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Seeking Air Travel Tips with a 1-Year Old

Hello to all you mothers,
My husband and I will be going on an international flight to Rome, Italy in June with our 1-year old son for my sister's wedding. We have a connecting flight at Atlanta, Georgia before heading out to Rome. This is our first time traveling with a toddler. I would love to hear any travel tips you have heard of or used to entertain a toddler, keep him occupied, or keep the family sane/comfortable traveling in the airplane and at the vacation destination. I understand that traveling with kids, in general, can be unpredictable, but any "tricks" or tips I can use will help me feel at least somewhat prepared.

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Thank you for all of your suggestions. The trip to Rome was enjoyable for both me, my husband, and the baby. Passengers even commented about our 1-year old saying, "he's a good boy" and "I didn't even realize he was here." Breastfeeding, having new snacks, watching DVDs like Baby Einstein/Baby Signs, reading books, and new toys all really helped during the flight.

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We made up backpacks with activities, crayons, snacks, ect. for each of the kids. These worked wonderfully.

Watch out for Benadryl. Eventhough it helps some kids sleep, it can cause others to be over active. I found this out the last time my one year old had a cold. I had a friend who also found this out the hard way as she flew alone with her 1 year old on a red eye across the country. Her daughter did not sleep at all the entire flight.

Get a "sit-n-stroll'. It's a combo car seat & stroller. It goes from the plane to the airport to the rent a car- It's awesome! A portable DVD player w/ Baby Einstein videos help too!

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We've never done a flight that long, and that could be a big trick in itself, but after several 10 hour flights and lots of time in airports, I can give you some tips. Make sure you bring plenty of snacks (crackers aren't as good because you'll have to go to the bathroom more often) and extra water (they don't always bring around drinks as quickly on the plane and the kids will need it). As far as entertainment, try getting some soft books or quiet books (my family uses them for church too). These are books made out of cloth or flannel, they will often have pockets with various fun pieces that can be placed on each page, making for an interactive book that keeps the kids busy. There are also some fun "flannel board" stories that can be conveniently carried and make for lots of fun. Bring one or two favorite toys, but not more than that as you will lose things when there are too many to keep track of or spend your whole flight looking under every seat for the one thing your child "has to have."
Make sure to bring several books that you can read to your child. Those Color Wonder coloring books are also great if your child is interested because little children can color but the color is only on the book and not all over the chairs, the child, the walls, and you. Make sure it isn't fingerpainting though, just use the markers. In cars, the motion helps children fall asleep, this isn't the case in airplanes, but with young children they will often sleep more than usual anyway. To help this along, make sure to run and play (and wear out the child) whenever you are in an airport and have some space to play. This is important in any case because your willingness to allow your child to run and play with you when it is appropriate will help your child to sit more quietly when it isn't appropriate to run and play. You can also play "finger games" with your children. Rhymes that are set to a melody and use finger motions. Patty cake might drive the other passengers crazy after awhile, so have several memorized and if you have a chance, play them beforehand to see which games the child likes the most. My son loves the song with the 5 little ducks (five little ducks went out to play, over the hill and far away, when the mother duck said quack quack quack, four little ducks came waddling back), you can find these on the Internet, or purchase a book with some ideas, I have a huge book of them, so if you can't find anything you may email me for suggestions. Also, bring at least one thing that is snuggly and familiar, like a stuffed animal or favorite blanket (I hope it isn't too bulky), because he will be in an entirely new situation and will want something familiar to hold on to when he doesn't feel completely comfortable. Other than that, just try to have patience. And if you happen to have a little Benedryl (this is a last resort in my book, but I know some people use it everytime), you can give your child the smallest dosage for his age or weight and that will help him to go to sleep. (PS Have a favorite snack saved for take off and landing as it can be hard on the ears. Chewing and swallowing will help the ears to pop and relieve the pressure.)
If you do decide to email for suggestions on finger plays, please do so before this Thursday as I will be having a baby that day (or wait a few weeks if you have enough time).

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Get a "sit-n-stroll'. It's a combo car seat & stroller. It goes from the plane to the airport to the rent a car- It's awesome! A portable DVD player w/ Baby Einstein videos help too!

