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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Currently on the west side of the U.S.
    Hi there - I am currently expecting my first little one so I don't have personal experience with my own kids - but my husband is a commercial airline pilot and we fly A LOT. Also, he's born and raised in the Netherlands and we live in Las Vegas, so we fly international a couple of times a year. So I'm very familiar with the long hauls!

    The last thing I ever want to be is argumentative but I have to chime in and say I disagree, 100%, with the "people are fine with kids crawling up and down the aisle." No no no. This is usually frustrating to other passengers and especially the flight attendants, who on long flights, have a lot of work to do. Not to mention the fact that it's very unsafe! If the plane hits turbulence, baby boy could get seriously hurt. I do agree with the 'move around with him when you can' part - that's great! But him crawling/toddling on his own up and down is really not cool. I think the bracelet idea is fantastic too - these days we often tend to get super focused on technology and fancy toys, when kids tend to love simple stuff. They always love the box more than the toy, you know? Of course, an ipad or something similar usually can work wonders too

    The other recommendation I've gotten from flight attendants is nursing or having a bottle ready during take-off/landing - the ear popping tends to really upset or hurt little ones and the sucking helps to relieve it quite a bit. I would guess munching on some sort of snack would be a good second choice!

    The last thing I would say is just try your best to not stress about it. Babies are babies and you clearly are doing to do the best you can. If people are going to get upset, there's very little you can do about it and it's really their issue. I'm sorry about the way the last seat-mate acted - but again, remember that that's a reflection of that person, not you or your sweet little boy. Also, there's always a little bit of an element of luck to it but if you get lucky and you get a great flight attendant, they can be awesomely helpful with little ones too. Good luck and enjoy your trip!!!

  2. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    We flew from Sweden to California with our (then) 12 month old twins as lap children last year. We were quite lucky that it was a night flight (both there are back) but we also took shorter flights around the US while we were visiting. Here are some thoughts from our experiences:

    * Gather new little toys/ containers/ books that he has never seen before. Stash them away until the trip and pull them out s-l-o-w-l-y. We bought a few small books as well as a few new toy cars etc... No balls or toys with small parts that will fall and get lost, but simple. Oh and obviously no noisy toys. I had them in a clear zipper bag so it was easy to find what I wanted.

    * Finding healthy food in airports is nearly impossible! We had brought some Ella's Kitchen fruit and veggie purees which were very helpful for healthy snacks. (They WERE allowed through security, you just have to request that they are hand checked.) We also had TONS of other snacks- crackers, raisins, baby puffs (a strange corn thing common here in Sweden). Anything that would keep over 24 hours, was easy to pack and not super messy. A mix of old favorities and new exciting things to try.

    * Have your carry-on(s) packed in such a way that it is fast and easy to get out anything you will need to take out of your bag at security. (laptops, baby foods etc).

    * Pack (at least) one change of clothes for each of you in your carry-on.

    * We brought a couple of light blankets in our carry-ons which were really helpful in blocking out the plane lighting while they slept (maybe not applicable to you, but you never know what will come in handy...)

    * Have a mini diaper bag that is easy to grab and take to the lavatory. It should be full of everything you will need (wipes, pad, one diaper) but not anything else. Space is SO limited and it is a pain to fuddle around to find exactly what you need in the full diaper bag. Once you get back to your seat, re-stock the diaper.

    * At check-in ask the person at the check-in desk if they have anything they can do to book you a seat in the bulkhead or even a bassinet (It could work for your son depending on the weight limit on your plane. Last year we flew Lufthansa and the weight was 14 kg. This year we are on a Lufthansa flight operated by United and the weight limit is only 10 kg. boo.) They may not be able to help you, but you never know!

    * On Lufthansa they were great and asked us right at the beginning of the flight when we would like the meal for our babies, but even if they don't ask, you could always take the initiative and ask if you can have his meal served before the other passengers (They sometimes do this with special order meals anyway so it is not unheard of.). I bet they will do it because who wants to listen to a hungry baby cry? (But don't plan on him liking the plane meal so be sure to have plenty of snacks!)

    * Take advantage of the time you have on the plane before take off to get organized (once you are sure you are staying in that seat). Get out your snacks, a few toys etc., get your mini diaper bag in a convenient place. Just standing on the seat looking around at all the new people and things should keep him pretty occupied while you do it.

    * Take off and landing can be rough on the ears, so that is a great time to encourage him to drink something or chew on a snack to try to equalize the pressure. We also let our boys have their pacifiers then (which we NEVER do unless they are sleeping). I think I may have breast fed them as well. I know I did on the flight, but I'm not sure exactly when it was.

