Flying with my 13 month old

I came across this description of a flight we took when J was 13 months old that I had journaled about. I thought I’d add it to the traveling posts here. 

J is 13 months has flown 5x, starting at 6 weeks old, and has taken 1 road trip.  I guess that’s pretty experienced for a little guy.  It is still different each trip and takes more out of mom and dad as he gets older and more mobile, but we’re learning. 


In the airport I used a carrier again, haven’t done this in awhile (normally a stroller).  He’s pretty big to carry, but we’re headed to Asia this summer and I wanted to do a test run on using a carrier.  We used the Ergo, carried in the front.  He was ok with it, wanted to look around more than he was able being strapped to my chest, but he didn’t fuss about it. Next time I’ll try the side carry position.  It’s nice not to have to remove him through security and deal with folding up a stroller. (TIP: In most U.S. airports you can wear them straight through security.) The Ergo was comfortable for me since it disperses the weight better than my old carrier (I could NEVER use the old carrier with his weight now), but it does get hot.


The flight there wasn’t bad. He was a lap baby and we sat by the window.  For me it gives us one more thing to help entertain (the window), but it also means if you need out someone has to move.  I might not do this for a longer flight since we would have to get out of our seats more, but for a 3.5 hour flight it works well. 

My husband is great at entertaining and being silly which is GREAT for plane trips.  J does want to go back and forth between the 2 of us whereas if it’s just me, he’s much more content being still.  J was just starting to take a few steps before we left so he really just wanted to practice his newfound skill.   ACTIVITY TIP: Standing him up in between my legs is a good way to let him stretch out on the plane.  It’s amazing how the smallest change in scenery is enough for them at this age. He can dance, drum on my legs or play with something on my legs.

I had a baggie of snacks (TIP: I choose larger snacks that he can hold and don’t create lots of crumbs, NOT little pieces that will fall everywhere; I don’t like flying with cheerios and puffs sticking everywhere!) and a baggie of toys.  In the past I always take these out of the diaper bag immediately and put them in the seatback pocket for the duration of the flight (to have activities within close reach).  It’s much easier to distract him from getting fussy than to calm him after becoming fussy!  But, my tactics will have to change since J is now old enough to notice the toys in the pocket and be tempted to move onto something else earlier than if the toys were out of sight. ACTIVITY TIP: Best toy this time was one of those handheld fans.  He loves to watch it turn, touch it as it turns, feel the wind, etc.

TIP: We also always have antibacterial wipes and wipe down the tray, the arm rests, the window as soon as we sit down.  My husband is adamant about this and the more I fly, the more I agree.  Who knows when those arm rests were actually cleaned last!

He only got fussy when he was tired but didn’t want to sleep on us.  J tends to get giddy when he’s tired and by the time fussiness hits, he’s truly exhausted! He was very much overtired and overstimulated. From birth he’s been a crib baby.  Sleeps ok in carseat/stroller but rarely has the need.  He loves to be alone to sleep.  I got up, took him to the back of the plane and held him to sleep.  It was the most secluded area available. He was exhausted and fell asleep pretty easily, then I went back to our seat. 


The trip back was just me and him.  We did have an empty seat next to us (woohoo!)  ACTIVITY TIP: One thing he enjoyed this time was when I emptied the seat back pocket and let him put things (toys, books, flashcards) in and take them out of the pocket.  He loves the in and out game, so this entertained him well. 

He had gotten VERY little sleep the night before and was exhausted, but still did well considering.  He could stand and play on the empty seat which was great, but he was just more restless in general.  Unfortunatley for us, he got fussy and ready to sleep right as they were serving food.  Since the isles were blocked I couldn’t get back to the rear where J could fall asleep without distractions.  It was also louder (with everyone opening their packaged meals and attendants serving ice).   I was able to kinda bounce him up and down while sitting and he slept for 1 hour.  I think when he wakes and sees unusual surroundings (or a stranger) he’s shocked and won’t go back to sleep.  At home, he would take a much longer nap.  It was enough sleep to make it the rest of the flight though.  I was EXHAUSTED (probably b/c I got even less sleep than him the night before and I don’t sleep well on the plane when he’s with me).

**I don’t have the exact list of activities I brough with me but…


Handheld fan

Booklight (one that he can bend up and turn on himself)

Paperback books (he normally reads board books,but the paperback are lighter for travel and are novel to him since they’re different)

Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle

Washcloth puppet


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