe down what you can with sanitizer wipes
• Use the muslin cloth as pillow
• We left the door open for more space
• We expected the night time flight to be harder after a full day. Baby Nur found it hard to sleep because of the clinical hidden lights glowing on the Kulula flight. Singing to her helped and she has started singing along but we didn’t manage to get more than 20mins sleep.
• We had paid for extra leg room but it didn’t seem to be any different on these particular Kulula flights. Our neighbor joked that it’s probably the most expensive real estate, a whole extra 2cm for extra pay!
A LOT of people want to hold or touch your baby. It’s okay to say ‘No Thanks’. I had to do so after a lady held her arms out wide asking to hold Baby Nur!
Although she was a star and received many compliments about her good behaviour, Baby Nur did come back with a cold, I think the one day trip to Joburg and back may have been too much for her. So in retrospect, we would’ve taken the weekend. We sometimes forget that after all her milestones and growth, at 6months, she is still a wee baby!
Hope this helps!