Watch out for Benadryl. Eventhough it helps some kids sleep, it can cause others to be over active. I found this out the last time my one year old had a cold. I had a friend who also found this out the hard way as she flew alone with her 1 year old on a red eye across the country. Her daughter did not sleep at all the entire flight.

I, without my husband or other adults, have flown about ten times with my elder son, the last time while I was pregnant with my younger son and my elder son sat on my lap.

If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed your son during the trip, bring the little packets sold by Enfamil as they are quite convenient on a plane with a baby on one's lap.

Bring an umbrella stroller that you can collapse with just one hand to the gate. The stroller will make your trip much easier.

I realize that air travel is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but I would do my best to buy him a seat! The extra space for your stuff alone is worth every penny. Your son and you will be able to relax with him laying across the seats and you won't be concerned with another passenger! Good luck!

They have movies on the planes for International flights that can entertain him for awhile. When my boys were little I packed tons of snacks and little gifts, I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of little junkie things. A one years old is a tuff one. Be sure and track your flight time, & Give him Benedryl to sleep when he should. The change in time is what is bad. He won't know what hit him. Its a 9 hour difference. Ask the flight attendant if you can move if there are open seats. Try to change so you can have the row to yourself.They also say that in take-off and landing hurts their ears, so have a empty bottle ( all the regulations, you should be able to buy something once you pass security)and have your baby suck on the bottle for those periods if you can, it is supposed to help his ears.
Good Luck it will be fine.

Having just flown and observed some VERY uncomfortable little ones I have this advice....During take off and landings sing with him all the songs he knows. So, that might mean that between now and your trip you will have to get to know all those crazy videos or TV songs your little one may be watching. Or you might need to learn some (Wee Songs are great ones!) or maybe there are some you do in your family already or in your church? You can't use electronic devices during this time, but there is no restriction on your voice.... and besides YOUR voice is what is he wants to hear anyway! You might want to include a singing routine to being put in his flying seat as well that is fun and happy before your trip. I noted that as soon as the little ones had to go into their seats things really got craaaaazy!

We traveled with our Daughter on an airplane when she was 11 months, I suggest a car seat so he can sleep, and lots of fun food and snacks and maybe even a DVD if he likes to watch cartoons, but the thing that really helps on long flight was what my Pediatrician suggested and that is to give the child a dose of Benadryl and Tylenol 30 minutes beore the flight takes off. It helps with the ear problem and helps them sleep, but ask your pediatrician.

May sound silly but bring a roll of cheap scotch tape. He can pull it out and make a ball with it or use it to stick things on the window or table. I have never flown that long with my kids but at that age they both loved tape, the one thing I don't allow them to play with. MagnaDoodle is good if he likes to draw. I know he is young but both my kids loved to draw at an early age. I also would wrap a few new small toys and a few favorites that he has not seen in a couple of weeks. I take out one of these "presents" when he starts to get restless and bored. The unwrapping process is more fun than the gift at this age. Stickers are also great. Small party size tub of playdough if he is playing with this yet. Snacks are a help too. I buy the small single serving size for the car trips and flights. Gerber has some great ones. This is the one time that you really don't worry about schedule but survival. If he eats solid foods a small snack every hour might be a big help.

Don't forget to pack extra diapers and clothes, more than you need, blowouts happen. An extra outfit for you too in case of spills. My kids always get constipated when we travel so I always bring my favorite remedy. Make sure both of you gets lots of water during the flight. I use Smart Water, it is like gatorade but without the sugar. I use it to dilute their juice while traveling so that they stay hydrated and don't get constipated. If you feel you need to use Benadryl make sure you try it out at home first. Some kids do not sleep but get hyper from it like mine. (Not something you want on a long flight)

Like the PP said, if he is on his own carseat he will be more comfortable and have a better chance at sitting still a little longer than in a lap. DVD players are great too.

I don't know what the limits are anymore on what you can bring on a flight. I have never flown international and have not been on a plane since my daughter was 14mo and she is now almost 3. The water you may have to buy after you get past security.

Hope this helps. Best of luck to you and enjoy the wedding!

