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Advice for taking a 12 month old on longhaul flight/jeltag PLEASE! (dreading it)

(12 Posts)
dizietsma Tue 16-May-06 18:16:38

This summer we're off to the in-laws for three weeks in the midwest of America. It's not too far away, but transfers etc will make it a LONG journey. How do you cope with little ones on long flights? Just how horrible is coping with jetlag for a year old? Any advice gratefully received, I have visions of DD constantly screaming and white knuckled, teeth gritting despair on my part!

legophobe Tue 16-May-06 19:05:18

I've found that going on planes with stairs (747s) is good for entertaining toddlers. Mine once went up and down them for the entire flight to Beijing, so I just had to sit on the bottom step in case he took a tumble. Make sure you pre - reserve the bulkhead seats so there's a bit of space to play. Get them to pre-book you the window and aisle for you and dh, leaving a free space in the middle as you have a good chance that she'll get her own seat. Remember that if you let her walk around she can't possibly get lost/fall off etc, so much better than trains or boats - the worst that can happen is that other passengers get fed up, which is their problem, not yours. If it's awful, just keep telling yourself that it will be over soon (like childbirth!). You're bound to have lots of early mornings the first week you're there, but will be able to make up for them with lie-ins when you get back

RTKangaMummy Tue 16-May-06 19:07:38

DEFFO let them run around in airport

don't just sit in buggy

get some reins and letn them crawl or run around

ComeOVeneer Tue 16-May-06 19:09:23

IME jetlag has more effect on adults than children. When we flew back and forth from chicago the children under 1 and 3 both clicked into the new time much quicker than dh and I. What is the time difference where you are going?

littlestar Tue 16-May-06 20:56:51

We've been to New Zealand (when DS was 6 months - 36 hours door-to-door!) and New York (he was 13 months) and both times it was nowhere near as bad as we expected. (DS is a pretty easygoing baby and isn't walking yet, which helped).

You should definitely try to get the bulkhead seats; you get extra leg room and DS was happy to crawl about on the floor under our feet for a surprisingly long time. Don't bother taking too many toys, DS was happiest pulling the magazines out of the seat rack, emptying stuff out of my bag and generally creating a mess. Drag mealtimes out as long as you possibly can to waste time and let DD crawl or walk around to burn off some energy whenever you get the chance .If DD cries, don't worry what anyone else might be thinking - most people are sympathetic, and if they don't like it they can put their headphones on! If you're in the bulkhead seats you may be surrounded by other parents and babies anyway.

With regard to jetlag, there's not much you can do to prepare, but I think babies are pretty flexible. New York is 5 hours behind but we flew during the day and by the time we put DS to bed on the first night it was about 7pm (his usual bedtime) and he was so tired he slept right through. When we got home he got straight back into his old routine.

NZ was a bit harder and took a few days for us all to adjust. But I think DS coped better than I did, to be honest. We found it really helpful to stick rigidly to our usual evening routine of bath, feed and bed, so that even if we were staying in unfamiliar surroundings our routine stayed the same.

The only other thing we've found is that DS tends to get a bit of a cold after he's been on a plane, but nothing serious.

If all else fails, legophobe is right - however much the journey seems to drag, it won't last forever! I hope this helps, have a lovely holiday xx

beckybrastraps Tue 16-May-06 21:05:34

When I took my 3 yo and 13 mo to Mexico neither had any problems with jet lag. And they were both angels on the flight too - ate dinner and then slept the rest of the way! Definitely wear them out before you get on the plane!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 16-May-06 21:21:27

Forward planning is essential.

Have you paid for a seat for your one year old?. This may be worth considering as a seat is not usually allocated to under 2s. For take off and landing the child will sit in your lap (the crew will give you an extender belt)

Jetlag is not so much an issue flying westwards but returning east can brin gon jetlag as you lose hours. Many flights back to the UK departs in the early evening arriving into the UK the following day. Have found that jetlag affects adults more than children who adjust remarkably quickly.

Change the nappy before you board and take full advantage of the early boarding procedure (BA give this to all pax with children under the age of 3).
Tie something brightly coloured and inexpensive (we used a sock) around the buggy/pushchair for easier identification. The buggy should be tagged at check in - you can take this up to the aircraft jetway whereupon it will be taken from you and placed in the hold. Find out where you will collect it from in the US - usually its the jetway.

Ensure also that all the relevant documentation is filled out way ahead of time (you will need to complete and sign a visa waiver form for your child). Do not forget the passports!!.

littlemadam Tue 16-May-06 22:29:48

I agree with the bulkhead idea, I did a 22 hour flight with DD (1) and DS(5) on my own. They could play in front of the seats, and were close to the loos and stewardesses for drinks etc. I found the sky cots fab, didn't put DD in, but was a great place for storing all the baby crap!!

dizietsma Wed 17-May-06 10:05:07

The time difference is the same as New York, 5 hours behind.

Thanks everyone, I'm not sure if we've been give bulkhead seats- don't you get assigned when you book in? Oooh b*gger, I'd better check eh?

sansouci Wed 17-May-06 10:08:48

Bulkhead essential but book early! Pacifier useful, bottles & formula, biccies, lots of new (ie unknown by baby) small colourful toys to pull out one at a time as a distraction, doctor approved sedative for the worst case scenario...

legophobe Thu 18-May-06 20:47:50

I forgot to mention - find the actual person responsible for putting your buggy on the plane and impress on him/her how important it is that they don't forget it. Mine's been left on the tarmac several times. Some airlines - Lufthansa, for example - bring it to the plane door for you at the end of the flight, but most send it out on the carousel (why, why, why? Don't they realise that the whole point of buggies is because 12-mnth olds can't walk 2 miles to passport control?). I try to take a hippychick or s'th to make all the lugging around easier, though now I have 3 very small ones I've resorted to booking airport assistance where it exists, which I'd highly recommend!

littlemadam Thu 18-May-06 21:29:37

Airport assist is a great idea!! We have also managed to have the buggy kept in the cabin, but you do have to sweet-talk the staff!! Is is impossible to lug all the hand luggage you need to keep toddlers quiet on a long flight and a baby. Do ask however, staff are usually really helpful, and lots of airports have their own buggies they will bring to the plane to get you to passport control. Best tip is - Keep asking for help, and you will get some!

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