traveling with an 11-month-old

Wednesday, October 10

Traveling with Everett, even as he's gotten older, is never as hard as I prepare for it to be. This is mostly due to his easy-going nature, {automatically qualifying our next babe to be hell on wheels. That's how it works, right? ;)} but there were still a few helpful things that made our flights and layovers a little bit easier. So for those who asked, I thought I'd share those today!

- I've always heard it advised to have your baby sucking on something during take-off and landing, whether that be breast, bottle or binky, to help their ears adjust to the pressure changes. That worked for one of the flights, but during the others he was just too curious and wanted to be up looking out the window the whole time. So instead, {since he doesn't take a binky anymore} I fed him a few cheerios at a time to keep him continuously swallowing, and he seemed to adjust just fine that way too.

- One thing I've noticed with Everett since the very beginning is that most toys are pretty much overrated. A crunchy bag of airplane peanuts is far more entertaining than any colorful rattle . I've also found that novelty is priceless when it comes to keeping his attention, so I tried to take items that he mostly never plays with at home. A few choice favorites were:
  • A hand mirror
  • Blue painters tape - less sticky than other tapes, but still sticky enough to play with between his fingers {and think it's hilarious}
  • A small flashlight
  • 2 new books
  • Plastic cups
  • Container of mints {for shaking}
  • His favorite stuffed animal
- When possible, it was really nice to take advantage of pre-boarding. I had under-utilized it before, thinking I would use the extra time outside the plane to let Everett get his wiggles out, but on one occasion, pre-boarding gave me enough time to unload my bag of tricks into the back of the seat, mix up his lunch, feed it to him and even clean him up before our seat mates arrived, which was HUGE.

- I also brought a few energy bars for myself as back-up, but they ended up being essential, as sometimes they were the only thing I had hands enough to eat. On the layover coming home, I attempted to grab Cafe Rio {I mean, how could I not? It was CAFE RIO. AT THE AIRPORT} but that ended up being one of those situations where it was going well ... until it wasn't. And that was the end of that ;)
- They always say to drink plenty of water because flying dehydrates you, but in this case ... when your baby falls asleep on your lap for an hour and a half, {woo!} being a little dehydrated might just be better than the alternative, if you get what I'm sayin'. Stupid water.

- To initiate nap time, sometimes the white noise of the plane just wasn't doing it, so I'd plug a set of headphones into the flight's classical channel, hold them over his ears and he'd drift off pretty easily after that.

- On one of the flights out there, we were extremely blessed to have great seat mates! I have no idea why, but that little boy has always been drawn to older men. He loves the grandpas of the world! So I was incredibly thankful when this older gentleman was the one to sit next to us and treat Everett like he was his own grandchild. The most amazing part to me was when Everett stopped his wiggling all together to rest his head on the man's shoulder for a long while... something that he NEVER, EVER does anymore. It was the sweetest thing to watch. But even with less than ideal seating on other flights {middle, anyone?} a few walks up and down the aisle kept things new and interesting. Especially when our walks led us to another baby on the flight and Everett was in heaven.
Flying solo can be tough at moments, but I've found that people are always nicer and more understanding than you expect them to be. Especially when you bring them cookies ;) Also, a hero of a woman told me that twice, she's traveled with her twin babies all by herself WHILE she was 6 months pregnant. So with that in mind, I'm gonna say that traveling with one was the easiest two days of my life! ;)


Becca said...

Love this post. We have been living in Italy since my daughter was 4 months old and travel back and forth between Italy and Virginia all the time. At every age Lena is so different on the plane and I am constantly having to change my strategy to get her to sleep/play/be content. These are some excellent tips that I'll be pulling out for the future!

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