I had one hundred percent put off going back to Dublin for two reasons, 1. The money and 2. The flight.
When the Jellybean was born I very much had the mentality that everyone could come to me, heck if me having a baby isn’t reason enough to come visit what is? So for the first six months we were inundated with guests and it was great – but there are some people who can’t travel, well one, my grandmother and I really wanted her to meet the Jellybean. She is the first great-grandchild on both sides of the family!
So I plucked up the courage and did it, alone of all things. I’m actually writing this on the flight back so it stays fresh in my head.
Packing Requires Forethought
So I didn’t do this. But it would have helped had I! I may have brought a few too many vests and babygrows but I could’ve done with a few more toys. I got away really lucky with the Jellybean not needing a full outfit change the entire weekend – but I would have been prepared had she. I had spares of everything, to be honest she took up the majority of the bag. Thankfully I have a pretty stylish sister who lets me raid her wardrobe whenever I’m there!
What Not to Bring
Nappies. Wipes. Anything you can get wherever you’re going, especially if it requires a plane journey because that’s just unnecessary baggage. Obviously bring a normal days’ worth of nappies but you can buy a pack on the other end.
During the Flight
Feed your little one on take-off and landing to protect their ears from the change in air pressure, I feed on demand so this was easy for me. If your little one isn’t due a feed just plain water can help too, or a pacifier if you use them, it’s all about the sucking and swallowing actions.
With the airline I was flying with I only had one carry-on bag and the nappy bag. I brought one toy that had been abandoned at the bottom of the toy basket to entertain her and when we arrived in Dublin my sister produced a brand new musical toy too, I think it distracted her from being away from home. Nothing better than a new toy for distraction! So I really recommend digging out a lesser loved toy or getting a new one for the little ones.
I emailed in advance and asked what I was able to bring, thankfully I was allowed two items; the pram and car seat. The pram was so necessary as we go for walks every day and it would have just added to the disruption of her routine had I not brought it. For the airport I put her in a carrier my friend had let me borrow and I can’t recommend doing this enough. She was happy as she was near me but also able to look around at her new surroundings at the same time. I did have to take it off going through security at one airport but not the other, getting it back on one-handed was a challenge!
My sister in law used to work on planes and gave me the advice of telling everyone who worked there that I was travelling alone with a baby. And she was so right. I couldn’t have had more help, from the people at the desk to cabin crew, on the way back they let me put my carry on in the hold and both ways they asked if I needed the pram right off the plane. On board they moved me to my own row, helped me with my bags getting on and off the plane and when putting things in the over head locker. I couldn’t have asked for more help, so if you are travelling alone tell everyone!!
Proof of Parenthood
So my daughter has a different last name to me which I didn’t think would be that uncommon these days, but she also has a British passport whereas mine is Irish. In customs because the names were different the woman at the desk asked if I had any way of linking our names to verify I was the mother. Obviously I didn’t think this would be an issue but just a heads up to those of you who have different surnames to your children, you will get stopped and asked about it. I was later advised to take a picture of her birth certificate on my phone as proof of being her mother. Slightly inconvenient for me but on the other hand it’s nice to know they do check. And besides, I think it’ll just encourage me to hurry up with the wedding plans!
Other Tips & Info
– Keep your phone charged, you might need it if there’s a major meltdown for distraction
– Gifts! I did not expect so many gifts from people and ended up having to leave some books behind with my sister as I just didn’t have the space to bring them home.
– Baby milk isn’t limited to the standard liquids rule (100ml each), however you may be asked to taste some of it.
– Keep passports and boarding cards together and in an easy to reach place.
I was amazed at how well behaved the Jellybean was during the flight, I put it all down to a little bit of organisation and having a multifunctional toy at the ready to deter any meltdowns. It’s all about the distraction!