8 lessons for flying with toddlers from the first long haul travel day

Our first long haul flight of our trip is now over. We were upgraded to business class, and were actually looking forward to the flight. A glass of champagne! Room on the floor for Kiddo to sit and play! And in a flash, we will be thousands of miles away in New York City! Well, here is what we learned.

  1. Don’t get cocky. We thought, “Oh, Kiddo LOVES to watch the iPad, of course she will sit quietly for 6 hours watching Mickey Mouse, with small breaks to read books or eat snacks, and then nap easily.” Wrong. She wasn’t interested in the iPad really at all. If I had been more mentally prepared, I would have been a lot less frustrated about this.
  2. Breastfeeding saves the day. When Kiddo is restless, the boob can be calming. When she is thirsty but we don’t have water easily accessible, milk does the trick. When she is amped up and wants to run around, a milky cuddle with mama helps her dose off. I ❤ breastfeeding!
  3. Don’t put your kindle in the seat crack of reclining business class seats. It will be crushed by the powerful jaws of the reclining business class seat. 😦 😦 😦
  4. Don’t regret buying an extra seat while your toddler sits on top of you for the entire first 4 hours of the flight – once she nods off, you can transfer her to her OWN seat and then actually nod off yourself a little too.
  5. Letting your toddler play with small chocolate candies (in our case, “Smarties”) will lead to one or all of you covered in chocolate.
  6. The best toys are always the free ones. Kiddo spent 10 minutes playing with the wet wash cloth they give you before the meal. That was the longest stretch of any toy.
  7. It might save a tiny bit of sanity to have a bag for trash – plastic wrappers, food covered napkins, half eaten apples and the like, so that it doesn’t end up in some sticky pile in the seat cushion pocket.
  8. Unless you are Magda Gerber or Naomi Aldort or someone with extreme patience and calm, it is likely that you, your partner, and your kid(s) will all have a bad moment or two. A tantrum, a raised voice, a loudly whispered swear word or 7… Its ok. Expect it. Try to forgive yourself and your family. It is stressful to be in the airport machinery for the day. There are lines and water costs 5 dollars and you can’t always pee or eat when you want or need to.

This was our first long haul of the trip. I calculate that we have 6 long haul flights left on our trip, or 8 if you consider 4 hours long haul. I look forward to writing a post about my compendium of advice on flying with toddlers when all those are done 🙂

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