Mommy SOS | Tips for Flying with Babies & Toddlers


Ladies!  I need your help!  I am in desperate need of tips for flying with babies and toddlers!

This month, Handsome Husband and I are traveling cross-country with one very helpful teenager, one sweet but needy 5-month old and one spirited, easily bored, opinionated (read: INSANE) 20-month old.  Yep. We’re doing it. Oh, and did I mention that both of the wee ones are young enough to ride for free in our laps?  I feel like this is a mixed blessing of sorts.  I mean, yeah–we’re saving a lot of money on plane tickets, but HOLY COW! Toddler Sophie can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes and I am somehow expecting her to sit IN MY LAP for a 6 hour stretch??  The universe is already laughing at me.

When I started booking this trip a few months ago, it seemed as though I’d have plenty of time to assemble travel tips and make packing lists, but time moves quickly when you have children and, well, here we are.  Today I made my first real preparations for our trip back East.  Here’s what I’ve tackled so far:

1) I went to Target and bought like 10 boxes of organic fruit snacks. We have only recently introduced Toddler Sophie to fruit snacks, so they are still interesting and unusual and will ease at least a few meltdowns.

2) I bought pacifiers for Baby Max.  None of my children have taken to pacifiers, but I’m going to make an attempt with Max.  I’ve read that babies can have a difficult time with cabin pressure and that pacifiers (as well as bottles) can help their ears “pop”.  Here’s to hoping!

3) I am considering purchasing a giant box of ear plugs to distribute to all of the other passengers on the Boeing 747.  Too much? Too little?!  Should I also bake cookies for everyone?  Valium cookies?

4) We are borrowing an i-Pad and downloading anything we can find involving either Elmo or Madeline. (Elmo is responsible for Handsome Husband and I having a minute to drink coffee together in the morning and Madeline on an i-Phone is the ONLY way we make it through a family dinner outing with our dignity intact.)  If Sophie wants to watch movies on the i-Pad for the duration of the trip, I’m totally fine with that.  Hey, it’s her vacation too, right?!

I did a little internet sleuthing for airplane travel tips for tiny tots, but some of them were a bit over-the-top for me. However, here’s some links that I did find especially helpful:

SMB’s own Steph gives some great airplane travel tips in this post

10 Things to Bring on a Plane for Babies & Toddlers

Airplane Travel with Toddlers

TSA Regulations for Flying with Children

So, my travel preparation list, admittedly, looks a bit shoddy.I would LOVE to get some real world advice and stories of your travel successes and failures.  PLEASE comment below.  Seriously.  I need help.


  1. Pack some other snacks as well, since you don’t get food on the plane. In my experience other people tend to be more understanding than you’d expect. We flew to Europe with our first when he was 15 months and lots of people tried engaging and entertaining him.

    Pack a change of clothes for everyone in your carry-on, in case of spills or worse motion sickness.

    A new toy or two (something small and cheap) may be good for the toddler.

  2. I fly with my infant at least once every other month. I love the boppy b/c I can prop her up for nursing and/or sleeping without getting an arm cramp. I sat with another mom last trip and we were told we couldn’t sit together due to not enough oxygen masks in our row. You and your husband should check if you’ll be able to sit together because you may not be able to. Although, that may not be so bad considering you could switch off mid flight and give the kiddos a change of scenery (which will prevent boredome). Hope this helps. I’m sure you’ll be fine 🙂 Enjoy your vacation!

  3. When my kids were toddlers and/or slightly older I would speak to the person sitting in front of them and explain I would do what I could to prevent them from kicking the seat but they were small kids and I could only do so much. This put the onus on them because I politely gave fair warning.
    Also, even if you don’t give your kids lollipops it is great to have a few on hand for the other people with older kids around you for landing and they really appreciate it.
    Extra clothes, for all is a must! If you run into any sort of diarrhea problem with little kids you will find that they explode on planes, and trust me – I learned this the hard way!

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