Travelling with a small person

When I told people we were going to Dubai as our first family holiday, I was met with a few faces of concern. I could see them panicking for me at the thought of an eight-hour flight with a one-year-old.

I was worried, too, I'll admit.

Since stopping breastfeeding she's stopped being such a cuddler. It's like she punished me for taking away the boob by taking away cuddles!

She stopped sleeping on me and wouldn't sit still at all on my knee. I wasn't sure how the flight would go, especially in terms of sleeping, given that she likes her own space for that now.

I was also worried how she'd cope having to sit on mine or Tom's knee; because she's under two so didn't get a seat of her own.

However, I remained calm and confident that all would be well; I knew if I was stressed she'd pick up on that and would be a nightmare.

I was well prepared for our travels. Probably too prepared.

We were able to take a piece of hand luggage each, so I rammed three bags full of toys, changes of clothes, Calpol sachets, teething granules, nappies, wipes and snacks.

And I took wayyyy too much.

But, I would always rather have more than I need than be caught short.

Before we went I bought a 'Keep Em Quiet' bag (here's the link if you want a nosey).

They basically put together bags for little ones for travelling filled with snacks, toys, books etc. They're all based on your child's age and there are different sizes depending on the length of your journey.

I went for the long-haul one which was £19.99. Every one is different, but mine had:
- Stacking cups
- A plastic toy giraffe
- A soft shark toy
- A little bag of snacks
- A wooden caterpillar
- Plastic velcro food
- A 'surprise' toy (it was a rubber duck inside a plastic egg)
- Books
- A Bing colouring book
- Colouring pencils

I have a feeling there was something else, too, but it's that long ago now I genuinely can't remember.

However, I felt it was good value for money. I packed everything, along with other small bits I had bought (a slinky, a little wooden car) and was prepared to get something new out every so often.

In reality, she wasn't at all bothered with toys, really. While we were away, the toys were a lifesaver. She played with them in the room while we got ready and took them to the pool/beach, too. However, for the flight itself, she wasn't too interested.

The iPad was an absolute godsend. I'd downloaded loads of her favourite CBeebies show on the BBC iPlayer app and we watched a few of these as everyone else was boarding.

I got some milk from a coffee shop at the airport to give her during take-off, to help with her ears, but misjudged how long we would be taxiing for and she'd downed it before we'd even left the ground...! She was fine with take-off, though, and just snacked through it (a trend for the whole flight).

Within minutes of us taking off she was asleep.

She slept for almost two hours, I think. I was amazed. And uncomfortable.

My arm went to sleep with her and it took a good while for me to get the feeling back in it.

I managed to watch (almost) a whole film while she slept.

She woke up and we had about five hours left. Five hours which she spent eating.

Honestly, I've never seen the girl put so much away.

I took Quavers, Ella's Kitchen snacks, Kiddylicious wafers - the lot. She ate a whole bag of the melty puffs, a whole pack of melty sticks, two packs of Quavers, two packs of the Kiddylicious wafers... I was actually starting to panic that we'd run out of snacks before we landed.

Thankfully, we were ok!

She was good as gold the whole flight, and I was so relieved.

She got a bit crabby at times, but that was mainly when she didn't want to sit still any longer. Long flights are hard for adults so they must be even more difficult for little ones.

I found that taking her on little walks around the plane helped, and the cabin crew were amazing with her! So were all the people sat around us, actually.

When she was having a whinge nobody glared or was rude or looked like we were a nuisance.

There was a lady sat across from us who kept passing Peyton things to play with and another lady who started playing peek-a-boo with her. And the couple behind us, bless them, had to endure her stood up poking her head over the seat shouting "iya' for a good chunk of the flight. They must've wanted the world to open them up when they walked into our hotel reception and saw us in the queue in front of them. They were lovely, though, we actually kept bumping into them loads!

Where we were sat on the plane was absolutely ideal - we had loads of leg room. I made a little play area for P with some of the toys we took but, as I said before, she wasn't really interested in them. She'd entertain them for a few minutes but really just wanted to be off wandering.

However, the extra leg room was ideal for travelling with a small one. It meant, at times, I could sit on the floor and she sat on my seat. The couple next to us had a little baby who was around 11-ish months and they got a bassinet for him to sleep in. It clipped onto the wall in front of us and was basically a cot for them. If Peyton hadn't been so big (and heavy) I'd have got one for her too, but she was a bit past that.

Emirates were great, though. When we boarded we got a little pack with wipes and nappy cream and stuff in, and also a little blanket and soft toy. They have baby milk on board and baby food pouches. The only downside was, because she was under two, she didn't get a proper meal. But, we didn't pay for a seat so I have no complaints about that! Had I wanted any pouches for her, they would've been able to give me as many as we needed.

All in all, I wouldn't be put off about travelling long haul with a small person. Our flights were through the day time which worked ok. When we were booking it I was insistent we didn't want night flights. We booked it in January when she was still up countless times in the night and the thought of her sleeping through seemed too good to be true. However, now, night flights would have probably been better as she would have just slept the whole way, as opposed to sleeping for a fraction of the time.

Despite this, it wasn't bad at all. She didn't have any major meltdowns, she didn't cry for long periods, and she didn't cause any scenes. She was a bit grumbly when we were landing in Dubai but I think she was shattered by this point, and I had no provisions for her ears for landing.

On the way back, she was a bit more unsettled and restless, but me and Tom were, too. Despite this, there were hardly any tears. Still, she had two sleeps of around an hour and fell asleep an hour before we landed. Despite her burning her hand on our food when it came out (this resulted in a good 15 minutes of screaming) she was as dreamy as she was on the way out.

Incase anyone is set to travel with a small person, or is just nosey like me and wants to know what I packed in my hand luggage, here's the comprehensive list...
- Nappies (x10)
- Wipes (1 pack)
- Nappy sacks
- Cotton wool pads
- Sudocrem
- Blanket
- Muslin cloths
- Change of clothes
- Clothes for arrival
- Snacks
- Bib
- Cup
- Bottle
- Calpol sachets
- Teething granules
- Spoon
- Changing mat
- Toys and books
- iPad

I definitely had too much.

To the point where, on the way back, we said we'd only take two pieces of hand luggage.

We had too many nappies, too many toys, and just too much stuff in general. It was hard knowing which bag we needed for what, and I could tell Tom was regretting sitting on the aisle seat and being the one having to get everything out of the overhead lockers for me...!

However, you can guarantee if I'd gone streamline she'd have had the shits and we'd have all ended up landing in Dubai wrapped in Emirates blankets because our clothes were destroyed and we ran out of nappies.

My top tips would be:
- Pack toys they've not seen before
- Take lots of their favourite snacks - snacks saved the flight for us
- Take a change of clothes for you as well as baby (the lady next to us, her little boy projectile vomited all over her on the way back...! I was so thankful it didn't happen to me because I had no change of clothes for myself!)
- Download a variety of their favourite episodes to keep them distracted
- Try and stay calm. Travelling in itself can be quite stressful and make people anxious, but it's even worse with a small person, too. But I was prepared for every eventuality and kept calm, and everything was plain sailing.
- Give Calpol half an hour before take-off (it helps with the pain of their ears)
- If you can, ask a coffee shop to give you some warm milk in their bottle for take-off (again, helps their ears)

I feel like I've rambled on about a load of absolute bollocks there, so sorry if this isn't the most exciting blog you've ever read.

It's taken me long enough to write, you'd think I could've made it a bit more exciting - but nope!

Basically, don't be put off by long haul flights with a little one because, honestly, it's nowhere near as bad as you think.

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