Hi Juan and Loriann,

I traveled with my daughter to Europe when she was 1. People thought I was crazy but it worked out really well and was a lot of fun. Take one of those flimsy fold up strollers because you can actually (at least you could then) put them in the overhead bin on the plane. Take a lot of quiet toys to occupy him on the plane. Also, books if he likes you to read to him. Get a bulkhead seat because there is more room. At take-off and landing he'll need to be either nursing or drinking from a bottle. This is because the change in pressure can be painful to his ears unless he's swallowing. Take plenty of diapers for the plane ride and changes of clothes and his food. Often, if you need something warmed the flight attendant will warm it for you in the microwave (check the temp). Help him adjust to the time change or he will want to play while you're sleeping. I found people in Italy adored my daughter and we had no problems. Europeans love babies. Enjoy your trip!

V.

Oh what fun! Off the subject, while your in Italy eat lots of gelato, and lots of pizza...there is nothing like it here. Anyhow, about your child. We were military and from the time my son was 18 months till just before his fourth birthday we made 4 trips between the states and Italy. The first trip was a little nerve wrecking, but he did great. My biggest suggestion are a binky, and little benedryl, and lots of activities. We brought paper and small colored pencils, a few hot wheels, his fav stuffed animal and blankie. Just remeber when packing toys, if he tends to throw things be careful about bringing to many hard toys, lol. the people next to you don't appreciate it. Oh and lots of snacks. I know alot of poeple like to, but I don't recomend the car seat on the plane. Its big, and takes up alot of room. My husband and I took turns holding him, and were able to spread out a little cause we had 3 seats. Best of luck to you!

We traveled with a one year old grandson to cancun. We had a dvd and cd player with his favs and some new ones. Attention span isnt too long, but helps.

Deb

I am sure you have already heard this....make sure you have plenty of bottles or something for him to "suck" on, especially during take off and landing. The altitude caused babys and even adults ears to pop, only it hurts for a child. As long as they have something they are sucking on it stops the pain. As for keeping him busy, same as on the ground!

Bring a pillow from home. This will help keep baby comfy while on your lap and keep your lap from going to sleep from the weight of the baby. I'm sure everyone else will give you the whole snacks, small new toys routine, but the pillow was one tip I got that made a world of difference. (my folks are back east so I've flown cross country with my two little girls more times than I can count)

Buon viaggio!

I fly an average of once a year between Germany and Los Angeles or San Diego with my son (now age 9). He was on his first international flight at 8 months. I am lucky that he has always been a good traveller. Here are the things I did when he was younger:

1. Buy a ticket for him and bring his car seat on board the plane. Most toddler seats are FAA approved. He is much too small for the seat belt to fit around him. You definitely don't want him on your lap the whole time. I did that once and said, "Never again!"

2. Bring a stroller, preferably an umbrella stroller that folds easily, and gate check it. You can get a gate tag for it when you check in. Make sure the check-in people tag his stroller to Atlanta. You will appreciate it if you have to walk a long way between the domestic and international terminals, especially if your son is tired and wants to be carried. When you get to Atlanta, have them gate-check it to Rome. When you get off the plane in Atlanta, the stroller will be on the ramp when you get off the plane. Otherwise, you'll be without a stroller in Atlanta. We used an umbrella stroller and bungee corded the car seat into the stroller. It worked very well. We had one experience flying between Munich and LA where our stroller was tagged to LA. When we connected in Philadelphia, the people there told me the stroller was sent on to LA. We ended up having to carry my son, his car seat, plus our carry-on bags.

3. Buy a new little toy and put it into your carry-on bag or the diaper bag. When your son seems bored or fussy, bring it out. I would buy 2-3 Hot Wheels cars and bring them out when needed. If they are wrapped up, that makes it more fun for him to unwrap them. Don't forget to bring some favorite small toys and books.

4. Bring some of his favorite snacks and drinks. The times when the airline wants to feed you and him are not necessarily in synch with his body clock. He may also not like the airline food (who does?). My son was, and still is, a fussy eater and bringing a supply of snacks helped. Bring things that travel well like crackers, string cheese, apple slices, granola bars, juice or milk boxes. You can also special order a kids' meal at no extra charge.

