On my way to Singapore, I was seated behind a young couple with a 1year old who cried almost the entire way. The couple obviously first time parents seem to be clueless on how to pacify and comfort their little girl. The only time the toddler was quiet was when she fell asleep, tired from crying.
I myself am a first time parent to a four year old little girl. We also had our share of the trouble that comes with traveling with an infant. Since I am originally from Manila, every time we go home for the holidays, we have to take 1.5 hours plane rides and an hour or so car ride from the airport to my mom’s house. Also, since hubby and I love to travel, there are times we had to endure long car drives with an infant in tow. Yep since my baby was eight months, we brought her along wherever we went. Her first trip abroad was also at Singapore (our favorite travel destination) when she was just a year and eight months old.
So during our travels, I’ve learned a few things here and there. Here are a few tips for all the new couples out there who have to go through traveling in airplanes with infants or toddlers in tow…
- Make sure you bring your baby’s milk and bottles in your hand carried luggage. There are travel bottles (what I love to call them) made by Playtex with disposable plastic liners/inserts so you don’t have to bring all the bulky bottles. All you have to do is pop a plastic liner in the bottle if your baby needs feeding. Mineral water you can just buy from the airport so you don’t need to pack those in your bag.
- Make sure to give your baby a bottle of water or milk to suck ESPECIALLY during take –offs and landings. Its hard enough for us when our ears seem to pop due to the cabin pressure inside the plane, what more the little infants who don’t understand what the heck is happening to their ears as the plane ascends or descends. Kids also find this irritating, so for toddlers or big kids who have already stopped bottle feeding, a chewing gum should come in handy –believe me it’s the only time you can actually allow your little ones to chew gum. It eases the pressure on their ears.
- Infants usually love the rocking movements, making them sleepy. Take advantage of this and rock your little one to sleep, sing them lullabies. Don’t worry about your seatmate, if they are parents themselves, they would understand even if you sing off key. The only ones who don’t understand are single unattached people, and I think its more their problem if they don’t like your singing. Hehe. They wouldn’t mind it compared to a crying baby. J
- Bring a change or two of diapers so the baby won’t feel uncomfortable with her soiled diapers. Airplanes are usually equipped with a changing table for passengers with infants. And should you need assistance, don’t be shy to call the flight attendant.
- With toddlers however (or big kids) who are overly curious and hyper active, bring loads of activity materials to occupy their attention. For me, I usually bring a set of crayons, pencils, different colored pencils, pentel pens, coloring books and other what have yous you can bring. There was even a time I brought glue and scissors so we can cut a variety of pictures and she can paste them in a notebook. It has to be varied since after 10 mins or so, kids usually get bored of one activity. So it’s a good idea to stack up on different materials for craft projects to keep your little ones busy the entire trip.
"I remember there was this one time, I had an entire art supply in my bag since I had to travel with my toddler alone. I kept on popping a different activity material for her to the amusement of the flight attendant and a few passengers. I even had her favorite story book and finger puppets! But at least my little one’s hands got so busy she forgot her ears hurt or that we were confined to a small seat and can’t roam around inspecting the interiors of the plane! J I’m not a fan of electronic stuff for kids to play with so I stick with art materials. At least it hones their creativity and imagination.“
- Bring your kid’s favorite food be it a biscuit or a favorite drink. There are times when they get hungry and plane food are usually not appealing to a kid’s taste buds. It lessens the instance of a coming tantrum and free you from worries of disturbing other passengers.
- But the best advice I could give you is to prep your little one to be excited for a plane ride. And to remind them that there are things we can do at home that are not allowed inside the plane. Kids are easily distracted. Use that to your advantage when traveling.
Have a safe and enjoyable trip with your wee ones!