I’ll be the first to confess that one of my biggest fears, was to fly with my one-year-old. I was so nervous, I replayed “the plan” over and over again in my head, and only slept for two hours.
First off, don’t fly with your child(ren) when you are sleep deprived. Seriously.
The truth is; you can’t plan. I found that he trick is to prepare for anything that swings your way.
I recently flew with my one-year-old for the first time. The flight going to New York and coming home were completely different. I had Rosemary’s baby on the way there and I had perfect Angel Mariyah on the way back.
On the way to New York, the plan was to wake Mariyah early so that she will be so sleepy, she’ll sleep the whole way. It back fired on me! She was sleepy alright; So sleepy that she slept before the plane went in the air, and woke up grabbing her ears in pain. She cried the rest of the way.
I was on the verge of tears, but luckily everyone on the flight were so kind and helpful. The guy next to me handed me an empty water bottle; She threw it. The lady two seats down gave me her iPhone, fully equiped with kid games. She threw it. The lady behind me … didn’t give me anything, she just picked up everything Mariyah threw.
I closed my eyes tight, rocking back and forth, whispering the ABC song in Mariyah’s ear. Yes, it was as horrible as it sounds.
However, on the way back home to Saint Louis, it was PERFECT! And I strongly believe that it was because I expected the worst, came prepared and just winged it.
My carry on bag (my survival kit) included; a change of clothes, a ziplock bag full of diapers, wipes, baby powder, a changing pad, wet ones, Tylenol, 2 bottles; one with water, one with milk, a book, goldfish snacks, a toy and my secret weapon: Blow Pops.
For the first hour, she giggled at the kind lady next to us and played peek-a-boo with the couple behind us. For the next hour, she slept.
The worst thing that happened on the flight was that I couldn’t get Mariyah to stop pinching the woman next to us but anything is better than crying.In your face, man who looked at Mariyah at the beginning of the flight and squeeled “Oh no, Baby!” As I walked off the flight, my fellow passengers whispered, “such a good baby!” Nonetheless, I walked off that flight, with a proud grin on my face.
I thought I would share some of the tips I found helpful as well as tips friends and family shared with me.
Flying with a one-year-old tips:
- Fly during nap time: I heard that this doesn’t always work but it worked for me on the second flight.
- Let your child suck on a pacifier or drink a bottle as the plane departs to prevent their poor ears from popping.
- Take 2 bottles; one filled with water and the other filled with milk. I found it helpful to bring water or juice just in case she wasn’t in the mood to drink milk as the plane departs or lands. The 3 ounce rule doesn’t matter for this because security will just give it a test, and you’re good to go.
- Make sure the child is comfortable. I’ve also heard to dress him/her in footsie pajamas so you don’t have to worry about shoes. Makes complete sense.
- Bring hush hush candy. If you don’t let your child have sugar, this is the one time you should.
- Bring a toy or an item that your child loves and doesn’t see often, so they are excited when you pull it out. Mine is an iPhone, where I let her play with Baby First games. Another is a book she loves.
- Change his/her diaper before departing. I did this and she still did number #2 both times! It doesn’t hurt though.
- Bring Tylenol! And give it to her/him 30 minute before departing. I didn’t do it but I’ve heard it works wonders.
- Bring a book bag instead of a purse so your hands are free. Make sure it’s big enough to carry all of your survival items, but small enough to fit under your seat during take-off.
Since it’s still fresh in my head and because i’m actually packing for a road trip as I write this, here’s a baby packing checklist as well. I would suggest to keep a piece of paper at hand for a few days before the trip, and when you go about your day with your little one, write down everything that you need.
Packing Checklist: (For one-year-old at least)
- 2 outfits per day + 2 onsies a day: The rule of thumb is to pack 2 outfits a day, but if there isn’t much room, you can always wash your child’s outfits there.
- 1 pajama per night (foot pajamas are best)
- Socks! Just pack ‘er up!
- At least 2 bottles! Don’t forget the bottle brush and dish soap if staying in a hotel.
- A light jacket and a heavy coat (if traveling in the winter time)
- Snacks gallore.
- Medicine of all kinds. You don’t want to go running around when your child wakes up sick. I know I had to.
- Blankets, a light and heavy one.
- Plastic bags or zip lock bags for dirty diapers.
- Diaper rash cream, diapers and wipes; if you don’t have any room for diapers or wipes here are a few other options: Diapers.com will deliver next day and it will arrive at your destination. The second option is to just buy it from there. I had some extra room so I brought my own.
- Travel size shampoo, body lotion, baby oil and baby powder.
- A stroller: I brought a compactiple stroller was helpful in the airport and I was able to use it as my carry on. However, I did regret not bring a regular stroller, to use as a crib, play pen, high chair, etc. However, there are places where you can actually rent these items. Here is a list of baby travel equipment rentals by country if interested.
- Shot records, insurance card, birth certificate.
- Bath toys and/or inflatable bath tub, bath towels.
- Baby monitor
Overall, I believe that the best tip is to stay patient. Flying isn’t easy on adults, let alone for babies. Most of the time, everyone on the plane has kids and will understand. Some will even help.
On another note, You know what’s harder than using the restroom on a plane? Using the restroom on a plane WITH A BABY!
Hope you found this article helpful. Did I forget anything? Please comment below and share your tips and packing essentials.