My husband and I recently took our 18 months old son on a mini-vacation from California to Texas. The trip was fantastic and I swear my son smiled the entire time. It wasn't being in Texas I was worried about, it was the flight. We have all heard the horror stories and I was worried that he would live up to all those scary stories. Now he's usually a very calm little guy, but what kid at 18 months old, wants to be cooped up for a 3+ hour flight (thank you, rain delay)? My son was a "lapped" infant and in the end, my little guy actually did pretty good.
|Rain, Rain.. go away!|
What worked: Letting him board tired, so avoid long naps before take-off. Little man slept for 90 mins. headed to Texas and just slightly longer on his way back. We made a little comfy knook for him just below our feet and he was good to go. We also made sure to pack two 8 ounce bottles for the plane ride (those clear security), a light set of extra clothes, diapers, soothing blankets/pacifiers (optional), quiet toys (emphasis on the quiet) such as books and plenty of snacks.
What didn't work:
Letting him play in the little makeshift knook. The person in front of us kindly asked us to hold him. When he wasn't sleeping he was squirming and this clearly and rightfully bothered the person in front of us. We were able to sooth him at that point with a quick trip to the lavatory (broke up the sitting down monotony) and then immediately introduced a new snack, toy, etc. Also, the flight attendant had a nifty coloring book and colors for our son. Ask about those while on board.
Picking the window seat in the last row of the plane. This is a nice spot to "quarantine" a baby plus he loved looking out of the window. Also there's no back row to disturb and you're super close to the lavatories. My husband was in between myself/our son and the person in the aisle seat, so little man didn't completely annoy that person.
What didn't work:
Forcing him to sleep! Make sure your baby is tried and ready to go down before cradling them for sleep/nap-time (with a pacifier, bottle or anything necessary to sleep). Kids sometimes fight falling asleep and this portion of the flight (for us) was disturbing to others. Make sure to have a comfy/small blanket or warm coat handy.
|Double-fisted: Snacks & a Toy|
Overall, our son did a pretty good job. He didn't cry much at all but did babble. I'm sure that may have been a bother to some, but overall his bubbly smile kept folks around us in a pleasant or at least tolerant mood. Infants are pretty self-centered and this is normal, so if you are caught in an embarrassing melt down, remember this too shall pass (as soon as your flight's OVER)! Good luck little (and big) travelers.
Share your travel tips too? How do you keep infants/kids entertained while in flight?