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Traveling with infants on BA (oh no he didn't!)

Traveling with infants on BA (oh no he didn't!)

Old Jan 12, 11, 1:08 am
  #1  
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Traveling with infants on BA (oh no he didn't!)

This is a serious thread with genuine questions. Lets try and keep it on-topic for a while please

Petrus Jr. was born late October and is now coming up to 3 months. We're looking to travel mid February. This will be our first trip ever with an infant, or a child for that matter.
From talking to friends and strangers in lounges or planes the consensus appears to be unless the baby is a screamer, up to about a year is actually quite pleasant. Crew tend to be very helpful and other PAX often charmed by the smiling little devil.

We'll be in Club or First. If in Club shall we go for 64 A/B? Both adults are golds so unrestricted seat choice. Have read recommendations for 20 EF also. Judging by seat maps 20 EF have free aisle access.

What are the tricks to make the journey smoother for us?
I was told to try and get the baby to swallow during take off, climb, descent and landing to pressurise the ears automatically. That would mean either feeding from mommy or from a bottle. Which leads to the next question:

Breastfeeding? How do people do it? Myself and SWMBO agree that at home or if with our close relatives we're not that concerned about privacy (obviously no need to flaunt it). However, in public it's a different matter.
If in a private seat like 1 A/K or 64A or the row 20 pair no one should really notice the feeding, unless they physically join in the seat...
The loo's are out of the question for obvious reasons

Do hotels of higher standards provide car seats for infants which one can borrow/rent? Mrs Petrus is a little worried about this.

What else to think of? All advice and tips welcome.

Regards,

Petrus
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Old Jan 12, 11, 1:21 am
  #2  
 
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Welcome to the other (non BAE) club! You're probably better placed to advise on seats, but in terms of ears popping you're right that feeding is the best thing. My wife was never concerned about feeding in public, but if Mrs P is a bit concerned she could always try the delightfully named Hooter Hider! It does allow for complete discretion whilst allowing the mother to keep an eye on the baby.

In terms of car seat we've always brought our own - we'd trust that a lot more than one from a car rental company. I've never stayed at a hotel that lends them out, but maybe I just don't stay at that class of hotel :-)
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Old Jan 12, 11, 1:29 am
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Congratulations on little Petrus
I will leave others to give you seating advice. What I do know having had to fly a lot with my 3 now adult sons when they were small and thanks to DHs work were were always up front we learned a lot

You have rightly identified the issue is their little ears and one thing you cannot legislate against is if they have small snuffle they are going to be fractious on take off and landing and there is nothing you can do

Yes, feeding them can me good if you can tie their feeds in, mine often would not, however I also found using a new dummy (comforter) for that flight works really well. When its new, they tend to suck more vigorously. I would not get the new one out until just before take off.

It was also an idea not to have them needing a sleep at take off stage as they would be more agitated then, I know its counter intuitive as you tend to think, have them sleepy before boarding and we will get a quiet fligth but we found the opposite so would encourage them to be wide awake at that time then after take off they would usually play happily, smile, hold court with adoring passengers and then might even be asleep at landing

Good luck and hope this helps
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Old Jan 12, 11, 1:36 am
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Would recommend the centre pair at the back of the cabin which as you say - have free aisle access around the backs of the aisle seats. From watching some parents (in the centre of Row 12 on a 777) with an equally small baby travelling in CW last year - they had a quilted mat which they laid on the large floorspace for for junior to lie and kick on while in flight while they could recline on their CW seats. Feeding wise suggest Mrs P has a pashmina or similar in her hand baggage and deploy it for a bit of privacy if needed as the screens will need to be down for take off and landing

Re- car seats - take your own with you and check it in if they don't allow you to take it on board to use in the bassinet position instead of the one provided - however....PLEASE ensure that the straps are all fastened up before you hand it over to baggage handling - my stupid other half got it a snit at LHR when we were checking in for a US flight and grabbed the car seat off me and handed it over before I had a chance to fasten the straps. When we arrived at BOS - the padded bit on the free strap had got lost - and we ended up having to make a pad out of a face flannel for the duration of the holiday!

I've never heard of hotels lending them out - and I wouldn't trust the ones at the car rental places (who knows if they have been in a crash or not) as well as costing to hire them
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Old Jan 12, 11, 1:46 am
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There is a useful website here with lots of recommendations.

Babies and toddlers are especially sensitive to crossing time zones, so be prepared for that!
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Old Jan 12, 11, 1:48 am
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I have a lot of experience in sourcing car services with car seats now and without the internet it would be nigh on impossible.

