Traveling with a toddler can be a real challenge. I was so terrified by the thought that I avoided traveling until my baby was 2 years old! I salute all the parents who dare to bring their newborns in a confined place with so many strangers and so little room to move around.
On my first vacay trip as a mommy, I read as many blogs I could and talked to as many friends as I could to ensure that I was fully prepared and NOTHING was left uncovered.
I made lists and lists …completed them and rechecked them like 1 week before my flight! I was prepared for ALL things that could go wrong from Juice spills to Tantrums.
So, here are the Top 9 things you should do to make sure you and your baby have a comfortable and soothing flight experience.
- Snacks: Those long lines at the airport and the waiting before the Boarding can be a monotonous experience even for adults. Make sure that your carry-on bag is filled with chips/juices/cereal bars/fruits/trail mixes/donut-holes and any such munchies you & your little one likes.Get a couple zip lock bags and make small snack size portions. Every time you feel your baby is getting cranky, you whip one out, and it’s ready to be devoured. (For different Mixes I made read Healthy Snackin’ Ideas). For additional Trail Mixes Ideas go here.
- Disposable Bottles: Of course you can’t forget your child’s bottles! I would suggest to keep extra or get the disposable ones if you can as I really do not like to wash bottles in the washroom of the plane :S yukhI did once have to give it to the flight attendant to wash cause I did not have the disposable ones… they were very nice about it and I told them to rinse with warm water, and they did that but seriously I would never do that again…. I just don’t trust anyone with bottles & sanitation.
- Diapers: If your child is not potty trained make sure you keep extra extra diapers. So normally if your child uses 6 a day and you have a 24 hr journey;keep 15! You will thank me. I don’t know whether it is the constant drinking juices and water, snacking on dried fruits, the change in sleep pattern or the cabin pressure 😛 when I was traveling, my baby went through diapers like Kleenex.
- A change of clothes for you and extra for the baby: Nothings makes a journey more difficult than the fact that you have vomit/leaked diaper/spilled food allover your pretty blouse. Make sure you at least keep a spare shirt. That way you can be fresh when you land!For the baby, I went extra cautious and kept 3 pants and 5 tops (I had 1 stop over/flight change at Turkey, and then a 12 hr flight from Turkey to Florida).Also, makes sure your baby is warm.. they tend to cry more when uncomfortable and cold..layer them up in soft cottons and comfy bottoms along with sweatshirts. They are kids; no one’s judging.
- A toiletries Pouch: The cabin pressure tends to make my skin dry and patchy. So I like to keep my fav moisturizer, hand sanitizer and lip balm handy with me.Make sure you keep your self and the baby moisturized throughout the flight. Also, have a packet of baby wipes; they are very handy and multipurpose (from cleaning hands to makeup removal).Also, since flights don’t tend to give toddler toothbrushes/pastes I suggest you keep one of your own so your little one has clean teeth even after all the munching.
- Medicine: I like to travel with my own meds that I know work on me. So I kept a pack of my favorite anti-allergy and Panadol. Also, for the baby I kept Infant Panadol, his cough syrup and his anti-allergy syrup JUST in CASE.(Seal all liquids in a clear zip-lock bag). Thank God did not need any thing during the flight but it is best to keep it handy.
- Entertainment: Although there is in-flight entertainment, many airlines give out coloring books and toys etc. But I wouldn’t rely on that. Kids tend to be more comfortable with toys they recognize. So make sure your carry-on has some of his/her toys… I also went ahead and bought a few new hot wheels cars that I wouldn’t mind loosing on the plane/airport… I also got some coloring books and colors.I wasn’t big on electronic entertainment, but before my flight my sister suggested I get him hooked on the iPad or something other wise such a long flight would be even more difficult…so I downloaded some educational Apps by FisherPrice and it kept him happy (in moderation).
- Ear-poppin’ (MOST IMPORTANT): We all know that feeling, luckily being adults we can yawn or chew gum to instantly feel better. Such is not the case with a baby.To avoid any ear pain keep some hard candy for the baby to suck on during Take-offs and Landings. Since I’m not too BIG on candy all the time…. I opted for the bottle route. Give your baby his bottle right before take-off/Landing…either milk/juice/honey-water. I alternated between the 3 and it worked like a charm.My flight schedule was Pakistan to Turkey to USA and every time I did this he did not cry, Thank GOD. I am so glad I found this out when I did.
- The Chill Pill:Although I felt I was over prepared; I had read all the blogs and interviewed all my friends, the one thing NO ONE can predict is the Toddler Tantrum . It’s like the Hunger Games. You go in not knowing what will happen …no matter how prepared you are :PSo basically the worst nightmare came true at the Turkish Airport. Not because he was hungry, not because his ears were hurting, not because his clothes were uncomfortable… he cried cause he wanted to go into US immigration with those fancy shopping carts they have at the Turkey Duty free.
Yes. He cried and cried and yellledddd.. it was horrible.
Although it was a blessing in disguise cause the immigration officers made sure our boarding went smoothly and quickly (we were the 1st ones on the plane!).And when he still wouldn’t stop crying, I took the Chill Pill… took him to the restroom and had a long talk with him. I was on the verge of tears my self but I kept my cool and we got through it. You really need to be calm with the babies.They do not know what they are doing and they can NOT control it. No matter how difficult that is to understand, we as adults need to comprehend that our brains are much more complex than those of a child. So cut them some slack. Let them cry. All kids do it.
I remember making eye contact with 1 2 mothers and they were all giving me the all knowing look of “it is okay, I have been there”… no need to be embarrassed!
Also, on my desperate Pinterest-ing spree I found some ready made Check Lists that are also very helpful. Here is a sample.
There it is! The things I learned/experienced on my first flight with my baby. Hope that was helpful and I hope you have a comfortable 1st trip with your baby!
P.S. MAMAWIFEYME claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted.