All my life, I’ve always loved the experience of going to the airport, boarding airplanes and taking to the skies!
It usually signified the adventure and excitement of visiting a new destination or special memories that were soon to be made with distant relatives.
But as a relatively new mom…flying has become a whole new experience!
Preparing for flights require just a little more time, organization and checklists.
And the flights themselves…well, let’s just say that a big dose of patience and a sense of humor goes a long way!
Last year, my hubby and I experienced our first flight as new parents. Luckily our then 6 month old son was an easy flyer. A warm bottle, cuddles, pretty views and checking out the magazine in the seat pocket was pretty much all that was needed to keep him entertained.
But we learned to expect the unexpected.
A few weeks ago, our now healthy boy was ready for his second flight..as a 16 month old toddler!
We had to take into consideration that he wasn’t the easy flyer we knew a few months prior. Nope, he blossomed into a curious, squirmy, “I must touch everything I see” toddler, and we had to prepare for this transformation all the while sitting in our laps for the entire flight. Once he turns two, then he can enjoy his own seat, but for now, it’s the mommy and daddy seat!
Daddy, let’s see if our flight is on time!
Here are a few steps we took to ease his (and our) flight :
- Bring wipes. Our boy loves to touch EVERYTHING, and he is a GERM MAGNET! Needless to say, we wiped down the arm rests (and the buttons on those arm rests), the tops and bottoms of the tray tables and the seats in front of us. And wouldn’t you know it, those were the exact places his curious little fingers touched…over and over and over again! Luckily, he remained healthy on this trip and didn’t bring home any unwanted bugs!
Time to investigate…EVERYTHING!
- Bring snacks. We don’t usually automatically give our son snacks when he starts fussing, but on a packed flight with layovers, we’ll do whatever it takes! Cheerios, food pouches or just another bottle did the trick and kept his fussiness at bay.
- Bring their favorite cuddle lovies. They might take up more room in your carry-on, but for us, they were lifesavers! A nice soft blankie to cuddle up with and his beloved “brown-bear” joined us on the flight, and they brought him so much comfort.
- Prepare bottles or sippy cups for take-off and landing. This will help immensely to prevent any earaches and the associated screaming (and dirty looks from passengers). 😉
- Technology is your friend! We normally try to limit screen time, but when it came to flying and keeping our boy happy, we loaded up the iPad with apps and games for him to enjoy…and he did! I do think I’ll invest in toddler headphones next time so he can watch a fun show or movie.
- Bring their favorite toys, new toys or books. We brought only a few of his favorite smaller toys (including some teething items), but we also brought a relatively new toy with us called pipSguiz. This is something I purchased after reading all of the rave reviews online…and I’m glad I did! These colorful toys have suction capabilities, so we were able to stick them to the windows and tray tables, and our boy enjoyed batting at them, hearing the rattle noises, squishing them and trying to unstick them. They’ve become one of his favorite toys especially when we go out and about – perfect for putting on the stroller table!
- Bring a change of clothes for you and your child! This is where I had an epic mommy failure! Usually I’m on top of this when we go out, and I always have a change of clothes for him, but on our return trip, I think I had mommy brain and completely forgot to pack a change of clothes for both of us! Luckily we were about 15 minutes away from landing at our layover destination, but while he slept ever so soundly on me, I felt something get increasingly warm and moist on my lap. Sure enough…as I shifted him to check, this warm sensation became a waterfall running down my leg! Hubby checked the diaper bag to get out the spare pair of pants we *of course* packed because how could we forget to pack a change of clothes?! Well…guess what? No pants, no top, not even a burpee cloth! Mommy brain had reared its’ ugly head! Luckily we DID have diapers, and because the seatbelt sign was on, we had no choice but to change him there on our laps in our seats. (NOTE: This is something we would normally NEVER do!!!) Luckily the guy in our row was understanding since he was a seasoned grandpa! (phew!!!) And in a crowded Vegas airport bathroom, I washed his pants and used the super charged hand dryer to get them ready for the last leg of our journey. Lesson learned!
Look at that innocent little face…
- Bring a sense of humor! Because *shit* (or in our case *pee*) happens! (See above!)
I know we have SO much more to learn about surviving flights with our toddler, but I think in the end, all we can really do is smile, hope for the best and prepare for the worst…
…and hang on tight!
Have you flown with a toddler? If so, what suggestions do you have for a smooth, happy flight?