Travelling with a Baby Internationally

Greg and I recently came back from a trip to the States (from Sydney) for Thanksgiving. With my husbands family living in St Louis we knew we were going to be taking multiple flights to reach them! When booking the flights we opted to take a direct Los Angeles to St Louis flight rather than going via Utah (as we normally do) so we wouldn’t have to worry about getting Ava on and off more than 2 planes!

We flew Delta Airlines from Sydney to Los Angeles. We were advised that we couldn’t book the bassinet in advance and that it would be confirmed on check-in. When we checked in we were advised that there was a younger baby than Ava on the plane. I was highly skeptical…a baby younger than 3 months?? We were told that we were placed on seats that had a spare seat between them so Ava could lay down. Fast forward to boarding- we found our seats and noticed that we only had a section with 2 seats!! My husband quickly rushed out and asked them to move us so that we could have a spare seat. They moved us quite quickly, however we were already disappointed regarding the  bassinet so things were going from bad to worse. (on a side note- come to find out the baby that used the bassinet was 11 months old!!!!! I am still so upset about this and will be lodging a complaint).

We put a few pillows (to mimic a mattress) in between us and then lay a few blankets over the pillows so they wouldn’t move. I brought one of Ava’s blankets and placed it on top of the other blankets to mimic her bed and smell. Our amazing baby slept around 11 of the 13 hours! The noise of the plane was very similar to white noise so I think that’s what encouraged her to sleep.

Important things to note:

  • You can take sterilized water and formula through security. You’re going to want to take the bottles and formula out as they have a special machine which tests the water and formula.
  • You can check your stroller in at the gate rather than at check in.
  • There are no microwaves on the plane. Ways your flight attendant may heat up the bottle (if you need one):
    • Barf bag with hot water (they will submerge the bottle in the barf bag)
    • Half a cup filled with hot water, and the bottle placed in the cup

Fast Forward to LAX Airport

There are no nurseries/mother’s room at LAX.. None.. Well there is one in the Tom Bradley Terminal but it is a dingy room with a sink and doesn’t open till 10am. I couldn’t believe it!! We quickly learnt that we were going to have to improvise. I had brought some washing detergent and chux wipes so I could wash her bottles out in the bathroom. After washing them we asked a security guard if there is a microwave, he kindly let us use the microwave in the worker’s break room where we sterilized her bottles (we brought our microwave sterilizer). Once that was done we bought (yes, the coffee shops charged) half a cup of boiling water and started heating the bottles (we filled her bottles with bottled water).

I don’t know if it was because of where we were but there were no nurseries or mother’s rooms anywhere in St Louis! In Sydney, you would be familiar with clean and beautiful rooms, with microwaves and privacy rooms.. I couldn’t find one in any shopping centre, anywhere that we went. Some restaurants, for OHS reasons, were unable to heat the bottle up so we would have to do the half cup of boiling water dance. This was probably the most stressful thing of the entire trip.

We didn’t have any issues with Ava’s ears- I tried to give her a bottle/ have her suck her pacifier/sleep, on every take off and landing and it seemed to work.

Things I brought in the diaper bag for the flights:

  • Nappies (I packed a few extra just in case in her diaper bag). I also packed some nappies on one of the outside pockets of one of our suitcases so when we got to LAX I could easily grab a few if we needed them.
  • All her bottles (4) and Microwave steriliser (just in case our suitcase got lost in transit)
  • Half a can of formula (this is more than I would have needed but I wanted to have too much rather than too less)
  • Pj’s (to keep routine of changing her into her pj’s for bed and changing her out of them in the “morning”)
  • Ergo baby wrap (that is what she sleeps in)
  • Sheet which is normally on her bed (so her face is against a familiar
  • A clean top for me in-case of throw ups and just because after a 13 hour flight we all need new clothes.
  • Extra bibs (in-case of throw ups)
  • 2 changes of clothes for Ava in-case of blow outs
  • Her portable change mat

We flew Southwest airlines from LAX to St Louis. Again, Ava slept most of the flight (not before throwing up on the airline hostess and me having a meltdown).. She was desperate for a bottle (which I had held off giving her so I could give it to her on take-off), and I was doing the barf bag routine but the bottle wasn’t heating up enough and she wouldn’t take it lukewarm..

We flew Virgin Australia back from LAX to Sydney, and secured the bassinet (YAY for us)! Ava slept about 10 of the 14 hour flight. The only problem with the bassinet is that each time the seat belt sign is turned on due to turbulence you have to take your baby out and buckle her in with the baby seat belt on you. Thankfully the flight wasn’t very bumpy!

By having a stroller we were able to use the special assistance line at security at every airport (except St Louis) which worked out fantastic. I carried Ava in my baby carrier as often as possible when going through security so she wouldn’t fall asleep in the stroller as they hand check the stroller and you have to carry your baby through.

Overall our experience was a great! The airline hostess’ were amazing, the airport staff were very accommodating! Ava was 3 months when we went so she was purely drinking milk, not mobile and couldn’t play with toys.

If you have any specific questions let me know!!

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