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AIRPLANE and the older baby -tips?

483 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  la mamita
I have read several times of mamas taking airplane trips with their 4,5, or 6 month olds....
What about an active 12 month old? I am not sure if I should post this in the toddler forum, but...
Just wanted to ask for some tips. When I traveled with ds before, he was under 6 months. Now he is a I-won't-sit-still baby and needs lots of stimulation.

Questions --

Did you use your car seat on the plane?
Buy an extra seat?
Check the stroller?
Any suggestions?!
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Buy a seat
bring the car seat
gate-check the stroller (use it to carry the carseat, wear the baby)
bring LOTS of snacks - whatever is semi non-messy and they LOVE
bring a bag of new toys they've never seen before (dollar store stuff is great!)

We travelled with our then-16? month old on the plane.

We did NOT buy a seat.
We checked our carseat.
We don't even own a stroller.
And brought few toys.

And it went very well.

We bought this thick plasticky carseat cover with handles and zippers, and it was just perfect. Made it simplesimple for my pack mule, er, husband, to carry to check-in.

Had DS in the sling (non-ring-sling so I didn't have to worry about setting off the metal detector).

Had a few toys, but as usual he did better just looking all around and playing with the things in front of him, than official toys. Official toys get thrown; airplane safety seat cards get looked at, put away, pulled out, put away, pulled out....and so on.

He nursed and nursed and nursed some more. We didn't get off the plane, but the plane did have a stop halfway down, so that was a bit rough on the ears. However, out and back, people kept commenting that they didn't even know we had a baby with us, he was so quiet (he just made up for that last weekend on a train trip, though).

Here's my reasoning on the carseat/plane-seat thing...the theory behind using a seat on the plane seems to be *not* for crashes, but for turbulence. However, my son would NOT deign to be strapped into his seat during the flight, so he'd be up and out in a time of possible turbulence anyway. Just like I undo my own seatbelt once the light is off, I'm quite sure DS would want that too (even once he HAS to have a seat for himself). So...for the time that he doesn't need his separate seat, we're not making him. For me, the reasoning just doesn't track logically.

Oh! This worked well for us, too. Although DH is on the bigger side, with a Buddha belly, he agreed to be in the middle seat while I took the window. That way my bare back and side was blocked by his belly when I nursed DS on one side, and blocked by the side of the plane/window when I nursed from the other side. I'm usually not one to use the restrooms on the plane anyway, so it wasn't that big a deal. (Before having DS, though, I always wanted the aisle seat b/c I'd rather be interrupted than have to interrupt someone else on my way out of the seats) Anyway, the him-middle / me-window arrangement worked well for us.
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I am doing a long flight with my daughter this summer, 14 hours about. 10 hours, layover, and then another 3 hours. She will be 16 turning 17 months. We did the same trip last year and it was SO easy because she slept the entire way.

This time I did buy her own seat and I was lucky enough to have so many frequent flyer miles that I am going business class. I am not taking the car seat (well I am checking it) and am hoping that she will sleep on a fully reclined seat. I also made sure to get bulkhead seating since you get a bit more room.

I am going to have all her favorite snacks, like the things that can stop her in her tracks. A few favorite books and toys but I figure that she will be walking up and down the aisles a lot. As long as she isn't screaming I think that is fine.

No stroller for me, although last time I did bring one and gate check it, I am just going to sling her.

Last year I found the flight attendants to be VERY helpful and attentive to my/her needs.
We just flew back and forth to FL with my very active one year old (and did a cross country trip w/ DS when he was 11 months.) We've always gotten them a seat and tried to time our flights so that we have a shot at at least one nap on the plane. Wear easy-to-nurse-in clothes (like a tank top with a shirt open over that), pack lots of snacks, "touch and feel" sort of books, soft puppets, sippy with water (I buckle kids in during take-off and landing and I give that to them to facilitate swallowing to help their ears.) Actually, on our last flight DD played the most with 2 plastic cups I got from the flight attendant, the airsick bag, and a half-full soda bottle with the cap screwed on tight that she had fun shaking!
When she got really antsy, I walked her up and down the aisle to break things up for her.

I like the car seat not only for safety reasons, but that she seems more content to sit in that, like she got the link between that seat and staying put. I took her out to nurse and to walk the aisles, change diaper, etc., but with her in her seat (rear-facing) we were face to face and nice and close and could play better anyways...

I have always had to take babies out of slings at security, even pouch slings with no rings. It wasn't a big deal, I just put the sling in the bucket with my shoes going through the x-ray and carried baby, popping them back in on the other side of security.
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I don't know if I'd go for bulkhead - I've personally never liked it when traveling with children because you have to put your bags overhead and I've always liked being able to have everything under the seat in front of me for easy access. The few times I was in the bulkhead I'd wished I wasn' really can't put baby down (they'll either try to crawl under the seat or down the aisle) and there wasn't *that* much extra room.

As for checking the seat....tough call. Mine have always seemed to drop off and sleep in the carseat fine.. We had to check the seat one time with DS because of seating assignment (ugh) issues and we had a really tough time keeping him in the seat for take-off/landing and having him not unbuckling the belt. Plus they sort of slide around in that seat, it's pretty big for a little one.

Totally JMHO..just my take
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I'm paying attention here. I'm probably going to have to take DD to Japan at the end of May, and she'll be 10 months old. We took her once already at 4 months and she did great (well, except for the time change; it took her about 4 days to get on the new schedule and she kept waking up at 3 a.m. to play.)

At 4 months she was easy to deal with; I wore her in the Moby and on the plane she stayed in my arms and nursed and slept, mostly. She'll be crawling when we take this next trip, which worries me the most I think. Did you other mamas let your baby crawl around a bit, or was that a total no-no? Or did baby do okay not crawling? It's a 3-hour flight to the West Coast and then an 11-hour flight after that, and I'm starting to dread the whole thing enough to consider not going at all. Her Japanese Grandpa and her Godmother both desperately want to see her, though. Keep the tips coming!
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