Q. We will be flying nearly five hours cross country to visit relatives at Thanksgiving. Our son will be three months old and is nursing and our daughter will be two years old. We wondered if you have any tips for us?
A. Have fun! This is a pretty good age for flying with your baby because he will charm all those people on the plane who are sure they don’t want to fly with a baby. Then, when you get there, he’ll brighten everybody’s holiday by grinning at them, too!
Do your best to get him to suck during take off and landing to help his ears.
During the flight, flush his nose every 10-15 minutes with breast milk. Express a little and get a small dropper to put a few drops into each nostril. This kills viruses trying to get in and will also make him sneeze. The more he sneezes the better because it sends viruses flying out of his nose at 100 mph. If you have no milk, get a weak salt water solution to do the flushing.
Bring lots of extra diapers and clothes.
Your daughter may not fly quite as easily but I can give you one great trick: Bring along one toy for every 5 minutes of the flight. Yes, 12 toys/hour and, no, they do not need to be the size of a large doll or truck. Get big bags of little dinosaurs or her favorite old books along with a dozen new small books. I know, this trip is getting more expensive by the minute, but don’t forget how amused she is by wooden spoons, old paper towels rolls, empty plastic bottles and so on. You will need a separate duffel bag for all this, but the flight will be much better for it.
Make certain that you bring enough food for her for 5 to 7 hours and extra clothes for her and you. I once had the lovely, very personal, experience of having my two year old pee right through her diaper while sitting on my lap before takeoff. We had four extra outfits for her and not even a pair of sweat pants for me. Long flight.
Some people swear by the “red eye” experience and some people do not. Kids do not reliably go to sleep during this late night flight but many will.
The trip is truly worth it and the flight will be . . . memorable.