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Tips For Flying With Your Toddler

We had a 5:55 am departure, early. so early…. but awesome view of the sunrise!

These tips for the airplane will work for 8-12 month olds. Here’s my experience flying with my rambunctious 9.5 month old.

I coined that term, “twoddler”. Like a “tween” is in between being a little kid and a teen… a twoddler is not a tiny bundle of joy, yet not a full blown twoddler. They might toddle and throw little fits and they are just beginning the stage of the “me do it” attitude, but they ARE still babies!

Remember, babies cry, they fuss, they shout and talk and touch and put things in their mouth. Set reasonable expectations and please do not hesitate to ask the flight attendants for help or advice. That is what they are there for! My mom is a flight attendant and I know from her stories that it is OK and expected to ask for help. Don’t feel silly, flying with a twoddler is seriously a juggling act and if you need help- ASK!

Here is how I packed and wrangled Baby Babe on our recent trip to Texas.

What to pack in your diaper bag

  • 5 diapers
  • Wipes
  • Johnsons & Johnsons Face and Hand Wipes
  • “Lovey” toy
  • Extra baby outfit
  • Binky
  • Muslin Swaddle Blanket
  • 2 small toys with small details and fine motor challenges- I took 2 Peek a Blocks. One with a bell and one with ducks that can spin when turned.
  • Tissues
  • Keys- she loves to fiddle with my keychain and I don’t prefer for her to put my keys in her mouth but these were my go to back up if she got really bored or fussy.
  • PLENTY of snacks- yogurt bites, graham crackers, animal crackers, fruit and veggie squeeze pouch.
  • My liquids and Baby Babe’s liquids. When I check TSAs Parent Page info about the baby’s liquids I learned that I didn’t have to package the liquids into a zip lock bag and there was no limit on the amount of bottles if they were medically necessary. I “kind of forgot” to remove my own liquids from the diaper bag but they didn’t stop me. EASY!

What to wear

On our flight to Texas I dressed her in a cute cozy outfit and her Robeez shoes. I wanted her to be able to cruise around at the gate before getting on the airplane.

On the way home we left the hotel at 4:00 am (which is 3:00 in our time zone!). She wore her footie PJs and of course, a matching headband. She was cozy and warm and I didn’t have to readjust her shirt or shoes. This time I didn’t need a back up Mommy outfit in the diaper bag. If there was an emergency I had my luggage in the overhead compartment.

I tend to suddenly get over heated while waiting for take off so I wore a shelf bra cami layered with a tank top. A light weight scarf worked out perfectly so I had a cute outfit, and I could use it to cover up a little bit whir nursing. Ballet flats made security a breeze! It’s hard to bend over to untie or unzip shoes with a 20 pound baby strapped to your body.

Getting through the airport

Our plan was for me and Baby Babe to meet Grammy at the gate. Luckily we were able to all go through security together but it was still a lot to carry and maneuver! Since we were flying stand by we had to gate check the stroller and the car seat. I learned from my friend that I didn’t have to take the base of our carseat. Check your user manual! Maybe you can do the seat belt buckle too and leave the base at home.

I took the light weight stroller, snapped the carseat in and placed my carryon in the seat of the carseat. My diaper bag was either on my shoulder or hooked on to the stroller.

I used the Ergo carrier for getting around in the airport, but it was more comfortable for me to just hold her on my lap once we were on the plane. The swaddle blanket came in handy when she nursed. I tucked it under my arm for padding and comfort on the arm rest.

In-flight entertainment

We happened to sit in the middle seat of the very last row on the way out. Baby Babe was so excited to meet her new friends sitting next to her. She wanted to talk to them and touch them, especially the man’s tattoos. Haha! Luckily he was a dad of a 15 month old so he was very understanding and kind. I tried not to let her poke him the whole time, but it was a challenge! When she had explored enough I tried to redirect her to play I Spy. “Where’s the light? Where’s the window?…”

I even got out the safety instruction booklet in the seat back and we looked at the people, babies and airplanes in the illustrations. She loved the setback TV and it was like a treat for her to get to watch and touch the screen.

Overall, our flights went really well!

She can be a bit loud at times when she shouts and “sings” but that’s when I brought out the keys. I also recommend that you wear jewelry.

Not only will you look like a pulled together mom on the go, but babies love to look at the little details on necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Airplane breastfeeding

I haven’t used a nursing cover since I tried when she was about 3 months old and hated it. Wearing a light weight scarf was nice because I could cover the top portion of my breast while in the airport with hundreds of travelers walking by. 

Of course I don’t think any breastfeeding mom should HAVE to cover up, but it was so easy to just arrange the scarf to be a little more discrete.

On the flight, the man with the tattoos ended up switching places with us so that we had the aisle seat. I was thankful for that because we had one less new friend to gab with and poke. Baby Babe has been sitting on my lap with her legs around my waist (kind of like the front carry Ergo position) to breastfeed so that helped keep her feet and legs in our area instead of cradle hold where she would be kicking the person next to us.

I can’t say this was my most enjoyable or easiest flight, but it’s definitely possible to travel with your young children. I hope this article helps make your travel easier!

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