Flying with an infant is never easy but flying solo with an infant and a toddler is a whole other ball game.
My family live between two states so I am accustomed to flying back and forth quite often. I have done a lot of travelling in my life and feel very blessed to have seen a lot of the world. the ironic thing is I hate flying. I am terrified when I am on a plane people assume its my first flight by my behaviour, even though I sometimes fly 15-20 times a year! I have lost count of how many times I have heard "is this your first time flying? We will be fine its just some bump?" Flying with kids is challenging but it distracts you from your own anxieties as you have to focus on them and getting them through the flight can be hard enough.
The first time I did it alone was a nightmare, juggling Cruz, my baby bag and suitcase all the way to the gate. My first mistake was checking the pram in on arrival to the airport. I purchased the protective cover for my Bugaboo Cameleon with the intention of preventing my cream canopy from being damaged as it would most likely be carelessly thrown on to the plane. Fortunately when I arrived in Queensland my parents greeted me at the gate and assisted me in claiming my baggage. Lesson learnt, do not check the pram on arrival. I was more prepared for my next trip. I purchased a Yo-Yo zen stroller and wheeled Cruz straight from the Virgin lounge to the plane with ease, then folded it straight into the over heard locker. Does it get much better? I always fly with Virgin because I value their exceptional comprehensive service. It is great that infants under two fly free within Australia. Airlines will provide you with a baby seat belt that attaches to your own, so that they can safely sit on your lap for the duration of the flight. Now that I am flying with two under 2 and a half Hudson sits on my lap and Cruz has his own seat. Even though aeroplanes provide baby changing facilities I always ensure Cruz and Hudson are in a fresh nappies long before take off as it really is a hassle and Id rather not change on board if I can avoid it.
I have been fortunate to travel a lot so I have become a pro packer. Now I am packing for three and sometimes four people, so it can get a bit overwhelming. The first thing I do is write a list, and as I pack I tick it off. As far as packing goes I always pack Cruz's and Hudsons things in separate packing cubes and then pack them into the suitcase. (they have their own colour each) If its a short trip I pack theirs in mine, if its a long trip I pack theirs together in a seperate bag. I use the Kmart packing cubes as they save so much space. I lay everything out on the bed so I can get a visual of what I am packing and see what I am missing. This way I can just carry on my nappy bag with all the essentials including my phone, wallet and boarding passes. I push Cruz in the Yo Yo and carry Hudson in the Baby Bjorn baby carrier. Looking forward to the day Cruz will walk on his own and follow instructions but that day hasn't come yet!
Cruz and Hudson are both great frequent flyers I always make sure they have a dummy or something to suck on as well as a warm bottle, especially for takeoff. Sucking is really important for babies when flying as the change in air pressure can cause extreme discomfort in the ears. When my boys were babies I would put them on the boob for take off and landing, as they got older I would use bottles or dummies. You can maintain your sanity and make travelling with your baby easy, just be prepared and organised! They key is to ALWAYS have something to entertain them and to snack on. Keep them busy, interested and occupied. My biggest challenge these days is getting Cruz to stay in his seat his seatbelt on while I am trying to hold Hudson so ENTERTAINMENT is key! I will start Cruz off with an activity and then once he is over it give him something new. I don't pull everything out at once!
As I have mentioned the attitude I have adopted towards motherhood is "you live and you learn" You learn to grow through the new challenges that present themselves and develop the necessary strategies for coping. Remember to be patient and open to trying new things, motherhood is a journey. Don't let the fear of challenges prevent you from experiencing potentially precious moments of motherhood.
Kmart Packing Cubes www.kmart.com.au
YO-Y) Zen www.babybunting.com.au
Packing for the Kids:
Going Out Outfit
Shoes (two pairs each)
Swimmers (If its a hot climate)
Jumpers (If its a winter destination)
Formula (If you are travelling internationally)
Food Pouches & Snacks (If you are travelling internationally)
Steriliser bags (if you are still sterilising Medala are great you just pop water in then place in a microwave)
Mini Baby Medical Kit - Panadol, bandaids, thermometer, bonjela.
Toys - I don't usually pack many toys as they take up soooo much space. But I may, depends on where I am going pack one of their favourites each.
Games - mini puzzles, uno etc (small and compact)
I pack any lotions or creams etc in zip lock bags. I have had too many disasters so make sure you make sure that everything liquid is stored safely!
As far as washing goes it all depends if you can do washing at your destination. I usually am travelling to my parents so I have access to a washer and dryer. At hotels you can get your washing sent away. However its very expensive, sometimes your better off buying new stuff. A laundro mat is always an option if you can track one down. Or alternatively just pack extras of undies etc.
Kids Inflight Checklist:
Lots of Snacks!
Ipad (this goes in Cruz's backpack, with a few of his favourite trains)
Colouring and Pencils or Books (depends how long your flight is)
Fresh Snacks - Bananas are great as not messy no chopping needed, just peel on the plane!
Blanket (for Hudson)
Both their snuggly bed toys
Water Bottle (make sure it is leak proof, I have had disasters!)
Children's Panadol (just incase, I always keep this in my Nappy Bag anyway) (I take my nappy bag so it has a lot of the contents already in it)
ANTIBACTERIAL WIPES! - I cant live without them I wipe down everything before we sit don, planes carry so many germs!
Yo yo Zen
Baby Bjorn Carrier (I use the Baby Bjorn baby carrier for Hudson and pop Cruz in the stroller)
Remember if you forget something don't stress! You can always purchase things at your destination.
*Tip with the Virgin frequent flyer program. Once your child is 2 and requires a paid for seat they can have their own frequent flyer number. So pool them to you. That way every time you fly you will get double the credits an points to maintain your status that ultimately benefits them, lounge usage, faster queues etc.