You remember the good ol’ days? When travelling was fun and exciting. When you planned your outfit and always tried to look good to get on the plane. Enter September 11, 2001, World Trade Centre and Bin Ladin! Puull Up! Draw breaks! Stop! Those really were the good old days. No more of that. Now with airport screening, travelling has become such a pain. Add travelling with kids to that and your stress level doubles! In addition to the security checks, you are praying your child won’t be the one screaming the entire flight. Trus’ me I know that feeling first hand. Sometimes you wonder if you really have to take the trip. I have found however that with a little planning, OK, a lot of planning, air travel can be manageable… most times anyway.
I have two sons and we love to travel. We have family all over the place and enjoy visiting them. I’ll share some of the things we do and hopefully you can find a few gems that you can incorporate to make your next trip more enjoyable. Our elder son is a breeze now, I tell you, it gets better. He is almost eight years old, so very independent and has traveled several times, so he knows exactly what to do now.
- His own carry-on– From he was about four or five years old, I would pack his little knapsack or pulley bag with stuff that he would play with on the plane.
- Items to include-It always had his charged DVD player and movies, playing cards like Go-Fish and Old Maid, little games that we can fold up and put the pieces in Ziploc bags, colouring books and crayons, snacks and a change of clothes. Now that he is older he is responsible for packing to ensure it has exactly what he wants.
- Check-I just check it to make sure there are no items that will be confiscated eg. scissors etc. This little bag is great and usually keeps him occupied the entire flight.
The baby now is a whole other BEAST! And I do mean BEAST. He is eleven months and this is really where the anxiety happens and planning has to kick in.
- Limit the stuff in your hands-Only have your baby and his baby bag if possible.
- Gate check the gear-Use the stroller as long as possible, so take it with you up to the gate and then just break it down at the plane doors. I have never carried the car seat on board, I have always checked that in at the counter. I understand though that if you can take it on board, the infant is the safest in the car seat. If the seat beside you is empty, perfect! Keep the baby in the car seat right beside you.
- In the baby bag have rattles, blankets, snacks, food-tons of it especially if you are not nursing, just in case there is a flight delay, diapers, wipes, juice, change of clothes (I usually have 2 sets). Put your personal items in one section-travel documents, wallet etc.
- Time the nap-I am a firm believer in having a sleep schedule. More on that in a later post. Anyway, try to time it so that while you are in the air it will be sleep time. It may not work but it’s worth a try.
- Nurse/feed during take-off and landing-This is a BIGGIE! You have to get their jaws moving to prevent the pressure in their ears from building up. That can be extremely painful and that can lead to a poor screaming baby! Word of advice, wait until the plane is actually “running” down the tarmac. If you start too early, they can be taxiing for a long time and your baby could finish the “feeding” before the plane takes off. Not good. Been there, done that!
I used all of these tips when he was between four and eight months. Trips were from two hours to four hours in duration. Gotta tell you the trip went pretty smoothly on the first leg, not so easy on the return leg. But hey, these are babies right. It’s all trial and error.
I have to tell you though we have another trip in a few weeks for summer and I admit I am a little anxious. He is at the age where he now wants to do his own thing. He doesn’t really want to be held, but instead explore his surroundings on the floor. He can’t walk yet, but tries every day.
I just hope he won’t be the screaming kid on the four hour plane ride and I know you hope you aren’t on that flight either!
What suggestions do you have for traveling with infants? I am going to need them. Share them here please.
More travel tips:
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