It was my first “kind of vacation” with my 1.4 yo daughter. As always, I had some unrealistic expectations, such as I am lying on the warm towel on the sand and she is playing with her toys near me, I just need to watch her. Ahahaha. Every time we came to the beach, I hardly had five seconds to put a sun guard cream. There were days I forgot to take my t-shirt, running after her all the time. To rest? I knew it was unrealistic and I was right. But my biggest fear was flight. So, now when we survived our flights, I want to share several useful tips.
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Thank God, we had a direct flight which took 4 hours only. I did everything to not let her asleep so she could sleep as much as possible during the flight. However, if you still have two naps, I would not recommend skipping the first nap because I believe it may ruin the second nap as well.
What to Take to the Plane
What to take with you to have a pleasant and an easy flight with a baby? There are plenty of lists and recommendations what to put into your bag, but the main conclusion of my travel is: do not take a bag. Take a light and roomy backpack, which has pockets and departments, opened and locked easily with one hand. Free your hands as much as possible: one backpack, one light stroller or baby wrap, one suitcase as a checked baggage.
Entertainment during the Flight
How to entertain your child during the flight? Here are things that worked for my very active and fidgety toddler:
Worth to Remember
Ask for a free raw. It is quite a rare thing but there always a slight chance that flight is not fully booked, that is how during both flights I had a free raw for my child and me though I paid for one ticket. In a case flight is fully booked, do not take a middle seat. If you know that your child is going to sleep during the flight, take the window so nobody will disturb you. However, if you think, your little one prefers to go back and forth, take an aisle.
Another advice: if you feel that your baby is going to sleep soon, ask air hostess to bring you a child belt immediately after entering the plane, so you will not have to wake her up when they will remember to give it to you.
Funny thing, but it turned out that it is more convenient to wear pants with an elastic band than for example, jeans. While visiting a toilet, you actually have only one hand free, holding your baby with your second hand. Take a spare shirt for you and a spare set of clothes for your baby. Since you never know what will be the temperature inside the plane, it is more comfortable to wear several layers and adjust your clothes easily.
Do not count that you will eat during the flight. If you fly alone with a baby, you most certainly be hungry and thirsty all the day. So buy you sandwich and water before the flight. Regarding the baby’s food: different snacks, pasta, fruits, smoozie packet, fruit yogurt, water would be enough to feed and entertain your little one. Do not take a lot, but take a little bit more than usual for a case of delay or sharing with other children.
Check if you need any documents from the second parent to allow taking your child with you abroad. Usually, you will not need any of them, but sometimes you can be asked to provide them so it is better to have such permission, written and signed by the second parent/legal guardian. Usually, all air companies have a ready form on their website, just check the “family travel” section.
Did you hear about those small presents moms making to their neighbors on the plane? Like “ I-am-so-sorry-for-noise-and-inconvenience-caused-by-my-baby” . Eeemm… it is absolutely, totally unnecessary and moreover, it is simply humiliating. Try to keep your baby calm, but do not be stressed and nervous if she is crying or doesn’t sit quietly. It is absolutely normal for a baby to be scared, and tired and nervous, as well as be calm and relaxed. However, since planes are a part of the public transport and adults usually (hopefully) have a mature nervous system, they expected to be patient and tolerant. Sometimes you should remind them of it. Another tip – ask for a help. Sometimes you will get a help from an angry childfree neighbor, sitting by your side.