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Night flight, toddler on lap, tips to help her sleep please

(25 Posts)
minipie Thu 17-Apr-14 19:44:09


DH and I and DD (17 mo) are going on a 12 hour night flight on Sunday. She has no seat and will be on our laps.

I now realise this is a Very Bad Idea but it's booked so hey ho <manic grin>.

Question if anyone has done this: how did your DC sleep? I mean literally how and where - and did you bring anything that helped?

DD will often fall mostly to sleep on our lap or shoulder at home but usually wants to be horizontal in order to fall asleep deeply... So I am thinking she will need to be stretched across our laps. Will a pillow help? Blanket? I am even thinking about bringing a small mattress or something similar to lay on our laps for her to lie on. Yes, I am panicking a bit.

Any tips please... and please no "why would you do this" comments, I know that already!

Gremlingirl Thu 17-Apr-14 19:49:53

Do you have people next to you? Any mileage in making her a little nest on the floor by your feet if there's space?

SquidgyMummy Thu 17-Apr-14 19:50:56

Big pillow for head and body.
Make sure you do not get front row bulkhead seats as armrests do not go up.

Also if flight not likely to be busy, get there early, (and you can sometimes book seats online).

If the plane is a 3-4-3 seat configuration, maybe ask if you and DH can have an aisle and window seat booked and block out the middle seat. Especially at the back of the plane, less likely to be busy.

DP, DS and I often fly 12 hour long haul, I pay for DS now (he's 3) but usually select the 3 of the 4 central seats and nicely ask if they can block the seat next to the sleep deprived toddler we usually get the whole row to ourselves!!

SquidgyMummy Thu 17-Apr-14 19:52:39

Any mileage in making her a little nest on the floor by your feet if there's space?

works on some airlines, not on others

LowCloudsForming Thu 17-Apr-14 19:56:58

This is going to sound odd but it worked for mine: count very slowly to your child (sort of into his ear) in a low soothing monotone, 1,2,1,2,1,2 until said child is bored rhythmically into slumber.

Justeat Fri 18-Apr-14 00:39:34

The aisle seat nearest the toilets is sometimes not allocated.
Try to sit there so toddler can have empty seat.
This idea worked on easyjet 5 years ago.

minipie Fri 18-Apr-14 13:28:26

Thanks everyone! going to get to airport early and see if there is any spare space on the plane...packing breastfeeding v shaped pillow!

Pinkx3 Fri 18-Apr-14 13:34:38

Check with your airline to see if they provide a Skycot. We flew with Virgin airlines when DD was young and didn't have a seat for her. We booked a skycot which meant we got to sit at the bulkhead seats with extra leg room and room for this skycot (which was basically just a padded box but it gave DD somewhere to lie down)

minipie Fri 18-Apr-14 14:51:19

sadly she's too big for the bassinet... Layout is 2,4,2 so at present we've asked to be in a 2 but if the plane isn't too full we'll beg for a 4... Sounds like everything hinges on how full the plane is.

Did I mention she's not a great sleeper at the best of times shock

topsmart Fri 18-Apr-14 14:59:41

On a long haul with our dd a few years ago (when she was similar age to yours and refusing to sleep) a friendly dad gave us great idea to open tables in front of DH and myself, and make a nest of blankets on top. The extra seatbelt the airline gave us for her, which attached to ours, stretched just enough so this system worked even during turbulence. Hope it works for you!

minipie Fri 18-Apr-14 16:41:31

ooh there's an interesting idea topsmart! might try that if she seems to need to be fully horizontal.

<packs extra blanket into bulging carry on>

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Fri 18-Apr-14 16:44:13

Are you flying with BA, by any chance? They have toddler hammock type things that clip into the basinnet spots.

LittleRedDinosaur Fri 18-Apr-14 17:03:33

No advice here but DD is an AWFUL sleeper. We took her away at 15 months and hadn't really planned what to do. She wasn't a fan of take off and having to sit restrained on my knee but slept through the whole of the up in the air bit just lying on DH's squishy jacket over our knees. Totally amazing. Hope it goes without too much pain for you all

crutchlow35 Fri 18-Apr-14 17:11:20

If you are BA they have car seat type things that fasten to the bassinet.

Children cannot sleep on the floor for safety reasons.

Grin a bear it I think is the answer or hope the flight isn't fully booked.

