Well friends, tomorrow we embark on Ava’s 16th flight in her short 13 months of life! Not going to lie- we feel like pros at this thing nowadays.. We have had seamless flights (13 hours to the states with a 13 month old who slept for 11 of those hours).. and we have had terrible flights (the 4 hour internal flight that followed that 13 hour flight where the hostess and I took turns rocking Ava and being puked on).
As Ava has gotten older flights have gotten easier and harder. We actually have to entertain her now rather than her sleeping for the duration of the flight.. but they have also gotten easier because she is pretty self-sufficient by way of feeding herself and entertaining herself for at least 5-10min at a time. She is also a very social child so she will talk to the people around her, she’ll wave at most strangers who walk past her when getting on the plane.. she’ll even go to strangers if they reach their arms out to her! Thankfully she has my husbands social traits!
Below are the essentials I’ve chalked up when flying with Ava in this toddler stage.. I’ve given an explanation on what their uses are and why I see them as essentials! Obviously this list will be customised to your child- but let me assure you- if you are thinking of taking that trip with that baby- DO IT! The worst that can happen is that your child is whingy or unsettled (the noise of airplanes are soothing to babies so you should be fine here). Generally most people we have encountered (including on the terrible internal U.S. flight) comment at how well-behaved Ava is on flights- we totally chalk that up to great parenting (haha.. okay maybe not)..no, we chalk that up to exposure! We have continually exposed her to flights since she was 3 months old so she has grown some what used to them.
1. Bento Box– these are super helpful so you can bring different kinds of snacks in the one container. Ava loves blueberries and strawberries which works great because they’ll keep her little hands busy for a few minutes!
2. Kids headphones– we are very new this purchase. In preparation for our flight to the states we bought these early to give them a test run. They are volume controlled, so great for kids. Ava’s not a fan of keeping them on her head though. Any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!
3. Her favourite book– when you’re trying to endure a flight you need to be ready to pull out all stops. Now’s not the time to introduce a new book or a new snack.. you’re going to want to go with ole’ faithful!
4. Her favourite toy– ditto on the above.. I stress “Soundless!”
5. Netflix and an Ipad– netflix has the capability to download movies and watch them offline, including kids movies! We have a few downloaded and ready to go!
6. Pram blanket– I say pram blanket here because they are warmer and thicker than a muslin wrap. Unless you are wrapping your baby at the moment, then go with the Muslin wrap. We have used our pram blanket for a number of things over the year:
- A blanket for the airport and plane if Ava is cold
- A breastfeeding cover
- A playmat in the airport when waiting for our flight that she can sit on
- A light cover to simulate a dark room when I am trying to put her to sleep
7. A baby carrier– I recently purchased the Ergobaby carrier because Ava is getting heavier. Previously I used a Kmart $49 one which worked great! I generally strap Ava to me as soon as we get to the airport- that way we can check the pram in with no issues and walking around the airport is hassle free and easier on the back. Again, with this one- I used a carrier with Ava since she was born so she’s used to being on me which has worked great for us.
8. Appropriate I.D.- Self Explanatory, but as an FYI you generally can’t check-in online if you have a baby with you as they need to sight I.D. at the check-in counter when you arrive. Allow ample time to que in the check-in line!
9. Water Bottle– If you baby is not using a dummy/pacifier/soother you’re going to want to give them water on take-off and landing. the sucking motion will help with their ears.
10. Favourite Snack– Ava loves these Fruit crushers from Woolworths! They have not artificial colours or flavours and no added sugar! Each pouch is 1/2 serve of fruit so they make really great additions to her diet!
So there you have it. travelling with a toddler is not impossible (trust me).. and the flight is only the beginning of the amazing journey you’re taking!
Let me know if you have any specific questions about brands or other items I may have missed.