Traveling by air with a 1 year old

All of us have encountered parents with babies or young kids struggling to make it from destination to the other by air. Some are carrying 2 strollers, a car seat and all the goodies to ensure the trip is smooth. Even when equipped with it all, they look disgruntled and the child does not seem to be having a good time either. These images are reminiscent to all new parents when they are planning their trip. Most of us resort to drivable distances inorder to avoid the hassles of taking a flight.

Before we had our first child, we traveled extensively be it for work or pleasure. It was a part of our life that we enjoyed a lot. So once Devam was in the picture I had made up my mind to continue our travels, I just had to figure out a hassle free way of doing the same.

I took my first trip overseas to Switzerland and I went into planning stage 2 weeks prior. I had one mantra as I started planning – “Travel Light”

1) Take few individual pieces of luggage
2) Avoid the temptation to take everything possible for the baby (E.g.: Travel crib, car seat as well as umbrella stroller – pick one, baby bjorn, etc.)
3) Get the baby a seat on the flight and get most rest myself

On the air
While most parents have decided against getting their baby a seat, we were well advised by friends to get our 1 year old son a seat and take his car seat with us. We got him a seat between me and my husband and kept him in his car seat. We planned our trip during his nap time. I fed him milk while take off to avoid any discomfort (ear popping) as well as got him to suck on his pacifier. He went to sleep around his usual time and we could enjoy our meals and take some rest. Getting a seat paid off.

Entertaining during the flight
Make sure that you keep your baby happy, walk him around the plane, let him wave to other passengers. I made sure I took small toys that he could hold and play with. Most babies love playing with everyday objects, phones, sanitizer bottles. The carrier will most likely provide with small toys as well.

On flight meals
Let your child enjoy snacks, carry crackers, cheerios, baby yogurts, cheese and small baby food bottles. At check-in most airports will allow you to take in small baby food containers and water to prepare milk. Keep milk handy during take off and landing so your baby can keep sucking at the bottle and stay hydrated at all time while on board.

Make sure you inform your carrier that you are traveling with a 1 year old, most will offer to provide with baby foods and bassinet. Swiss Air was particularly good about it.

Enjoy your flight, its not as big of a challenge as you might think.