Traveling with 5 Month Old Baby to London--need Advice!

Updated on June 04, 2010
M.B. asks from Arcadia, CA
7 answers

I am traveling to london for a business trip with my husband and our 5 month old baby in two weeks.
We travel a lot but this is our first baby. We are clueless about how to travel internationally with an infant. Please help! For any mamas out there that have traveled in long flights (approximately 9-10 hours from los angeles to london) and have done this before, what tips can you offer? I am currently feeding my 5 month old baby with formula and also nursing. What do we bring? We will be in london for 5 days. How about laundry? How do you clean up all the dirty baby clothes? Hotels have laundry services but the detergent will be the regular ones for adults. What about hotels? What do we need to look for in a hotel that can be baby friendly? How do you even deal with bathing a 5 month old in a hotel bathtub?

Please help! I need as many tips as possible, from the minor things to major issues that you have encountered and learned while traveling overseas.

Thanks all!

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answers from San Francisco on

There are thousands things to be said on this!
- the airline. I fly often with my children (San Francisco-Europe) now 1 and 3. I've always gotten the best service with British Airways to London but many companies are great like Air France, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, Delta. Worst service ever: United Airlines.
- Call the company in advance and book a bassinet (and have them double check that your seats are bulkhead) 1 or 2 days prior the flight, call them again to check if you still have your buckhead seats and bassinets (United had once changed my seats and even separated me from my son!). The extra advantage of the bassinet is that the bulkhead seats have more leg room/ more room for all your stuff.
- If still possible, try a night flight, so your baby will luckily sleep through.
- Have your baby nurse/drink just after take off and before landing to release the pressure from his ears (very important, pressure could really damage his ears)
- Pack enough in your carry on to survive in London if your luggage are lost (especially if you arrive at night or on a Sunday, when shops may be closed), especially the formula and diapers.
- pack some entertainment (new toys to hold his interest) Try to find toys that are small and light to fit in your carry on, and not noisy for the sake of your fellow passengers) One of my favorite are bath toys but he may still be too young for those. I also usually attach larger toys (Lamaze type of plush toys) on my bag with a ring. Rings are great baby toys, individually or as a chain.
- pack some infant tylenol or other fever/pain relief
- pack some teething gel, even if your baby isn't teething 1 hour before the flight.
- as for the laundry, you can pack in your luggage enough changes for one week, and have it washed in the hotel, and then wash it again at home with baby friendly detergent.
- No need to bath an infant daily. If you have a bathtub, you can go in the tub and hold your baby, while your husband is washing him. You can also sponge bath your baby (with wash clothes).
- When you book the hotel, ask for a crib. They usually have portable ones.
- check if the water is baby safe. If not, buy water bottles to prepare the formula.
- At 5 months, your baby is probably too young to crawl around, so you don't need yet a baby safe place. Any regular hotel (they all have cribs on demand) would be good.
- If you're used to carry your baby in a sling/front carrier, it will be the most convenient for the travel (hands free for luggage, handing passports...). Otherwise, you will have to check his stroller, as he is too young for the umbrella stroller that you can take until the plane.

Check also this website that I just discovered:

Enjoy London!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

To know, if you don't already: Tylenol in the UK is called Paracetamol

GREAT stuff so far... here's my 2 cents that's not already posted:

My ALWAYS rule of thumb: Pack more meds and baby clothes and less of everything else. The ziploc bag is a gift from god.

First Aid Kit (in you carryon):

- thermometer
- baby tylenol
- baby motrin (in the event of high fevers, you combine the 2)
- baby pseudoephedrine (it drains their sinuses and ear canals, which can burst under pressure during take off and landing if they have/develop a cold)
- baby benedryl (in case of allergic reaction... you don't want to find out they're allergic to something while crossing the poles)
- your preferred or doctor recommended stomach upset treatment
- any Rx's from the doctor
- all of the above in adult dose
- neosporin
- band aids

I always:

- bring 2 boxes of ziplock bags (one big one small), out of their boxes and held with rubber bands. Dirty clothes and diapers just zip right in.

- put kids in PJs when on airplane rides longer than 2-3 hours. They're comfy, warm, and change easily. And you don't lose socks.

- bring a baggie of ear plugs to hand out to nearby passengers

- ditch the diaper bag and use a hiking backpack for babystuff... and keep ALL the baby stuff in the backpack (clothes, meds, toys, supplies, etc.), and bring it as carryon. A shaving bag in the top of it with "for the seat" stuff ... a few diapers, a load of wipes, toys, blankie, etc.... pops out before I stow it.

- For my own kiddo... he would sleep to certain music like a rock. So we brought and ipod and "clunky" but light earphones. I would test the volume so I could barely hear it, lock the setting, and he would have his music playing. Since it was his night night music, he would sleep straight through more often than not. Wake to eat/change and go right back to sleep. The downside is that 8-10 hours later HE'D be awake, and I'D be exhausted if I didn't sleep on the plane. ((My personal preference flying is either Premier Econ, or Business... because then I can actually sleep as well))

2 old tricks:

- Dresser Drawers make perfect bassinets in a pinch, for babies who aren't sitting up/climbing. They're also a convenient place to lay a baby down (open of course, or on the floor), and the sides keep them safe. Just put a soft blanket in the bottom of the drawer.

