Has anyone taken their little one on a LONG flight?

Jennifer - posted on 02/25/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone, I'll be taking my daughter on a flight from Canada to Australia in May. She'll just about be one by then. Any recommendations for dealing with such a long flight and a little one who I'm sure will be walking by then? And a big one- what about dealing with the time change? If it was only a few hours difference it would be easy (it's recommended to start moving their schedule towards the new time before leaving), but they are 18hrs ahead of us. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

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Jennifer - posted on 02/25/2009

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Thank you all so much for all the great advice!  My daughter will be turning one while we are in Oz.. and 'User', we are flying from Calgary-LA-Brisbane.  Flight from LA leaves at 11:30 pm, so I am hoping she will be passed out for most of the flight.  We have the seats on Qantas with the bassinett, which will be nice, and oh, did I mention I will be 5 mths pregnant by then too?  haha  But at least I will have my husband with me so we can take turns with her.  I'm sure I will be doing a fair share of my own walking around!  I will be sure to remember all your advice while I am packing, and will remember to stay calm when my very active daughter harasses the people in the seats behind us ;)

Dorota - posted on 02/25/2009

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My son has been on many long flights with me throughout his "entire" 5 year life (LOL) and I have never had a problem - the longest was 14 hours to Europe and he was fine for it all - slept mostly after the first stop-over flight. Overseas flights have the tv sets in the head rests and there are many shows for kids (not sure how old your child is), so that was entertainment in itself when he was 3 and I would also suggest taking a few (3 or 4) toys with you along with a "snack bag" if your shild is still on the bottle, make sure you have her drinking during take off and landing to avoid ear pain. They will also allow you to board first prior to anyone so you can get settled. You shouldn't have any problems.

Kellie - posted on 02/25/2009

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Hi Jennifer!

I took my 2 kids whilst I was on mat leave from Canada to Melbourne Australia by myself! The kids were 3 years and 9 months. If you fly QANTAS, I found them amazing!! They scoot you through all the express lines and really help a lot. I took alot of stuff for them as carry on, toys, snacks, books etc, but on the trek of LA to Melbourne, the kids are given Wiggles activity packs and each seat on the plane has there own TV, so the 3 year old was entertained all the way!! With my 9 month old, they sat me where they have the fold down basinet, and when he was sleeping I would put him in there, gave me a break from holding him as I didn't get him a seat. The meals were really good for the kids on the QANTAS flight, lots of snacks and stuff and she was always wanting to get up and go to the toilet. So didn't have to worry too much about her. She switched time differences pretty quickly, within a day or 2, and the same coming back to Canada. 9 month old was the same. I took his baby food and bottles as carry on, no problems with customs or security (August 2006). Just make sure you have snacks if you fly from Toronto to LA, as you will have to pay for them otherwise. I think we flew United (American Airlines from TO to LA). I had Gravol as a precaution, but they never needed it. Both kids slept really well on the plane and travelled really well. I'm sure everyone cringed when they saw me getting on the plane with 2 very young kids, but getting off, people were telling how well behaved they were, and surprised that they were so good. Hey, if I did it by myself with 2 little ones, you'll survive with the one!! Get one of those carry harnesses (for your front to carry her if she isn't walking) if you dont have one, I highly recommend them!! and a back pack for your carry on, this makes life a lot easier!! Good Luck

Lisa - posted on 02/25/2009

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It depends how old your daughter is...I took my son at 7 months old from New York to Italy and since trans-Atlantic flights are overnight, he pretty much slept the whole way over. If she's toddler age and the flight will be during daylight hours, go with a small DVD player or video ipod...lots of snacks and her favorite small toys. It's very likely she'll take at least one nap on a flight that long. Just have lots of patience and explain every little thing to her like it's the coolest thing in the world! Good luck.

Kate CP - posted on 02/25/2009

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If the little one is young enough for a bottle then you can give her a bottle during take off and landing-the sucking action helps. You can bring chamomile tea bags with you and ask the stewardess for a cup of hot water to make the tea. Add a lot of sweetener to make it tempting and let it cool off. This should knock the kid out pretty good. Bring an umbrella stroller with you and ask the attendant to stow it for you so you can have it right when you disembark. Take advantage of pre-boarding! If you can get a seat closer to the front of the plane then you can get off the plane quick, too. Stay calm and don't be afraid to ask some one for help. Good luck!

