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Baby’s day out

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My one-year-old daughter will be flying with me next month for a 20-hour flight. Any ideas on how to make this trip less challenging?​ ​— Kristina​, Marikina

Suzi says:

Hi there, Kristina,

Oh boy! It’s going to be a great adventure. Be prepared for a bit of a challenge. However if you plan well, you might feel less frustrated during the flight.

I’m assuming the 20-hour flight will have a stopover? Plan for that, too!

If your daughter is still breastfeeding, that makes everything so much easier. Every time it’s feeding time, or especially during takeoff and landing, it’s much easier to calm your daughter. The same goes for bottle feeding, except with a bit more effort. Call the airline ahead to ask about their rules on bringing water in bottles to feed your baby with. Chat with a flight attendant as soon as you board and ask if she wouldn’t mind helping you out in case you need an extra hand. Also, during booking, take the bulk head seat. You might have to spend a bit more but the extra space will be worth it.

Bring just a small sling or shoulder bag for your personals (passport, wallet, etc.) because you will have to bring the baby bag with all the milk and toys and books. Bring your daughter’s favorite snacks, too. No need to bring too many toys, just the favorites. Actually if you’re able to play well with your daughter, a lot of things on the plane can be entertaining—the headphones, blanket, magazine, etc. Just be creative!

When going to the toilet and if you just need to go quickly, ask the friendly attendant you chatted with earlier if she can watch your child for a short while. With hope, she will say yes!

Last but not the least, it becomes more frustrating for moms to calm their children when they cry because of course we are concerned about the other passengers. Try to calm yourself down first so that your daughter won’t feel your stress. Be soothing, calm, and patient and your child will follow. Good luck, mommy!

Paolo says:

Hi, Mommy Kristina,

Managing a toddler at home where you have all the tricks and conveniences at your disposal can be challenging but when you’re confined in unfamiliar surroundings it can really double the stress. As a parent who travelled with our own kids when they were toddlers, I know the dread you are feeling.

In this day and age were lucky to have so many modern conveniences at our disposal to keep our kids occupied. Pack as many things as possible to keep your child occupied while in transit. Stick to a mix of familiar toys to give them a sense of familiarity but also include new things to keep them interested. I find bits of paper and crayons to be particularly useful along with their favorite books. Nowadays, hardly anyone is without smartphone or a tablet. Make sure you load up on toddler-friendly games and apps. Many of them can be quite educational. This is where it starts to get tricky, you want to keep your child occupied but at the same time balance that with not getting them over stimulated, as this will keep them from falling asleep (which is the ultimate parents dream). A toddler who misses his nap time or regular bedtime is a cranky toddler… and we all know how difficult that can be to manage.

That said, choose a flight that will coincide with your child’s sleep time. If possible, time it so that you’re settled and in the air by their usual bedtime. Many parents will purposely choose a red eye flight so that there’s less activity onboard too. Less activity means less distractions and stimulation for your child and a higher possibility of extended sleep.

Choose your seat well and try to get as much room as possible with easy access to the bathroom. Pack their regular favorite snacks but stay away from sugary snacks or reserve them for the last part of the flight, especially if you’re hoping they’ll sleep most of the way.

Take a deep breath, mommy. You can do it! Happy flying!

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