5. Try to get a night flight out of Atlanta. That way your son will sleep for a lot of the flight. MIne used to sleep just about the whole time between Philadelphia and Munich.

6. Try to reserve a bulkhead seat. Depending on how close he is to 2, he may be too big for the bassinets that the plane provides. But when it's not turbulent, then he can play on the floor in front of the seats when the seat belt sign is off.

7. Let him walk up and down the aisles with you as long as the seat belt sign is off.

8. Jet lag really affects babies and toddlers. My son alway had a hard time adjusting back to European time. He would wake up at 2 am and want to play. Try to eat on the Roman schedule instead of on CA time. Once your stomach gets on the local time, you'll recover from the jet lag faster. With toddlers it's harder and takes more time. It would take approximately a week for my son to adjust back to European time. It's so much easier now that my son is older because when he wakes up at a weird hour, he can lay in his bed and read.

Have a great trip!

Bring the car seat on the plane so he can sleep.

the best thing for you to remember is to remain calm, have patience and be prepared for anything. this is going to be rough on your little guy. traveling takes your kid's nice little routine-filled world and turns it on its ear. your enemies on the plane are: sleepiness, hunger and boredom. beat them and your trip should go fairly smoothly. SLEEPINESS: bring his carseat on the plane. he will be easier to handle if there is a familiar place for him to sit and doze off. try to stick with his nap schedule during the flight and until he adjusts to the time difference. HUNGER: bring lots of snacks and meals he likes. throw in a few treats that you know he likes but that he doesn't often get to eat like cookies or chips. don't give him something he's never had in case he has a bad reaction. also, beware of the sugary treats...you don't want a sugar high followed by a crash...this is when tantrums happen. dehydration is another enemy. you'll have to buy beverages in the terminal (after the security check) so you might want to bring a small, soft-sided cooler to keep those things cold. BOREDOM: does he watch movies? if not, this is a perfect time to introduce them. get yourself a portable dvd player and few kids' movies. GET A BACKUP BATTERY. dvd batteries last only about 3-5 hours and you may be unable to recharge during your layover. if he already likes movies, bring a few familiar ones but also bring one or two he's never seen. don't bring the movie cases, put the dvds in a cd/dvd case that holds 10 or so. bring crayola color wonder markers and the color wonder paper/coloring books...this will keep him busy and won't mark up the tray table, wall, seat, etc. of course, bring his favorite books. see if you can find small boardbook versions of his favorites...they travel well and he'll like seeing them in a different format.
you also want to be sure to prepare for the possibility he gets sick on this trip. bring kiddie pepto bismol, baby tylenol, band-aids, glycerine bulb syringes for constipation, diaper rash cream...hit the kids' medicine aisle at the drug store and stock up.
i strongly recommend gate-checking your stroller as opposed to checking it with your luggage. you are going to want to have it with you in the terminal and on your layover. it's a bit of a hassle at the security check but it's TOTALLY worth it to have in the terminal.
this might seem odd but when i travel with kids under 2, i put them in zip-up, footie pajamas with shoes. for one thing, they are comfortable...no waistbands poking them or shirts coming untucked. the second thing is, pjs are easier to fit in the diaper bag. you want to have at least 3 changes of clothes for the plane (spills, leaky diapers, etc) so fitting them in the diaper bag is a concern. bring a favorite blanket and/or jacket because the plane can get cold.
i hope this helps. good luck!

I seriously don't think your going to get alot of responses on this subject. Perhaps,you should have asked,how many mothers would attempt to take their 1 year old on a 10 to 14 hour International flight. Its a shame, that you feel the need to take him.I learned early on, that there are just some occasions,that you must set up a nanny or sitter. Especially when attending functions,such as funerals or weddings. I respect,that they want as few interuptions,and noise as possible,and I would refuse to put myself,or my baby under the stress. I'm quite sure,your son will be just as miserable as the two of you,after so many hours of confinement, (jet lag) the (time change) and of course being in (New surrounding) I think I would ask the Dr. if there was a mild seditive you could give him to help keep him calm.Good Luck you two.: )

We flew cross county a few months ago with our daughter (9 months old at the time), and we found that flying the red eye helped cause she was able to sleep most of the way and also brestfeeding her at take off and landing helped with the pressure change. She hardly fussed at all, luckily there were alot of people for her to make eyes at.

