29 Jan Flying With Kids: 10 In-Flight Sanity Savers
My first flight with my daughter Emmie was to Fiji when she was four months old, and now at five years old she is comfortable and happy when she is in the air. Things may not always go smoothly when flying with babies and toddlers, but with a few tricks and tools we can make flying with kids a little easier for ourselves. While I’m lucky now that Emmie is happy using the self-service inflight entertainment, here’s a few life savers that have worked for me in the past:
Breast Feeding & Unblocking Ears
Breast or bottle feed your baby on take-off and landing. Don’t start too early though, be sure to wait til you’re moving down the runway or have properly started descent. The sucking motion will help baby’s ears from feeling blocked and painful. I am a bit naughty and now give Emmie snakes to chew on as we go up and down, and you can also give bigger kids water or a juice to drink. Yawning and making big growling animal faces also helps!
Your Baby’s Bottle
You should always take your baby’s bottle on board with you, and flight attendants will happily warm you some milk or water for formula during the flight. You can often take toddlers’ bottles through customs – I have never been asked to tip out Emmie’s water/milk, although in America they have tested it. It is a bit risky though so it is best to keep the bottle empty in case you do lose it – if you take it through empty you can simply buy some more water on the other side.
I’m a big advocate of packing my own food for the flight. That way I know what is in the food Emmie is eating and I have snacks for her if she gets hungry before meal service. I always pack a lunchbox for Emily with things like carrot sticks, vegemite sandwiches, sausages, fruit and biscuits. I carry it in a small soft esky bag with ice packs in it to keep it cool.
Make sure to order a children’s meals before you fly. You can do this online or over the phone to the airline. I haven’t ever found a kids meal that’s I’d recommend, hence taking my own food on board, but some items like the yoghurts are good to keep for snacks. Apparently Qantas has improved its child offering with the launch of the Joey Club so we will check it out and report back!
Wrapped Up Toys
My favourite trick is buying lots of inexpensive small toys and wrapping them up with a reasonable amount of bright paper and sticky tape. Pull them out and surprise your children when distraction and entertainment is needed. If you wrap them well enough, just the undoing will give you a nice break!
Packing a Torch
This is most necessary for hunting for toys and dummies on the floor of the aircraft…you will thank me when the flight attendant is getting annoyed at having to get on his hands and knees for the fifth dummy hunt of the night!
Their Favourite Toys
Take the toys your child loves with you. When Emmie was obsessed with playdoh I took playdoh, when it was In the Night Garden figurines, they came along with us too. Itty Bitty Books and sticker books are great too – sure you may end up with Mickey Mouse stickers covering the armrest, but if it keeps you children happy then its worth it tenfold! I also suggest taking a comfort item, like a favourite blanket, if possible.
Medical and Toiletries Kit
Take a little medical/toiletries kit on board with you. Just separate out from your travel medical kit what you may need on the flight and bring it along including panadol and/or nurofen, change mat and baby wipes and any other medicine you may need, like inhalers. I have never used any medicine to help Emmie sleep, but if you choose to, make sure familiarise yourself with it – and test it out – before you travel. Consult with your local GP/Health Care Provider before using Medication.
A Change of Clothes
Always take a change of clothes for the baby/toddler and for you. I have been pooed on and spewed on and of course it’s so much easier to manage with a change of clothes in your bag!
Their Own Bag
Em’s had her own bag since she was two and she loves it. It’s the easiest place to pack and access everything your child needs without having to rummage around in your handbag or carry-on. Em loves pulling her bag behind her through the airport – we have a hard case Pack’d Dot to Dotty bag and it’s survived three years of reasonable travel duty.
Traveling with Emmie is the highlight of my life, and I hope to encourage more families and women to travel and share adventures with their children. If you have any questions please email me – happy to help as much as I can.
About the Author
Evie Farrell is a single mother who travels the world with her five year old daughter Emmie. In 2016 they are hitting the road for a year’s travel through South East Asia. Follow them on instagram at mumpacktravel and at MumPackTravel.com.au