Our flight left Phoenix at 7am, which meant waking the baby at 4:30am to make it to the airport. Not fun, but luckily the night before we got her to bed at 6:30, so she didn't miss *too* much sleep. Once that girl is up, she is UP. And we didn't expect her to sleep on the plane, because that's just not her. We arrived at the airport early and got our tickets.
|Morning sleepy fat-face!|
Once we got to our gate (with an hour to spare), we let Pip out so she could walk around, eat, and look out the windows. She was already starting to get fussy, since she had been up for awhile! We pulled a parent card- and we gave her 1/2 tsp. of Benadryl. We had spoken to our doctor the week before about helping her sleep on the plane, and he recommended it. We weren't sure if it would work, but it was worth a try (DISCLAIMER: It is not recommended before age 1. Talk to your doctor before you do this!). Before we knew it, we were called to board- they board travelers with children SO early! Next time, I may opt out of boarding early, because it is easier to keep her entertained in the airport than in the small confines of a plane.
|We left Pip in her pj's for the first flight and changed her at the airport before our second flight.|
|My two loves!|
On this flight, we had to breakout the toys and distractions. We had a whole row to ourselves (YES!), but that still didn't convince her to sleep. We still can't decide if it was better or worse... the extra space was nice, but it almost gave her too much freedom and room to roam, that she was unhappy when we stopped her. We started with shoes and necklaces, which are always a hit. When she got bored of that, we read some books- she was so cute sitting in the chair between us sucking her thumb and looking at a book!
When these became boring, we pulled out our little *free* and genius toy... A plastic water bottle with 7 clothespins in it! Since Pip is 1 and is now working on concentration and fine motor skills, she LOVED this. It kept her busy for a good 15 minutes, and she would take a break for a few minutes and then go back to it! She would get frustrated occasionally and cry out for help, but then she would get it again. Still worth it. I highly recommend creating one of these if you have a 1-year-old (she loves it at home too). By the way, it feels strange packing a bunch of toys to play with while on a plane, but it has to be done!
I should also say that the water bottles we packed were for formula, and she did have a bottle off and on to calm her during the flight. BUT we also used them for us, because having an open drink on a plane with a baby = REALLY bad idea. I missed my tradition of getting a ginger ale on the plane... And don't spend your money on a coffee in the airport unless you can finish it before getting on the plane- too hard to juggle a hot drink and a baby who won't stop reaching for it.
Our other genius toy was the best $1 I ever spent... a pack of Mickey Mouse stickers from the dollar store. These were PERFECT for her age, since she is learning to do tasks and doesn't stick things (most things) in her mouth anymore. This kept her so quiet and focused. We just used the hard card stock that came in the pack as "paper" and handed her individual stickers to stick to it. Again, this got frustrating for her every once in awhile because the sticker stuck to her finger and she couldn't get it on the paper... baby problems (oh my, does she ever have my personality!). I also pulled a mom trick that egged my husband to say "Oh, I see what you did there..." and started ripping the stickers into smaller ones (to last longer) and use the "outer" white sticky part as well. She didn't seem to notice that Mickey was missing from those stickers.
|Now THAT'S a cute kid!|
She did great on the trip and really was happy and enjoyable with all the time in the car, at festivals, fairs, walks, etc. We were so proud of her- but more on that part of the trip later.
The plane ride home was rougher- our first flight was 1 1/2 hours which wasn't too bad, but she was a cranky pants already. We tried to keep her happy with stuffed animals and books, keeping our "reserves" for the long flight. Our second flight was 4 hours... YUCK. And she did not do too well. We used all of our toys and tricks, lots of food, and she still made herself known on the plane. AND we did the Benadryl trick, with no success this time. At one point, I looked at my husband and said "will we get through this alive?". The good news is that we made it home and most of the people on the flight have already forgotten the crying baby (I hope). Plus, we as the parents probably thought it was much worse than the other passengers did.
Our lifesaver on the second flight was our Ergo. Pip hasn't fallen asleep on me in months (besides on the flight there!) and really fights it- but she will fall asleep on her Daddy in a second. Poor Daniel spent most of the flight wearing her in the Ergo and standing near the back of the plane (again, choose seats near the back when traveling with children!). She fell asleep once on him, but was awake most of the time. Luckily, she was quiet and seemed pretty happy on him. Thank you, Daddy.
I also learned how to change a diaper with the baby standing on my lap, because the bathroom didn't have a changing table pull-down (WHHHHHAAATTT?). Letting baby look over your shoulder or down the aisle helps to entertain them, and the air vent and buttons above can waste some time too. You gotta work with whatcha got!
I don't know how eager we are to take her on an airplane again anytime soon (Sorry Hahna- we can't visit you in Japan yet), but we DID in fact live through it. Hooray!