As many of you know, Kevin and I flew cross country with Molly last week. It wasn’t our first time, we’ve actually made the cross country trip four other times with her as well as a flew shorter flights. She’s quite the jet setter! However, in the past when she was an infant, it was such a different experience flying with her. I remember thinking that nothing could be harder than flying with a baby. But I soon discovered how wrong I was because I had my first experience flying with a toddler! Ha! And I can only imagine what it’s like when you throw multiples in the mix!
But we survived the trip and are here to tell about it. So today in the blog I want to share with you my top five tips for flying with a toddler!
My first tip for flying with a toddler is to make sure you pack the disinfecting wipes. Your child is not only going to touch every single thing they can get their hands on on the plane, but they’ll probably try to put their mouth on every single thing they possibly can too. Really I think everyone should fly with disinfectant wipes to wipe down the area around their seat before the flight. But you especially should if you’re flying with a child. It will not only help keep your child healthy but will also kill a lot of the germs to keep you from getting sick as well.
Lots of Snacks!
You’re going to make need to make sure you’re stocked up with milk and food for your flight. Not only because your baby will get hungry on the flight, but most importantly so they are eating or drinking something during takeoff and landing. When Molly was an infant I would nurse her for take off and landing, but now she’s not on as strict of a schedule so it’s harder for us to time out everything. However, we just did our best to keep her from eating or drinking too much a couple hours before the flight so she was good and hungry come time for take off. Then we gave her a snack cup full of her favorite puffs and a sippy cup with milk (or water). The action of swallowing helps their little ears pop, so this is a very important step. If their ears don’t pop on the take off, you’re in for one long miserable flight. For both you and your little one. Plus it would just be so heartbreaking to see your baby in pain. THIS is the sippy cup we use. Many of you ask my on instagram so I’m sharing!
Educational Toddler Apps
We certainly aren’t the type of parents that put our child in front of the screen when we want to keep her occupied. In fact, Molly doesn’t watch TV at all at home and very rarely will we break out our phones for her to play an app. We usually reserve them for times when she’s extra fussy. So maybe once a week for 5 mins. But on the airplane she can have all the screen time she wants! Ha! Some parents might judge me for this one but I will do absolutely anything in my power to keep her happy on a long flight. So we broke out her favorite app (Peekaboo Barn) and got a few other cute educational apps that she had never seen before so they would keep her attention longer. And by longer I mean five minutes instead of three minutes. She has a very short attention span, as most toddlers do. But we found that having these apps bought us a few minutes here and there when she started getting fussy on the plane.
A Box of Surprises!
Kevin had the idea to hide some of her favorite toys a week or so before the flight so that she’ll be super excited to see them going on the plane. I personally think it was a brilliant idea! So he got a big box full of goodies including some of her favorite things that she had been missing, and a bunch of other new toys that she had never seen. And by toys I mean things like a mini flashlight, a deck of cards, a deflated balloon (that we blew up a little after take off) a pair of my headphones and other interesting things for her to explore and learn about. She’s a toddler after all and she’s constantly learning about the world around her. I was especially surprised at how long the deck of cards kept her occupied. For some reason she loves playing with cards. Including the credit cards out of my wallet. Is that a sign of what I’m in for in the future?! Ha! She’s sure to be a shopper just like her mama!
This might be my most important must-have for the plane. In fact, if I could only bring one thing from this list it would be a baby carrier. That’s because your little one needs somewhere to nap. Let’s face it, airplane seats are super small and nearly impossible for a toddler to sleep in. So when Molly was ready for a nap, I just strapped her to me facing in, put a light blanket over her head to block out the light and bounced up and down the isles so she could sleep. Granted, if the fasten seat belt light came on I had to sit down and it definitely through a few kinks in our nap plan. But at the end of the day I was able to get her to sleep on the flight for almost 2 hours going to New York, and a little over an hour on the way back. If you don’t have a baby carrier there’s no way for your baby to nap! Unless they’re just an all star sleeper and will fall sleep sitting up or with you holding them. Molly is just not the type of toddler that will fall asleep in my arms. The only way she’ll do it is if she’s in a carrier. We use this one btw (It’s outward and inward facing).
Hope these tips are helpful for anyone flying with a little one! Oh and I did a similar blog post of tips for flying with a baby/infant HERE. A couple are the same, but some are different!