- Insta-playpen that fits in your pocket: Mesh laundry bags tacked into the doorframe of a closet. They also work as baby gates if you've got a crawler . Obviously neither are the sturdiest in the world, but they serve their purpose. My mum (who backpacked all over Asia with 3 of us) used to bring mesh bags and little screws with hooks. 4 hooks on the 'outside' part of the doorframe so the kids wouldn't get poked, stretch the laundry bag across, lay blanket over floor inside of play pen, finis. Most hotels have playpens and cribs... so this isn't necessary very often. But durn usefull. And it takes up a lot less space than bringing your own play pens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I travelled with my then 4 month old from Chicago to Rome over 2 years ago and more recently with a 4 month old and a 2.5 yr old to Australia.

With the Chicago to Rome trip, it was our first trip and we made the mistake of bringing too much baby gear. I wasn't sure what would be available when we got there. We brought our own car seat (I had a very big baby and he outgrew the 23 lb infant car seat by 4 months), a pack n play, an umbrella stroller, a baby bjorn, go go babyz traveler (you screw it to the car seat and can roll your child around the airport in his car seat). In retrospect, I would have just brought an umbrella type stroller and a baby bjorn. The hotels we stayed at all had travel cribs/pack n plays and we had an option to rent a car seat. I had mixed emotions on the go-go-babyz, while it was convenient to roll the carseat around the airport, we had to disassemble it as we went through the security (which was a big pain). I also did not like that the baby was so low to the ground. Finally, when we had a layover in Heathrow, and the baby was asleep in the carseat, the angle of the carseat in the traveler when resting on the ground, did not allow the infant to recline. I have a friend that is a flight attendant, and would not allow her child to fly as a lap child. However, my sons flew as lap children. You'll need to decide what your comfort level is regarding the car seat - and if you'll be travelling in taxis, trains, rental cars, if you want to deal with install/uninstalling car seats. I have found it easiest to stroll the child to the gate, gate check the stroller, then transfer the baby to the baby bjorn to board the plane. I am (now) comfortable holding the baby in my lap in taxis and don't mind rental car infant seats. I did like my chicco umbrella stroller, but think that the maclaren umbrella stroller might have been better.

The US airports have special family and medical lines, so you can bring whatever you need for the baby, just inform the TSA agents as you go through. I've actually found the special lines to be quicker than the others. With my first, I was a bit shier about nursing in public and found it helpful to have a bottle ready for take off and landing. Once the airplane was dark, I was more comfortable nursing and he slept most of the trip. Definitely bring your own water on board for the first bottle, as the flight staff is a bit hectic before take off.

I used disposable diapers and just packed enough for plane ride, plus a couple spare, then bought a pack when we got there.

My sons took pacifiers and I found these essential. I would recommend getting one of those "paci clips" where you can attach it to their outfit and also to make sure you have spares.

As for baby friendly hotels, I don't know for sure, but think that most should be accommodating - especially if you stay in an American chain. Some of the older hotels tend to have smaller lifts, which may not be very accommodating for a stroller.

I don't have any tips for you on laundry in the hotel. Baby clothes are small - can you 15 outfits? (3/day for 5 days?) or bring along your own detergent and do it in the sink?

Hope that helps...happy travels!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

For traveling I used these methods:
Formula - Enfamil "one serving" packets. They are just like the "iced tea on the go" things for adults. You dump the packet in water, shake and you have 4 oz of formula.
Bathing - I used a foam pad that lays on the bottom of the tub. They are cheap, sold at target/walmarts, and you can fold it and put it at the bottom of a suitcase. It wil resume its shape once the water hits it and you lay your baby on it.
Laundry - See if the hotels linen service has baby detergent. If not, ask if they will wash your babies clothes in detergent you bring. If they say no, you can find a different linen service, or find laundry mat. Over there I believe they are called laundrettes (sp).
Carriers - I liked my baby sling, but some people arent comfortable with them. I also used an umbrella stroller. I forget the brand but I got an umbrella stroller that reclined a bit to be more comfortable.
Have fun in london!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

One very important note is you can not get US formula in the UK. I would bring enough to last the trip. Don't get me wrong the UK formulas are fine - but my child didn't like switching and adding that on top of a hectic travel schedule is not necessary.



answers from Honolulu on

the TSA website , will delineate all the international travel 'rules' and with a baby/meds/breastmilk storage/formula etc.
And don't forget your nursing apron! Unless you don't mind whipping out your breasts sans covering.
And bring power adapters for the outlets internationally. Since USA and Europe differ.

Next, you can use to choose great seats for you/Hubby/baby. Our travel agent uses this as well as the airlines. It is great. We used this before for travel to Europe and it is so helpful.

Dreft, comes in travel size packets... I have seen them at my local Longs/CVS stores.
But be sure to pack according to TSA rules...

You can hand wash in the bathroom sink/tub.
You will only be there for 5 days, that's not long... or I would just stick all the dirty laundry in a bag and bring it home.
And bring LOTS of bibs! That way, you lessen the amount of soiling on your baby's clothing... hence hopefully lessening the amount of dirty/soiled baby clothes while there.

Just some minor details, but which helps.

good luck,



answers from Los Angeles on

Have traveled to India from LAX on many occasions. First thing is carry at least double the amount of diapers and clothes that you can normally use. I took 5 pairs of clothes and average 10 diapers for a 24 hour flight. Was on Singapore airlines and my little one even threw up on the flight while I was trying to burp her. Take your formula with you and nurse her while the flight takes off and lands, helps their little ears. In the long haul flight request the airline to give you the middle front section and hook a bassinet up. I have never traveled to London but have done British Airways once and they do have bassinets. This way you can put the baby in to sleep in the little carrier For hotels, baby friendly hotels will be one that will provide you with a crib and other baby need items at no extra charge. We have always tried to find a hotel with a full kitchenette and that will help when you have to warm that bottle up in the middle of the night. But do not know anything about the type of hotels you can get in London. Good luck and hope this helps.

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