05 Apr

The Toughest Parts of Flying with Babies

We did it! We are finally on a big family vacation at the beach! As a mom of two toddlers, I find myself dreaming of vacations rather often — not just for my own sanity, but so that my boys can experience a new and exciting environment. I am currently sitting on my bed in our rented vacation home in Destin, Florida. It is so gorgeous here and I’m thrilled that my entire family is here with us.I must admit, I was very nervous about flying with two kiddos and packing for a family of four without bringing a ton of bags. But when I began packing, I knew I couldn’t leave home without a few items that would get us through the toughest parts of the plane trip.Here are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to flying with babies, and how I prepared for each one of them.$12.99WINNIE THE POOH All Aboard Wooden Train from Melissa & DougBoredomTo tackle this, I first packed the little wooden figurines from our Melissa and Doug train. My boys love this toy, so I made sure to pack the actual train in the big suitcase, then brought the figurines on the plane so Bentley, our 1-year-old, could always be holding something. This really helped to distract him.Changing Cabin PressureIt’s very important to make sure your child is either using their pacifier or drinking from a bottle or a sippy cup while taking off and landing. Swallowing will help their ears to pop, so they won’t feel pain when the pressure is changing. I made sure to pack our new Toy Story spill-proof sippy cups so each of them could drink from those. If you are breastfeeding, I would recommend holding off on feeding your little one until takeoff. Same with bottle feeding.When Hunger StrikesI may have overpacked snacks,baby toys, but you never know if your flight will be delayed in a smaller airport, or worse, if your plane will have some sort of mechanical issue and you will end up sitting on the tarmac for hours. That’s why I made sure to bring a lot of snack options for my kids. And these snack bags are the perfect way to keep the snacks from getting all over your travel bag.What About Nap Time?This one is a little tricky. Because of the change in environment, I wouldn’t count on your little one taking a nap at his/her exact nap time, but if you have multiple flights like we did, they may get really sleepy on one.First, we were sure to ask the flight attendant if the baby could sit on my lap or my husband’s lap during the flight in order to sleep. I only mention this because the smaller planes have rules about where the babies are allowed to sit in relation to seat assignment.$15.99MICKEY MOUSE “M” is for Mickey Plush Throw BlanketSecond, be sure to bring a comfy blanket to help your baby sleep. Our second flight was during Bentley’s nap time, and I knew that bringing a familiar, soft blanket from home would help to remind him that it was time to sleep. And, in case you were wondering, it turned out he wanted to be in Daddy’s lap.Third, remember not to give your little one a lot of sugary snacks near nap time, because this will give them a boost in energy and will make them less likely to nap.Long Distance WalkingMy most essential item for airport travel is a light, easy-to-fold stroller, like this Winnie The Pooh umbrella stroller. I can take it through security and easily fold it at the gate to be put underneath the plane and taken back out at my next arrival gate. I seriously couldn’t live without one.Hot Plane, Cold PlaneAdvertisementHas anyone else noticed lately that airplanes are super hot when you first get on them? It seems like the temperature inside goes above 80 degrees before you take off and then drops to a chilly 70 or so during the flight.That makes it very hard to plan an outfit for your little one to wear during the flight! You don’t want baby to overheat while waiting for the plane to take off, and you also don’t want them to be cold during the flight. (I’m specifically speaking of summer trips on the airplane. I’m not sure if this is relevant for winter trips, so I’ll get back to you on that one later this year.)This is where a great snap-on bodysuit comes in handy for newborns or younger babies plus a wearable blanket to keep them warm. Also, if your baby has a leaky diaper or spits up, it is really easy to change them out of a bodysuit and into a new one. (Always pack extra clothes as a backup).For older kids, I recommend putting them in shorts and a t-shirt, like this adorable Lady And The Tramp outfit, and bringing a sweatshirt and a blanket in case they get cold.As for me, I wore flip-flops onto the plane and brought a pair of warm, fuzzy socks to put on in case my feet got cold. And I just wore light jeans with a tank top but brought along a sweater for anytime I got chilly. I was so glad I wore comfy and cool clothes, because man, oh man, was our first flight warm!If it is an overnight flight, I would recommend dressing your kids in their pajamas so they are more likely to sleep. And be sure to keep their feet warm during the flight.The Drink CartI am one of those people who always pictures things happening on the flight, like spilling my cranberry juice all over because of turbulence, so I usually just opt for water on the plane. There are times, though, when I just HAVE to have a cranberry apple juice, like on our second flight. Aaaand… I learned my lesson. Although none of the juice spilled onto my clothes or the babies, my 1-year-old did manage to bump the cup and spill the juice all over the floor underneath my feet and onto my sandals.Trust me, just get water! It’s not worth taking the chance. And if it happens to be hot on your flight, ask the flight attendant for a cup of ice! This worked great to cool my boys down on our warm first flight.And to be extra safe, get a bottle of water in the airport and fill your baby’s bottle or sippy cup with it. That way, you have some water for yourself left over, and your kiddos are all set if they get thirsty.Baggage Fees for CarseatsGuess what?! On the airline we flew, each baby gets to check their carseat for free, whether its an infant seat or toddler seat — one per small child! So we got to bring our own toddler carseats to the airport,baby feeding, then when we checked in, we sent the carseats with our checked bags and didn’t have to pay for them! Be sure to call your airline before heading to the airport to make sure they follow the same guidelines. We also made sure to buy a bag to store the carseat in, so it wouldn’t get damaged.Our Random ItemStickers! I grabbed a coloring book at Walmart and it had over 100 stickers in it. When all other toys had been played with and the boys weren’t hungry anymore, I wondered what I would do to keep them busy. Then I remembered the coloring books. It turns out they didn’t care much to color, but they sure did love putting those stickers on themselves! Such a random thing, but it kept my boys occupied for a while!There is no way to ensure that your flight with your kiddos will go perfectly, but these solutions to common issues when flying with little ones should definitely help. I’m praying you all have happy and safe travels this summer! And don’t forget these items to help it go smoothly!