We made up backpacks with activities, crayons, snacks, ect. for each of the kids. These worked wonderfully.

You've gotten some great tips. I cant remember if someone already mentioned this but you can ask the airline to have a kids plate on each flight. For example, my son got a waffle, sausage link & choc chip cookie instead of a spicy mexican breakfast burrito with salsa. Just a thought! Also, don't worry about routines and schedules, my son went to Mexico with us and he slept almost the entire trip (on the way there) which was great! On the way back, he was a little more alert and we brought some of the same stuff being recommended here. Now, one thing I did invest in was a safety harness. I didn't want to lug around a car seat but at his age, he needs to be in his own seat, so I wanted to make sure he was protected. It worked out great, I got lots of compliments from the airline staff and he was fine cause it looked just like his carseat straps. Here is the link http://www.kidsflysafe.com/index.php

Best wishes and have fun!

C.~
http://www.ToxicFreeFamily.net
http://www.HelpUStayHome.com

It's difficult traveling with a 1 year old on a very long flight, but it's been done lots of times, and you'll all survive. You know your son and probably have a decent idea of how he'll handle it. If he's at all interested in watching TV, I would recommend bringing a portable DVD player. Also, pick up some new small toys that will hold his interest, being that they're new. Purchasing a seat for him will be really helpful. It'll help provide more play space and give him a more comfortable place to nap. If you're not opposed to the idea and your pediatrician is ok with it, try Benadryl to help him sleep. Pack lots of extra diapers & wipes, bring something for him to suck on or drink during takeoff and landings, and bring a couple changes of clothes for you and him.

Traveling can be fun, just don't let it stress you out too much. most important thing, if he starts to cry don't stress, do what you can to help allieve what's bothering him an soothe him of course but don't get all crazy to stop him, kids cry, it is what it is and he will feel your stress and cry more.

My 2 year old started traveling at 6 weeks and has been to 8 countries (some like australia twice) and 20 states (we travel for business a lot), longest trip was at 14 months for 19 hours, that one was the only time she cried but it only lasted a very short time and it was because take off was at 11:30 at night, very late for a little one to be up, but then she feel asleep once we were airborne and all was well. Of course we were all tired when we got there and we all feel into bed early and slept all night. But I see other parent's just get wrecked when their babies cry and if they'd just relax and run it's course the baby usually will stop sooner.

Bring toys (some he's never seen before) and books and a favorite stuffed animal and blanket, food he likes and juice (you can bring juice and milk and medicine for him -baby tylenol just in case he starts getting a tooth). I love bringing my ergocarrier so I can walk around with her when she gets restless without breaking my back. If he's walking consider a cute little leash (they make them to look like monkeys, doggies, etc) our little one loves to walk up and down the isles and the leash helps us keep her from going into people's seats. Ask for the bulk head so you can get a basinet so he can sleep (I think the weight is 25 pounds max). We never bring her car seat, we've always gotten the basinet at bulkhead and it's great, she plays in their like it's a crib, but they can easy stand up and fall over so you can't fall asleep while they are playing (although most have a contraption that goes over so while they are sleeping and laying down it's safe). None that she's 2, no more bulkhead, but we've always found the seat is good, makes her feel like a big girl.

Don't underestimate the power of walking around, you don't have to be in your seat the whole time. At the connection let him walk or crawl around the atlanta airport (just be very close so busy travelers don't step on him) then wash his hands real good. He'll need that movement before the connection, seriously. And during take off and landing give him a bottle or sippy cup (this will help with his ears so he won't get plugged up and cry) but wait till your about to take off. We've thought we were about to take off and she sucked it all down and then didn't have it for the real take off so now we know to wait for the plane to actually be accelerating.

