Baby Nook, Travel Nook: Surviving Long Flights with a Baby

It’s hard to believe that almost 4 weeks ago hubby, babes and I made the LONG, long journey from southern Spain to South Dakota, USA! In case you do not believe it when I write “long,” here is what our itinerary was for that trip:

8:10am: leave our house
10:20am: flight departs from Spain
1:15pm New York time (8 hours later): arrive in NYC
3:55pm: flight departs for Minneapolis
6:25pm Minneapolis time: arrive in MN (right now in Spain it’s 1:25am)
9:40pm: leave MN for South Dakota
10:30pm: arrive in Rapid City, SD
11:30pm (7:30 am Spain time): arrive at my parents house
Midnight (8am Spain time): little bug in bed

Start to finish for baby: 23 hours and 50 minutes, give or take a few 

That’s one long trip. It looks worse than it really is though!

Here is what we did and what we learned about overseas flights with baby(13 month old at the time):
What we packed for baby: International flight with Delta, baby was allowed stroller, diaper bag and 1 additional bag!

  • Stroller with boppy in bottom
  • Diaper bag: food (can of tuna, avocado, 3 bananas, low-salt bread-sticks, 3 yogurts), feeding stuff (bottle, formula, spoon, plate, bowl, bib), diaper crap (20 diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper rash cream), clothes (pjs, casual clothes, socks, shoes, light jacket), 2 blankets (1 light and 1 heavier), sippy cup
  • Tunki: 1/2 was filled with books, the other half with blocks, stackie cups, misc toys, touch-n-feel flash cards

We also had 4 more bags. Hubby and I had one carry-on each and then 1 personal item each. Personal items were 1 purse, 1 laptop bag

LESSON LEARNED: We over-packed by one bag. It was a little too much to handle every time we got up and down on the plane, and on and off the flight. I had a little carry-on that I barely remembered using except to store the baby portable DVD player which ended up fitting into the trunki by the end of the trip. All I brought was my tooth brush, book, glasses and wallet (Moms this IS ALL YOU NEED). I didn’t even touch the book. All the extra space was for the baby. A lot of the random little toys were pointless. She was happiest with her puzzle blocks, cups, books, flash cards and DVD player.

Dress the baby in comfy clothes! You can’t tell, but little bug is in an Adidas outfit that was ultra soft. It was a simple thick cotton that was warm but not overly warm. You never know what the temp will be on the flight, it usually starts off hot and then it’s freezing after take-off.

Mom and Dad, wear darker clothes…you never know how much baby food will get on you. Also, when you are trying to eat on a plane with a baby on your lap…it’s not easy, stick with dark clothes in case you spill coffee, beer, ez-cheese, lobster on your clothes!

Pray for a good row! We got the first row as you walked onto the plane, which was about row 15 or so. The row was massive with tons of space for us to pile our stuff, no one was in front of us. We did NOT have personal TVs btw which we were annoyed with at first, instead the flight had a drop-down tv every 8 rows or so. I honestly didn’t notice because I was so focused on keeping her quiet.

Exhaust every toy/book before moving to the next. 8 hours that first flight was. 8 HOURS. I read each book to her until she knocked it out of my hands and then moved onto the next book or toy. Have baby play with that toy as long as it keeps him or her happy, even if that toy is nothing more than a string hanging off your shirt!

This is her watching her DVD. We did not bring out the DVD player until we HAD TO. I think we lasted about 5 1/2 hours! Not bad huh? She was not really up for sitting on my lap and watching it, instead she played on the floor (b/c we had that extra room) and watched it at the same time.

What she ate: On this never-ending flight, she ate 2 bananas and 1 yogurt as a snack. For a proper meal we mixed 1 small can tuna with 1/2 avocado and baby yogurt. She ate 3/4 of it. When we ate our provided meals, she had our cheese and some of our bread rolls.

Let’s now address what you are really wondering, DID BABY SLEEP?

Yes, she did! Little bug took 2 naps during this first flight. It took 10 minutes of mild to moderate crying for her to realize that she had to fall asleep in my arms, which if you have ever been on a flight with babies, you know that 10 minutes ain’t too shabby! Nap 1 was between 60-90 minutes and nap 2 was about 30 minutes! She slept in my arms and I rested and slept a bit while she napped. I highly recommend that if you are traveling with a baby on a long flight, that you sleep when they sleep. Go back to the advice you get with a newborn “sleep when baby sleeps.” Even if you do not sleep, you are still resting…which means you are less stressed overall. It’s a win-win in my book!

This is us celebrating in NYC at one of the airport restaurants. I recommend restaurants vs. fast food places. Restaurants, if big enough, will put you in a quiet area with more room to stretch out. Also restaurants are usually less crowded. Less crowds = less noise = less stress for everyone! They had some pita bread that they toasted and brought for her! We were overwhelmed by how nice people were to us 🙂

Layovers:
We wore the baby out. We walked her around. We found quieter, less crowded areas to let her sprawl out and throw her toys around.

Although she was going strong, we did whatever we could to ensure that she was be exhausted for the next flight (NYC to MN).

And she was. Lucky for me, she passed out before we even took off and she slept (we slept) almost the entire flight!

Now we are in Minneapolis. This was our longest layover…4 hours! Little bug was rested and full of energy!

It was back to exhausting her again through walks and playtime!

It paid off by miles. She passed-out in her stroller about 20 minutes before we boarded the plane. I simply transferred her to my arms, placed the boppy underneath me and we were both comfy and happy for the entire flight from Minneapolis to Rapid City!!

All in all, flying with baby went FASTER believe it or not AND I slept more than any other flight! The only real mistake we made was over-packing. We didn’t plan or expect anything which was great because then we were not let down in any way. Moving across the globe is hard enough, right!

What would I do different next time…nothing probably except the stated above. We did not drug her although we did bring some meds just in case because she was breaking teeth 5 and 6.

Now…getting her on the new time zone was actually easy because she was so tired by the time it was all said and done! It only took 2 days to get her on track…much better than I can say for her parents. The key was keeping her busy.
…like taking her to Target perhaps ;), giving her lots of water and fresh air, lots of walking, tons of new toy time and even more new experiences!

If you are traveling with baby, give them some credit, they do better than we do! Just look at little bug’s first trip to Starbucks in Target, doesn’t she look caffeine addicted already!?

Good luck with your traveling baby! If you have any questions let me know or any other tips, please share them!!

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