Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tips for Flying with an Infant & a Toddler

Well I’m not an expert by any means, but I have officially traveled, on an airplane, with a toddler and an infant. Of course I was rollin deep with an entourage to help (so I’m definitely not super mom or anything), but we all survived and it went pretty smooth {for the most part}, so here are a few tips.

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-Plan ahead. Shew! This took a LOT of planning, but it was worth it to have everything go smoothly. Logistics & having to think out all of the details ahead of time is annoying to me, but it is necessary when traveling with littles (& a hubby who is already anxious when traveling). I strategically chose the flight times the best I could around their schedules. I made a list ahead of time and made sure I had everything easily accessible that we would need on the flight. I had a pump bag with all of my pump stuff, a cooler bag (actually a cooler inside of a cooler bag with some frozen breast milk & 2 frozen ice packs- all of which they check in security), a snack bag solely for Jase, my bookbag with my essentials (makeup, hand sanitizer, an outfit in case they lose my luggage, phone charger, snacks, and a book….yea right!). I checked us in ahead of time with the Delta app on my phone. I took a picture on my phone of where we parked. I had the confirmation numbers typed in my phone too for easy access.

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- Consider your kiddos’ sleep habits and nursing times when picking the flight time. Actually, there were a lot of things to consider when choosing a flight time, like Atl/Dallas traffic (and if our flight was too early, we’d have to wake the boys early AND sit in traffic), time changes, nursing times, and nap times. Fortunately the flight out there worked perfect. We left at the perfect time so we didn’t have to wake Jase up too early, we didn’t have to sit in traffic, and he was able to nap some when we made it to the hotel, and it was time for Kade to eat during takeoff. Unfortunately the flight home was right during nap time. Now for us, Jase is a BabyWise kid so he is a PHENOMENAL sleeper in his own bed. He goes to sleep on his own, sleeps for 12-13 hours at night, and takes a 3 hour nap. Super thankful for that! But chances are slim he’ll sleep on the go. He just doesn’t. It’s gotta be dark and quiet and he wakes easily. We knew he wouldn’t sleep on the flight, so it was just a tough call we had to make for the flight home. He was a little wild/whiney in the airport while getting to our gate and waiting for our flight (and he may or may not have thrown himself on the ground a few times & let out a few high pitched screams, which is something he just doesn’t normally do). And not gonna lie…I was sweatin it! He went to bed late the night before, woke up earlier than normal the next morning, and was totally missing his nap, which could have meant it would be a LONNNG flight! But thankfully (and praise the Lord! Seriously, Jase and I prayed in the bathroom before the flight) he was awesome on the actual flight. I was so proud of him! Kade was an angel baby both times and the people sitting around us commented too on how well he did.

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-SNACKS. Snacks, snacks, snacks, and more snacks. We packed all kinds of goodies- things he doesn’t normally get so they would be a treat. (Suckers, peanut butter crackers, puffs, fruit snacks- which he hated- granola bars, trail mix, gold fish, etc.) How bad can 2 hours worth of GMO/highly processed snacks hurt him, right?

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- Don’t forget a paci/bottle/nursing cover for the baby & a water bottle/lollipops for the toddler. Bring back ups and extras just in case. It is super important for their little ears that they are sucking / swallowing during takeoff and landing to help with the pressure. I pumped a bottle for Kade to have both of those times (and could always nurse if necessary, but the bottle was WAY easier) and had his paci too. He slept most of the time, but would still suck on his paci while snoozing. With Jase, we gave him a lollipop about 5 lollipops (hey, whatever it takes man) each time & made sure he drank from his water bottle.

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We love this one and it requires him to suck the water out.

- Bring a stroller. Even if you don’t necessarily need it, bring it. Trust me, and you’re welcome. It makes life easier for everyone involved. Apparently nobody wants to stand in those fun, long security lines with an infant and a toddler, so they wheel those babies (and everyone traveling with you) right up to the special “stroller access” entry. And y’all, it is SO.MUCH.FASTER! Don’t get me wrong- it still takes 19 hours to make it through security with all the bags, unstrapping kids, taking off shoes, getting the milk checked, etc., but hey…at least ya don’t have to wait in the lines! Plus, it’s way safer when you’re trying to wrangle two kiddos onto the train to different terminals & so they don’t get run over by crazy travelers. You will need to use the elevator instead of the escalator though, and I believe in some places they will fine you for taking a stroller on an escalator. (FYI: You may want to leave your nice strollers at home though. We brought our good one once, and let’s just say they handle the baby stuff the same way they handle luggage. Long story short, it ended up broken and they sent me a check to reimburse me for the stroller, but it was more of a hassle than it’s worth.)

