Visiting friends and family for the holidays is a tradition for many, but what happens when 'home' is far far away and you've got a new adorable giggling, spitting, pooping piece of luggage to carry along? Believe it or not, it is a do-able endeavour any new parent can concur, the secret is simply to be prepared. Below are a few vital tips to making your holiday travel plans a little more joyful this year!
Timing is Key
You can avoid some of the holiday travel rush by heading out early. According to Forbes, 86.2% of November and December flights that were scheduled to arrive between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. arrived on time, compared to 67.5% of those scheduled to land between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Taking an early flight might mean getting out of bed a little sooner than you'd like but if you're traveling with a baby, there's a good chance you're not getting much sleep regardless. Not only that, but you have a good chance your little one will go back to sleep on the ride to the airport and might even catch up on their Zzz's on the plane!
Getting Settled In Your Seats
Some prefer to pre board and get situated while others dread the idea of having a crying baby start their rant 30 minutes prior to takeoff. It’s really a matter of preference and knowing your child’s temperament. We'd recommend getting your little one organized and set up with toys and put the diaper change pack in the seat in front of you. You want to make sure you have access to a close overhead bin, as well as have time to install a car seat, if you brought one.
You’ll want to ensure you've packed lots of napkins, burp cloths, and wet wipes to clean up a messy emergency if one arises. Stash plastic bags to hold trash until you have the opportunity to dispose of it properly. Bring more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need. Bring a change of clothes for baby and for you, because if he/she makes a mess, it’s most likely while you’re holding him.
Extra food and snacks are essential, especially since holiday travel can mean unexpected delays.
Getting and Staying Comfortable
Once you’re situated, the key to a successful flight is plenty of distractions. A singing bear, baby's favorite rattle, or even an iPad will work wonders when keeping your little one entertained throughout the flight. If you're really worried about keeping your baby distracted remember that anything new will hold their attention for longer, but you don't need to spend a fortune, the dollar store is great go-to for toys, and if they’re lost or broken it’s not a big deal.
Taking off and Landing
Babies and toddlers tend to feel the most pain from the pressure of takeoff and landing, since the Eustachian tubes in their ears are much smaller. Swallowing helps immensely to clear them, so nursing, sucking on a bottle or a pacifier can often help.
Airplane cabin noise levels can range anywhere from 60 to as high as 100 decibels, and tend to be louder during takeoff. Using cotton balls or small earplugs may help to decrease the decibel level your baby is exposed to, and as a result make it easier for her to sleep or relax.
Last but not least....Relax!
Try not to stress out about your baby fussing and crying. You never know, your baby might just sleep throughout the flight! Or be so fascinated by the experience he/she will be on their best behavior. But if that’s not the case, and baby still cries, accept that there's nothing you can do about it and stressing out will not help matters. In fact, the baby will likely pick up on your rising anxiety and the situation will escalate. If you stay calm, your baby will be more likely to remain calm as well!
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