If you were nervous about flying with baby, wait until he’s a year old! I hesitate to call babies in this age category toddlers, although technically if they *walk*, I’m assuming they’re toddlers.
I always called Bub a baby even when he turned three and was precariously close to being considered a preschooler.
But I digress…
From Flying with Baby to Flying with a Toddler…
Even if you have a well traveled baby, all bets are off once they enter the world of early childhood. Our son was the kind of easygoing, dreamy kid that if he wasn’t mine, I wouldn’t have believed him. However, on his first birthday, he lay down and had a seizure on something tiny. I was wondering what happened to my baby angel?
He is always there. But, as things change for your little one, you need to change your expectations. And, you have to find new tricks to handle sticky situations. Flying with a toddler is no exception. And young, preverbal toddlers can definitely give you your money’s worth.
Our experiences Flying with a young toddler…
Due to school and work obligations, we really didn’t travel too much with Bub at that age. We went to Jamaica when he was 16 months old, a trip to Cayo Santa Maria, Cubaand a biggie to Walt Disney World. With our daughter, we also made two trips at this age – FloridaAnd Jibacoa, Cuba.
We had NO major (or minor, for that matter) incidents, although I did worry before every flight, more than just flying with baby.
Flying with a toddler: the biggest concerns
Our son was so busy. He couldn’t sit still for more than 10 minutes. I still can not ! He was slow to speak and, if frustrated, would sometimes yell, hit or bite. These were difficult stages and phases to go through.
Even though his sister was flying like a champ at that age, I was nervous about flying with him. Despite all my flight experience And travel preparation, I was pretty terrified that we were the recipient of a huge stinky eye. Honestly, I don’t care, but I tend to talk and I might get in trouble. Or, even worse, I was afraid we were one of those reporters and kicked off the plane.
Flying with a toddler: the reality
Even though our son was so busy, as a young toddler he was flying well. As on his previous trips as young child And one older babyWe were doing not have relaxing and stress-free flights. But he did sleep for some of them. And even though we were tired from several peek-a-boo rounds, he didn’t, so we carried on.
More? Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.
For our first flight when my daughter was very small, I discovered the power of crisps and haven’t looked back. Funny and/or cute snacks hold great hold. Always try to make salty instead of sweet (more salt = more drink, which is good for cleaning the ears). Save the lollipops or gummies for landing so the sugar doesn’t get burned mid-flight. Juice is allowed as a treat, but diluted… Again, to try and reduce the sugar load.
We traveled with a portable DVD player, but the iPad was a game changer for us. Our son had a few favorite apps and shows, and would be happy to sit and play or watch wearing his super cute toddler headphones. In fact, I watched bits of film during this stage, so I fully embrace technology.
You know your toddler. And you know better how to manage their moods and what can trigger them. Hunger and fatigue are evident. Travel days, both are hard to avoid. Being prepared with plenty of snacks and their convenience items on hand can help.
If you plan to give up the pacifier or bottle soon, maybe do it. After your trip. Although I’ve heard the logic that things get thrown away, so it’s an easy way to let those items go, for my own good, I’ve never tried. Just knowing I had a “dodie” or “bubba” ready to go Me comfortable whenever it seemed like a toddler crisis was imminent.
And the usual fly with board baby here with the little ones… Try to get them to eat, drink or nurse during take-off and landing, whether it’s through bites, feedings, a bottle or a pacifier. Don’t be afraid to give the baby some pain relief medicine if you think the baby’s ears are hurting. My two children flew out at nap time but did not sleep during their nap. Usually they dropped off just before landing (a joy to wake up to, let me tell you!). But, believe it or not, a child sleeping on an airplane can be one thing.
Flying with a Toddler: Tales from the Road
Our flight to Jamaica was a dream, Bub passing out about an hour after taking off, then playing and reading for about an hour after waking up.
It was enough to make me smug to think it would happen again for our flight home.
Imagine my surprise when he emptied his bubba and did NOT fall asleep as expected. WestJet doesn’t serve milk on board (I was tempted to clean them of the wheys used for coffee) so he and I had a little WWF match in our seat for about 90 minutes. He writhed and squirmed until (luckily) the in-flight TVs finally restarted and distracted him enough to fall asleep.
On a flight to Walt Disney World, I was solo with him on my lap. Again, he dozed off for most of it until he woke up and released his stomach contents (including a bubba full of milk – blech!) all over us. This prompted her sister to do the same. It took a while to get all of us cleaned up and we didn’t smell good. Once we got to disney our first stop was the Polynesian laundromat!
We all survived. We weren’t kicked off the planes. And people were actually friendly and kind ours. Horror stories and accompanying commentary on the Internet do not reflect the realities of most people. At all.
I was most dreading this stage of flying with baby. Truth be told, as people, toddlers are generally more manageable. It’s their unpredictability that scares parents away before they pre-board (or choose not to pre-board).
As before every flight as a parent, you just have to be prepared.
Helpful tips for flying with a toddler:
- It’s the first time you fly with baby so that he understands the instructions. Telling them about the trip will help get them excited. Telling them what is expected of them can really help. travel books for toddlers are a great idea!
- have your handbag stored and organized. Don’t waste valuable luggage space with gift bags for adults.
- Have this tablet charged and charged. But have old-school distractions on hand and try to offer them first. Once the technology is out, it’s hard to go back.
- SNACKS. MORE SNACKS. AND EVEN MORE SNACKS.
- Children under two still do not need their own seat on an airplane. But if the flight is long and/or your baby is fat, you may find the expense of their own seat and the struggle of install car seat as worthy investments in your mental health.
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