Development FAQ: 0-6 months – Other Advice

What is the best way stay on the routines when flying to Australia for three weeks with 10 week old twins?

At Christmas time we are going to Australia, from the UK for three weeks. My twin girls will be 10 weeks when we leave. I have tried very hard to follow the routines and I am not only petrified that about the flight, but also scared that they will get off the routines. How is it best to do this travel? I am thinking about not going!

It is a daunting prospect of flying this far with one baby, let alone two, but not impossible. A baby works on his own body clock, eating and napping at regular times throughout 24 hours regardless of what time the clock says. It is easier for a baby or small child to adapt to “local time” when moving time zones than it is for an adult. During the flight you will be able to keep to the usual times of feeds. Even if it is not a feed time around take off and landing have a small feed for each baby which can be offered at these times to help them adjust to the cabin pressures. Sucking on a dummy can also help. Most babies of this age are inclined to sleep quite a lot during a flight. Below, it is suggested you take familiar items to help them settle well. Long haul flights have lots of times when the lights are dimmed so darkness should not be too much of a problem with them at this young age.

Once you arrive in Australia put yourself and the girls on to local time and begin the next day at 7am. Depending how much they have slept on the plane, it may take a day or two of tweaking things a little so they are back to the routines but keep working on the usual day timings. Look in The Contented Baby Book, page 90, for a question and answer on changing time zones. Putting your usual bath and bedtime routine in place, as well as starting the day at 7am, will give you the framework for getting back into the full routine within a few days.

Make sure you ‘phone the airline ahead of your flight to order sky cots or bassinets for the girls. You should be allocated bulkhead seats, allowing you room to put them in the cots to sleep. Most long haul routes are more than willing to heat up formula feeds for you. The news of twin babies on board will mean you will undoubtedly be given a great deal of help by the cabin staff. They are usually excellent with young babies and their parents on these long flights.

On the practical side consider ready sterilized disposable bottles and ready-made formula to help you during the journey. Find a good quality insulated bag if you wish to take frozen expressed milk with you. It will gradually defrost on the way and can be fed over the duration of the flight.

Pack a baby bag with two or three changes of clothes for each of the girls. Keep to simple all-in-one suits and remember a cardigan or light jacket for each of them, as planes can be chilly. Take a blanket from home for each of them as the smell will be familiar and help them to settle to sleep. Have plenty of muslins and wipes along with your usual changing items. Disposable changing mats can be useful on planes where space is usually at a premium. Pack a couple of clean tee shirts or light tops for yourself in your hand luggage as you won’t want to arrive in Australia with spit up, or worse, on you.

Providing you plan ahead, and try to think of any problems you may encounter, there is no reason why you cannot contemplate this flight with the girls.