How many times have you heard people say that travel life is over once you have kids. And if you are a new mother then I am sure the thought of flying with a baby in a constrained space for hours, thousands of feet above ground must have terrified you at some point. But all you need to do is prepare well for the flights and be patient and innovative.

To be honest, kids are most comfortable at home but travelling helps them learn and adapt in different situations. While you may land up in situations where your kids start expressing themselves loudly and strongly, especially if they are a toddler, most of the times it can be managed with patience and support.

I have been flying with my little one since his initial months, mostly on business trips and on carefully planned vacations. Believe me, the initial trips were easy while he was a baby and slept through most of the time. But travelling with a toddler now, we have learnt to up our game. We are more creative and better prepared for our vacations to keep him interested and happy during the flights. While many believe, we have a perfectly behaved child who loves travelling as much as we do, let me tell you it has taken some effort to reach this point. At three, our baby has twice as many stamps from countries on his passport and airports, airport buses and flights are some of his favourite places

Tips to fly with a baby

Flying with a baby can be exciting as well as scary. But more than you know, babies adapt better than we give them credit for. And with the airline offers with lower fares for babies, this is the perfect time for you to travel the world.

We understand that the first time can be terrifying and here is our cheat sheet to prepare and travel better with babies :

1Choose the right flight and the right time

Choose direct flights if possible and with timings that match your baby’s sleep time. If your child is more active during a certain time frame, try avoiding that slot. Also avoid timings which will interrupt the baby’s sleep schedule and try to ensure that your kid get’s a good night’s sleep before the travel day.

2Carry a bag full of everything that you can predict to come handy and then add things you don’t think you will need

With a baby, you should be prepared with anything and everything. My bag always contains wet wipes, extra set of clothes, diapers, snacks,fruits,juice, chocolates, toys, books, crayons, medicines just incase. Ensure you are not carrying too many luggage pieces as your cabin luggage and if you are travelling alone don’t hesitate to ask for help.

3Don’t force nap or force feed

While some kids just doze off as soon the airplane starts taxiing towards the runaway, sometimes they may feel excited being in a new environment. In such scenarios, it is best not to force sleep as that can make them super cranky and make you restless. Instead try singing them rhymes or telling them a story to soothe them to sleep. If the kiddo does not eat a proper meal on the flight, don’t fret, try some snacks to keep hunger at bay and avoid any resultant blow outs.

4Learn to own your negotiation

Always remember that the flight attendants are on your side. Try talking to them to see if the flight has any empty seats than you can use for your lap baby. Negotiate and suggest requesting passengers to move, if required. It is always safer to use a seat to secure babies if they can sit properly and is more comfortable for a nap. For a toddler, an extra seat means more space to play and move around.

5Manage the pressure, ease the ear pain

To help with ear discomfort from pressure changes, feed the baby during takeoff and landing. Carry formula milk and water which can be fed through bottle during such times. You can also try lollipops, crunchy snacks and fruits as well, anything that keeps their jaws moving.

6Plan for boarding

If your kid gets overwhelmed by boarding queues, plan to either board early or in the end. Some airlines offer priority boarding for passengers travelling with toddlers however that also means sitting in the air plane for an additional half an hour. You should take a call according to your kids’ mood on that day.

7Carry all sorts of entertainment

The secret behind a successful and peaceful travel with toddlers is to keep them away from boredom and keep the communication line open. Be sure to carry some new toys alongwith their favorite old ones. Also pack some crayons, stickers, activity books to keep them engaged. We have a airplane ritual where we pretend that airplanes are racing and this always makes our toddler want more.

And for worse case scenario, I recommend packing some electronic gadgets for some in-flight entertainment for toddlers older than 2 years in long flights. While screen time is not best parenting practice, it can act wonders in a once in a while, full meltdown situation .

8Avoid travelling after vaccination

Try and plan your travel atleast a week after vaccination. Just incase if there are any side effects from vaccination like fever, rashes etc, I am sure you would not want to deal with it in a flight.

While these are things that you can plan for, the most helpful thing in a meltdown situation, is always the attitude of the parents. Be patient with your kids, try to understand them and negotiate to manage the situation. Trust me this takes years to accomplish and it is totally ok not being perfect. As for the inconvenience to fellow passengers, be ready to apologise if required. While we have travelled thousands of miles, we have hardly ever met anyone not understanding and complaining because of an upset child.

Have you travelled with a toddler?What are your top tips to be a pro at it?

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11 COMMENTS

  1. This is great info! Your child is so lucky to be able to travel so much. Will definitely make for great memories he can share when older. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Having traveled quite a bit with my 4 little ones, I agree with all you said! One thing I would add is to bring plastic bags (gallon size ziplock or even grocery bags) in case things get soiled/wet and you need to carry them off the plane without contaminating everything you have in your carryon! I’ve been there a few times šŸ™‚

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