We’ve had our holiday vacation to Puerto Rico planned for months and I have been nervous about the flight with our littles for just as long. We’ve heard horror stories of babies crying the entirety of the flight. Henry is a ball of energy 24/7 (he seriously never sits still…) I didn’t know how he was going to last being contained to one seat on an airplane! Armed with some advice from a few mom groups I belong to we prepared the best we could. Side note, I know good parents that try anything and everything and their kiddos still aren’t happy to be flying. But, I am sharing what worked (and didn’t work) for us to have a successful and easy flight.
The flight from Minnesota to Puerto Rico is roughly 4 1/2 hours long (give or take) plus the time you sit on the runway before take off and after landing. We took off around 7am and landed around 2:30pm (2 hour time zone difference.)
- Comfy Clothes- We left our house at 4am so we had the kids sleep in their outfits that they were wearing to the airport. Because we were traveling on Christmas Eve I wanted to be festive. So, naturally, they both wore their new Christmas Gap pajamas to the airport!
- Know the Rules- I read through the TSA rules on breastmilk, baby food, liquids, snacks… yada yada yada before I packed our carry ons so I knew exactly what I could bring. To my surprise you CAN bring baby food that is over 3oz (within moderation) in your carry on as long as its in a separate zip lock bag that can be looked at security check. I also needed to bring Vivian’s medication for her ear infection that was well over 3oz and the same rules applied, zip lock bag that TSA could easily see. I had zero issues getting through security-it was a breeze.
- No Carseat- Yes, you read that correctly, NO carseat. We decided not to bring Henry’s carseat with after a few moms shared their flying experiences with me. I am so happy we didn’t bring it! TSA recommends carseats that are 16″ wide and Henry’s seat is 20″ wide so it would have been taking up a huge portion of our row. Also, we kept him busy by rotating seats with him and he slept on my lap and I could stretch out my legs while he laid on me.
- Take Advantage- Strollers and carseats are free at baggage check and you can bring your stroller all the way to boarding the plane before having to leave it. Take advantage of this, it makes navigating the airport 100 times easier! Also, people with babies and toddler get to board the airplane along with first class, I recommend this because getting situated and getting carry ons stowed away takes much longer with little(s).
- Snacks, Books, iPad, Oh My!- To keep both kids occupied we packed snacks, a few books, and loaded the iPad with (pre-downloaded episodes) ‘Paw Patrol’, ‘Special Agent Oso’, ‘Octonauts’, and the new movie ‘Secret Life of Pets’. Henry didn’t watch all of these, but it gave him options to pick from which was nice. We also packed play dough, a puzzle, coloring book, and a couple small Transformer trucks. Rotating playing with each toy kept him busy for most of the flight.
- DockATot- I almost didn’t bring it. I had so much already packed and my carry on was full and even my husband thought it was going to be “just another item.” But, let me tell you I am thanking my lucky stars that I decided to bring it! I set it at our feet on the airplane and during takeoff I nursed Vivian, she fell asleep and I set her in the DockATot. She slept in it for 3 hours! It was amazing and I will be bringing it along on our flight to Myrtle Beach in the spring! #lifesaver
All of these things helped us get through our flights with minimal problems. I’m not saying it was perfect, Henry and Vivian both had a couple small rough patches, but overall they were rockstars and I am so proud of them. You know it’s good when a couple families of 4 (now teenagers) mentioned how well our kids handled the flight, they were so kind, and very impressed!