HermioneWeasley Fri 18-Apr-14 17:16:01

Not sure what route you're going but I can't remember the last time I was long haul with any spare seats at all. Prepare for the worst!

LowCloudsForming Fri 18-Apr-14 17:30:14

Oh another idea - I packed stickers and a little notebook to stick them into. Whiled away a fair bit of time whilst awake.

topsmart Fri 18-Apr-14 17:32:16

Minipie the air stewards should give you blankets if you ask. One less thing to pack! If toddler does decide to go into meltdown, we found walking ours around near the stewards' bit calmed her right down - was cooler and brighter than the rest of the plane.

Celeriacacaca Fri 18-Apr-14 19:44:52

When you board, get DH to head to the very back of the plane and lurk while you sit in pre-allocated seats. Back of plane seats usually filled last so if no-one claims a row or a couple of seats by the time the doors are closed, then they're yours. Obviously he'd be charming to any stewards who may wonder what he was doing! We've done it loads of time on long haul flights. It may mean you and DH have to sit apart but I'm sure DH'll enjoy snoozing with DD while you tuck into a wine and a movie wink and stretch out over his (empty) seat. Have a good flight!

minipie Sat 19-Apr-14 11:37:51

Thanks! not BA so no toddler seat sad.

sending DH to back of plane to spot for spare seats is a good idea.

We have approximately 1 gazillion stickers, little toys etc for if she doesn't sleep... but obviously sleep is the better outcome!

littlered that's encouraging! hermione not so much but thanks anyway grin

movingalot Sat 03-May-14 22:11:17

minipie can you let us know how it went?? I'm flying (alone) with DD on a 9 hour flight in a few weeks and bricking it!

queenofthepirates Sat 03-May-14 22:21:59

I'd suggest that either you or your husband bag a seat at the other end of the plane and get a good night's sleep in. reason being neither of you will get that much sleep with toddler and someone needs to make decisions/not lose the passports at the other end of the journey.

It's hit and miss whether toddler will sleep on the flight, my daughter's a brilliant sleeper but is distracted by everything and anything on a flight and barely sleeps until the other end. If you use a sling, they are well worth taking with you for keeping them in one place if there's a delay (expect delays and you won't be disappointed!)

And tonnes of snacks!

CointreauVersial Sat 03-May-14 22:26:12

When our DCs were young they were so over-excited after seeing the airport, the planes etc. that by the time we actually sat down in our seats they fell asleep.

minipie Tue 06-May-14 11:02:14

Huh, thought I posted an update on how it went but it doesn't seem to have posted. Anyway, here goes:

Flight out: plane not very full so we got lucky with 4 seats together. Thought we were sorted but no - DD only slept 4 hours hmm and had a few brief wake ups during that. However there was not too much wailing as we managed to keep her entertained with apps/photos on the ipad (total winner), small snacks, doodle pad, travel hairbrush to brush teddy's fur. Books and stickers weren't all that popular, I think they require too much concentration for knackered toddler. It was hard work (and I really wouldn't fancy doing it on my own...) but manageable. DH and I got virtually no sleep.

Flight back: plane full, so just 2 seats. We got a bassinet but DD didn't fit in it for long (and had to be removed for turbulence anyway). So she mainly slept on me. Surprisingly she slept better there than on the way out - 7.5 hours. I had a breastfeeding pillow - one of the squidgy V shaped ones - and this was a real godsend. I arranged it on my lap and DD slept really well there, she was able to stretch out properly. Any time she stirred I could give her a quick stroke and she was fine. We also gave her some nurofen as she was teething, so that may have helped too.

So anyway my top tips would be: Breastfeeding pillow; Ipad or iphone; some toys not requiring any concentration; calpol/nurofen. Don't plan on achieving anything much the day after the flight, you will be knackered.

Oh and there was milk available on the flight.

snowgirl1 Wed 14-May-14 09:34:21

Minipie thanks for the update. We're taking an 11 hour overnight flight on Friday with our toddler. Were there any particular apps that you'd recommend?

minipie Wed 14-May-14 09:53:05

sure, here's the ones I remember

- Koi Pond
- Talking Tom (with sound off)
- Glow draw
- various Fisher price ones

These were all free. They seemed to work well when DD was too knackered to focus on a story or toy. You need to go to settings and turn off multitasking gestures otherwise they just swipe out of the app all the time.

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