Yep, we squeaked in with one more free flight leg while our son is under the age of two. Just barely. But we had to purchase a seat for him on the flight home. I thought maybe, just maybe, we'd get away without needing the seat, but we were required to purchase one. That's okay though since it means he is guaranteed to have his own space on the flight home - yay!
Many of you have been down this road - flying with a toddler (or a few children at once!) Most of us would not classify this activity as "easy" or "fun", but it is necessary in order to have a little family fun! There is a good amount of big and clunky extra gear involved when traveling with your children, such as car seats and strollers. And a whole bag of entertainment for your little, of course.
We traveled with our son when he was 14 months old out to California. It was a four-hour flight and one that I would call UNBEARABLE! He did not sit in our laps at all - instead, he preferred the leg area below us. There were tears and tantrums - the works! I even had my husband and four family members along to help, but it was still brutal.
Flash forward to our most recent trip. I am now five months pregnant, and our son is just about two. He is VERY active. Knowing what I know from our trip to California, the following are my suggestions for traveling with a toddler on your lap (while pregnant).
1) One Baby Per Lap
If you're pregnant, it's not ideal to travel with two babies on a lap. Okay, one baby and a fetus. You're going to want to pass your toddler off onto anyone else - your sig other, family members, willing strangers. It's hard enough traveling while not pregnant, but the extra un-comfort can make the trip feel that much longer. But we know how attached our babies are to MOM, so even if you're on a flight with a slew of aunties and grandparents, your babe will most likely still want your lap. Yay! You will be the chosen one.
2) Schedule Flights During Nap
If you did not schedule your flight during nap time, jump in your time machine and re-do your itinerary. Vacations typically mean no naps or naps that are off-schedule, which could lead to crankier babies. Eh, who am I kidding, is your toddler really going to sleep on the plane? Fat chance!
3) Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks. Carb Load!
Pack all those contraband snacks that you typically ration out in quantities of two or three pieces at a time. These are going to be your saving grace. Let them have it all. Gummies, puffs, chips - anything delicious that will keep them quiet and entertained.
4) Screen Time, Baby
Anti-up on your screen time. Make sure that iPad has a full charge, and get that credit card out to pay for the internet charge. Your kids will clock in ample screen time - if you're lucky!
5) Coloring, Stickers, Any Attempt At Creative Play
This is for when you're desperate. You might find that even though you are willing to give into every single baby need in an attempt to keep the peace, your kid(s) will most likely still be bored. Come prepared with stickers, coloring books, toys, and anything else you can pack into a carry-on.
From my experience, food works the best. It's all just a big crap-shoot. You are either going to have it easy or there will be aisle tantrums. Don't worry, we've all been there! Remember, the flight WILL end, and hopefully, the travel will be worth it once you reach your final destination!