I'm not sure why the poster assumes your baby and you will all be miserable when you get there, it doesn't have to be. Stay positive and try to have fun and keep it light hearted. I'm really not a fan of sedatives, that seems more of a shame to drug up your baby, than to take him on a fun trip. Good luck and try to have fun!

As this is an international flight you should be able to get a bassinet for your little guy which allows him to sleep. You will have him on your lap during take off and landing but trust me he'll be happier with this set up. Bassinets are set up next to the bulk head so your carry on will be in the overhead but this makes things easier with less clutter at your feet. Another advantage is you are then located near the bathrooms. Note that only one or two stalls will have the changing table so scope that out early. New toys as others suggested are essential and playdough is a great distraction for long periods of time. Books are also essential. As for the DVD someone suggested. Most international flights have personal TV monitors with special kid channels for them to watch as well as a place to plug your DVD in so you don't have to worry about running out of battery. For a 1 year old I'm not sure a DVD is worth taking but they are certainly handy for older children and not just on the plane - at the hotel too. Gate check your stroller so you have something with you at the airport but check if you get it back in Georgia or if it'll be checked all the way through to Rome which means you'll have nothing until you clear customs in Rome - this is where the Baby Bjorn or other light weight baby carrier is essential. So relax and have a great trip and don't worry if he cries as that is bound to happen and for the most part the other passengers will understand. If you're stressed he'll sense it and be stressed too which equates to more crying. Enjoy Rome!!

I travel 18 hours flight + 3 hours transit every year with my 2 daughter since they were 10 months old. They are 3 and 5 now. And we will be leaving next week for that trip again.
Just make sure you have new toys that he never play with (you can buy it cheap at dollar store). I did that with my 2 daughters. I always order child meal. Make sure you order child meal way ahead before your departure (they won't take the order if it is less than 24 hours, they need time to order it too). Portable dvd with new dvd movies. Snacks, and new books. I do bring all new because it will make them excited too see new things. New by what I mean is never play with. You can hide some of his toys and just bring it on the trip. I always asked for extra blanket and pillow so my daughters can play on the floor. I did ask for window seat, because it fits us perfectly (3 people). It is true the up front seat have more room for legs, but it didn't work for us because we could not lift the arm rest. I don't know if you buy extra seat for him, if it is not check with the airline they will give bassinet for infant/toddler on certain weight. Hopefully it helps! Have fun!

Hi ,

I am going on vacation next week with my 14month twins.
I am bringing a portable DVD player so they can watch
their Signing Time and Baby Einstein DVD's. I showed it to them yesterday so they could get a feel for it. Not sure
if they are too young but I figured it was worth a try.
Also bring lots of snacks.

Thanks for posting this - I was wondering the same thing and have gotten some great ideas from your request :)

As an aside, I just wanted to point out that giving your baby Benadryl to help them "relax" is a TERRIBLE idea. Not only are drugs unsafe for babies and toddlers, but somehow it's become accepted to do this when all it is is DRUGGING them so they are drowsy and less active.

Try to get a bulkhead seat at the front of the plane. Your son will be able to get down and have a little more space. If the seat isn't available a lot of airlines will ask the people in those seats if they wouldn't mind letting you sit there to kep your child happy. YOu have to ask though.

I got a "gogo kidz" carseat attachment that puts wheels on the carseat for traveling through the airports. This made a BIG difference for the airport process and made it so we only had to take the carseat through the airport and not the stroller. ALSO, since you have both you and your husband...I suggest only ONE of you use the pre-boarding for adults with young children...to set up the carseat/get situated. The other parent stay in the waiting area with the child until the last boarding call...this limits how much time your child is just sitting in a plane waiting. For such long flights, if there is any way to get a seat for your son, do it! if not, there is still the possibility of getting a seat for him if the flight is not full (though international flights do tend to be full). And finally...if you have one, a small portable dvd player can be a welcome distraction. While my child is not allowed more than 20 minutes a day at home with the TV, when travelling our expectations are different. Expecting a child to sit for that long period is a LOT, so its acceptable to bring along some favorite videos to distract him for portions of the travel time along with the typical books, coloring, small toys or even a leap-pad type toy thats more interactive.

good luck!

