As you can imagine, we do a lot of traveling. We’ve been on some pretty long plane rides, up to 12 hours. I’ve learned some do’s & don’ts over the last couple of years of traveling with an infant and now toddler, and I’m willing to share all the info. Traveling with a small child is basically a few hours of distraction on your part. You have to have a bag full of tricks at your disposal, and pray to all that is holy that your kid takes a nap at some point (pearl usually falls asleep during the landing.) Here are some hacks to help you get through these possibly tough times.
1. Don’t worry about over-sized liquids for baby including milk, water & baby food. TSA will test the vapors & let you through security with them. The 3 ounce rule does not apply.
I learned this because Pearl’s formula was home made and liquid only. I didn’t have powdered formula, so I was quite worried. Called TSA & they explained that any liquid baby products or food were allowed through, they just test the vapors on top of the liquid, or make you take a sip of it to prove its authenticity.
2. Pack 3x as much baby food or formula than you think you need.
You’ll want to give the baby your breast, pacifier, or a bottle during take off and landing, even if they don’t drink the whole thing. Sucking on something during these times greatly reduces ear pressure. The other bottle is for when the baby is actually hungry. If your flight is long, you may want to pack 4 or 5 servings of milk & food. Food can become a great tool to cure boredom & restlessness.
3. Pack LOTS of diapers & a change of clothes incase baby has a diaper blowout
For some reason, my child always finds a way to have a massive blow out every time I’m caught without a change of clothes. She’s famous in our family for it. Bring more diapers than you think you need, obviously, but don’t forget that extra pair of pants!
4. Pack a changing pad for the bathroom
I normally didn’t carry these with me everywhere, but airplane bathrooms are small & the pull down changer is hard and likely very dirty. Pearl would freak out when I’d try to put her on the hard surface. I started traveling with one of those soft roll-up pads. I love the memory foam roll-up ones by “Ah Goo Baby”.
5. Pack a buffet of snacks, including emergency candy
If your kid is old enough to eat snacks, pack a lot of them. On our most recent trip I brought 7 different types of snacks. My husband thought I was insane, but she (and he) ate nearly all of them. She would get bored & I would introduce a new snack. She would pick at it, and it would buy me some time to think of a new activity for her. I also keep an emergency piece of candy in the bag incase of a total meltdown. In those cases, it’s not for her, it’s for the poor people around us who have to hear her have a tantrum. Nothing stops an unprovoked meltdown like a piece of chocolate.
6. Charge your iPad and fully download every show, movie, and toddler app you want BEFORE getting to the airport
Airplanes, even if they have wi-fi, are famous for having super slow speed when it comes to the internet. You can’t stream anything up there, and there’s nothing worse than your kid having a meltdown because Peppa Pig is skipping & only downloaded half way.
7. Enable Guided Access as a CHILD LOCK on the iPhone and iPad to prevent kids from pressing home button & volume control
This changed my life. Go into your settings—>general—>accessibility—>and scroll down to “guided access” and turn it “on”. Now your ready to set up the lock. By clicking the “home” button 3 times in a row, a passcode entry should show up. Set your pass code & then hit “start” guided access. Now try and press the home key or any other button. It doesn’t work To unlock, triple click the home button again and enter the passcode to turn it off. You’re welcome!
8. Download kids’ books on a smart device rather than bringing heavy children’s books
If your kid likes books like mine does, you could easily get stuck bringing 10 heavy books in your diaper bag. When we’re home, Pearl reads her physical books, but when we travel, she reads them on the iPad. You can download most of the ones you have on iBooks.
9. If you’re bringing your carseat on the plane, get one of these:
One of our favorite purchases as parents so far. Strap the carseat to the cart & it turns into a stroller. Pearl always has her own seat now that she’s two, and this really makes car-seat traveling a heck of a lot easier.
10. Check your stroller at the gate instead of with the bags
If you’re not bringing a car seat on the plane, and you don’t want to carry your child through the airport in an Ergo baby or Bjorn, take your stroller with you to the gate. As you get on the plane, they will take it from you and put it in the plane last minute. When you leave the aircraft, they will take it out for you & this only takes a couple of minutes. When we don’t fly with the car seat, we usually do this & it saves us from having to carry a wiggly two year old around the airport.
11. Use a baby carrier to get small infants through security & also go through metal detector
You’ll need 2 hands to get all of your explosive, I mean, non-explosive laptops and cameras out of your bag and into the trays. Keep the Bjorn or Ergo strapped to you and just put the baby in it. You can even walk through the metal detector with the baby strapped to you. They’ll just swab your hands real quick to check for explosive residue and what not, no need to be alarmed.
12. Make a copy of child’s birth certificate and keep it in your bag
Most airlines are not too suspicious of children under two, but incase you have to PROVE your kid is under two, and that they are traveling for free because of this, you’ll at least have some proof in paper form.
13. Ignore the haters who are un-sympathetic towards children
There will be people giving you dirty looks when your kid cries, but as my husband likes to say, “We were all babies who screamed and annoyed people at some point.” Don’t let anyone’s grandiose attitude affect you or your family. Babies cry, and people will get over it!