This is not a repeat post, I promise. You probably remember my post on flying with babies and also my “Diaper Bag Essentials” post, but I wanted to do an updated version for babes over 12 months. Maybe you haven’t heard, but most domestic airlines will let kids under 2 fly for free on your lap. This is amazing news for us, since we normally fly with $300+ tickets to California. This is bad news for us because we fly to California and it’s always a 6 hour trek [at least]. When Sugar Plum was smaller, she would nurse, sleep for half the flight, and when she was awake, she’d quietly look at the rest f the passengers or just want some thing to bite on. I laugh now when I think about how stressed out I used to be traveling with her at that age. Now we have a rowdy one year old who can crawl, walk, play, and needs so much stimulation that I’m already having nightmares about a never-ending flight the next time we go to visit my family. I think the saying goes “proper planning prevents poor performance”? I don’t know – it’s some thing like that – and that’s why I am already planning.
We recently did a 5 hour car trip for Labor Day weekend, and I felt like that was good practice. In fact, I would argue that flying is easier then car trips because both parents can give their full attention to the baby, there are some options to move around [as opposed to being strapped in a car seat], and I feel like it’s easier to do certain activities like coloring or eating. Also, most flights nowadays make you have a layover somewhere, which sounds like a hassle, but to me its the perfect halftime. I can change baby in a decent sized bathroom, grab a hot meal, and stretch out my legs while providing a change of scenery for baby.
Now, as far as how I am modifying what to pack, this is what I have planned:
Food – Pack a snack for every hour you’ll be traveling. I know this may seem like overkill, but if your kid asks for a snack every hour, at least you’ll have one. Even if they don’t want a snack every hour, you’ll have back up snacks in case there is a delay and you don’t want to pay for airport food. *Sigh* It was so much easier when I could just nurse my little babe…
Beverages – We carry these bottles through security empty [just to avoid the hassle of “claiming” liquids, though, if you have formula or milk, you ARE allowed to take these things through security with a baby] then fill up the water bottle with the filter at a drinking fountain. We periodically fill up the baby cup with our filtered water bottle, so everyone has some thing to drink!
Entertainment – This is always the hardest category because you don’t want to pack too much to where toys are falling out of your bag when you go to reach for you ID, but at the same time, you want to have enough to keep a little one occupied. I pick a skinny book like our Dr. Seuss books, because they slip into the back of a backpack nicely and don’t take up too much room. Our daughter loves books, and is content to sit and flip through the pages for long periods of time so I’m hoping this will be a good activity to calm her down. Crayons and paper are also items I’ve packed. The paper is a thin little booklet from he dollar store, so again, it shouldn’t take up much room; and crayons are generally less messy than markers. If that isn’t stimulating enough, I have her “cell phone” packed, which lights up and makes different noises when you press it. Since the plane engine is so loud, it won’t disturb other passengers to have my baby play with this normally noisy toy, as a lot of its sounds are significantly muted once we’ve taken off [and anyway, it’s better to listen to the ABC’s on repeat then to hear a baby scream, amirite?]. Of course I will have my actual phone on me. The Samsung galaxy comes with a built-in “kids mode” where you can let your kids play with your phone to their heart’s content, and not have to worry about them deleting your contacts or moving around your apps. It is a password protected part of the phone that only has children’s applications on it.
As much as I’m hoping she’ll eat and sleep for me on this flight, I’m prepared for the worst! We’ve traveled so much just in the past year, so I’m sure we will slip back into our vacation groove, but it’s always to be prepared for the worst. How do you keep your child content for hours at a time?