Happy Friday everyone!! I seriously can’t believe this week is already over, Valentines Day is coming up so quickly and before we know it February will be gone! I am so excited to have my very first guest author today, Mari-Michelle is the cutest mama and has done a lot of traveling with her son and has offered to share some of her best tips with you! She’s also a LipSense distributor and I’ve linked her Facebook page here if you’d like to follow her journey there. With all of that, I turn things over to Mari-Michelle! Happy Weekend!
Mari-Michelle is from San Antonio, TX and currently lives with her family in Columbia, SC. She is a distributor for LipSense and Senegence International. You can follow her on Instagram @blondiwahlstrom or on Facebook at Lip Love by MM.
As an army wife I knew that living close to family would be a long shot. We were given our first military assignment in the spring of 2015 and sure enough we would be thousands of miles away from family and friends. Our first child, Andrei, was born in December of 2015 and being close to my grandparents growing up, I wanted the same for him. Just a few months after he was born I was ready to start traveling! Andrei is now 14 months old and has been on 7 round-trip flights, one of those being international and my husband accompanying me on 2 of them. Here are some of the tips, tricks and truths I’ve learned along the way!
It’s not about age it’s about milestones! Nursing, pacifier and walking seemed to be important milestones that influenced ease of travel. When Andrei was nursing and taking a paci he could easily be soothed in any location. On our first several flights if he started to fuss I would nurse him, which usually led to him sleeping for a good chunk of the flight. Around 6 months he was voluntarily done with the pacifier and 9 months he was done nursing. At 10 months, a month before our Thanksgiving flight, he started to walk! For anyone who has a “walker” you know that once a child can walk it is all they want to do. This creates an added element of difficulty in flying with your child because they don’t always favor sitting in a stroller or on your lap for extended periods of time.
- For the baby who can walk.
- Spend the least amount of time at the airport possible! If you are one of those people that needs to be at the airport three hours in advance now is the time to re-evaluate. The less time you are at the airport the less time you have to worry about poopy diapers, missed naptime attitudes and chasing a child around with all your cargo in tow. Oh, did I mention my child is a runner and not afraid of strangers? This tip has helped me a ton because I am indeed one of those people that likes to be at the airport way in advance! In addition, try to schedule a short layover whenever possible.
- Board the plane last. It seems counterintuitive to board last, especially when you’re allowed to board first, but it takes roughly 40 minutes for an airline to board an entire flight. This means you will be sitting for an extra 40 minutes minimum! Once people start to board and the gate clears out let your little one run around and stretch their legs.
- Bring your baby carrier. Have you ever tried collapsing your stroller, carrying your diaper bag (I recommend switching to a backpack for travel) and keeping a baby from running away all at the same time? Introduce the baby carrier. I have the Ergo and I put my son in it when I board. This way I can collapse my stroller at the end of the jet bridge, load up my stuff and board the plane with relative ease.
- For older babies.
- Download digital entertainment. Digital entertainment is not recommended for children under the age of two. While I do agree with this, flying is a time I do allow some tablet and phone time. The tricky thing about most children under the age of 16 months is they usually aren’t entertained by television or movies for more than 10 minutes. Make sure to download shows or movies prior to your trip. When Andrei was younger he loved Baby Einstein. Now that he’s a little older he prefers Bubble Guppies.
- Ask the gate agent about open seats. If you are flying with an airline that has pre-assigned seats, ask the gate agent prior to the flight if he or she can move you somewhere that has two open seats. This will provide way more room and comfort for you, your little one and your neighbor!
- Wipe down personal area with anti-bacterial wipes. I have no clue if this has protected us from getting sick but the first thing I do when I get to my seat is wipe down the window, hand rails, food tray and back of the seat in front of me with an anti-bacterial wipe. Flights are incredibly germy but your baby doesn’t know that! They love to squish their faces against the window and stack their cheerios on the food tray—wiping down these surfaces when we board gives me a little added comfort.
- Bring concentration activities. As babies move into the toddler phase, one of the things that keeps their attention are concentration activities. These can be items such as coloring books, puzzles, peek-a-boo toys and blocks.
- For babies of any age.
- Pack snacks- lots of them. Make sure you have plenty of snacks for YOU and your little one. I always bring extra formula/milk, goldfish, cheerios, string cheese, applesauce/food packets and some protein bars for myself. Flying is incredibly unpredictable. You don’t want to get trapped on the runway without food! In my experience, TSA is very friendly to moms who have packed any of these items—just make sure to declare any liquids when you go through security.
- Bring something familiar to them. I always bring my son’s blankie with us on the plane. It is the one he naps with and I think if he gets nervous or scared or overtired it brings him some comfort and a little sense of home. For your little one that could be a stuffed animal, pacifier, etc.
Last but not least– don’t be too hard on yourself or your baby! The bottom line is not everything is going to go smoothly—no matter how well you plan. Remember to be flexible, remember that most people on the plane have kids or know kids and remember that whenever you get where you’re going the flight is going to become a distant memory! Best of luck to any of you with upcoming travels! I would love to know some of your tips and tricks and what works for you!