When I was pregnant with Nova I was told that I’d never travel again. Regardless of my objections to such a scary prospect, whether my love of travel was a need or a want, I was told in no uncertain terms that I wouldn’t venture on new journeys around the world. End of, case closed.
I was made to feel small and stupid for even daring to think that I still might want to explore new places, let alone actually go.
Nova didn’t need to enter the world for me to know otherwise. When travelling is in your soul it’s not a choice. You know you’re bound for new adventures for the rest of your lifetime, no matter who or what comes along.
I recently shared something along these lines on my Facebook page and it garnered nearly 400 likes and loads of comments. It seems I’m not the only one who’s been told such rubbish or who has such a strong passion for seeing the world with a little one (or two, three and more in some cases). You make the life you lead.
I guess these feelings and memories surfaced again because the Taylor family recently made a pretty big milestone in our travelling chapters.
We went on a long-haul trip to Canada.
With a six-month old baby.
We bloody LOVED it! So much so that it just might be one of my top three trips. Ever.
Flying with a Baby
Flying with a baby scares a lot of new mamas. It’s probably the thing I get asked most about (besides being asked how I find the time to blog and look after Nova). The truth is, flying in general scares a lot of people, so it’s not really surprising that flying with a baby is super unnerving, especially when babies are so unpredictable. We like to think that we can ‘routine’ a baby, but they always seem to have a habit of changing it up just to keep us on our toes. Well, that’s my experience anyway.
By no means am I saying there’s a right or a wrong – this parenting lark can be done a million and one ways and every baby is different, but in my opinion flying with a baby is much the same as taking them out to a restaurant, the cinema, someone else’s house, the shopping centre. It can feel daunting, but it doesn’t really make much difference to them where they are so long as they’re entertained and given attention. It’s us mamas and dadas who know that once that plane is in the air there’s no getting off until landing time.
That’s not to say that it’s a breeze. It takes a bit of planning, patience and luck to make it work.
Short-haul flights are one thing (and totally doable with a baby – see here for details of our trips to Netherlands, Jersey, Mallorca and Greece), but long-haul journeys are next level. Obviously you have to entertain a little one for longer, but you also have to possibly contend with jet lag.
We chose to fly to Edmonton with KLM for a few reasons. From surfing the net it seems that these guys are praised pretty highly for baby travel, so that was encouraging. The flight times were great and we managed to bag a late morning flight on the way there and a night flight for the return journey. This meant that I didn’t have to wake Nova up to get him to the airport (hurrah!) and the return time helped no end in getting him to sleep for a big chunk of the flight.
To be honest, it was also really convenient for us. We were able to fly out of Birmingham Airport, which is a lot closer than the London ones for us. The flight went via the hub that is Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Seriously, I think just about every connecting flight goes via this place. It was a nice way to ease us in and the connecting time was just long enough to let us freshen up and hop back on our bigger plane. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Schiphol Airport is amazing – so many cute shops and cafes under one roof. Sorry, purse!
On the flight we were able to use a KLM bassinet – kind of like a mini cot – for Nova which meant that we weren’t smothered with him and all of his baby paraphernalia for 11 hours. Phew! As he’s under the age of two he doesn’t get his own seat, so could you imagine if we didn’t have the bassinet?! That said, he only just managed to squeeze in it, but then maybe that meant he felt more snuggly and secure? Who knows?
Just like our KLM flight to Amsterdam back when he was two-months old, the KLM staff cooed over him and made him feel like a first-class passenger. He was inundated with admirers during the whole flight to be honest.
We lucked out on the way over with seats in Economy Comfort. This meant that we had a bit more space to lay out a blanket and give him a mini play pen. Obviously the chance to stretch our legs right out also helped ease the burden of such a long flight.
If you’re considering embarking on a bit of family travel, I’d definitely recommend flying with KLM. And if my words alone haven’t convinced you that flying with a baby is possible, hopefully this real time vlog will. I recorded it just before we left, during the flight and as soon as we landed (hence the smudged make-up).
And if that hasn’t convinced you, on the row next to us was a mum travelling with her identical twin daughters who were fourteen months old. They were on the final leg of a 29-hour flight all the way from India to Edmonton. Admittedly it may have been a smile of relief, but she was smiling by the time we landed and her cute girls were good as gold.
We also chatted to another mum as we waited to board. She was on her first long-haul trip on her own with her six-month old girl. She was super nervous, but confessed afterwards that she needn’t have been.
Mums, dads, parents-to-be, flying with a baby is possible.
Obviously I know our next long-haul journey with Nova could be a completely different story. Just like us, babies have good days and bad days, so maybe I won’t be so lucky and he’ll have a melt-down for the entire journey. I really hope not, but even if he does it’s just five, eight, ten – whatever – hours out of my life. The most important thing is that there will be another journey and that I know is a given.
I’ll be sharing my tips and advice for flying with a baby in another post soon, as well as all the details about Edmonton, Jasper and of course, Nova’s latest milestones. Until then feel free to ask any questions or share your experiences. It’s always great to hear from you! X
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This trip is in collaboration with KLM as part of #CharWithKLM