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- Did you know you can rent a car seat from the car rental place (if you’re comfortable doing that)? We brought one for Kade and rented one for Jase. If you are going to bring a car seat for your toddler, I’ve heard these are awesome for getting the car seat through the airport!

- Did you know you can also rent a pack n play/crib from the hotel?? My friend Steph told me that after our last trip, so we decided to go for it this time. We just called ahead to reserve them and had them delivered to our room when we arrived. It worked out perfect because we needed two, and carrying two pack n plays through the hot parking garage and all through the airport did not sound like my idea of a good time. (Those jokers are heavy!) We did bring our own sheets though. We also like to bring a little portable monitor that goes on the diaper. We had a Snuza with Jase, but I can’t find it (boo) so we bought this from a friend for Kade.

-Wear the baby if necessary. I definitely suggest this if you’re solo or carrying on your luggage.

-Change their diaper before the flight (whether they need it or not) and hopefully you won’t have to change a diaper in air. They have a changing table in the lavatory, but it is seriously like a contortionist act trying to finagle that. And speaking of, bring enough diapers, wipes, disposable changing pads, and disposable bags to make it through a day or two, but consider buying some when you arrive at your destination to save space in luggage.

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-Sometimes, it’s just worth the extra money for your sanity. Y’all, I am cheaaaap frugal. But it is worth it to me to pay for wifi (so you can watch those ABC learning songs on Youtube that make you question your sanity), the extra money for economy seating (the extra room is awesome and you’re the first off the plane- everyone will thank you for that), and paying to check a bag. It’s amazing how much junk you have to carry without getting your carry-ons, so it was a lot easier for us to just check them.

-Hand sanitizer is a must! I also brought disinfectant wipes. And I went to town on both.

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-Don’t forget their wings!! Kade got his first set of wings this trip! Yay!! The flight attendants were so sweet though and gave us a few for Jase to play with as well.

-Bring entertainment. Those markers that only show up on the coloring book are awesome. We also downloaded some Veggie Tales episodes onto Mom’s ipad and she has some fun little games. We had to break out all the tricks! He stayed entertained with his snacks during the “wear seatbelt” times (well, most of the time actually), but when the light was off I walked him to the bathroom & let him play with the lights. It was tough for him to understand that he had to wear a seatbelt and that the tray table HAD to be up during takeoff and landing. I thought we were going to have a meltdown over the stinkin table because he liked putting it up and down, but the lollipops came to the rescue again. Did I mention bring lots of SNACKS??

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- Use it as a learning opportunity. We tried to show Jase as many things out the window as we could.

-Pray out loud. We prayed the days leading up to the trip and on the actual plane. We prayed for things like safety, for their ears and immune systems, and for their behavior.

- Clear Mood, Oasis, and Spark. You’re gonna need it. A lot of it. And you can thank me later.

- Try to relax and enjoy. It’s only as stressful as you make it, and you’re making memories. Jonathan and I decided our mantra for the weekend was going to  be “Embrace the chaos” and anytime things started to get crazy we would say that to each other. I’m actually a lot more laid back than him when it comes to things like this (although an outsider probably wouldn’t be able to tell that) and I stress more about him being stressed than anything else.

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And if your kids are screaming or throwing tantrums, just roll with it. (Maybe pretend like you don’t know whose kids they are? Haha! Justttttt kidding.) I know I used to get nervous when someone got on our flight with an infant or toddler, hoping they wouldn’t scream the whole time. Once you have kids though, things change. Any judgment goes right out the window. Sooooo, hope that is helpful! Anything I’m forgetting??

Safe travels!!

1 comment:

Haleigh Perry said...

Where did you find your little mans backpack with the chest strap? That is genius :)