    * If you have any layovers, ask the gate crew where they play areas are (if there are any). It is great to get out some energy while he can and maybe he will even nap on the next flight...

    * I have to echo the 'dress cute' comment. That was a tip we heard before our trip. We seldom dress our boys identically, but for the trip we decked them out in the most over the top matchy cute outfits we had and people loved it! I bet it works to some extent for singletons as well.

    * If you typically use a wrap or baby bjorn of some kind, pack it in your carry on. Our stroller was supposed to be gate checked. It was not. The wraps were lifesavers during our layover. We actually even used them to some extent on flights where we didn't have a bassinet because it was a place they were comfortable sleeping, but left our hands free.

    * On our shorter trips having our stroller in the airport was invaluable! If we needed to focus on something we had a place to strap them down.

    * I 100% echo the not stressing part. I know it is VERY hard, but on the day of the trip, you have to be relaxed our your little one will be stressed too which will make things worse for everyone.

    Good luck!!

    PS. We had a passenger in our row take one look at our boys and request a seat change. The woman who came to take his seat was very friendly. Our boys ended up sleeping for 8 of the 12 hours and were not terrible at all, but I tried to see the man wanting to change seats it as a good thing because I would rather have understanding people in the area and not have to deal with cranky unhelpful people.
    Mama to my boys, the 'twinadoes', and a little Tingeling.

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I love the suggestions of a mini diaper clutch so you don't have to struggle & dig thru a giant bag and the revealing the toys as slowly as possible.

    I also think letting the baby walk or crawl around the plane is inappropriate. It's potentially dangerous and other people probably need to use those aisles.

    silent & non-rolling toys are best. The pop up type books with parts to lift and peak behind could be good.

    I also like to under pack a bit, as much as I would hate to end up without enough wipes, diapers, snacks & toys I also hate the feeling of having lugged them around for nothing. For me, I didn't go nuts with toys, but I never really bring toys around when we go on visits in out town or anywhere so she isn't used to having loads of them.

  4. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Los Angeles
    Antoine has logged at least 10 cross-country flights at this point. I will not lie, it's very hard and I genuinely hate flying with him. Luckily flight attendants take pity and have always hooked me up with free cocktails.

    I thought zaelias advice was fantastic. In addition, I echo that it is absolutely NOT OK to let your child crawl up and down the aisles or otherwise block everyone else's ability to move about the plane. As adorable as small children are, extremely few people will be pleased with small sticky hands getting into their belongings, unexpected visits, or a simple inability to go to the bathroom due to a rambunctious toddler.

    It might not be feasible but I flew coach twice, when he was small, and then afterwards upgraded to business or first. If you have the miles, or the dollars, I cannot overemphasize what a difference it makes.

    Pack at least one change of clothes for him. Make sure whatever he is wearing is very, very easy to take on and off in a small airplane lavatory. Bring blankets to the lavatory changing tray for him to lay on (same for airport bathrooms)-- I am hardly a germaphobe but they are almost never cleaned. I echo zaelia again in that it is very, very important to introduce all the delightful, QUIET, toys and snacks very slowly.

    Our sons are exactly the same age and it's very tough... They are excitable and full of energy but not yet cognitively mature enough to enjoy a story (books are for turning pages), focus on a favorite video for more than 3min at a time, or really get deeply absorbed in a single toy. My hat is off to you, but you will survive. And in 14hrs, he's bound to sleep t least part of the time. You can try to disrupt his sleep schedule the day before (keep him up quite late, awaken him in the night) to make him extra-tired the day of the flight.
    Blade, MD

    XY: Antoine Raphael; Julian Victor
    XX: Cassia Viviane Noor

    Allaire * Emmanuelle * Honora * Lysandra * Marina * Rosamond * Serena * Sylvie * Thea * Verity / Blaise * Cyprian * Evander * Jules * Laurence * Lucian * Marius * Quentin * Rainier * Silvan

    Hayat _ Qamar _ Sahar _ / Altair _ Faraj _ Tariq

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I have edited my post above - I realise I was incredibly unclear and of course would not let a toddler just stroll around the plane - as it may have appeared I typed! I simply meant not to be afraid to put your child down as you walk to the bathroom for a diaper change or to the back to look out the window - on 14 hour flights there is plenty of down time where movement about the plane is minimal - when people get settled into movies and books etc; and at this time I generally feel it is ok to let a kid walk just in front of you to stretch his legs a little!

    Hope you have a great flight You have received some wonderful advise!

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