Hi Mamas! If you’re on the East coast, I hope you’re enjoying this polar vortex… not!
On my end, I’m counting down the days, hours, minutes until our winter vacation in the Caribbean. As I find myself daydreaming about the beach, I’m also starting to panic at the thought of flying with a toddler, this time around. Not an infant, like last winter/summer, but a full blown, walking, talking, wailing toddler.
Last year, I was worried about my infant son not sleeping on the flight and it turns out that both times, he actually miraculously did. This time, however, I’m pretty sure our 18 month old may be too stimulated to nap. He’s also twice the size he was last winter, so there’s that, too. The poor child may not be able to get too comfy this time around.
For you Mamas planning trips in the near future and are wondering how you’re going to survive the flights, I compiled a list of all the “must-have” travel items we used for Liam at three different ages: 5 months, 12 months, and for our upcoming trip, 18 months.
It’s important to remember that our babies change at the speed of light and that some toys/activities are better suited for certain age group (for example, an iPad would not work for a baby in the 0-6 month age group, as they obviously can’t stay focused on a screen for extended periods of time.)
Blankets – it was nice to bundle Liam up so he was comfortable, hence less whiny. He slept comfortably after I nursed him.
Pacifier – essential for most age groups, but especially for our little ones. Like nursing, sucking on a pacifier prevents a baby’s ears from popping. Meltdown averted!
Bibs – it’s easy to forget about that stage and all that spit up, but it’s inevitable. Bring bibs, lots of them, and even a change of clothes for everyone.
Sling – when going through security and customs, especially, a sling can be a life saver. When we landed, we found out our stroller would be waiting with our luggage, so turns out we had to carry Liam all the way there.
Flyebaby – this amazing, little invention facilitates travel with newborns and infants. Think about it as a baby hammock – it doesn’t get better than that! Bonus? It can be used as a highchair, too. See my review of the Flyebaby here!
Toys/Distractions – You may not need much, but I did notice that it helped to have some distraction items like rattles or Sophie the Giraffe.
Blankets/Pacifier – Still a must, just to make sure your baby stays comfy and pain-free during take off and landing.
Solids & Snacks – Since your baby will have been introduced to solid foods by now, you will want to be prepared with food. I always recommend Puffs, which are super easy and loved by all infants. For our trip with Liam, we steamed and mashed a whole sweet potato to make sure we had enough food for him. We also brought a few fruit pouches to vary flavors.
Toys – This time around, a rattle probably won’t cut it. For Liam, we traveled with a bunch of toys for his 12 month trip: we brought a few different squeaky toys, balls, and stuffed animals to make sure he had enough to play with. We also brought his lovey to make sure he was able to nap on the flight.
Books – Liam has always been into books and we knew that would most likely be the best distraction for the flight. We brought a bunch of little board books and musical books too.
Blankets/Pacifier – May not need the paci, but still worth having in the diaper bag, just in case.
Water bottle/solids/snacks – Again, we plan on being really prepared in the food/drink department. Now that Liam eats a variety of foods, I will bring some puffs, cheese sticks, crackers, pouches, but also a complete meal like meatballs and veggies. I’m planning on preparing two meals worth of food, just in case there are delays or he’s fussier than usual.
Books – Still a book worm, so we’ll be bringing a bunch of books with us on the plane.
Tablet – I never let Liam watch much TV, but over the course of the past week, I’ve been trying to see if he’s able to sit through a whole episode of Mickey Mouse Playhouse or Little Bear (which is actually his favorite!) We’ll be downloading a few shows from Netflix on our iPad to make sure he sits still during some of the air time.
Magnetic Sketch Pad – Recently, Liam has been having fun drawing on his magnetic sketch pad. We’ll be bringing it along since it’s an easy item to pack. You can buy one here!
Gel Clings & Stickers – For this flight, we also had the idea to purchase gel clings so Liam can have some fun on the plane window. You can get some affordable packs on Amazon, like these GelGems! Liam loves stickers as a whole so we may bring a few sticker sheets as well to keep him busy.