Things may not always go smoothly when flying with babies and toddlers, but with a few tricks and tools we can make flying with kids a little easier for ourselves. Here’s a few life savers that have worked for me in the past:
Breast or bottle feed on take-off and landing. Don’t start too early though, be sure to wait til you’re moving down the runway or have properly started descent. The sucking motion will help baby’s ears from becoming blocked and painful. As you child gets older you can give them a bottle of water or milk, I am a bit naughty and now give Emmie snakes to chew on as we go up and down.
Take your baby’s bottle on board. The flight attendants will happily warm you some milk or water for formula during the flight. You can often take toddlers’ water bottles through customs – I have never been asked to tip out my child’s water, although in America they have tested it. It is a bit risky though so if you have a nice drink bottle best to keep it empty in case you do lose it – or you can simply drink all the water and take it through empty.
Pack your own food. I always pack a lunchbox for Emily with things like carrot sticks, vegemite sandwiches, sausages, fruit and biscuits. I carry it in a small soft esky bag with ice packs in it to keep it cool. That way I have healthy snacks on hand and don’t have to rely on meal service.
Order you child’s meals pre-flight. Make sure to order a children’s meals before you fly. I haven’t ever found one that’s great, hence taking my own food on board, but some items like the yoghurts are good to keep for later snacks. Apparently Qantas has improved its childrens offerings with the launch of the Joey Club so we will check it out and report back.
Take wrapped toys for distraction. My favourite trick is buying lots of inexpensive small toys and wrapping them up with a reasonable amount of sticky tape. Pull them out and surprise your children when distraction and entertainment is needed. If you wrap them well enough, just the undoing will give you a nice break.
Pack a mini torch/flashlight. Most necessary for hunting for toys and dummies on the floor of the aircraft…you will thank me when the flight attendant is getting annoyed at having to get on his hands and knees for the fifth dummy hunt of the night.
Take the toys your child loves. When Emmie was obsessed with playdoh I took playdoh, when it was In the Night Garden figurines, they came along with us too. Sure you may end up pulling off the Mickey Mouse stickers that cover the arm of the seat but if it keeps them happy then its worth it tenfold.
Take a little medical/toiletries kit. Separate out from your travel medical kit what you may need on the flight and bring it along including panadol and nurofen, change mat and baby wipes. Personally I have never used any medicine to help Emily sleep, I just couldn’t forgive myself if anything happened and I had given her medicine just to sedate her.
Change of clothes. Always take a change of clothes for the baby/toddler and for you. I have been pooed on and spewed on and of course it’s so much easier to manage with a change of clothes in your bag!
Toddlers own bag. Em’s had her own bag since she was two. That’s the easiest place to pack everything you need for them without having to rummage around in your handbag or carry-on. They also love pulling bags along - we have a Pack'd Dot ot Dotty bag and it's survived three years of reasonable travel duty.
If you have any questions please email me – happy to help as much as I can.