A few weeks ago, I desperately begged for your tips for flying alone with a toddler. The flight didn’t go so well, but we survived, and we’re heading home this morning. I wanted to share what I learned.
Flying alone with my son: one of my top two least favorite mommy duties. The other is cutting his nails.
I want to point out that my biggest concern when flying with Wyatt is keeping him happy. At the risk of sounding rude, I really don’t care what the other passengers think. I cannot control what someone else thinks of me, so I don’t worry about it. Of course, I do my best to keep Wyatt from kicking the seat in front of us or climbing on other passengers. But when he’s screaming and crying I’m not thinking, “please stop crying because I don’t want you to bother other people.” I’m thinking, “please stop crying because I’m your mom, and I hate seeing you upset and uncomfortable.” I think giving other passengers treats or offering to buy them drinks is unnecessary, and it would create more of a hassle when I’m already stressed.
Here are my tips (also check out my 10 tips for flying with a baby):
1. Get a window seat. I usually opt for a window, but the agent moved me to an aisle because it was the only seat on the plane with an empty seat next to it. Huge mistake. Maybe this would be OK on a longer flight if you plan to walk around with baby (I don’t like the idea of walking around with him in case of unexpected turbulence), but we found the aisle seat to be unsafe. My son jumped backwards out of arms at takeoff. Not fun.
2. Test out apps beforehand. A lot of people suggested fun, toddler apps. I downloaded them, but didn’t show them to Wyatt before the flight because I thought something new would hold his interest better. Well, he wasn’t into them at all. Lesson learned! I tested out a couple apps yesterday and made sure he approved of them. (He loves Peekaboo Barn!)
3. Bring night-night supplies. I carried on Wyatt’s lovey and blankie in hopes that it would make him think it’s time to go to sleep. He didn’t nap, but he did lay on me and snuggle his head into his blanket for a while.
A+A swaddle blanket. One of our most-used baby items!
4. Read lots of books. The only time Wyatt is content sitting still is when we’re reading books. Sure, carrying a lot of books through the airport is borderline crazy, but if it works! I carried on two bags to make more room for books.
5. Ask the flight attendant to take away everything in the seat pocket. Wyatt either wanted to eat the magazines and emergency info card or throw it on the floor over and over again. I simply asked the flight attendant to take them away, he did, and then I put Wyatt’s books in their spot.
6. Organize your diaper bag. Is anyone else’s diaper bag a black hole? I cannot keep that thing organized to save my life. I divided the stuff in the diaper bag into three categories -- diapers/wipes/changing pad, toys, and food – and used a huge ziploc bag to keep stuff separated. It’s much easier to find a pack of Mum-mums this way! I only kept these items in my diaper bag and stored other necessities – a change of clothes for me and him, book, and blankets – in another carryon.
7. Arrive at the airport on the later side. I know this goes against common sense, but hear me out. If I was flying with another adult, I would have loved to chase Wyatt through the airport while the other person sat with the stroller and luggage. But when flying alone, I cannot let Wyatt run through the airport. He won’t walk holding my hand and he certainly won’t stay in a little corner and play there if I happen to find an empty spot. In my perfect world, I’d get through security, make a pit-stop in the bathroom for a quick diaper change, and arrive at the gate when the plane was boarding. I had about 25 minutes to spare last time, and 20 of those minutes were not fun!
8. Ask for help. I’ve lucked out the few other times I flew alone -- someone always offered to collapse or open Wyatt’s stroller for me. This time, no one did and I could not keep my son next to me and fold the stroller at the same time. I asked one of the people boarding at the same time for help, and he happily obliged. The worst someone can say is “no”.
Does anyone have any other tips? I also prefer early flights. Not because I think he’ll sleep, more so I don’t dread the trip all day long. It’s like ripping off a bandaid – I just like getting it over with!
This week has been pretty crummy. Wyatt got sick and it forced me to postpone our flight for a few days. We’re still in NJ through the weekend, which would be awesome if I wasn’t supposed to be throwing my sister-in-law-to-be’s bridal shower in SC on Saturday.
My son has been needing my attention around the clock which means work has taken a back seat. This cost me to lose a pretty lucrative freelancing gig. It made me really angry at first, but I guess I can’t blame the company. Now I know why it’s so much harder for women to get ahead in the workforce.
When it rains, it pours. At least the weather matches my mood.
Some other personal stuff has been going on, too, and I’ve basically turned into a toddler. I’m overtired, a huge grump, and acting like everything is such a big deal.
But it’s really not. It was a (slow, rainy) run yesterday that gave me a dose of perspective and brought me back down to Earth. I’m so, so lucky that I have a little guy with a croupy cough keeping me up at night. I’m a mom! Me. I am so thankful for this sick little boy. And he’s really all that matters.
Wyatt loves the “baa baas”. He’s going to be bummed when they won’t fit in his suitcase.
Mother’s Day is something I don’t take lightly. It’s a big deal. I’m excited because being stuck in NJ means I’ll get to celebrate with my moms and some other women in my family. But, as always, I’ll be saying a prayer for all the women who long to be moms and for everyone who has lost their moms. I can’t imagine how hard this day is for you all.
Happy mother’s day to all the special mamas in my life, especially my mom and all of my mommy friends -- both in real life and online -- I seriously don’t know what I’d do without you guys!
I hope you all get the pampering and appreciation you deserve this Mother’s Day!
I have exciting news – I was asked to be a Ramblin Rose Blogger Ambassador!
“Ramblin Rose produces events for women that inspire and empower families”. The races are all over the Carolinas, and their flagship events are triathlons.
I’ll be participating in the Charlotte Triathlon on September 22, 2013. I am so excited and nervous! It’ll only be my third triathlon ever, and my first tri in over three years.
The race is a sprint distance consisting of a 250 yard swim, 9 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run.
Even though I haven’t swam since the day before I went into labor (way back in November ‘11) and haven’t rode my bike outside since my 30th birthday (in March ‘12 – we got caught in a hailstorm, so I declared I was never biking again), I’m confident that I have plenty of time to prepare for this race. I’m even thinking ahead to time goals. Maybe I can do it in under an hour? I think my transitions may kill me, though.
The cool thing about Ramblin Rose events is that they’re made for beginners.
Since it’s been so long since my last tri, I truly feel like a beginner again. I remember how scared I was before getting in the water for my first race – I was literally shaking from nerves.
I think this picture sums it up.
But, honestly, I had nothing to worry about. I had so much fun during the race! The only negative was that the maters men started after the novice women, so men were passing me left and right in the swim, and it got a bit nerve-wracking at times.
Luckily, I won’t have to worry about that happening at Ramblin Rose. The race directors try really hard to seed swimmers based on their ability level – and you don’t have to guess your ability when you register. They don’t ask you to rate your ability until packet pickup because they know that depending on how training goes, your predicted time could change.
I also love that the race is all women. I never gave women’s focused events much thought before running Princess this year, but it was a blast. There’s something about being surrounded by other giddy women that really gets me excited. Girls just want to have fun, right?
Is anyone else doing a Ramblin Rose event? If you’re on the fence about it, I encourage you to register – I honestly think this would be a great first tri for anyone, and you have plenty of time to train. If you’re doing Charlotte, I’d love to meet up beforehand!
Disclosure: as a blog ambassador, Ramblin Rose is generously paying for my registration fee. As always, all opinions are my own.