My oldest is now 3.5, and when she was 1 year, we moved overseas. Yep, that’s right. We packed our bags, rented out our townhouse (still full of our furniture), and said “see ya later ‘Merica.” We arrived on a Friday and that Sunday, Addie celebrated her 1st birthday. One 3-hour flight, two 6-hour flights, a 10 hour layover, and an hour drive from the airport is when we finally made it to our new apartment.
While we were overseas, we got a chance to visit quite a few different countries and took our 1 year old baby with us. She’s been to Italy, England, Turkey, U.A.E, and Kazakhstan. You’re probably wondering about that last place…this is where we moved to teach at an international school. After all of that traveling, we learned a thing or two traveling with a baby. So here ya go:
- Relax. No seriously, relax. If you set any expectation on your child, you will be STRESSED out. Let it go. All of it. Take a deep breath and know that it’s possible you may be the parent with a screaming child. Or you may be the parent with a child who sleeps the entire time! Set no expectations. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, here are some practical things to try!
- Food. Bring the whole pantry and just keep feeding the baby. Especially during take off and landing, because this will help their ears to adjust to altitude.
- Stickers. Let her stick them anywhere she wants. The back of the seat, her hands, your face. This is another distraction that will entertain for 10 more minutes.
- Cut the line! No really, just do it. Don’t feel bad, this is a desperate situation. When you are in the airports, ask the attendants if they can send you to the front of the lines. We rarely had to wait in a line, because they really do want to help you have as less stress as possible! What lines, you ask? ALL THE LINES. Anytime you see a line, ask. Also, I prefer to be the last to board a plane with a child…less time on the plane the better.
- Take a stroller. You can wheel that baby all the way down the terminal and they will load it at the bottom of the plane for you.
- Time Changes. Let the baby sleep when the baby wants to sleep. If this is a short term trip, don’t worry about adjusting the child. If this is long term, we found the best way to adjust a child is to gradually push him or her every sleep time. Start with 30 minutes at a time!
- If you are traveling through the London airport, they are very strict with baby food. They may throw it out or make you eat it 😉
- Baby wraps. If you baby is small enough to be worn in a wrap, do so on the plane!
- If you are traveling for a long period of time, I highly recommend buying your child a seat if they are between the ages of mobile-2 years old, if you can afford it. I traveled on a 4 hour plane ride with an active 1 year old on my lap and it was the LONGEST PLANE RIDE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON.
And lastly, remember to give yourself grace. Don’t worry about everyone else on the plane. No need to provide the adults treat bags for tolerating you and your child…you paid for the seat, after all! Most people are nice if they see you are trying :).