Last month our little family of three flew from Atlanta to California to visit my husband’s family. It was Little Dude’s first plane flight, and the first time I’ve ever not read a book at 30,000 feet.
Flying with a toddler (ours was 14 months), is quite challenging, and I’m glad we don’t do this often! An infant would be an easier traveling companion–they’d sleep more often and more readily. An older child (might) be more capable of sitting still and understanding why they need to do so. But for a little guy who’s just learned to walk and run? It probably feels like torture for him, and I know how it felt for us!
Of course, it was all worth it to see his grandparents, and we’ll do it again in a few months.
If you’re preparing for a plane trip with your own baby or toddler, here are a few simple things that are good to have on hand to make the flight easier.
1. Full-Coverage Nursing Cover
If you don’t have a full coverage nursing cover, I highly recommend getting one before your plane trip! I got one from Covered Goods earlier this summer, knowing I would need it. I love that it provides full 360-degree coverage–a must when you’re in a crowded airport trying to nurse a wiggly toddler! The material is thin, stretchy, and breathable, and there are no complicated straps or buckles to fiddle with.
On the plane, wear your cover to nurse baby during takeoff and landing (if they’ll let you!) to help their ears pop. The nursing cover also provides a cozy, dark tent for your baby to fall asleep under.
Covered Goods nursing covers wear like an infinity scarf when not in use, so I just kept mine around my neck so it would be ready as needed. I also pulled it down over my arms when I got chilly on the plane or was attempting to close my eyes for a “nap” (when Eric was holding the baby).
2. Non-Messy Snacks
We fed Little Dude his lunch while we were waiting at the gate, allowing time for him to soil his diaper and get changed one more time before boarding. While on the plane, we gave him non-messy finger foods like Cheerios, raisins, and organic Puffs to help keep him occupied and happy. (Bring extras!) These reusable Lunchskins are great for carrying snacks on the go, and they wash easily.
3. Extra Large Diapers
Make sure whatever diaper your toddler is wearing is not borderline too small! A size up comes in very handy for stretching out wet diaper changes, or for holding poop if you’re waiting in line for the airplane bathroom!
4. Natural Hand Sanitizer
Your baby is going to touch things you don’t want her to touch, no matter what you do! Keep some hand sanitizer on hand to apply periodically, before eating or after visiting the bathroom. We used this spray for us and Little Dude. It also comes in wipe form, if you prefer that.
5. New-To-Them Books and Toys
In addition to a couple of your toddler’s favorites, bring a new book or toy to give them on the plane. You know what your little one likes best–pick something that will make their eyes light up! We got a Stars Wars magnet book for Little Dude with magnet characters to hold and arrange on the background. He loved it…although his favorite part might’ve been the Velcro clasp! He also enjoyed flipping through the Delta magazine in the seat pocket and crinkling the pages.
Traveling with a toddler isn’t easy and probably won’t be especially fun (although it has its moments of hilarity), but the time will pass and you’ll all get through it!
Let your toddler move–a lot–before you get on the plane! Although the airline will probably let you board early if you have a baby, we boarded almost last because we wanted Little Dude to have as much time as possible to stretch his legs and walk around.
Consider wearing your baby in a carrier through the airport, and check the stroller or car seat. We used our Boba for Little Dude. It frees up your hands to hold luggage, and lets you get onto escalators and trains quickly and easily.
Better to miss naps than nighttime sleep. In case baby doesn’t sleep on the plane, it’s better for flights to interfere with their nap schedule than their full night’s rest. That’s what we decided, at least! We flew during the day and put Little Dude down for the night when we reached our destination. Getting a full night’s sleep right off the bat helped him adjust to the time change more quickly.
Thank you to Covered Goods for providing a free nursing cover for my review!