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My son flew several with me back and forth from the states to Germany. He did way better than me with the time difference. Strollers are a must so that when you are sught seeing she can nap. Keep sancks handy-a real must for both of you. My son's ears hurt on take off and landing so having him drink during that time was very helpful as well as a warm compress for his ears. The stewardess would wet and warm a napkin for us to hold over his ears. Carry some childrens meds on the plane baby asprin, benadryl ,etc just in case you have a need for them.

Good luck and enjoy!

Roraine - posted on 02/25/2009

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hi there. just got back from an international flight ourselves so i thought i'd share some things that helped us. for the flight, we booked one that would kinda coincide with her bedtime since she is always sleepy at night. our airport required you to take your baby out of any carrier...even if they are sleeping!...so you might want to check if your airport has restrictions like this. if not, wearing your baby through the security process might be convenient. after we got through security, i wore her in the ergo and she fell asleep as we boarded. once on the flight, we were lucky that she slept a good amount but once she was up, it was lots of walking her up and down the aisles, letting her play peek-a-boo with the row behind us, snacks and new toys. i chose to stay away from benadryl but many moms use it without probs. just make sure you test it out wiht your little one if you plan on using it since some babies tend to get more hyper than sleepy. a lot of my friends also suggested having her nurse or take the bottle when landing and taking off to help with ear pressure changes.



 



for the jetlag issue...that is not fun but do-able. i think it depends on how long you'll be abroad for. for us, we just let our girl (10 months, btw) sleep whenever she was tired and wake whenever for the first day or two. then,  gradually kept her awake times stretched out so that we could kinda get a similar sched to what it was at home. and since we were staying 2 weeks, we had enough time. it took about a week to adjust. and coming home, it was basically the same thing.



 



it can be nerve-racking traveling on such a long flight with a little one. good luck! i know it will all turn out for the better =)

Lisa - posted on 02/25/2009

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I took my daughter on a flight when she was 14mos old. My mother in law suggested I pack some snacks like animal crackers and table top toys. She will probably sleep part of the way there. We sung and played finger games like itsy bitsy spider and ABC's. I also packed some crayons and coloring book.You will definitely want your stroller. I know this wont last the whole trip but it is a start.

Sabina - posted on 02/25/2009

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Portable DVD player for sure. We took my son to Europe when he was 17 months and he watched Baby Einsten, ate and slept for the most of the flight. Just pack a few toys your daughter likes. We gave Connor Benadryl (per DR.'s suggestion) to make him sleepy and I it worked. As for the time change, we only dealt with  6 hours ahead and honestly, he adjusted better than I did. Good luck!

Lea - posted on 02/25/2009

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I took my three month old to China last summer...my ten month old to China a few years ago, my four month old to Amsterdam, etc.... They will actually adjust within a couple of days of arrival. You will probably have a more difficult time. Depending on when you fly out...try to have her awake for as long as possible before the flight...then feed her on the plane ...she'll fall asleep and should snooze for a little while. You'll just have to take turns with whoever you are traveling with walking her around the plane when she gets tired of her seat. Have fun and stay relaxed. Don't worry too much about what she is doing to everyone else! They'll survive.

Jennifer - posted on 02/25/2009

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We took my son on a long flight when he was about 7 months old, and I packed some of his favorite toys and snacks. He did great! He didn't really get a full nap in, but dozed off and on.

April - posted on 02/25/2009

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As for the long trip...I find that packing a few new toys for the trip, or putting some old ones aside a few weeks prior so that they are excited to see them again...helps keep them occupied. Also...portable DVD player is a saviour for my toddler. When it comes to the time change...my dr always tells me that kids are better travelers than us...and I believe it now. The time change is almost an entire day, so let them sleep as usual until you get there and then give them an extra long or shorter nap during the day once you've landed. Hope this helps...enjoy your trip!

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