Try using a little Benadryl to relax him throught the flight. And try to take a pacifier or bottle for the pressure in the ears during take-off and landing.

When we went to disneyworld (from LA) with our then 18month old our ped. gave us eardrops to put in her ears 1/2 hour before going up/down to numb them so she would adjust to the altitude easier. They worked wonderfully. We also took a DVD player (make sure you have enough battery power), stuff to color, water, snacks. Since your flight will be a LOOOONG one make sure you have plenty of things to keep your little one busy and especially snacks. Pack some kid friendly meals or pick them up at the airport before you take off cuz little ones rarely like airplane food. (not that I blame them) there are great "paint" books that are just water and the page changes color and when it dries you can do it again. Try to find something a little new but that he is already interested in so it will have his attention for a good amount of time. Have a great time!

We took out son to England when he was nine months old and it really wasn't that bad...He slept most of the way there...he nursed, we had some toys with us for him to play with...all in all, really not bad. I would suggest asking ahead about accomodations for infants...we were able to get a bulk head seat which gave us so much more room and a bassinette thing for him to sleep in. It was actually a little small for him, but it was nice to have him out of my lap for periods during that long flight.

Bring extra clothes for you and for him. My son hadn't had a leaking diaper in I don't know when until we got a few hours into the flight and I felt that lovely warmth spread all over me! I had clothes for him, but nothing for me...

Oh! And, here's the one thing we didn't really account for in the whole thing. The hardest thing we had trouble with was getting him to go to sleep that first night. We were exhausted from the time change, but he had kept his normal schedule on the way over, so he was WIRED that first night we were there. I swear, he didn't go to sleep until 4am. Later that day, when we were out, he fell asleep again so fast...It took him a little longer to adjust to the time than us, but on the way home, it was no problem...not sure why...

Have fun! We had a great time!!!
-M

We travelled to Ecuador with our son when he was 1 yr. Had a 7 hour flight to Colombia, w/a 1 hour layover and then 1 more hour to Quito. We took a red eye in order to maximize on sleep time for him & our pediatrician recommended giving him Benadryl a few minutes before the flight. We also purchased a seat for him & used his car seat in it as opposed to carrying him on our laps because it was such a long flight. When he got restless on the second flight I walked up and down the aisle, which no one seemed to mind. Flight was a breeze. One thing you should definitely do if you use the Benadryl is to try it first to make sure it does not have the opposite effect on your son. In some cases in can actually cause them to be hyper which you obviously don't want. If you have a portable dvd player it might be worth it if he likes Baby Einstein or other stuff. We had one just in case, but never used it. Bring pleny of toys, books and bottles or if you're still nursing, nurse him on take off & landing & any other time he seems uncomfortable. When on a plane, just do what you have to do to survive :)

Ziploc bags are a great thing to have in your diaper bag. I love having them to throw poopy diapers away so you don't stink up the place. They come in handy for a million other things as well. you will see... magnadoodles are good too. Lot's of drawing, yet no marking up the plane and you don't have to cart around a drawing tablet. You might want to consider investing in a "Sit 'N Stroll." a carseat that converts to a stroller. Google it...
Hope that helps. Enjoy and take lots of pics, obviously...

Hello, I just returned home with my 1 year old daughter from a little trip all by ourselves. Our flight was only 4 hours, but I did have some positive experiences with a few different things.
1. Books that have open/close flaps
2. Wind up toys that flip or do something stationary so you can put it on the tray in front of you guys.
3. Some cups that your son can put different little things into and out of. (I bought some cheap little animal figurines from Target...worked great and I was okay if a few of them got lost.)
4. Finally, I have this book called Cheerios...it has little empty spots where Cheerios fit into (wheels on cars, bubbles on fish, eye glasses on mice, etc.)...I would put the cheerios in the holes and she would take them out and eat them. I worked like a charm!
5. Try not to take TOO much...my carry on was super heavy and I didn't even touch some of the stuff that I had packed for her.
Good Luck!
5. T

My husband and I have gone overseas with our4 year old several times and we find that the hardest parts of the trip are the takeoffs and landings. The flight itself always seems to go well, usually our son dozes off for at least an hour which makes it so much easier. It's the going up and coming down that seems to affect him the most. Also, take advantage of the layover stop. If your son is walking, let him run in the airport (with close supervision of course). Or let him crawl everywhere. And don't board early, wait until the last minute-that is usually the hardest time for us-the waiting. I hope this helps.

