Dr Ghosh says: "Although there’s nothing medically to stop you from getting on a plane with a newborn baby of any age, I’d recommend that you wait until after their first vaccination which is at the age of 4-6 weeks as newborns are prone to infections. If you’re able to, waiting until your baby is 4 months old, and had most of their primary course injections, would be best. Waiting until 4-6 weeks is better for your baby before getting on a plane. You should try to book your flights around their sleeping pattern."
He also has advice for mums who had undergone a caesarean: "If mum has had a caesarean without complications, she’ll also need to wait 4-6 weeks for the scarring to heal before getting on a plane to avoid being at risk of DVT, clots or bleeding. Healing times after a caesarean can differ from case to case, so you should check with your surgeon or GP before flying. Each airline has their own regulations about flying after surgery, so you should also check with them, as well as your travel insurance company, before getting on the plane."
Here are Dr Ghosh's recommendations of what to take on holiday with your baby:
Paracetamol sachets/liquid – Used for controlling baby’s temperature. Sachets are easier to pack and they’re lighter than a bottle of liquid.
SPF 50 – Newborn skin is more sensitive than adults, as they’ve never been exposed to the sun, so they need extra special care when travelling somewhere sunny. Newborns should never be placed directly in the sun, but a little exposure in a shaded area is essential for vitamin D and bone development – especially in Asian and Afro-Caribbean children.
When travelling, constant shade isn’t always possible, so in these instances applying sun cream to a baby’s exposed areas, as well as covering them with appropriate clothing, is the best thing to do. If either parent has eczema, make sure you do a tester on your baby’s skin before you leave so you know if they’ll react.
Bite cream – Babies are constantly laying down on flat surfaces, such as at the beach, so they’re therefore more prone to bites. If bitten, they can’t reach their bites to scratch them (especially if they’re on their back!) so bite cream provides great relief.
Anti-histamine liquid – This is great for bites or prickly heat, and also if they react to new foods and smells. Some babies react to hotel linen, as it’s washed in bio washing liquid rather than non-bio that they may be used to. This can cause irritation, so having some anti-histamine to hand is very useful.
Thermometer – When it’s sunny and hot it’s hard to feel whether baby is just hot or whether they have a temperature. We have an innate need to want to wrap them up in lots of layers to make sure they’re warm, but there’s little need in a hot country.
Travel medication card – Before you leave, make sure you take translations of baby’s allergies into the language of the country you’re going to. Write these down so that, if needed, you can easily communicate with staff at a foreign hospital or pharmacy.
A fan – Babies can not regulate their own temperature. - Take soft, layered clothing in natural fibres - not polyester as it makes them sweat. Also take a sun hat and some sunglasses with an elastic band around the back so it stays on their head.
Dr Ghosh says: "Make sure their ears are protected. Sucking their ears works, and ear defenders can also help with pressure."
He also recommends that parents should pack decongestants/nasal sprays: "Their mucus membranes can dry out very quickly on the plane. Spray/drop before they wake up or go to sleep. Especially if baby has breathing problems or a family history of asthma."
Dr Ghosh adds: "Remember to wipe, wipe, wipe. Babies touch everything and put things in their mouth, making them more prone to infection. Baby wipes are soft so won’t cause aggression."
"Babies are fine to be carried in car seat/carry cot for a long period of time. The biggest problem is them getting too hot, as UK car seats are very padded. I’d recommend picking them up to check they’re not sweating after an hour, although most babies need changing and feeding more frequently. Newborns don’t suffer with DVT and clots as they’re always wriggling around."
Dr Arun Ghosh, from Liverpool, has been advising parents for many years on how to travel safely with babes and infants. He’s been voted in the top 250 doctors in the country, and has regularly appeared on BBC and ITV shows as a resident medical expert.
Please note: if you have any queries about going on holiday with your child - always seek medical advice from your local GP or pharmacist.
Just so you know, there are plenty of family-friendly benefits to jetting off with TUI. You can bring a car seat and pushchair free of charge – and there’s the option to wheel it all the way up to the plane door. You can bring your own baby food and milk on our flights too – you’ll just need to get them checked at airport security first. As a family with young children, you’ll also get priority boarding. And you can expect baby changing facilities onboard all of our planes. Want to know more? Take a look at our family-friendly flying page.
Check out our baby-friendly holidays.
Author: Abi Payne-Humphries
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The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCOtravel and Facebook.com/FCOtravel
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