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It has been nearly two weeks since landing in the UK after a 10 hour flight from California.  I am still suffering the effects of jet lag, and meanwhile, the little guy is still enjoying the effects of his jet lag playing at all hours of the night.

It isn’t rocket science, I’ve done it many times over the last 8 years of long distance love, the sooner you get back into the new time zone routine, the sooner you can shake that all day groggy feeling and that all night wide awake feeling.  Aargh.

The whole ordeal is completely different with a kid!  I am in no rush to get back on a plane any time soon, which is a bit of a problem as my husband and I are on different sides of the Atlantic at the moment.

I think I have had a little meltdown on every flight with the little guy so far, he is so lovely, but, I would definitely not class him as an easy child on a plane..and so far, as my experiences go, airlines and airports have not made it any easier to deal with the situation.

So to turn a negative experience into a positive I thought I would write down a few things that might help others to learn from my mistakes, plus, share some of the things that I have got right on a long haul flight!!

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  • Breast feeding is a life saver, on take off and landing it is the best remedy for pressure sensitive ears.  It is also the perfect way to quieten a screaming child, fill a gap for a hungry child, lull a wired child to the edge of sleep (before the ping back wide awake), and if nothing else, keep the little wriggler still for a couple of minutes! Phew!!  Quite simply, don’t forget your boobs, they are an essential part of your in flight enjoyment.
  • Don’t bother packing an entire bag of toys and books and games and new exciting gadgets.  I read somewhere, to buy a small toy, something new and interesting for every 30 minutes of a flight, in an attempt to keep your child interested and entertained.  Wrong…A rustling bag of complementary pretzels, a plastic cup from the drinks trolley, the fold up tray table, an overpriced plastic bottle of water and the duty free magazine…these are the stars of the show.  You can save a lot of money and hand luggage just collecting these things along the journey for hours of fun!!
  • Do pack a ten course  feast of snacks, that is, for baby of course.  They make you pay a tax to have bubba on your lap, but they don’t give them anything to eat.  Nothing too messy obviously, cubes of cheese, ham, tomato (minus juicy pips), cucumber, mashed avocado sandwiches, fruit, sugar free biscuits, pots and pots of the stuff, keep it coming, because once your tray table comes down and you are loaded up with a pile of over salted microwave dinner, little fingers will NOT let you enjoy anything unless they have their own supply of snacks.(It sounds silly but take the time to cut blueberries in half and grapes in quarters because it might just entertain them and last a little longer than whole sizes that they can pop in and moan immediately for more.)
  • Do not get your hopes up for one of those cots that people always mention, hanging from the bulk head.  I have never seen, nor been offered one, but I hear that they are filthy and that they only fit the smallest of babes, mainly only those under six months weighing up to 14kg.  All airlines differ, but where they are the same, is mixing up your seat reservation and having no cot available on the flight!  If you are pinning your hopes on a cot and it doesn’t work out, you will have a meltdown, guaranteed!  Practice with a ring sling or know that you will be cradling your child for however many hours, anything else like a spare seat, a bulkhead seat or a carry cot will be a pleasant, bonus, surprise at that point.
  • This was a great tip from supporting breastfeeding (have a look at their tips here) which I had never even considered doing…I am always so eager to pre-board that I get myself into a bit of a frenzy, I want to get on first, as if the plane is going to leave sooner if I am on board earlier.   Why did it never occur to me that the earlier I get on the plane, the longer I will be confined to that tiny little seat??  Next time I will do as suggested, and hang back for as long as possible, stretching legs and waving arms, just because I can in the lovely spacious gate waiting area!!
  • Practise getting your baby to sleep standing or sitting in a confined space with very little movement.  If your baby is used to getting to sleep on their own in a cot, getting them to sleep in your arms is a massive challenge.  Take three or four days before the flight to cradle your little one to sleep for a few naps.  If you are not in an aisle seat or you have irritating elbows either side of you, even if you are walking up and down the aisle with bubba, wildly rocking them to sleep isn’t an option.  Try more of a bouncy action up and down on one spot at home, this is more like what you will be doing on a cramped plane, and if you can get them to nod off even for 20 minutes you will feel like a new woman for the peace and stillness!
  • Antibacterial wipes!  The first thing I do when I sit down is wipe everything over, the TV screen, the tray table, the window, the shutter, the arm rests…what else…I think that’s it.  Bubba can grab everything after that and it all just feels a little less grubby!
  • Finally, take as many people as you can afford a ticket for!  The bigger the entourage, the better!  More seats in a row is a valuable commodity if you can get it.  You can elbow those nearest and dearest to you without getting a disapproving look, you can pass the baby over at every opportunity and you may even get a moment to eat drink or sleep with all of their help!  Sorry, probably not my most helpful advice but

Thanks to my family for helping us get off the plane in one piece!!!

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How have your travel experiences worked out.  Will you ever brave a plane again, or was it a breeze for you?  Did you travel alone or with support?  Let me Know…

  1. mummyflyingsolo says:

    Great post! I think age has a lot to do with it too. We’ve flown a lot since monkey was born (but shorter flights than this) and he was great up until about 10 mths. We did one trip at 15 months which was a complete nightmare – old enough to want to be active but too young to understand. We flew again at 19 mths which was SO MUCH BETTER as he was able to understand a bit more of what I was saying and realise we just had to sit there.

    • wildandwisdom says:

      Phew, it’s good to know that it might get easier, I need to get better at flying as there is a lot of it to do in our future and I was starting to panic that it was always going to be really awful. I shall live in hope!!

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