Well, I can officially say that I've flown internationally with a child under two and it was challenging... but not as impossible as I anticipated! Blake, Aria and I flew to The Bahamas last week and after 35 hours of travel, (6 flights + 8 hour layover in Miami airport) I think I may have some helpful tips for parents flying with their babies or toddlers as a lap child! Aria was a little over 22 months when we flew, just for reference!
Here are some tips that I think will help make the trip easier on you and baby!
1. Schedule your flight times around your baby's normal schedule... BUT that's not always possible due to flight costs and what not so, if you can't, then keep reading because I've got some more good tips to help too!
2. Get a good baby carrier. I can't believe I almost didn't buy one of these for our trip but at the last minute I decided that it would be smart to have one so I could be hands-free and wouldn't have to hold Aria the whole trip. I had it shipped to our house and it got there just a couple hours before we left! This is the carrier I got and it made my life 1,000 X's easier that day. Aria even took an hour and a half nap in it on the way there AND the way home (our layovers came in handy for nap time). * Also, I want to note that even if your child isn't used to a carrier (I never used a carrier with Aria as a toddler before our trip), get one anyways. This is definitely a situation where they'll be distracted by other things going on and you'll be so glad you did!
3. Bring snacks. Above are some ideas for snacks that Aria loved and they were small enough to stuff in the diaper bag for easy access. You can go through security with snacks FYI. It's also nice to have snacks in case you're running to catch your connecting flight and don't have time to grab food for your little one.
4. Bring some toys. If your baby has some favorite toys definitely bring them (obviously they shouldn't be too big). I also recommend bringing a couple of new toys they haven't ever played with before to peak their interest. I also recommend crayons and a coloring book, but be sure to get the triangular crayons so they aren't rolling around everywhere off of the tray table.
5. Bring the Ipad or in our case, it was a kindle fire that was loaded with all of Aria's favorite shows and movies. This is ultimately what keeps her occupied for the longest amount of time but we tried to occupy her with her toys/snacks first so that she wasn't a complete zombie upon arrival in The Bahamas.
6. Dress comfy and bring an extra set of clothes for you and baby in your carryon! Aria peed through her pants after our 3 hour flight home and since she slept on the plane I didn't bother changing her (sleep was more important at that point). Be sure to pack extra stuff in your diaper bag or carryon!
7. Bring pull-ups on the plane. We packed pull-ups and diapers for the plane because the changing tables in the plane bathroom are way too small IMO. When she was wet, I just quickly switcher her pull-up on the plane and it made it way easier than getting up and out of our seats.
8. Have patience and know that your baby may cry or scream on the flight and it's okay. Most people around you will be supportive and helpful especially if they see you trying to make your baby happy. During our second flight I ended up standing in the aisle towards the back of the plane and bounced Aria to sleep and I got some nods of approval and smiles from some fellow flyers, ha ha. Granted, Aria only slept for 20 minutes and was pissed when she got woken up but I did what I could and that's what counts. Focus on your baby's needs not what others are thinking.
To be completely honest, this trip was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do with Aria. On one of our return flights home, it was delayed and then we missed a connecting flight by 10 minutes and the only other flight they could get us on was 8 hours later. We spent 8 hours in the Miami airport and it was exhausting. I was pretty stressed about the entire situation and just wanted to be home, but thankfully I have a great husband who tried to lift my spirits the entire time. With that being said, I'm pretty sure Aria got some sort of virus from the Miami airport and threw up for the next two days and then passed it to me and my husband, so we are trying our best to recover haha. I STRONGLY suggest trying to use antibacterial wipes as often as you can! Here are the ones I brought (but should've used more than I did).
Thanks so much for stopping by to read today! I hope this helps you prepare for your upcoming trip with your babe! The biggest thing that helped me was having a lot of patience and also having the mindset going into it that it could be really hard but one way or another we would make it through! I'd love to hear your tips for me in the comments below if you have any! Be sure to follow me on instagram if you don't already. :)