We just came back from a fantastic vacation in Marco Island, Florida. It was a perfect trip – including our flights with 19-month-old Baby flying as a “lap infant”. This was his fourth round trip flight, and he has been a great little traveler every time, but I have to admit I was a little bit nervous about flying with Baby at this age since he is SOOO active all the time. Here are five things that made our flights go smoothly:
We left the snowy weather behind for sunny skies!
Fly on a family-friendly airline.
We were so impressed with our Jetblue experience and would highly recommend this airline for flying with your family, if at all possible. When we travel by plane fairly frequently, and Jetblue gave us the most comfortable seats and most leg room by far. This is extremely helpful when you have a very active toddler on your lap and an almost 6-month pregnant belly taking up part of your lap! Also, the Jetblue staff and flight attendants in particular were so helpful and sensitive to the needs of families.
On our flight to Florida, there were nine small children on the flight. Flight attendants announced the fact that there were changing tables in ALL restrooms on the plane at the beginning of the flight. They also brought around large plastic bags to the families who might have to contend with diaper changes on board. Flight attendants were happily holding babies in the aisles throughout the flight, and they came around with little Jetblue wings for all of the children at the end of the flight.
Although I am not a big proponent of lots of tvs watching for children, the fact that there are tons of TV channels and personal TVs on every seat is very helpful for moments when you need to provide your little one with some distraction. Another plus was that the Jetblue terminal at the Boston airport had a playground for toddlers – amazing! Overall, I love supporting businesses that provide family-friendly environments, and our experience with Jetblue will keep us coming back to them in the future.
Be prepared to avoid ear pain.
If you are still nursing your toddler, then there is nothing better than nursing on the way up and down to prevent ear pain. This was our first trip anywhere without nursing since Baby fully weaned about a week before our trip. I prepared by having three different drinks in sippy cups ready for the baby – a smoothie, water, and hemp milk. You don’t have to worry about bringing in liquids for your little one because as long as you identify them as “baby liquids” when you go through security, you can bring whatever you want onto the plane.
In addition to offering him drinks, we had plenty of snacks that we knew Baby would want to eat a lot of regardless of his hunger level. We also chose snacks that involved a good amount of chewing since the key is to keep their jaws moving to prevent tar pain. We offered Baby apple slices, various fruits from a fruit cup, a chewy breakfast bar, and HAPPYMETLS Organic Yogurt Snacks. When Baby didn’t want to eat or drink, we played games of “Let’s see how much you can crunch your teeth!” and “Let’s see how big you can yawn!”.
Timing is everything.
Plan to get to the airport so that you will have enough time to let your little one run, move, and explore as much as possible before getting on the plane. I would recommend the same thing for layovers – make sure there is enough time for a little bit of activity. Also, if you can choose flight times that overlap with your child’s usual nap time for at least an hour, you will be very thankful. On every flight we have ever taken with Baby, he has slept for part of the flight, and as wonderful as he is when flying, it’s always nice to have some time to just snuggle your little one and relax.
Plan fun activities.
We brought books from Baby’s library that he typically reads for long periods. In our case, it was First 100 Animals, Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, and Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. We also brought a book that Baby had never really read before that included magnetic figures that you could move around the pages – On the Farm Magnetic Story & Play Scene. In addition, we had crayons and a notebook, a small toy car, and a magnetic sketching toy that Grandma brought along. We made sure not to introduce a new book or toy until we were sure that Baby had exhausted playing with whatever he was currently using.