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Amazing ‘Skycouch’ lets babies sleep comfortably on planes

This will make international flights so much more comfortable for families. 

Amazing ‘Skycouch’ lets babies sleep comfortably on planes

I've always wanted to go to New Zealand, and after hearing about Air New Zealand's new family-friendly seating option, I'm tempted to book my toddler son's first international flight.


Imagine being able to fly with your baby safely sleeping on the seat beside you in their own little harness? It's possible on this airline, thanks to a system Air New Zealand calls the “Skycouch."

It's a “row of three Economy seats joined together to create a flexible space," according to the Air New Zealand website. A special seatbelt dubbed a “Cuddle Belt" keeps two passengers buckled in as they sleep (cuddling for sure, it's tight) while laying across the three seats.

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The Skycouch has been around for seven years, but its baby-friendly makeover and new accessories—a kid-friendly, updated Cuddle Belt; and the Infant Harness, Infant Belt and Skycouch Pod—are new as of 2018.

“While we initially marketed it to couples, we quickly found the product suited parents with young families especially well. Parents can relax while their children are able to have their own space and flat area to play without interrupting other passengers," Air New Zealand's General Manager of Customer Experience, Anita Hawthorne, explains.

"Through this process, we've spoken to many customers who have travelled on the Skycouch and their feedback has helped to inform the updates and refinements we're introducing this year."

Previously the Cuddle Belt only allowed two adults or an adult and a child to lie down across the three seats, but it's now been redesigned so two kids could sleep, outstretched and side by side. This way, parents don't have to wake up (potentially grumpy) little ones to put on their seat belts during seatbelt-sign time. Sounds amazing.

Babies on the Skycouch need to sport the Infant Harness. It comes in three sizes to fit babies between 0-39 pounds and up to 3.6 feet tall. With that on they can sleep inside the Skycouch Pod (a little bassinet) with the infant belt looped through their harness. They can also sleep on mom or dad with the adult seat belt looped through, or bigger babies can relax right on the Skycouch. It's a really smart system.

The only downside of the Skycouch is that it does cost more than regular economy seats would. The cost isn't listed online as the upgrade charge varies depending on where you're flying to and how many people are in your Skycouch party. It's probably not insignificant though.

Still, if you've got little ones and you're dreading an international flight, it might be worth asking about. Skycouch is available on all Air New Zealand long-haul flights from the US—so out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Honolulu. Hopefully the Skycouch catches on with other airlines, too, because seriously, who wants to wake up a sleeping baby when you don't have to?

[A version of this post was first published on March 3, 2018.]

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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