Despite being prepared in packing everything I needed to travel with a baby during winter, I was still very nervous for this 10 hour plane ride! You never know what can happen on a long flight … Will she cry the entire way? How will she sleep? Will others be annoyed? Now this post is NOT about what to pack for your babies on the plane. I could go on forever with this topic, and will be doing a separate post about this but here are a few tips and tricks that worked for us about actually being on a plane with a baby!
Always ask for a seat with a bassinet if the option is available. This was a lifesaver as we were able to put her to sleep in it, even though she was too tall for it! (#tallbabyproblems) When she was not sleeping in it, we were able to use it as storage for all of her toys, diapers, milk, etc. We also noticed that there were tons of other parents with babies in this row because it’s the only row you can request for a bassinet. It’s great because Chloe was able to play with the other kids on the plane.
Pack a carry-on with lots of new toys that your baby has never seen and a few old favorites. Every hour we would bring out a new toy that Chloe had never seen because it would get her excited and distract her for a while. I went to stock up the day before we flew out (some of you might have seen it on my snapchat) and bought a bunch of small sized travel toys for her.
Download your baby’s favorite cartoon or song on your iPad or iPhone. We rarely let Chloe watch TV or play with an iPad at home, but you have to be prepared for the worst moments on the plane. There is one song in particular that Chloe loves and ALWAYS puts her in a good mood. We didn’t have to use the iPad on the flight to Paris but on the way back it was a different story. We let her watch her favorite song on the iPad for about 5-10 minutes, which instantly calmed her down in midst of her breakdown.
4. Blankets & Creature Comforts
Bring a blanket and a doll that your baby sleeps with at home. This is something I always do when we leave the house or are traveling a long distance. It brings s a sense of comfort and familiarity to an unknown place. We always carry around her favorite baby bear doll along with this soft blue blanket that she’s been sleeping with since she was born. This is also very helpful when you are staying at a new location or hotel.
Pack a bag of her favorite snacks, fruit, and food in a jar. Plane food can be hit or miss (even for adults) and you just never know what’s in it! It’s always safer to bring your own food on the plane. Chloe has been teething a lot this entire week and it was particularly hard for her on this trip to eat solids. We packed everything from applesauce to canned purées, bananas and all of her favorite snacks that she eats at home.
6. Make Friends
Whether you’re in business or economy, familiarize your baby with your neighbors. We always go around introducing Chloe to our surrounding seatmates, so that way if she has a meltdown, they will sympathize instead of hating on you. And I’ve learned if your baby has a meltdown on the plane, so be it! Don’t worry about others… They might get a bit annoyed but most people will understand. I’ve noticed on long international flights there are plenty of parents and families so they totally understand what you are going through. Focus on comforting your baby instead of worrying about other people.
7. Let Them Move Around
Let your baby crawl/walk up and down the aisles. Chloe is just beginning to walk and she’s super active. If we try to make her sit in one area for a long time she gets very fussy so we allowed her to crawl and walk up and down the aisles and say hello to the other passengers. We obviously kept baby hand sanitizer with us at all times. We were also lucky enough to be flying on one of the largest airplanes on Air France and there was a back area where passengers can stand and stretch. We were probably at the back of the plane for half the time because she was able to move around more back there.
8. Know Your Rights
You don’t have to fly business or first class to get the best of everything. I can’t speak too much about how every airline is like, but I have been flying Delta for as long as I can remember (even pre-baby). When you check-in they always allow parents/families traveling with babies (0-2 years old) to cut the line and check in the priority line. Same thing with security, you’re usually allowed you to cut the lines and enter through the priority line, which speeds up the process immensely. On Delta they will always allow parents traveling with babies pre-board … Even before first class or business.
Although I was very anxious about the plane ride, I’m really glad that I just bit the bullet and did it anyway because at the end of the day, I got to experience Paris with my baby girl! On one of our last days in Paris we went to the La Marais, where we had the most amazing falafel and I got to stock up on my scents. Paris with Chloe was unforgettable, and I’m so glad that we got to roam the streets of Paris in matching outfits, as cheesy as it is!
For any new mommas out there anxious about taking your baby on a long plane ride .. don’t be! The reward is so much more worth it. & for my more experienced mommas, if you have on board tricks, please leave them in the comments below!
& Wishing you all a happy Lunar New Year!