Travelling in a flight with an Infant/Toddler.

11:19:00 AM

Aisya's first flight experience - Sydney May 2013
Ever since Aisya was 3 months-old, she has been on a number of flights. Our recent trip to Jakarta sums up to a total of 9 trips  (18x experience onboard with return flights). These days, I've been getting a lot of questions like 'how is it like travelling when Aisya was 3 months', 'how do you make sure she doesn't cry' and 'how do you get her to sit still at 18 months' etc...and after all the repetitions of answering the same questions I thought, Hey! Maybe some others can benefit from this too!

Mummies and daddies. You know that 'ear block' you feel everytime the plane takes off and lands? Well, babies feel them too. AVOID it before it happens. Equalize their ears just before the plane takes off. HOW?

Nurse them or feed them milk (either breastfeeding or bottlefeeding). When they suck, it helps to equalize the pressure in their ears. During our trip to Sydney when Aisya was 3 months, I had to keep her a little hungry just before taking off, so I timed her feeding time to make sure that just before taking off, she will be hungry to be fed and doesn't reject. Keep on nursing her until the plane is at its flying level (tip: when the seatbelt signal is switched off). Do the same when landing; i.e when the captain announces "Flight attendents, please be ready for landing..."..

IF your baby is uncomfortable (some babies are a little bit more fussy) and chooses to cry... let her cry. Because crying can help in equalizing the ears. Just ignore those around you with their judgemental eyes. Once the plane reaches its flying level, go on and soothe her. Nurse her. Rock her. She will be fine. However, do note that this can be avoided if you start equalizing her ears earlier and not wait until she gets uncomfortable.

Daddy gave her dutch lady milk during take-off and landing
When Aisya was slightly bigger, about 8 months, she gets a little picky so if its not time for milk, she doesn't want milk. I let her drink water from her water bottle instead.  Another option is, use the pacifier. I tried the pacifier with Aisya when she was 8 months, however she thinks its a toy that she sucks once or twice and throws it around and puts it in her daddy's mouth instead....*pffttttt*

If you have the choice, choose a night flight. That is the best time to travel as they will just sleep all the way.....

Bring toys or any form of entertainment onboard the flight. When Aisya was about 1+ years old, during our trip to Bali, we brought books (oh she loves books and can sit still for a long time with books) and also our ipad so she had the option to also play games or watch some cartoons from the ipad. Of course, at that age of  'oh i have feet i can walk now', they will get agitated at one spot so walk her along the aisle and let her play with those friendly flight attendants onboard - they're somehow very good with kids! (or maybe trained to be one)

Our latest trip to Jakarta, we brought colouring books for Aisya and that kept her entertained. However this time around, it was a bit hard to get her to drink water/milk during take-off and landing and she's at that age of expressing everything that she feels.. you know what she decided to do? She just shouted as we took off.. not those screams but like calling-a-friend-from-a-long-distance kinda shout and I just let her be. Of course I got those stares, but hey, do you wanna take over and solve the problem? And its only for a while. By the time the plane reaches its cruising altitude, she's back to normal.

At this age, she is also at that stage of mimicking what her parents do, so I say "Aisya do this" - while opening my mouth big - hoping that her ears will pop but I don't even know if that works, haha. I will try again this next trip to the Philippines next month.

If you can, choose a seat that you can get all 3 seats for yourself. For airasia, what we usually do is choose a seat A and C and HOPE that no one takes seat B - usually no one will take it unless its a full flight. So Aisya gets a seat to herself. Another tip, move to any other empty areas when everyone is already settled, away from the crowd, so your child have the freedom to move around without bothering others.

Flight to Bali

If you can afford it (which we usually choose not to spend) - pay for those red air asia seats with more space!

The TRICK is to always keep your child comfortable - equalize her ears (MOST IMPORTANT), bring her favourite toys or books or cartoon shows, talk to her, make jokes, keep her entertained, let her see the plane take off, show her the clouds outside, draw and colour with her, play games....of course the best solution is to let her sleep.... yes, then mummy and daddy can rest too ;)

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