I love to travel, and pre baby, I was fortunate enough to fly a lot. However, it did always make me a little anxious: the packing and feeling like I was forgetting something, the germ-filled plane, the random strangers (I once had a guy next to me take off his shoes AND socks and sit cross legged the whole flight, ugh, people are so weird!) It was all enough to give me the hives and a serious need for red wine.
Once we added Margot into the picture the idea of flying only got more terrifying (like most things do once littles are added to the equation). However a year and a half later and we’ve successfully flown with her a handful of times and have another trip in a few weeks.
The whole process of getting through the airport with your little’s gear to finally making it to your final destination can be pretty overwhelming. We can’t guarantee an on-time take off or that you won’t be seated next to a grouch that hates kids, but we do have a few tips to make your next flight with your littles less stressful. (Mama Fix tip: Don’t even try to resist those mini bottles of wine. They are there for a reason, and that reason is to help mama cope.)
Ship ahead of time, kids need a LOT of crap and it makes things so much easier if some of that stuff is waiting for you when you arrive at your final destination. Diapers, formula, wipes, pouches – no need to pack all of it, have Amazon ship it all for you. Not planning to carry on your carseat but need one when where you are going? This low cost car seat might be worth shipping if you are going to visit family who you’ll be back to see every year. Same thing goes for the pack and play.
Book Strategically, morning flights are typically easiest for littles. Then nap time can either happen on the plane or when you arrive. Also, try to sit in the front of the plane so you don’t have to carry all the kid crap too far!
Feed The Problem, if you are traveling with a baby who is still breastfeeding or taking a bottle, feeding on the way up and down will help prevent ear pain from pressure build up. If your child is a little older, lots of snacks will not only keep them chewing and happy, it’ll also keep them occupied. We once gave Margot one cheerio at a time; mind numbingly boring, but it kept her pleasant, believe it or not.
Bring New to Them Toys & Books, hide your littles favorite book or toy the week before the flight. Pulling it out on the plane will make it feel special. We’re investing in a few new toys for our upcoming flight – this mess free coloring book, a little monkey and a new book should keep her occupied.
Prepare for a Mess, your kids aren’t tidy at home so don’t expect them to suddenly become that way on the plane. Bring plastic bags for dirty diapers and wipes for cleaning the seats (and their hands) before and after the flight. And bring more diapers than you think you need; diapers are not easy to find in an airport so if delayed you could need more than you ever imagined.
Flying is stressful for everyone. Don’t fret if your kid screams or kicks the seat in front of them. Apologize to your seat mates and move on. I’m not one to bring presents to everyone on the plane for having to sit near my kid– everyone on the plane was once a baby and can get over it if the flight isn’t spa like conditions. If things get stressful, just remind yourself, you never have to see these people ever again!
Image via @meg_legs