A lot of people have asked me how did travelling with a toddler went. No one said that making an international flight with our 15-month-old girl would be an easy task. We left home at 11:45 a.m. and we arrived in Bloomington at 1:00 a.m., but I was already tired since we sat down to wait for our first flight in Liberia’s terminal.
When traveling, everything has to be expected, because everything can happen. Just when we tought everything was going perfect, we were randomly chosen for one of those TSA inspections and later we had to wait one-and-a-half hours to do inmigration in Atlanta. Therefore, to be prepared and to follow the instinct is super important.
I was very well prepared, but also, knowing the routines and what my toddler likes, helped me choosing some elements over others.
Following some tips about traveling with a toddler
One of the first tips when traveling with a toddler I read online, is to take the stroller with you. Although my husband tried to convince me that it was not necessary, I knew it was essential. And of course, it really was.
I can not even imagine what would have been of this poor mother if I would have had to wait for the TSA inspection to end in a hallway that didn’t even have any seats trying to contain Monica from running from one place to another; or carrying her on one of those fast trains from Atlanta airport. The stroller saved me from losing my mind.
The other topic was the entretainment during the flight. I needed to bring her favorite small toys and a new toy according with my readings. I had with me 2 of the favorite toys from my daughter: a set of bottles that fit one another and a set of measuring spoons. A few days ago I have bought a new toy at Walmart. I had many options to buy back then. There were many toys that made sounds or had lighting but I remembered that Monica has many of those and that she desn’t play with any of them. In the other hand, she loves to play with figures and boxes. In the end, I chose a Fisher Price monster that has to be filled with figures. Those only 3 toys (super simple by the way) were a hit and entertained her for a long time.
I also had many snacks. Some more healthy than others, but all designed so that she could grab them with her own hands so she could be busy.
The toddler needs to move!
Even with all the preparation, none of these items could contain a toddler who has just discovered that she can explore the world with her feet. Even though I tried to get her to sleep when taking off by putting her to breastfeed (which also helps a lot to avoid pressure on the ears), that plan did not work (no matter if it was nap time or not). The toys and the food initially entertained her but after a while it was not enough to calm the urge to go for a walk.
I had been a little stressed with this, I had lots of questions: will the flight attendants get angry? Will the person next to me will get mad when asking to stand up several times? Will the other passengers be upset when Monica will pass by them touching their legs? At that moment I stopped asking myself those questions because at the end of the day, I will never see these people again but also they much rather will appreciate me more if I miraculously make my baby stop crying. Those things for which I was super stressed at, caused me laugh later. Really, who could get angry with a baby who smiles at you on an airplane?
And so it was, between toys, food and walking like crazy from one side of the plane to the other, we managed to take our 15 month old baby for 3 and a half hours on a flight from Liberia to Atlanta. Our second flight was easier, after so much action, little Monica finally fell asleep.
For some time we had postponed this trip. We were very worried about the handling of the baby in such a limited space for so many hours. The preparation was undoubtedly the key, but managing anxiety was even more important. Everything our babies manifest is a reflection of our attitudes and even our insecurities. What has to happen, happens!