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first trip to UK with new baby

first trip to UK with new baby

Old Feb 10th 2011, 7:08 pm
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Default first trip to UK with new baby

New parent, misses and I are about to make our first trip home to the UK, hopefully this April. Have had many trips back over the years, but now, with a baby, I'm realizing all the possible added complications! I was looking for any general travel advice from folks who've done the same. Our baby will be 6 months old at time of travel.

Best airlines? I'd heard BA are good if you can get the bulkhead with cot attachment for the baby?

Any advice for managing the baby on the 10-11 hr flight?

Car seats - I'm hoping to take my American car seat with me, it can be attached to regular seatbelts, so I'm hoping that will work in the UK?

Anyone any experience with renting cots or other baby essentials in the UK?

Anyhow, first time deal with all this, so I'd gladly take on any tips from anyone who's already been down this path!

thanks,
Matt
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 7:16 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

I've just asked a similar question about airlines but we are coming in the other direction We will have a toddler when we fly so not quite the same situation as you. Friends who have flown long haul with babies under 9 months have reported good experiences with both BA and Virgin as long as you get a bulkhead with the bassinet or in the case of Virgin, a Skycot.

I have no idea about the car seat issue but I have a feeling friends (US based) have been over here and hired cars and used their US seats. Just bear in mind that if you hoped to use it on a flight, UK (and other European) carriers don't usually allow them. Will stand corrected on that one though.

When I asked elsewhere about hiring baby stuff at an airport I was recommended this site http://www.beha.co.uk/ .I've heard people having no problems hiring cots, buggies etc. But is it worth trying to find friends/family here who might be able to loan you things like a travel cot, some toys etc etc
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 9:25 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

Hi Matt,

My daughter was 6 months when she first made a trip to the UK (from Texas), now at the grand old age of 4.5 she's been 6 times and is a pro ;-)

For that first trip (and actually all since) we flew Continental and requested the bulk head. We did not buy a seat ticket for her, just an infant on lap. On our doctors advice we gave her Tylenol about 30 minutes before we were due to take off, to help with the ears popping. We also gave her a bottle as we took off for the same reason. She did great - in fact you'll be surprised just how well they do. Once we were up they brought out the 'cot' thing but did warn us that if we hit turbulence we would have to hold her. To be honest we didn't use it much, she just passed out on us and slept for 90% of the flight :-)

Couple of notes:

Request and re-request the bulk head, then you'll probably have to re-request again at check in :-)
Pack a spare top for both you and your wife - nothing like traveling with the smell of baby puke!
Take too many nappies in your hand luggage - you can never have enough!
If you plan on taking breast milk (in a bottle ) through security - be prepared to taste it.
If you use a dodi - take plenty spare.
In other words - over pack your hand luggage with all things 'baby'.

I've found the hardest age to travel that far with them is between about 1 and 3 - when they're harder to entertain, don't sleep as much, and don't want to sit still! 6 months is easy :-)

As for the other aspects - I don't know, sorry. My Mum is a childminder so had everything we could possibly need there to use from car seats to travel cots. Do you maybe have a friend in the UK that might have a travel cot you could borrow?

Once you're there - nappy's in the UK are sized differently, so be careful when you buy them. If you're baby is on formula - the formula must taste different, bring some of what you use so you can half/half it.

Good luck...
Kathryn
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

Buy a new toy and a new book. Hide them before the flight and then you have something new and interesting for when they are awake. The movement of the plane put mine to sleep at that age so hopefully the same will happen for you. Like Kathryn did, we gave a drink for take off and landing so that ears didn't pop. At the risk of sounding like a really bad parent, have something like a little packet of chocolate buttons or some baby crisps or something. A bit of something new was enough to distract ours.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

We took our own car seat, it fit fine in the grandparents cars, but none seem to have the locking seatbelts so we needed to use a locking clip that came with the seat (you know when you pull the belt out all the way and it goes in and locks) , have a bulk head seat and the baby bucket car seat can also be used on the floor for the baby to sleep in. I nursed on take off and landing and there were no tears or earaches for baby. We've used BA, Lufthansa, and Aerlingus with little ones no problem.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

We flew back with our daughter when she was around 4 months old. Flew B.A. and we did get the bulkhead. Unfortunately they didn't have a cot available, only a special seat thing that hooked to the table in front. Unfortunately my daughter was too small for the seat. Wasn't really the end of the world though, she ended up sleeping in my arms or nursing for most of the trip. It ended up being a really good trip, was a good age to travel. We did take her infant car seat with us and used the seat belts and locking clip. We also took the stroller (with hindsight I wish we'd had one of those small, folding ones rather than the beast we had back then.) On the flight, obviously take more diapers/wipes than you think you'll need, plus extra clothes. Try and put the baby to sleep at her normal bedtime etc, that worked well for us, and amazingly she slept pretty well. If you have room, pack tons of diapers in your suitcase, they are expensive in England.
Best of luck, Naomi.
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Old Feb 10th 2011, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

Expect to be asked to taste the milk by security and after that, it all improves
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 12:59 am
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

Originally Posted by mmhendrie View Post
Any advice for managing the baby on the 10-11 hr flight?
Cough syrup... whether or not the baby has a cough.

Ian
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Old Feb 11th 2011, 8:02 am
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Default Re: first trip to UK with new baby

Mindful of the responses above about packing, don't lack TOO much! You have to carry it, remember! And if you were to take a buggy and car seat on board then you have to take those through security. You leave the buggy somewhere in the gate area, sometimes down the airbridge to the plane, sometimes in the waiting area - just ask (and picking up can be equally unpredictable).

Some people suggest a diaper change (regardless of whether needed) just before boarding so baby is nice and comfortable. A change of tops for the parents is definitely a good idea.

You might want to try finding flights where a fair portion of the flight is at baby's "night" (or sleeping) time. It certainly gives you a break! For example, a late afternoon flight to the US rather than a mid-morning flight. To the UK, a night flight (as the majority are) rather than the day time flights.

Check the baggage allowance for baby. Those with paid-for seats usually get more baggage allowance than those that don't. The buggy and car seat usually don't count towards the allowance. But check with the airline as each has their own policy.
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