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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

...A Mom's guide to flying solo with two kids under two...

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Hours after booking the tickets, I started to stress about the logistics of flying solo with two kids two and under. Gabe is two and a half and Gianna is 7 months. I scoured the internet for practical tips and advice and didn't really find much other than screen time (which we don't really do). Gabe has flown quite a bit for a two year old and we had a system that worked really well. Every trip to Montana is at least two flights of 2+ hours. We tried to take advantage of him flying free for the first two years. This was Gianna's first flight.  Here is a list of what I found useful:

  1.  Baby wear. I love my Ergo. Love. This is probably the biggest piece of advice I could give anyone. This gives you two hands for your other child and allows for *hopefully* easy plane boarding.
  2. Footed pajamas for non-walkers. I have found dark colors to be preferable as I don't really want to see how dirty my non-walkers are while rolling around on the filthy airport carpet.
  3. Snacks. I like snacks that take a while to consume. A ziploc baggie of pretzels, kix, fruit snacks etc. I try to do low sugar...but let's be honest....you are trapped in a echoing plane for a few hours. 
  4. A tote and a diaper bag. I carry a small bag for a diaper bag. I needed more space for snacks, extra diapers/clothing etc. So, I kept my diaper changing accessories in the diaper bag and carried that inside of a canvas tote with a shoulder strap. I had all of the food and toys in the tote. Once we were on the plane, I put the tote under the front of my son's seat and the diaper bag under mine. This way, I could minimize digging.
  5. A very thin swaddle/blanket. I laid it on top of my jacket, on the floor for my daughter to lay on. I used it as a light blanket while she napped. It could be used as a nursing cover and takes up little space.
  6. Fly early. Kids are happier and more composed for that 6AM flight.
  7. Fly minimally. I had a diaper bag/tote combo (more on that in a bit). I checked a suitcase. I didn't want to have to worry about anything other than my child. We borrowed car seats once we landed, but otherwise I would check those too. I break into a sweat thinking about trying to get a car seat attached to an airplane seat while a screaming baby strapped to my chest while my toddler is pressing buttons. Ack.
  8. Ziplock bag a fresh set of clothing for any baby. Hopefully you won't need it. As luck would have it, Gianna had a blowout on the way to the airport. I placed the soiled clothing in the sealed bag. No smell, no worries. 
  9. Zip lock bags for each type of snacks. I like self containing messes. I would pull out a baggie when Gabe started to get restless. We would place the wrappers in the bag once they were eaten and the bags make AWESOME toys for a baby. Yes, I gave my baby a plastic bag to play with. I have done suckers for talk off before (or nursed), but have found that it doesn't really bother my children. I really like to take some Horizon Milk as they are small and the container makes for a great toy.
  10. Zip lock bag a few new toys. I did the wrapping paper a few times....Gabe didn't care. I have had luck with: transformers, matchbox cars, silly putty, crayons, Etch A Sketch, a new board book, a mini tablet to color on. I could place the wrappers in the zip lock baggies to contain our trash.
  11. A BIG SMILE! I promised myself I would remain cheerful to those around me as I know people often hate seeing you walk down the aisle, muttering "please don't sit next to me."
  12. Exercise for your toddler. I read lots of posts where people said to not let your toddler walk places and to use a stroller. That would not have worked for us. I wanted to get rid of some energy. We walked all through the terminals. Constantly. About fifteen minutes before boarding, I had him play a game of running to something, touching it (like 20 feet away), and coming back to give me five. Simple.
  13. Brightly colored clothing. I will be honest, my biggest fear was losing him. I had intended to take a leash, but forgot it. He had to hold my hand anytime we were walking. 
  14. Realize that your schedule will be off (HARD FOR ME!) and just adapt. Let your kids nap when they can, even if it is 730 AM. 
  15. Board last. I know they always call you to board first....but the more time you can minimize sitting still, the better. The first few minutes might be spent shredding the boarding pass, watching out the window, etc. I would just prefer we were in the air for that. 
It honestly went much better than I had envisioned. There was maybe 15-20 minutes (over an 10 hour travel day) of me wanting to disappear. All told, kids are pretty adaptable. Maybe this will help!
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2 comments :

  1. Love all these tips! Soon enough I will be flying with two as well. We are a no stroller family, so I'm all about baby wearing! And I'm all about boarding last. Conor always wants to get on when let families board early, but I do not want to be on the plane any longer than I have to!

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    1. Boarding last is sooo helpful. I do think a smile is the best tip!

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