Could this mum’s invention be the end of babies crying on planes?

She was so worried about the "huffing and puffing" of strangers she did something drastic about it...

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Have you got a long flight with a wee one coming up in the next few weeks? How do you do it?

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On many airlines, until your baby’s 2 they can travel for free – though this means they don’t get a seat of their own. If you’re organised enough and your airline offers it (most do) you can book a bassinet in advance.

Unfortunately the bassinets on planes aren’t usually perfect – they tend to be wall-mounted, very often in ‘busy’ areas like near the bathrooms or service areas and so it can really tricky for your baby to get any decent sleep.

The invention

Cue Sydney mum Emma Lovell who found herself doing numerous long-haul flights between Australia and the UK to care for her sick mum, with her infant newborn in tow.

She told news.com.au she feared so much what people were going to think of her little one crying on a flight that she took measures into her own hands and invented the Fly Babee – a travel friendly canopy that you can put over the bassinet to avoid your baby being distracted by the lights, movement and noise of the plane environment.

“My daughter was a really good traveller but she just could not sleep with the distractions, with the cabin lights going on and off, the person in the next seat turning on their reading light, the food service interruptions, the entertainment screens and every now and then someone smiling and waving at her,” Emma said.

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“I used to do all these things, rigging up sheets and blankets with tape to cover her, and they’d start to work and then fail miserably.”

The stares

For Emma, the thing she most dreaded about flying with a newborn was the disapproval she felt from other passengers.

“I think the worst thing is the fear of what other people are going to think – that takes over from the concern of why your baby’s crying in the first place.

“You’re trying to comfort the baby but you’re mostly worried about the huffing and puffing from people who A, have no children, B, have left their kids at home, or C, have grown-up children and have completely forgotten how hard it is to travel with a baby.

“So many people are very judgmental and there’s very few of those looks that are sympathetic. It’s mostly glares from people that seem to say, ‘Feed it, or kill it’.”

Does it work?

Judging by the reviews the Fly Babee’s had so far, it certainly seems that it’s making a difference.

One parent wrote: “Flew from Sydney to Edinburgh this year with Fly Babee. The difference compared to our flight last year was night and day… Baby got some sleep this time, so parents also managed a little snooze. Excellent product.”

Another said: “Recently flew 29 hours with 4.5 month old bub without hubby or other help. Flybabee was great to block out the lights and let me have some rest and meals in peace and quiet. Other parents struggled to keep the lights out and I had a few comments on Fly Babee.”

Hmmmm – pretty impressive, we reckon. The canopy comes in at Au$99 – and is currently only available in Australia although there are plans to bring it out worldwide.

What do you think?

Have you done a long haul flight with a little one, or have you got one coming up? How do you think you’ll manage?

Are you hoping to use a bassinet and if so – would you be tempted to get a Fly Babee? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Photos: Fly Babee / Stock image

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