The only time I relied on the hotel to sort this was the Excelsior in HKG as we couldn't find a local alternative and were landing very early, so before the train started running.

Elsewhere, I've had no trouble finding taxi/limo firms that will provide this service on a pre-booked basis. NYC even has a specialist firm for this - kidcarny. Another good place to look especially where carseat use is optional is the chauffeur divisions of the big hire firms - both Avis & Budget have helped us here.

As always make sure you get a couple of quotes first as prices can vary wildly.

Another option we've used (that wouldn't have been on the cards pre-kids) are the airport/hotel bus services. We've done this in both Seattle and Toronto as you have a frequent service and they drop you right at the front door.

Finally, we've also picked up a rental with car seat at the airport and dropped it downtown - makes it easy to drop into a store to buy baby food etc.

As for the seats, on a hi-J config you also have a bassinet at 14EF.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 2:44 am
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64 A/B worked very well for my niece at 5 months with her mum and dad - they sent me a very cute picture of her enjoying the UD!
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Old Jan 12, 11, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
I was told to try and get the baby to swallow during take off, climb, descent and landing to pressurise the ears automatically. That would mean either feeding from mommy or from a bottle. Which leads to the next question:

Breastfeeding? How do people do it? Myself and SWMBO agree that at home or if with our close relatives we're not that concerned about privacy (obviously no need to flaunt it). However, in public it's a different matter.
If in a private seat like 1 A/K or 64A or the row 20 pair no one should really notice the feeding, unless they physically join in the seat...
The loo's are out of the question for obvious reasons
Congratulations on your baby and also on surviving the first few months - it only gets better from now on

I think everyone has to deal with where they are prepared to breast feed - very subjective. Personally I went from hiding in friends' bedrooms to not really giving a stuff where I fed - life is too short to waste it tucked away from other people and I didn't want to use bottles.

I found that if you wore a jumper or T-shirt, rather than a buttoned shirt/dress, that it was really easy to feed without anyone noticing what you were doing. You just lift the jumper, pop baby on and it really looks like you are just cuddling, unless anyone looks closely. (Their problem if they do). I wouldn't have thought anyone would notice at all particularly in J or F, where it isn't crowded.

Definitely feed or use a dummy during landing or takeoff - it really does clear their ears and stops them crying. A saline solution is very good for clearing blocked noses as well, if they get a cold - (water and salt and just a few drops). We travelled extensively with children - did one round the world trip with 3 under 7. Babies are pretty easy to travel with, particularly if breast fed, as you don't have to worry about food - it is there on tap.

We always tried to still keep to a normal routine -within reason of course and difficult with time changes, but quite worthwhile.

When Baby gets a bit older, remember nothing beats paying attention during a flight - however much you might wish to enjoy your meal, or a movie, being prepared to take turns quietly reading or playing games will make the flight much nicer both for you and the people around you. With our youngest now 19 we are really looking forward to travelling on our own, but we did enjoy our "family" trips.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 4:56 am
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My youngest is 21, so those cutie pies have taught me a lesson or two. One thing, is you need to reassure Mrs P that those little critters, no matter how fragile we , adults, think they are, they are very strong and adaptable to anything.

1- I gave my kids children's antihistamine... yes you shouldn't be doing it.. but I did. Gave them a couple of drops before boarding.

2-At take off and landing, forced them to suck. Either breastfed or gave them the bottle. Even if they fidgeted, I forced it. You know how to do it.. just force the nipple on their tongue.

3- Once we were airborne, the medication did its magic trick and they'd happily fall asleep.

4- Breastfeeding in public, no problem, just put a scarf on Mrs. P's shoulder and that is it. Did it everywhere...very discreet.

5- I have seen (they didn't have them during my time) those strollers that have a detachable seat that can be used as a car seat. Invest in one.

6- The cutie pie cry for real reasons.. 1- need diaper change. 2- hungry. 3- not feeling well... so keep checking those and you'll have a wonderful time.

Now don't come back and ask for advice on how to travel with teenagers...
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Old Jan 12, 11, 5:05 am
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Congratulations to the addition to the family, cannot give advice as did not travel with our daughter until she was 9 months, but having read all the other comments, you have plenty of information from the experts. I would personally take 64A/B if available or if you are going F then with both of you being gold you can nab 1A/K. Which you go for have a great trip, and we will need a TR with pics of the little one, who I am sure will be as good as gold^
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Old Jan 12, 11, 7:45 am
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We went to HKG in J when Miss JSC was 8 months and lessons learnt were:

1. Don't expect to be able to relax in the lounge/watch movies/eat leisurely/ sleep/etc as you used to be able to! Even the best behaved ones need some attention and both of you need to help out on this. Even once you've got them to sleep in the bassinet, if the seatbelt sign comes on, then out they come and you have to hold them however unhappy they may be about that!