I agree so far with what most people have said. Lots of good tips here. The only thing I think you should add to that is patience with yourself, your child, and the situation. Knowing up front that despite all your best intentions, it could all go horribly wrong, and just dealing with it will be so much more helpful to you then just stressing out about whatever the situation, people complaining and your own expectations. And if it all works out, so much the better. But don't let people who don't believe you should travel with your child make you feel bad about what you are doing. Your life is your life, and you shouldn't not do something because it might be uncomfortable. And besides, all those people who complain usually don't have children of their own anyway!

I love laptops--I realize the battery won't last long--but kid DVDs like Reader Rabbit Toddler for the 2 hours the battery does last is a goldmine. I go to the dollar store and also buy a bunch of new toys---and pull out 1 like every hour or so... crayons and coloring stuff is a goldmine. basic like 4-piece puzzles would be fun....BOOKS! Lots of books! Your carry-on may weigh more than your suitcase after this... ;) but it will be worth it!!

Hello,
This may sound a bit obvious, but the first step for keeping your baby happy to to keep him comfortable. Try giving him a baby bottle with water or juice to suck on during take offs and landings,sucking will help adjust to preasure changes in his ears, it works same way chewing gum or "popping your ears" helps you adjust. Another sanity saver I found on 18 hours of planes with an almost one year old was a new frog puppet. He had not seen it and was fascinated with the way it talked and croaked and moved and hid, and played peekaboo, so I suggest finding a new puppet friend. Having interesting snacks like aminal crackers or colorful cheerios instead of the plain ones he is used to are great for this special occasion, and a wet washcoth in a ziplock bag to wash his face can help him calm down. Don't forget to have a favorite toy or blanket with you, and not in the suitcase, as he will be surrounded by new and unfamiliar things. Have fun, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination

when my daughter was that age, the pediatrician recommended Benedryl for a long flight. also bring something for him to suck on during take off and landing. the pressure changes during that time really hurts the baby's ears>

I have never traveled internationally with my son, but he has flown a lot! I would recommend the car seat to keep him secure and your lap free for that long of a flight. If he's walking, take him for a stroll up and down the aisle every so often for a fresh view of things. Good for your leg circulation, too! Toys, books, lots of snacks, and maybe a movie and portable DVD player, if he's into movies. You can probably turn the volume way down so not to disturb others and he'll still get the idea! Best advise, relax! If you are stressed, he'll be stressed. Go with the flow and have fun!

Be prepared to breast-feed or use bottle to help clear his ears while taking off and landing and throughout the flight. Bring new toys and books(or ones he hasn't seen for a month) so he can chew on safe things and have things to play with. Food he can play/snack on. Let him walk/crawl in the airport right up until you board. Help him walk up/down aisles every hour.
If he wants to sleep on the plane, let him. Have fun. Don't let snotty passsengers without kids bother you. ;-)

As for me, I don't fly without a baby carrier. I like the sling ones but any will be helpful. Some security check points will let you walk through wearing them and others don't. But baby wearing is the way to go!

As for on the plane, be sure to take something to lay down for changing. There are no changing areas on the plane so it will be happening in the aisle or somewhere else on the floor.

If your son loves books or if this is a part of your bed/nap routine, take them. I let to take one that is large enough to create a barrier so that my little girl can concentrate on the book and my voice so she can relax.

Also take any security items and something for him to suck on in case his ears bother him.

Extra change of clothes for him and an extra shirt for you too.

Other than that toys that he loves and hope for the best.

Don't worry about other passenger's looks, they give them to you no matter how good your child is.

We used a baby B'air flight vest, so that our daughter was always attached to us. It hooks through your seatbelt to keep them from being taken or wandering far. We also put Baby Einstein DVDs to play on the plane. Little blocks and books kept her entertained too. We had lots of munchies - cheerios, freeze dried fruit, etc were very helpful.

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