I have never thought in a million years I would travel by myself with a one year old.

I really did believe it was super scary and impossible thing to do. Recently I did a 11 hour flight from London, United Kingdom to Johannesburg, South Africa.

It was actually not bad at all. I did a lot of research on how to avoid a melt down but also picked up a few tricks of my own. We opted for a night flight with virgin Atlantic because they have great customer service and flexible breastfeeding policy. I know it’s super annoying but some airlines are strange about breastfeeding on the plane so always check with your flight provider. Also check the carry on milk policy as some airlines are strict on the amount of milk that can be brought through the security. I bought a small bottle of milk from the Boots after passing through security. So here’s my list:


Baby carrier is a God send. We bought the 3 way baby carrier from boots and it’s awesome when Alina was born. I had Alina facing outwards looking at people most of the way, I only turned her facing towards me when she’s sleepy.


A strong backpack for both Alina and I. I wanted to carry only one bag on my back so I could have my hands free.


Pack loads of snacks for yourself and baby and share your snacks with the people around you. I know this may seem extra but we offered chocolate fingers to the girls next to us and they were so patient with us when we went for multiple bathroom trips.


Carry about 10 nappies and 4 comfy pyjamas for an 11 hour flight. You may not use all of them but the change in atmosphere can make babies bowels move (mummies we all know about the explosive poop fiasco).


Wear a dress or leggings, slip ons on your feet and don’t forget your socks (the plane is cold and the compression of the socks will avoid blood clots forming in your legs) Mums you know the deal, we are like lionesses and do not leave our babies unattended when we go to the bathroom. So avoid the hassle of zippers and shoe laces.


Carry extra clothes for yourself. Us mums all know when we don’t bring extra clothes for ourselves that’s when we get poop on our pretty top. I’m pretty sure my little girl plans this every single time.


Travel light. I know it’s hard but trust me, unless you regularly deadlift 40kg, carrying a baby and lugging suitcase is hard if your suitcase is super heavy. Try to keep it under 12kg to comfortably be able to move around the airport.


Use all family queues! This is so important. Once I got to South Africa I made the mistake of thinking I needed to queue like everyone else. People are harsh and kept on pushing in front of me. I was so tired I couldn’t even argue. After nearly an hour of queueing with my sleeping baby a gentleman from the border control shouted out at me “madam you don’t need to queue please come to front”. I could see the envy at the corner of my eye from all the people who pushed past me.


Be kind and chatty with people and accept kindness. The security in Heathrow is very tough and there is no baby or family queue. I had some lovely people helping me put my valuable into trays and making Alina laugh. I was so grateful.


Choose a window seat. I know this might seem odd because climbing over people to go to the toilet isn’t ideal. With a baby it’s perfect. Alina loved looking out the window and leaning against it with a pillow to sleep. I also got a little sense of privacy as I breastfed Alina.


Wipe everything down with baby wipes or gentle antibacterial wipes. Alina seems to want to give everything a good lick. There’s only so much I do to stop her. So when I was seated in the plane I wiped all the arm rest, the magazine, the safety card and the window so it was germ free.
There you have it, my travelling tips of surviving an 11 hour flight with a baby. Parents/carers we all just have to remember nothing is impossible.