Flying with 2 kids....Here's the Deal!
I recently had my second child 6 months ago and my oldest is 2. I'll save you the trouble on doing the math...they are 19 months apart. Life is crazy to say the least, but I did it to myself. LOL
Well, I recently just took my first cross country flight with both kiddos....not alone, thankfully, but it doesn't matter if you have every passenger on board as part of your travel crew, traveling with more than 1 kid is no joke. (I hope that sentence didn't scare some of you first time moms getting ready to fly in your near future) It's totally doable and I'm going to give a few tips I have learned along the way.
I just want to say....I'm no pro. I actually don't even fly often (maybe 2 times a year with my kid/s). I'm basing this off the couple flights I've taken with my son and now my most recent flight with both kids. Anytime I flew with my first born, it was scary as S#*& for me. I'm not going to lie. I was a first time mom, not really having confidence in my parenting ability, and not to mention; the unexpected. How's my son going to do? What if he causes a big scene and I can't control him? Are all the passengers going to hate me because my son is that kid screaming his face off? These are all questions I would continuously ask myself. It wasn't until I had my daughter that my mindset changed. It was like I gained some confidence in myself and knew I could do it! Or maybe I just finally realized, I don't give AF (sorry for the aggressive language) what others say. My kids have to fly so get over it. If they are loud, I'm sorry, but I don't really care if you're annoyed. It's a part of life. And my mama bear claws would have come out if someone even thought about saying anything to me. Thankfully, my kids did awesome and there were no issues, but here are a few things I've learned/or things that have helped me get me to where I am comfortable flying with my kids.
1) Having a plan is key. The amount of stuff we need for a flight with kids is overwhelming. With 2 kids, a stroller that breaks down into 3 parts, carry ons, milk, laptop that needs to be taken out...need I go on? This is why I say having a plan is essential in trying to make things run a little smoother! Anyways, call me crazy, but I go through my exact plan in my head probably 20 times. I have an exact plan on how I'm going to get through security as quickly and efficiently as possible. For me, going through security and getting on the plane was the most stressful part. You literally have every passenger staring and judging. I get it, it's annoying waiting on people with kids. We take forever. That's why I know exactly how I'm going to unload the bags, take off the infant car seat, take the kids out. I've got it figured out beforehand. I even got one of the best compliments from a 30 something man that was behind me. After getting my whole crew and myself through security he said, "You had your hands full and you made it look easy." I felt so proud of myself for how far I had come. Now if that was 8 months ago it would have been a different story!
2) There is this diaper bag that a friend told me about that was clutch for our travels! I'm talking...game changer! It's not the most fashionable bag, but it's freaking LEGIT. Can you sense my excitement? I can't rave about it enough. I have several different diaper bags, but I needed something that would carry all the stuff I need for 2 kids. You can find it here on Amazon. One of the big reasons I love this bad boy is because of all the compartments. When you travel, compartmentalizing is key! I don't know how many sandwich bags or freezer bags I've used to separate all things; diapers, extra clothes, snacks, crayons and coloring books, electronics and chargers, etc There's a place for everything. This brings me to my next tip. Since this diaper bag has an insane amount of compartments, its key knowing where everything is. I know what you're thinking, I probably sound a little OCD, but when you have a baby on your lap and a 2 year old next to you, and the 2 year old is throwing a tantrum because he wants his crayons, and then your baby dropped their pacifier....If I didn't know where things were located in this bag, I'd be searching forever and I'd probably have everyone on the plane rolling their eyes at me to get my kids under control. Like I've said before, I'm all about being efficient and making things easier on myself.
3) I think everybody knows this trick, but if you don't here is a little bit of advice I was told. Separate kids diapers/wipes and extra clothes in big ziplock baggies. They say to bring an extra change of clothes/diapers for every hour of your flight. I did that my first couple flights because I wanted to be prepared, but honestly its too much. Well it was for my kids. This may sound crazy, but I know my kids bowel schedule (for the most part) so I kind of know what to expect. Don't get me wrong, I know accidents happen so I always had an extra pair of clothes and multiple bibdanas for my little babe who is a big spitter upper, but 4 outfits for each child takes up too much space so I did what I felt was comfortable. When you make separate baggies for each you just grab your bag and go. I also put some of these disposable changing pads in my ziploc bags when I take the kids to the bathroom. I'm not a big germaphobe, but planes are disgustingly filthy. Lay one of these down so your child isn't touching the bare changing table.
4) While we're on the subject of filth. I know planes are dirty. I won't go into what I've read, but that all goes out the window with kids. I try to wipe down everything around/in front of us, but let's be honest....things are going to fall and that thing might just be something your child desperately needs. Pacifier clips for your babies are a must. I'm pretty relaxed with my parenting, but something about planes makes me say, ewww. Pacis always fall so attach that thing to a clip so you don't even have to worry about it falling under a seat.
5) I don't know how much trash I accumulated before our plane even took off. Granted, I have a 2 year old who was eating every snack under the sun, so if you're just flying with a baby this doesn't really matter to you just yet, but I will say these disposable scented diaper sacks come in handy for 2 reasons. 1) Helps to keep all your trash in one place so then its easy to dispose of and you aren't scrambling when the flight attendant comes by. I swear keeping your area as decluttered as possible helps! Now only if I could do this with my house, but that's for another day. Reason 2) these bags are great for if your child decided to take an unexpected #2. Lets be honest. Kids smell.
6) Wear your baby from the moment you step into the airport. Allows you to have free hands for when you are going through security, and when you are boarding the plane, it makes breaking down your stroller at the gate easier.
7) Arrive early! When I'm traveling with kids in tow I will get there EXTRA early. I don't know about you, but when I'm rushed I get really stressed and when I'm stressed it's not a pretty sight. Just ask my husband. I know nobody wants to sit around the airport for longer than they have to, but getting there with enough time makes for a more pleasant travel experience. And, hey, if you're there way before its time to board, I walk around with my toddler to burn some energy off.
8) Pick a flight time that works for your child's schedule.
9) And some advice I've received when flying with a toddler. Wrap up some cheap $1 store gifts. Keep breaking them out periodically through the flight and hopefully that will keep them occupied for a hot minute. And one thing my son is obsessed with are these reusable window gel decals. He takes the window seat and puts them all on the window, takes off, and repeat. That at least took 20 minutes of his time!
10) The flight attendants are your friends. If you need help....ASK! They get it and are there to help make your trip run as smooth as possible.
11) Drink. No, I'm serious! Have a bloody mary or a glass of wine or five! It will help you relax.
I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope maybe some of you were able to grab a few tips I've learned along the way. Even though traveling with kid/s can be scary, its not bad. You got this! Us moms are rock stars and can do anything. We stress ourselves out more than we should, but know you're doing a great job and everything will be just fine!