2. Make sure you take a stroller to the gate and then ask if it can be brought into the cabin. You shouldn't have any problems in F or J with them storing it in the wardrobe, provided its not a monster size (ours is a Bugaboo Bee so not the smallest but has been fine on 3 trips)

3. Be very organised at the security checks i.e. know where all the liquids are, who will carry what through the scanner, how many bags you have, etc.

4. We took 20EF as it meant both of us could help out if the need arose. IT does have the benefit of the "play area" that you can block off if Junior feels like playing, although I have also been told its not strictly supposed to used like this for some safety reason I can't remember. It was private enough for breastfeeding (unless the pax in 20 D/G suddenly decides to get up and presses the screen down button )

5. The bassinet is pretty small, it's only supposed to fit up to 6 months so if junior is big then it may be a squeeze. There is the Britax seat but its not so snug and is not lie-flat and Miss JSC didn't like it one bit. If you don't think you'll fit in the bassinet, I'd probably suggest you bring your own car seat.

6. As mentioned, do make sure you feed them on the way down to equalise their ears. I don't think its needed at takeoff as you don't have that problem with ears.

7. Agreee with the comment that you shouldn't wait until they are really tired before boarding. This means avoid late flights wherever possible, as it will be 2-3 hours after takeoff before they dim the lights, during which time they're unlikely to sleep unless you hold them. Miss JSC was a really good sleeper but even she could not settle down with the light and noise of dinner service.

8. Once there, babies adjust very quickly to time zone changes, much better than adults.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jan 12, 11, 8:17 am
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Just Do it.

Just adding to what everybody has already mentioned, and to give you some more comfort in the fact that breastfeeding does help when flying with little ones - definitely. Mrs. TBA did that with both the little ones, and when we travelled with our two, both in the breastfeeding stage at various times, it was definitely easier during take off and landing.

Most people are quite aware of mum's breastfeedign little ones, so nobody should care, and your other half definitely shoudl not feel uncomfortable - it is perfectly natural thing to do. Afterall - that is the primary purpose of those things.

As with car seats, we have done a couple of things. One time we bought a reasonable one form Walmart when we went to Orlando. Othertimes, we took our own. Just depends on which part of the world yo are going to. Taking one with you means that there is one more thing to carry, but you can be assured that it is going to be a decent one. Car hire companies charge through the roof for a substandard car seat, which is in my experience, most of the times not even suitable for the child's age/weight.

Go forth and fly my son - you shall be ok.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 10:38 am
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Congratulations! Both on the baby and on yet another civilized children in J/F thread. Will we learn? Even us?

I have of course no experience whatsoever, but I can imagine that when traveling with your young that sitting side by side without a divider is much easier.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 10:59 am
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I have been travelling with both kids since they were 8 weeks old, now aged 6 and 8. Mostly in First but to start with in J and as infants on the upper deck.
First things to be aware of is that not everyone will be delighted with your angelic infant, ignore them is my advice and let the crew deal with them. I have no time for the anti kids, anti family brigade of the skys.

Next, take you own car seat and check if there are any spare seats at check in. I have found BA to be especially helpful with this but obviously only when it is not full. From around a year however, I would recommend their own seat if you can possible afford it. Sitting with a infant in your lap for 10 hours no matter what seat, is no fun for anyone.

Car seats are mandatory in most of Europe and the costs to rent one are silly. If you are in F/J you will have the baggage allowance to cope with the extra and in any event BA provide infants with an allowance for buggies and seats.

Book cot row seats and BA will provide a cot. These are available at the front and back of each club section and 1AK in First.

Feed them during takeoff and landing to avoid the baby having any distress .......not to keep them quite for other passengers.

Ignore stares grunts, huff and puffs of others, and do not get stressed about how others feel. It will simply translate to the baby. Above all enjoy it, it is an incredible time and passes all too swiftly.

Oh yes and sign them up to the exec club, it will amaze you how many miles thy gain for your family account once they start occupying a seat.
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Old Jan 12, 11, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by binman View Post
Feed them during takeoff and landing to avoid the baby having any distress .......not to keep them quite for other passengers.

You make them do the motion of sucking because they don't know how to ease the pressure on their ears from take off and landing. Otherwise they'll be uncomfortable the whole flight time. And might injure their ears.
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