I read a lot of tips and tricks for travelling with a baby/toddler, the one running theme in all of them has been stating that travelling with a baby/toddler is stressful. I have never ever thought this, or gone into travelling with my mini me thinking this. Yes, the travel part of your journey can just suck, but having done this my whole life, I never brought this attitude with me. If you think it is stressful, then imagine what you are teaching your child from an early age.
If you are terrified of flying, always make sure you have talked things through with your spouse. Meaning, your little one is not sitting on your lap during take off, and landing, or during turbulence. Being frightened is fine, but you might not want your anxieties to be passed to your child.
The other thing that I hear a lot of, is travelling around nap or sleep schedule. This always makes me cringe. We fly, when we fly, my son sleeps when he is extremely tired, but trying to plan a flight around his schedule would mean we would never go anywhere.
The craziest flight: We had been up two weeks straight, packing, moving everything into a storage unit, all by ourselves, and with a baby a year and a half old. We averaged 3 hours of sleep a night. The last morning, I took our little man, in our travel stroller and walked quickly to drop off our cable/internet box, while my husband put our car into storage. We met back at the apartment, met our landlord and handed him our keys.
We got to the airport at 11:30am and then ate lunch (which I highly recommend when travelling with a child). We were beyond exhausted. but somehow, the little man was still going strong! With a soft Ikea ball, this ball is washable and has been everywhere with us. No one was bothered by us playing with this.
we played non stop until our boarding at 2pm. We thought he would sleep…We were lucky, we had 3 seats, and cot for the little man.
But guess what, 20 minutes sitting there, the plane starts to get hot, and they announce a technical problem, they had to get a part. We were not allowed to disembark. What they said would be quick, ended up being 4 hours. The A.C had been shut off, and the plane was reaching 35 degrees. We were getting hot, but our 18 month old was still moving and needed to be entertained. With no nap, and worried he would get dehydrated from the heat. I had planned ahead. I had packed a tank top onesie (his hips are so narrow, that diapers tended to fall off without being held up) – kind of looked like a woman’s swimsuit, but it was cool enough. He was walking up and down the aisle for the full 4 hours.
1. The first thing we noticed when we got onto the plane, everyone sighed and looked at us, stating loudly that sitting near us meant no sleep for them.
– I always take this and laugh, no one ever sleeps on a plane (I have flown more than a frequent flier – so don’t argue with me on this), and you know, worrying what everyone else thinks of your child on a long flight, usually gives your child anxiety. Who cares, just focus on your child. If they cry, it is usually for a good reason, calm them down by distraction, or just rocking them and soothing them. Don’t get frustrated. Plus, don’t argue with the flight attendant or bother raising your voice, usually there is one that is incredibly understanding, you just have to talk to them rationally.
2. Don’t ever think that you won’t have to entertain your baby/child. If you go into a flight thinking that it is just great one on one bonding time, you might have a really good time. Until they are old enough to really sit and enjoy a movie, it is really all about you and your child. Bring entertainment for them, play games with them.
Ikea finger puppets – easy to pack, fun, and washable:
I love Ikea for their stuffed animals, they are durable, soft and washable (you see my theme here)
3. Bring lots of your own food and favorite snacks. Don’t worry about healthy things all the time. I give my child fun treats, for one, he thinks flights are awesome because he gets things he doesn’t normally eat. Plus, now that he is getting older, I actually let him pick treats for travelling. He is more open to eating etc. when he is included.
4. Bring stories! I love books, and the plane is the greatest place to cuddle and read lots of stories. You can download a bunch of books onto a Kindle, and they are ready to go for any trip.
This is what my bed looks like before I pack:
Chef Boyardee packages are fantastic on the go. They have saved us a couple of times. Same with chips, and squeeze tubes of food.
Leapfrog is incredible! We always break out something as last resort, if things get rough. This phone saved us during a bad take off, after 4 hours of delay and a little man that was beyond it, Scout saved the day!
5. Bring extra clothing. I had planned ahead for heat and cold. I guess I have experienced enough crazy flights that I knew that cool clothing and warm clothing are always necessary.
6.Then there is a pack! Yes, I have brought our Ergo everywhere, and on the plane, and train it allowed me to rock the little man to sleep when he was just beyond it.
7. During our crazy 4 hour delay in the plane, and our 10 hour flight. We never raised our voices, never got frustrated and never thought for a second that our little man was going to sleep. He did fall asleep, in my husbands arms. In the end, everyone around us gave us an ovation, and thanked us for being awesome parents (that is really no joke).
8.If you are travelling with your spouse, come up with a flight itinerary. Assume your baby/child won’t sleep, so come up with an hour on, and an hour off in order for you to get some “rest” to calm your nerves.
9. Bring medication: I always have Tylenol, Advil and Gravol. You might think I am nuts, but one flight our son actually started to cry, and I realized his tooth was emerging. It can happen that quickly!
10. Always bring devices that you can show a movie. Some of the movies that they have had on flights have been ones I have not pre-screaned and turned pretty violent for a toddler. We always have everything fully charged.
Dealing with Jet Lag? Well, I basically get my son into the exact same routine immediately, and into the time zone we are in, for a few days he is so exhausted he sleeps a lot when we are out, and then once he has recovered, we plan activities that are just for him. Some people stick to their old time zone, but depending on how far ahead or behind it is, it sometimes makes things worse. It is really preference. I find he snaps in and out very quickly when we just get right into the right time zone.
Have a great trip!
Travel Lady with Baby