This post has been three months in the making for me. Since flying was such a disaster for me and my baby, I didn't know where to start with appropriately expressing what I went through. However, there are some things I have picked up from the experience and to do's are below.
For those who want to know more about my experience - I had a one stop flight from India to the US recently, (and back unfortunately). Our second leg was 14 hours and my son did not sleep. AT ALL (we got 2 hours in on the way there and none on the way back!). He did not even want to be seated and my husband and I were running up and down the aisle, rocking him in the bar, sitting on the bar, trying to make him watch tv, taking turns to eat... So, I learned some to dos and alot more of what not to do. Fortunately for you though, most kids do sleep, and 14 hours sleepless is unheard of, so my high energy and overly curious boy is a quite unique.
Below are some of the things I learned and have put to practice after this flying disaster.
For those who want to know about flying with infants and about baby jetlag, there are some tips and tricks here.
15 things you should know about flying with your little one:1. If you are planning to give your baby medicines to help them sleep on a long flight, please try these at home first. In the event that your little one has a reaction, you do not want to be a mile high.
2. Break all the rules: If your child has never watched television, now is a good time to get them to start. However, you can limit it to on board entertainment only. (Note: my son at 13 months was not interested in this at all, but at 18 months he can sit and watch songs for hours). If there are specific things your toddler likes, ipad puzzles, videos etc - keep them handy for the flight. (Make sure you do not give it to them for a few days before traveling so that they are excited to see it).
|IF they have never watched TV, this may be the time to start.|
4. If you do have a layover of less than 6 hours, try to let your child roam free and tire themselves out as much as possible.
|Letting him loose at Dubai airport|
5. Embrace Red eyes: For long flights, if you can ensure that a portion of it is during your child's normal sleep hours, you may be able to get some rest. For short flights, try and schedule it around nap times.
6. Carry your own food. Yes, flights offer you food for children and packets for infants but you are better off taking things you know your child will love, so that you are not stranded with a hungry child on top of it all. Packaged food is the most convenient, and quick snacks like porridge and oats.
7. Ask for juice and milk on board (unless you are nursing/ giving formula). Feel free to carry it if you like, however, on a long flight milk can go bad. Also remember that when you open the bottle, if it has a straw - it's going to shoot right out on your face. Thanks to the air pressure!
8. If you can afford, have to buy (for children over 2) or are given a second seat, make the most of it. In the event that they do sleep, it is helpful to be able to put them down and get some rest yourself. However, if they are in an aisle seat, you may find your self paranoid that they will get up and run, so try and put them by the window or in a middle seat.
9. If your child is into toys, save some new toys for the flight, and give it to them as a distraction. Do avoid things that sing, or roll away...
10. If your child wants to run up and down the aisles to expend energy, you should consider letting them.. supervised ofcourse and only when the seat belt sign is off. It is easier to follow a walking child up and down, than to try and strap a crying child into a seat.
11. Diaper changes on board are really a painful experience. Finding place to keep your diaper bag is even more challenging than figuring out where to stand. If you are not flying alone - ask your companion to come with you and hand you things from outside the stall. It is much easier than trying to move them around while holding the screaming wiggling baby or tot.
12. Distractions are key, so keep them handy, whether it is food, an ipad or your boob/milk!
|Hanging out at the bar|
13. The goal should be to get your child to sleep, but very few will sleep the entire journey if its a long flight during the day, so do keep that in mind and fill your handbags accordingly.
14. Packing for a trip with a child is one of the most time consuming parts of the journey, feel free to refer to the quick handbag list here - diapers, wipes, change of clothes, toys, books, cream, ipad or other entertainment, headphones, food, and liquids! You may find that many of the things you thought were essential when packing your suitcase may not be necessary, so try to pack as light as you can go, unless you are going somewhere that has no baby stores whatsover.
15. Babies jetlag, badly! They may want to play at night and sleep in the day if they have had a complete time shift so try to get them exposed to sunlight as much as possible during the day to help reset their body clocks. Tons more on baby jetlag can be found here.
You may find that after the flight and the jetlag, the rest of the trip even with your active toddler, is just a breeze.. Enjoy it as much as you can and be flexible with their routine you will have plenty of time to reset it all when you get back home.
Also - for those who are on instagram, follow me to get quick tips, tricks and tributes @mommydiaries.