Friday Forum: Traveling... pregnant and with a toddler

You all are very smart. You know stuff that I don't... and probably LOTS that I don't. So, I've decided to take advantage of your smartness and start asking questions. One of my favorite blogs, Bloom, does a regular Friday Forum -- a place to talk about how you do this or that in life and get tips from other people who are smarter and more experienced than you. I love it and so I'm, er, borrowing, the idea... name and all :) If you have any questions you'd love to ask of others about anything life-related... leave it in the comments or shoot me an email. :)

Today's question is actually a couple of questions... wrapped in a scenario.

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Scenario: We have a family trip planned to go see our friends in Texas. We are very excited and also a little nervous about the flight and trip -- I will be 30 weeks pregnant at the time and we'll be traveling with our 21-month-old little boy. The flight is only about 3 hours, and we'll be there for 8 days. 

So the question: What tips or tricks do you have for vacationing and flying with a toddler? Pregnant?

My little Pudge is pretty resilient and mellow, so I'm not super worried about the vacationing part. So long as he gets his sleep with his special blanket and plenty of milk to drink, life is good. :)

What worries me is the flight. We fly out at around 10 AM, so we're flying into naptime and hoping that, with the help of a blanket and pacifier, he'll sleep or at least rest and be calm. (Yes, my almost-2-year old still uses his pacifier for naps and I have no intention of taking it away soon!) We're hoping for the same on our evening flight back. He's flying as an unticketed toddler, so he'll be on our laps.

In case the napping doesn't happen, we do have some backups:
  • 20 episodes of kids shows on the iPod
  • books, books, books!
  • plenty of snacks... for him AND me :)
  • and a quiet book I will make before then
So... what else do I need to know about traveling and vacationing with a toddler and while pregnant? My husband is traveling with us, so we'll have two of us to keep the little one entertained and (hopefully) happy. But we are both clueless, having not been on a plane in 5+ years (new travel restrictions? what can I carry on? what do I have to check? we're flying Delta...) and never having flown with a kid...


Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Snacks are the key to everything, I tell you. I would seriously pack a carry-on full of them. That's the only thing that got us through our St. Martin flights with my youngest (she was 12 months at the time). And from my experience, napping on the plane won't be a problem, either. Both my kids were sacked out at one point or another on our last flight. Traveling is tiring for kids (Who am I kidding? Adults, too). You'll be fine. I'd be more worried about the travel restrictions :)

Bridget said...

You guys will do great! I'm not sure what the current rules are, but I'm always surprised about what you can bring for a baby (and it used to be included in the ticket). Last summer we brought a pack and play, stroller, carseat, and diaper bag in addition to my carry-on for our baby. It sounds like you've got the entertainment covered and my only advice on the snacks is since they're too little to chew gum on takoff/landing if he won't consistently suck on a bottle/sippy to pop his ears we like to do gummy worms or something that they have to really chew so they won't have sore ears. Have a great trip!

Naturally Carol said...

Are you taking things to play with as well..little cars, colouring pencils and pad, a few lego blocks or little people? Just to keep his fingers busy and be a bit active..maybe ask if he could see the front of the plane too at some give him a walk and to learn the concept of how the plane at the helm. Have a wonderful trip!

Nancy said...

I always thought it was easier to sit in the back where the engine is the loudest- helps drown out any noise and sometimes there is room for the little one to run around for a minute or two (depends on the plane of course). You will probably have to buy any drinks for your little one after you get through security- no liquids except I think they allow formula. You can take your stroller right up to the gate- they will give you a ticket for it and they will have it waiting for you when you get off the plane.
Good luck! Some people are fine with babies on the plane and others are just plain irritable. Just ignore them and try to relax- you won't ever see them again anyway. :0)

Alicia said...

I flew to Texas when Ema was 20 months, but I was by myself. I took file folder games for her that I could shove in my backpack/carryon. Take a stroller to get you quickly through the airport and check it at the gate. They will also let you board first because you have a small child. Snacks, games, and a sippy cup! Make sure when you take off/land you try to get him to drink/suck/chew because I've heard their ears can get plugged up if you don't. GOOD LUCK and have SO MUCH FUN!

Danae said...

Sounds like you have things planned pretty well. I don't know that being pregnant really adds any new dimentions--except, as you said, bringing some snacks for you. Low blood sugar + being pregnant does bad things to me, so keep up on the eating. My only suggestion for traveling with the little guy can be summed up thus: NOVELTY IS KEY. Shows on the ipod are good-- new shows and apps are better. Toys in your bag are good; a couple of new, inexpensive toys are better. That Crayola Wonder paper and markers are great for this kind of traveling, and kid do think it's pretty amazing! Also, ration them. Maybe set a timer or check your watch and pull something out every 20 minutes. Don't give him time to get bored and melt down and then try to calm him down from that. You might even try wrapping toys and snacks and activities (even old toys-- unwrapping them makes them a surprise!) just for the added novelty of getting to unwrap something. The last time we flew with our kids, just the getting on the plane, taking off, and drink serving was exciting enough to keep them pretty entertained for a good hour. We ended up not needing most of the distractions we brought, but it's ALWAYS better to be over-prepared than under-prepared! Be sure to bring him a spare outfit in your carry-on, just in case (and maybe a spare shirt for yourself...) I'm sure you'll have fun! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I know this sounds bad - but my mom would drug us for flights and travel when we were younger. She just gave us some nyquil or something similar. I don't know how P. reacts to that stuff but if he doesn't wake up too drowsy and would still be able to sleep at night it's an idea.

I in no way recommend drugging kids, however it's just what my mom did - and we all turned out ok (at least I think we did, Erik we're still waiting on, but me and Frank yeah we're OK :).

Quimby said...

Remember that there will be other children on the plane, and hopefully they'll be worse-behaved than yours so if there are any grumpy passengers they'll shoot the dirty looks in that direction and not in yours!

Remember that it's only 3 hours and you can survive anything for 3 hours.

Be considerate to other passengers (don't let your kid kick the back of their seat; try to contain the chaos as much as you can). People seem to resond positively to you if you at least make an effort and acknolwedge that you understand how they feel. You don't have to apologise for it, just make light of it - "It's our first time flying, hopefully it'll all go okay, but please feel free to give me any tips!"

We don't fly a lot, but when we do, the average flight is about 12 hours. Believe me when I say the anticipation is always worse than the actual flight. Just be considerate, and for the most part, other people will be considerate to you too.

Quimby said...

Ooh - And of course be considerate to the flight attendants too! They have a tough job. A good flight attendant can be the difference between a miserable flight or a really horrible long flight, and a bit of politeness goes a long way. It can be mean the difference between "No, you're no getting an extra package of crackers, you didn't pay for them" and "We have some cookies if you think your little boy woudl like them, and would you like me to heat that bottle for you?"

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