This post was written to feature in the #HappyMamaSecrets Project ran by the lovely Ala over at www.happymamasecrets.com please do go over and check out her blog. She has lots of tips and activities to keep your little ones entertained.
Having recently embarked on air travel with an 18 month old and a 7 month old I have decided to write down all the things that helped get us through our 4 hour flight. I’m not saying it’ll solve everyone’s travel woes but it may help you out at a time in need, and I must say both my babies were fab on the flight, much better than I expected.
1. Entertainment. This is a difficult one for babies I find as they are hard to entertain, especially the when they are at that awkward age between the just sitting and staring at everything age and the able to sit contently in front a film age. For my little one I took a trunki packed with stuff. We had books, wooden puzzles, paper and pens, a plastic teapot and cup, her ‘baba’ (bedtime bunny thing) and of course my iPad. I downloaded her favourite CBeebies programs, such as In The Night Garden (which is 25 minutes…amazing) Rah Rah the Noisey Lion, Bing etc. I also downloaded a couple of apps, such as the In the night garden app. That being said her favourite thing to do on the iPad was to flick through photos. None of these things held her attention for an hour in any one stretch but they did help to occupy and pacify her. Keeping her quite and calm.
2. Food. I took plenty, we also had an in flight meal. No shame here, it kept everyone happy…and quiet.
3. Bottles. For take of and landing it can be worth giving your little ones a bottle or allowing them to nurse. The sucking helps the pressure on there ears and can help to reduce the pain. It’s not uncommon for us adults to suck on a boiled sweet after all.
4. Don’t be afraid to get up. don’t get me wrong we weren’t a yo yo but baby 1 and I did on occasion get up to stretch our legs. It served as a good distraction for her (and me) and helped kill some time. I also found the majority of people would happily fuss over her as she walked down the isle.
5. Flight times. This isn’t always possible but where it is I would recommend thinking about the flight time you book. We deliberately booked an early morning flight on the way out in the hope the little ones would have a nap on the flight after the earlier than normal start – which they did. On our way home we had a later flight about 1.30pm our 18 month old didn’t sleep prior to the flight so she was ready for a nap during. By some miracle it worked. I must admit though there was about 10 minutes of fussing and crying as she got herself off to sleep. But 10 minutes in 4 hours – I’ll take that!
6. Strength in numbers. Again this isn’t always possible but if it is, embrace it fully. On our outbound flight we took Nanny and Grandad. We outnumbered the babies 2 to 1 and it was brilliant. We could take shifts and relieve the pressure on each other. For the inbound flight it was only Mr TM myself and my Nan, but still the extra body was a godsend. That being said our next flight will probably just be the 2 of us but we are feeling more confident now to tackle it by ourselves.
7. Ignore the tutting. We did get some disapproving looks from other passengers – how dare we be on their flight, and I did hear of some complaints from passengers in respect of a couple of the other babies and toddlers that were on the flight. I was conscious to keep baby related disturbances to a minimum but ultimately, it’s a few hours out of everyone’s lives and is that such a big deal in the grand scheme of things? One of the cabin crew members who I got talking to said she was used to passengers moaning at her about babies and kids on flights but she quite rightly pointed out, the majority of these people have themselves had little ones, or their children or grandchildren do and at some point they will have been faced with a discontented baby they are struggling to settle whilst under the watchful eye of others, they have simply forgot what it is like. They were once the ones facing the tuts and grumbles and groans from bystanders, the boot just happens to be on the other foot now. So I simply wouldn’t worry about it. It will come to and end and everyone will forget about it.
8. Try to enjoy it. Potentially easiesr said than done granted, but the babies are more relaxed if you are (so we are told) and if you are off on your holidays, visiting friends, family whatever you are doing you are creating a memory. I will always remember my little ones face as we took off and look forward to telling her and her brother all about how their travelling escapades started so young and what they were like. Admittedly this only works if you have a memory you don’t want to forget…
So it’s not the golden ticket but hopefully there’s a few tips in there that will be the key to a happy mamma when flying with babies.