Toddler as Travel Companion

Ember, emotions, expectations, Lisa Bullard, toddler, traveling -

Toddler as Travel Companion

My toddler, Ember, has flown between Montana and New York every 3 months of her life.

We’re about to embark on another adventure. Each time, I grow anxious wondering how she will do – Will she squirm and cry for the whole flight? Will she sleep at our new destination? Will she adjust to the time difference? And on and on.

Ember has squirmed and cried on our flights.

And breastfed with her feet kicking a minister in the seat next to us, and pooped mid-air, but we managed! Most of the time, it has been much easier than car travel, because she is in my lap nursing whenever she is hungry, and napping in my arms. Some of her best naps have been at a mile high!

Strangers rarely cast dirty glances our way.

Most of the time they give me sympathetic looks, or offer to carry my luggage, or hold Ember, or fondly reminisce about their own travels with their children. We’ve met some lovely people on our flights!

But still, despite my previous good experience, that little nagging voice says: this time Ember can walk and she has entered the tantrum phase!

I’m a little anxious again.

To help soothe my anxiety I asked other moms for their best travel advice at a recent NBNP Mother’s Group. I wanted to share some of the useful tips I received:


  • Pack special snacks for the plane (if your baby is eating solids, of course) – something your child LOVES  (for us yogurt melts and cheerios are always winners). This can buy some peaceful time.
  • Wrap little toys in gift wrap and periodically pull one from your bag for baby to unwrap and play with. They don’t have to be new toys – even some old favorites would work. I love this idea and can’t wait to try it!
  • Don’t show your toddler that they can walk down the aisle until you are ready to spend a lot of time doing just that.
  • Wait to board until the last minute, so you spend as little time as possible on the plane, and more time in the waiting area where baby (or toddler) has more room to roam.
  • Plan your flight for a good time of day for your child. For instance, I try to fly in the morning and early afternoon, as evenings have been Ember’s most fussy time.
  • Pack a few familiar things for your new destination (for instance, a favorite book and the music box we wind up every night at bedtime always travels with us).

Fingers crossed for this trip!

How does traveling with kids work for you? Any tricks? You can share at a NBNP Mother's Group.

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