Flying from Miami to Tokyo takes about 16 hours and miraculously we survived our first major international trip together with my son, Blake who is 8 months old! It’s all about planning and being super creative on the long flights and taking advantage of any layovers. We happened to have a layover in Dallas, so we went to the Centurion Lounge which has a family room (The Admirals Lounge also has a children’s room) so our baby could have a safe place to play with toys, crawl, stand up and socialize with other babies and toddlers.
My husband and I loaded up Blake’s diaper backpack with the obvious diapers, wipes, blankets, teething toys, including his favorite toy: Tengu Magnetic Wooden Blocks. Since our baby is also teething we made sure to grab an end piece of a french baguette for him to chew on, it’s one of his favorite natural and edible teething toys. We also included his bamboo spoons, sippy cup of water, organic infant quinoa, Happy Baby Organic Teething Wafers, and a variety of organic baby food options.
It’s ideal if you can start your flight in the morning right around your baby’s normal nap time. For us this worked out to fly at about 7am. Just before boarding, I fed Blake his solids, changed his diaper before the flight and breastfed him during takeoff and he slept comfortably for the first part of the flight. When he work up, I figured out fun ways to keep him entertained since he doesn’t like to sit at the seat for a long period of time. I alternated by holding him and carrying him in the Stokke baby carrier as we walked up and down the aisles. I talked to him, sang his favorite songs to him including Brahms Lullaby by Jewel. Sometimes he would fall asleep in his carrier or in my arms so I would walk by to my seat and take a nap with him.
When he woke up again and was done with people watching along the aisles of the plane, I created a mini play area for him in a section of the airplane that was clean and put a large blanket on the floor along with Blake’s favorite toys. I would sit with him and play until he was ready for a new activity. Sometimes, just going to the bathroom for a diaper change or to look in the mirror was perfect for Blake because he loves looking at himself in the mirror!
If you’re fortunate to travel with your husband, make sure to give him some time with your baby also so you get a break. It’s such a luxury to have moments of being hands free. I got a chance to stretch, eat a meal (mostly superfoods and power snacks that I packed), go to the bathroom and catch a movie hands free. My husband had fun entertaining Blake with the Bose headphones and playing his favorite show, Little Baby Bum or Les Petits Poissons dans l’eau (he doesn’t really watch TV but he likes these shows because they consist of nursery rhymes only. My husband, Chris also downloaded Brahms Lullaby on his iPhone so he can play it for Blake at anytime to sooth him.
Chris also carried Blake up and down the aisles and introduced him to all the flight attendants who fell in love with Blake’s sweet smile. I think they both enjoyed guy time and being silly with each other. It’s cute to watch them interact.
My husband was sweet to feed me bites of food when Blake fell asleep in my arms. It takes teamwork to get through a long flight like this but its so much easier when you can figure out ways to keep you baby happy and comfortable as long as possible and squeeze in your naps whenever your baby gets them. Or take a nap when your husband or caretaker has your baby. You will need your energy to handle the jet lag once you land (haha this will be a separate blog post).
16 Hours later and Blake’s asleep in his carrier in the taxi on the way to our hotel. Success!