FLYING WITH CHILDREN: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MAINTAINING YOUR SANITY
There are a couple of things you need to know about me when it comes to motherhood - it doesn't come easy (I.e., I wasn't born with that maternal instinct), and there's a high likelihood I'm unprepared for any given situation. Yes, I am the mom who takes their kid out for a meal and then forgets the wet wipes at home, or the mom who takes her kid on a road trip and forgets to bring snacks. Thankfully I've always remembered to bring diapers.
But NOT when it comes to airplane travel. I'm prepared like a drill sergeant ready for battle. Because trust me, there is nothing is worse in life than an inconsolable baby on a flight, while dodging the stink eye from others (including other moms, like WTF!), all while trying to prevent yourself from going into full blown meltdown mode.
So today I'm sharing with you some tips and tricks that HELP. They aren't fool proof, so don't get mad at me if they don't. But these tips were passed on to me, and have made flying with babies and toddlers MUCH easier. Hope you enjoy, and please leave me a comment below sharing some of your own favorite tips!
Always bring snacks, and lots of them.
Babies and toddlers get hungry, and they like variety. So if there was ever a time to pack a boat load of things, it's now. I store loose items, such as crackers and cookies, in Stasherbags, as I am really trying to reduce my use of plastic. I store items that need to be cold, such as pouches of food, sandwiches, and my own food, in these wonderful Pack-Its, that I find on Amazon. Snacking is a great way to fill their little bellies, keep them occupied, and a full belly hopefully means that a nap is on the horizon. Hooray, hands free for mama.
Some of our favorite items to bring? I've linked them all for you here, so you can add them to your Amazon cart, because yeah, you need them ALL!
Once Upon a Farm pouches of organic, cold pressed baby blends
My Superfoods organic, whole grain cookies
My Superfoods granola bar bites
Annie's Organic snack mixes
Paleo Valley organic beef sticks (yes, the kids love these)
Late July peanut butter mini sandwiches
Georgia Grinders 3oz Resealable Almond Butter Pouches (my code kjfreeship gets you free shipping off your orders!)
Things that I prepare in advance and stick in the Pack-It bag are typically peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, sliced carrots, sliced bell peppers, and sliced fruit. As far as drinks go, I bring milk, in their bottles, less than 3.4 liquid ounces in each bottle. We also just drink water on the plane.
Don't leave home without wipes, lots of them.
I bet you are thinking, DUH, of course I bring wet wipes, my advice to you is to bring extra. Because kids on planes are messy and they touch everything...the seats in front of them, the people in front of them (you know a kid has grabbed your hair before), crumbs from food gets everywhere, and then there are the bathrooms. ICK. There is only one brand of baby wipes that I buy (I've been purchasing them ever since Gavyn was born over 3 years ago), and that is Water Wipes. These are non-toxic, contain no chemicals, and do the damn job. Look no further, I've got you covered.
Bring more diapers than you think you need.
Here is my rule of thumb. Bring one diaper for every hour of travel. There was one time when I was traveling to Baltimore (a 5+ hour flight from SF) and brought only 3 diapers. Turns out he pooped on the way to the airport, and twice on the flight, which was totally unheard of. That meant keeping him in a poopy diaper until we landed and found a nearby store. Why did I pack only 3 diapers for a 5 hour flight? Because when we are home, my kid would only go through one, maybe two, in that time period, and I wanted to pack light. But when traveling, you have to prepare for the unexpected. Bring one for every hour of travel. Just do it and don't question me.
Pack a bag of tricks - books, stickers, games, and surprises from the $1 section at Target.
Grab a bag and fill it with a few books, some stickers, games, crayons, and a bunch of random crap from the $1 section at Target (or the 99 cent store). The idea is that you need to keep the kids entertained with new things; but you don't want to spend a lot, and you need things you can easily toss in your bag. Most Target stores have a section of $1 items, and that's why I stock up on squishy balls, stickers, figurines, and other things that I don't mind losing. Kids like playing with things that they haven't seen before.
Pick your flight time of travel wisely, either early in the morning or late at night.
This one makes complete sense to me, and it should to you too. Mornings are great because your child is (hopefully) fresh after a good night's sleep, so will (hopefully) be well behaved on the plane. Alternatively, picking flight times in the evening makes it easier for them to fall asleep on dimly lit planes. Higher chance of sleeping = happy mama!
Never, ever travel without an iPad or tablet.
This one might be tough for some of you mamas who don't believe in letting your kid have some screen time. But if there was ever a time to bend that rule, it is during air travel or long road trips. Load your tablet with games, songs, TV shows and Disney films to keep your kiddos entertained for as long as possible. Even babies can be distracted for a few minutes by a cartoon with a catchy song and it can be just long enough to enjoy your in-flight meal or avoid a tantrum. Also invest in some kiddie headphones so you don’t annoy your fellow passengers with Disney music.
I hope these tips help you on your next trip! Leave a comment below and share some of your other favorite Mom Hacks for staying sane while traveling with kiddos!