Flying With a Toddler and Infant!
"So you're flying with kids, huh? Well, I wish you luck!"
Before my little fam bam took off for our Florida vacation, that's what one of my friends said to me in regards to flying with our kiddos. That statement made me a little nervous actually. Like, what do you mean, kids aren't hard to fly with, right? Why would they be? Everything is new and interesting and all kinds of fun stuff is happening. Well, let's just say for the flight to Florida I completely over packed, and for the flight home to Indianapolis---Mama made a huge mistake.
From the get-go I think Scott and I realized we were a little over our heads with taking so much through the terminal and security and to the gate with us. We had our double stroller, one car seat was checked and one we took on with us, two backpacks, an overnight bag, and a mini backpack for Emily that she of course refused to wear. Keep in mind that just getting from our car to the actual check in area was a huge task. We had two huge suitcases to carry along with us as well as everything else!
We decided not to purchase a seat for Brody and have him be a lap child, free, duh. So on the flight there, for Emily, we took her car seat on the plane which I heard was a huge lifesaver. I took snacks, her IPad, new cool kiddo earphones, coloring books with the special markers that only write on those pages, blankets (so many blankets), extra clothes, extra shoes, lots of Target Dollar Spot toys wrapped up individually, and probably 50 other things I can't even remember because, let's be honest, mom brain over here.
For Brody we basically packed earplanes, blankets, formula, and bottles! Easy, right?!
I was actually super surprised and relieved about how gracious the other passengers were when we were getting on and off the plane. Maybe it's the Hoosier Hospitality that I'm used to but people were so sweet to all of us, even offering to help in any way they could. Let me just say that even with two parents, taking a car seat onto an airplane and installing it is not an easy task. Once we were all finally on the plane, bags stored, Emily in her car seat buckled in, and Brody on Daddy's lap it was like a moment of silence came over the plane for us. Haha!
Emily was super curious and loved everything about the plane. I will say that the car seat took up a lot of my seat since I was sitting next to Emily, between her and Brody because dear LORD, don't let him touch her! Brody was the more antsy and difficult kiddo at this point. He just likes to be mobile and couldn't be pretty much at all. When the plane started moving Scott started Brody on the bottle we made ahead of time. Emily was super curious about looking outside her window and seeing the plane "go higher and higher into the clouds!".
Emily eventually shut her window and I figured, ok the perfect time to bring out all these awesome goodies I planned so long for, right?! Wrong. I had downloaded some of her favorite movies onto her IPad so I brought it out, got her headphones on her and everything and the little booger watched TWO minutes and was done for the rest of the flight. We played under her blankets and laughed a bunch. She eventually fell asleep!
Brody was super restless and was having a hard time getting comfortable, poor guy. Daddy came to the rescue though and held and cuddled him until he fell asleep too. Scott was able to rest a bit I think at this point. You'd think this would be a great opportunity for this already exhausted mama to nap, but no, I was too terrified something would happen so I was wide awake!
When we landed, everyone was happy and ready to go to the beach! Luckily our double stroller came in handy for both car seats since Emily only wanted to walk and I was able to wear Brody in our Tula. I tell you what, as soon as we were all strapped in our rental and on the move, I could finally breathe. The hard part is OVER.
Fast forward 7 days and it's time to go home. (insert crying face here)
For the flight home, the only non-stop flight was scheduled to leave at 8:00pm and I figured, perfect timing-bedtime! My goodness I have never been more wrong about something in my life! The flight wasn't full at all so the one good thing that happened is that instead of three seats, we in total had six! We didn't take on Emily's car seat this time either and only carried on two bags, not 5! Getting on the plane was super easy this time around!
Now let me say that I have never once needed to use an airplane bathroom, that I remember anyway. Emily unfortunately DID need to use it, the changing table part. This was a horrid experience. Why in the world do airplanes have to make their changing tables only big enough for basically a newborn!? Changing her, when she already hates being changed, was the last thing I wanted to do but knew it had to be done. That's something I never want to do again!
Since we didn't bring a car seat on the plane for Emily it was definitely harder getting her to sit in the seat for takeoff. Beforehand she was standing in her seat playing peek-a-boo with a little baby sitting behind us. The one thing that worked during takeoff were window clings! these amazing $1.00 Target window clings took up so much time and kept Emily in her seat the entire time in the beginning! She eventually fell asleep laying down on the two chairs beside me. Brody fell asleep as well, but only after spilling a brand new cup on ice water all down the front of me. Of course I didn't pack an extra shirt in a carry on, why would I? I'm an adult! Ugh. Finally we land and poor sweet Emily is so tired she doesn't even wake up once the plane is stopped and everyone is up, lights are on and all. I immediately put the sleeping Brody on since wearing him was the only way he was going to stay asleep. Scott picked Emily up and we finally-exited-the-plane. I figure that would be the end of it, we'd sit Emily in the stroller and get the heck home. But no...nope...nada. Scott went ahead out to get our car while I waited at baggage claim with the kiddos. Brody woke up and was happy but Emily was screaming at the top of her lungs and crying. I was so embarrassed, tired, annoyed. Even strangers came up to me trying to make sure I knew it was okay and that they weren't bothered by it and they knew she was just tired. I mean, I get it! By this point it was almost 11:00pm, way past her bedtime. I even had to resort to calling Scott to ask him to leave our car in the pick up area to come get Emily because she was so upset. Once Scott came in for Emily, I was able to gather everything up and we FINALLY were on our way home!
So what are my suggestions for flying with a toddler and an infant?
- bring snacks and drinks (Like, come one, duh.)
- bring new wrapped toys (our toddler didn't use any but I'm still super glad I brought them just in case!)
- bring blankets! (airplanes are cold for adults, imagine a little one!)
- bring their favorite stuffed animal or baby (no brainer)
- bring a baby carrier (our Tula saved my life during these flights, y'all!
- bring water for bottles in your carryon (it's allowed!)
- take your stroller to the gate (it's free and there for you upon arrival)
- purchase car seat covers (no one wants to have to put their babe in a dirty car seat after all of this)
- allow your babe to run off their energy before boarding!
- allow your toddler to bring their own backpack or suitcase on the plane (this will make them feel like such a big kid and what babe doesn't want to be just like Mommy and Daddy?)
- bring a car seat onto the plane (this one is totally up to you but we didn't get much value from bringing our car seat, more of a hassle.)
- try to force them to sit immediately (let them play and have fun and enjoy the airplane!)
- STRESS (this will be impossible but my goodness please remember: All these other passengers purchased a seat but it wasn't promised to be a quiet seat!)
- plan a flight around bedtime!!! (biggest mistake of our trip)