Is this even possible? Yes, of course. I did it twice and I survived. More than survived, I actually enjoyed it! I actually didn’t even think about not going, because I would travel alone with my baby. And I didn’t even think it would be an issue until I really started getting ready for the journey. Me and my first baby, Tristan, were home alone for three weeks before leaving to Kuala Lumpur, where we met Matej. He was guiding a group in Sumatra, Indonesia. It wasn’t until a week before my and Tristan’s departure, that I started planning and getting ready. Taking long flights was just so normal to me. It was a part of my almost daily life for many years. Others seemed more concerned than me.
Well, it is good to be prepared when you travel alone with a baby!
I read a few blogs about this subject, wrote my list of needed things and started putting everything I thought I needed at one place. We had an almost 24-hour journey of airplanes and airports ahead of us before reaching our first destination. So the most important thing was hand luggage. Tristan was 10 months old when we left. He needed diapers, some changing clothes, some food and drink and some toys. He was still breastfed, so I had that covered! As I already wrote in my previous posts, babies are usually happiest, when they are with their parents. So I had that covered too! All I needed to do was a plan, how I would make the journey enjoyable for both of us. I prepared my hand luggage first. We planned on staying in Bali after Kuala Lumpur, so I thought I could get just anything in Bali (in case I forgot something). I wasn’t wrong.
What did I put in my hand luggage for our journey to Kuala Lumpur?
Our first flight was just two hours and the second one, Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur, was 12 hours. There were a few hours in between flights as well. I packed about 12 diapers. That’s more than I thought he would need. I also had two smaller packs of wet wipes and two spare sets of clothes for him. And a spare t-shirt for me. Just in case! I had some new toys and I had some baby food. Fruit purees and some biscuits he liked to eat at home too. He was dressed in two thin layers of clothes and I also had a light cap for him (airplanes can be cold). I had a bottle with some water too. There was a boba baby carrier too in my bag (Boba Air to be exact). That was the stuff I took that was extra besides my usual stuff I take on flights (that should be a separate post).
I used one of my bigger hand bags for the flight.
All the stuff somehow fit in my bag, except for the extra diapers. I put those into a small bag that I wasted later when we used the diapers. It all worked well for us. I did consider taking a backpack, but after all, I always prefer bags and I liked the one I took. It has so many pockets that it is almost a diaper bag (I didn’t own a proper diaper bag until my second boy was born).Those pockets were full of toys (lightweight, new), baby food, extra bibs. I actually didn’t really take that much stuff. What I didn’t actually need, were the toys. He was interested in everything, but the toys. He liked watching new people around him and just touching new stuff he found. I had nothing to disinfect whatever I should, but it is on some lists. If it makes you feel safe, just take it and use it.
A few days before we left, I bought a lightweight umbrella stroller.
Life savior. It’s great for the airports. I actually didn’t do much research and just bought one of the cheapest on market then. And I liked the color. We still use the stroller after two years and many more flights later. When we traveled to Kuala Lumpur, we left the stroller just before the plane doors and received it as well at the plane doors upon landing. Things are different at different airports and carriers. So check. This year we also traveled via Istanbul and didn’t get our stroller in Istanbul. Otherwise, I believe that a stroller is essential, especially if you travel alone with a baby. A stroller makes everything so easy. Going to the toilet on the airport. A quick diaper change when there’s no changing table near by. Eating when all baby chairs are taken. And more!
A baby carrier was so essential for me too.
Tristan always loved to be worn. And so I bought a lightweight baby carrier, Boba air. He fell asleep while in the carrier during both shorter and longer flight and also when he woke up during flight it was so easy to calm him down in the carrier while walking around the plane. It’s useful when boarding the plane too. My hands were full of our hand luggage and I had to give the stroller to the staff at the plane doors. So I put Tristan in the carrier and we walked easily to our seat.
Bassinet seat or a normal seat on a long flight?
I chose bassinet seat. Tristan slept for the first five or six hours in the bassinet. He was a bit big for a bassinet, but he seemed to like it at that time. He slept the rest of the flight in my lap. So I was good for the first part of the flight. I had my dinner, went to the toilet, even slept a bit. But once he was in my lap, the bassinet seat wasn’t that comfortable anymore. But, if a plane is full, I would still choose a bassinet seat if traveling by myself with a baby. When returning from Kuala Lumpur, the plane wasn’t full and the very friendly flight attendant helped me get four seats for us two. It was pure luxury. Tristan slept on two chairs and I had two chairs for my own comfort. That flight was pure perfection! It’s worth asking when checking in. If the plane isn’t full, staff will usually happily block a seat next to you if they see you’re traveling with a baby.
Taking it all easy was the best way to do it.
I’ve seen mothers traveling alone with their babies (and more other kids too) before I did it. They all survived it. Babies cried, laughed, played, were really ok and normal, just like at home. My Tristan was the same. I was lucky, he slept a lot during both flights. I didn’t sleep much, but I was ok. Nothing a few extra cups of coffee can’t fix! I accepted help when it was offered (all the time). Friendly strangers and staff helped me put my luggage in the overhead bin and take it out. They watched my baby while I went to the restroom. Someone even held my baby so that I could eat some of my meal. People are mostly very friendly and ready to help any parent traveling alone with a baby or a young child. So just take the help, why not!
I say yes, go for it. If you have a chance, don’t waste it, because you don’t know if you can survive a long flight with a baby. You can! And you’ll enjoy it too (as much as possible,…)!
Our story about challenges when traveling alone with a baby doesn’t stop with arrival to Kuala Lumpur. But I’ll save that for the next time!
Thanks for reading!