Flying with Babies and Toddlers

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Flying with Babies and Toddlers

Flights with Babies and Toddlers Require Preparation and Forethought 

Flights with children are generally traumatic. I’ve just done 1 international 14 hour flight alone with two children, 1 international 11 hour flight with my husband and children, and 4 domestic flights. All in the span of 2 months. Thats a whole lot of flights.

Its not because the flights themselves are always awful, but because of a number of factors:

  1. The anticipation of the flight.
  2. The tiring nature of the flight.
  3. The jet-lag as a result of the flight (this is such a sore topic that I covered it all in its own blog post). I don’t know much about flying with pre-teens, teenagers and older children, but I have learned a thing or two about surviving flights with babies and toddlers. Below is a small guide which will hopefully help you survive flights with your babies and toddlers.

Before You Leave

  1. Book seats that suit your family. Do you need a bassinet? Find out from the airline if you can take one and whether that is guaranteed or not. If its you flying with two kids alone, like I did, see if you can get two seats together and one seat a seat apart so that you may have an additional seat (you can always change when you’re on the flight because no sane person wants to sit between you and your child).
  2. Anticipate the jet lag and see what you van do to minimize it. A good place to start is by reading my previous post Jet Lag Facts and Solutions.
  3. Work out when you want to feed your baby or toddler in order to minimize the jet lag while meeting their current routine’s needs.

Make sure you aren’t carrying too many bags – try to consolidate everything into a single bag, even if you put a smaller nappy changing bag or valuables bag inside that.

What You Need to Pack

  1. Bottle or dummy for landing. If neither works then anything they can chew or gnaw on should help.
  2. Small bag for nappies, wipes, cream and rubbish bag for nappy changes. Don’t put much else in this so you can stow it under the seat in front of you or the magazine pouch.
  3. Snacks, preferably low in sugar so you don’t have a hyperactive child to deal with later. This will also come in handy if your child refuses to eat the airline’s food.
  4. Saline nose spray. You know I like Flo, who even makes adult versions of their nose spray.
  5. Socks. I try find those one with grips on the bottom so that when they speed down the aisle I can focus on keeping them quiet as opposed to focusing on them not slipping.
  6. An extra jersey for when they’re going to fall asleep.
  7. iPad or iPhone fully charged with games, movies or stories. If you’re able to – get the kids headphones. These were a lifesaver for me when I travelled long distance alone with the kids.
  8. A story book for each kid.
  9. One small soft toy – this also helps with familiarizing your kids to their new beds on the other side of your trip.
  10. A spare change of clothes for you and them. One flight we had my son kicked my husband in the nose resulting in blood everywhere – 5 minutes into a 17 hour non-stop flight.
  11. Medicine, medicine, medicine. The last thing you want is your little one getting ill or developing a temp and being unable to do anything about it. I always pack an emergency kit in my carry-on with the basics: paracetamol, plasters, saline spray, ibuprofen, and headache pills for me.

Ideas for Great Kids Entertainment 

  • Etch A Sketch. From as young as a year it can be entertaining.
  • A notepad and soft coloring in crayons. You get shorter wax crayons which are great in the limited space.
  • Aeroplane toy.
  • Magnetic boards.
  • Sticker books
  • Small box of Duplos.
  • Colouring in books.
  • Threading game with shapes.
  • Books – either travel-themed or themes for the destination.

Good Luck!!

Try get a good night’s sleep before your flights so that you can be on your A-game.
Please do let me know how it goes and whether you have anything else to add to this list.

About The Author
Michal Johnson
Michal Johnson
Michal is a wife and SAHM of two - a little boy and a little girl. Before becoming a SAHM she practiced as a lawyer in South Africa – now she gets to use those skills on her children and husband! Michal's family moved to Sydney in 2015 and she writes for her blog,, when she's not child wrangling.
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