Last weekend we flew to Los Angeles for a funeral. Somehow, by the time we booked our trip, there were no direct flights. We had to book flights that had stops and plane changes in out-of-the-way locations. Our estimated travel times were ridiculous. The thought of Jr.'s (too old to be called "baby" anymore) first airplane experience being five hours long with hectic stops along the way was extremely anxiety provoking for momsie. So, at Jr.'s 12 month check-up, I asked the pediatrician if he had any advice. I think the doctor could see that little Jr. was having trouble sitting still on momsie's lap for his quick 5 minute check-up and a long plane ride could be more than a challenge. He gave me the best advice ever - "You may have to break some of your rules."
Here are the rules I broke that led to a rather pleasant first flight experience for Jr. (and everyone else on the plane!)
Benadryl. Before I had Jr., I would've gasped at the thought of drugging your child to calm them during a flight. But, somehow, the idea made perfect sense when the pediatrician suggested it. He suggested we do a trial run a couple nights before to make sure he didn't have an opposite reaction (apparently some kids get more hyper on Benadryl!). Then, a half hour before our plane took off, we gave him a 1/2 teaspoon. It worked like a charm! He slept for an hour and a half to begin each flight. I thought I heard angels singing.
McDonald's French Fries. Adults all know that McDonald's french fries are pure deliciousness. We also know that they are horribly greasy and drenched in salt (that's what makes them so yummy). I usually try to keep Jr. far away from such addicting junk food. But, in a pinch between flights, I decided to grab some for Jr. to try. Of course, he loved them. Eating those fries kept him totally entertained until the Benadryl knocked him out.
Media. The Benadryl haze only lasted for about half of our travel time. When Jr. returned to his normal energy level, we pulled out all the stops, new toys, pacifiers, and the iPad. I try to limit his exposure to media, but there really are some cool apps for babies! There are apps that play music and animal sounds, teach numbers and letters, and otherwise bombard your baby with stimulation.
So, we broke the rules. But, we had a nice flight. It also helped that the cutest little nine month old girl sat behind us on the way home. Jr. and his new girlfriend played over the seat for a good thirty minutes. Now, if only I could figure out how to get Jr. to sleep through the night away from home!