Knowing (or organising) what foods to eat when travelling with kids can be very difficult and stressful, especially when flying. So I thought I would do a series on my experiences with food and learning to travel the world with my little one who is now 14 months. First in the series is my experiences when flying when he was 3 months old.
Travel has been a big part of my professional and personal life for nearly 20 years. With a husband who is passionate about all things aviation, and as a dietitian and nutritionist who specialises in travel, I always have a list of upcoming flights waiting for me in my frequent flyer account. So while I was pregnant with my son, my husband and I mused what our travel lives would be like once he was born. We both wanted to keep travelling (both for work and fun), but knew we would have to make some adjustments. So while we planned and planned, the first big test came at 3 months.
The first flight I took with my son was when he was 2.5 months which was to visit my family in a different state of Australia (a 1.5 hour flight). We viewed this as a test run for our first family holiday which was booked for when he was 3 months – flying internationally from Australia to Fiji.
This trip we travelled early morning from Melbourne-Sydney on Qantas (1.5 hour flight) then transferred to the international terminal and caught a flight from Sydney, Australia>Nadi, Fiji on Fiji Airways (3.5 hour flight). So all up we were travelling for approximately 10 hours.
Foods to eat when travelling with kids: 3 months old
Travelling when he was quite young meant I didn’t have to worry about solid foods – he was still exclusively fed on milk. While this was easier in many respects, careful consideration and thought still needed to go into our trip.
My son was formula fed at the time of this trip – this is a personal circumstance which I will not be going into in this series (this is not the place for a breastmilk vs formula discussion). Even so, some of my experiences will still be relevant for babies fed with expressed milk/breastfeeding.
Since my son was formula fed I needed to ensure his bottles were able to be sterilised during the trip and there was access to sterilised/boiled water. To achieve this I travelled with a portable UV steriliser and used hot (or boiling) water to wash his bottles out. I was lucky to have access to boiling water when in the airport as I had airline lounge access. I used this boiling water to wash his bottles and then sterilised the bottles in the UV steriliser. If you don’t have access to an airline lounge you could ask a cafe or shop in the food court for some hot water. I then filled up the empty bottles with boiling water and let them cool while sitting in the lounge, ready then for boarding a flight. I would then sterilise the water in the bottles before use.
I also ensured there were enough bottles of water for the flight as using the water on a plane is not advised due to contamination concerns. Bottled water (from commercial brands of water) on a plane may be ok but I wanted to use boiled water so I took enough full bottles of water on each flight.
We did not have any trouble taking the portable steriliser or portable bottle warmer through airport security or onboard, but you should check any brands you have with the airport/airline you are flying with.
When passing through security we needed to declare all bottles of water for formula and also the formula. They also wanted the steriliser and bottle warmer out of our bags and scanned separately too. These were all put in separate trays and scanned. We learnt quickly to have everything at the top of our carry on bags so it was easily able to be pulled out.
Altitude and air pressure
While my son had a fairly set feeding routine which worked really well for him, I did try and nudge his feeds so he was having a bottle during take off or landing. This was to help unblock his ears if they became sensitive to the changes in air pressure as sucking can help with this. If feed time wasn’t appropriate, then I would use a dummy (or pacifier) to help unblock his ears.
Routine and sleep
Being 3 months old, my son was able to use the bassinets on planes where available and we were lucky enough to get bassinet rows. So I also tried to nudge his sleeps so he was ready to sleep once the seatbelt sign was switched off. It helped if he had a feed on take-off so then he was ready to sleep.
(Please note in the picture above of my son in the bassinet, we did not sleep on this flight and so were very careful to keep a close watch on him with the blanket over the bassinet so it didn’t fall on his face. This blanket was placed there by the cabin crew.)
Hopefully this article is helpful and assists you in preparing for which foods to eat when travelling with kids, especially young babies as in this example. This article is meant to provide an example of how I travelled and there may be different circumstances to suit different people/babies when travelling.
If you would like personalised food and nutrition advice when travelling with you family, please contact me to book an appointment.