There is so much information out there and it's hard to know who to trust. I wouldn't say you should trust us over anyone else, but just in case you need a little more advice or just a bit of encouragement feel free to read on. It's best to lay out what we found most encouraging and then let you know what really happened.
- EVERYONE, even the most holistically organic, natural people said to invest in Benedryl. Advice taken.
- EVERYONE said to buy 1 new toy for each hour you expected your child to be awake. Advice taken - mostly.
- At least 3 bloggers said to individually wrap each toy. With the intentions that unwrapping would eat up some time. Never got around to it.
- 3 bloggers recommended this toy: Lauri Toys Toddler Tote. Advice taken.
- EVERYONE said buy a big water after security. You will use this to not only keep your baby hydrated but to clean their sippy cup. DO NOT clean sippy cups with airplane water. Airplane water is NOT SANITARY and the crew usually only stocks enough for service.
- Many blogs said to spend the extra money and buy your baby their own seat. Advice not taken.
- Every blog had a great packing list. We'll let you know below what we packed and what we actually used.
- The Toddler Tote (mentioned above) is great because it doubles as 3 or 4 toys. Ella loved the puzzles, but the pegs were a bit too difficult for her tiny hands.
- Doodle Sketch. AMAZING.
- Leap Frog Junior Tag Reader and 3 books. However, Curious George Colors was the favorite.
Never got around to wrapping the toys because of, well life. However, I could see this would be an excellent idea for parents with children who understand what opening a toy means.
Snack food = awesome. We always bring our own snacks like bananas, nuts, etc. Plane food is so boring and full of sodium so adding in some natural favorites always helps. It just made sense to pack Ella the same goodness. Happy Baby products are our favorite.
Buying a seat. We are indiffrerent on this idea. Here are the reasons. For this flight, we didn't even think about it. If you buy your own seat (on American Airlines) for a child under 2 you must have a car seat. Since we don't have a car, we don't have a toddler car seat. On the flight back we lucked out - we were sat in a row with an empty seat. However, Ella still needed to switch from lap to lap to keep her entertained. It was great for sleeping hours because she was able to stretch out, but if we had paid we would have had the car seat; so she wouldn't have been able to lay down. If you are an American living in Japan with no car this could end up costing you more hassle (and money), but if you have a car seat and your kid likes sitting in that seat for 10+ hours, go for it!
SOBA NOODLES: If you fly a Japanese airline you will most likely get soba noodles at some point. Don't eat them - save them for your child. We gave Ella Soba and she ate/played for 1 1/2 hours! Not flying Japanese? Pre-cook some of your childs favorite noodles and pull them out about 2 hours into the flight.
ASK: Ask for everything and anything that might help your experience. Ask for the crew to hold your food until your child is asleep. Ask the gate attendant to hold a seat in-between you and your husband in the hopes it will stay empty. Ask for the last row in the plane - you won't feel as bad when your child is craying because there are less people around to bother. And once your child goes to sleep, ask for a glass of wine.
DOWNSIZE. We bought ONE large piece of luggage that doubled as a backpack. It was key that we packed as few suitcases as possible. We bought an small stroller so that we could check it at the gate. We bought a new carry on BAG. Bag is key here. If you bring everything in a bag you can stuff it under your seat which equals easy acess for toys, food and diapers.
As promised: what we packed and what we used.
- 1 diaper for every hour on the plane, this left plenty for layovers. Just enough.
- 1 package of wipes.Plenty.
- 2 sippy cups. Used both.
- 5 small towels . Used all.
- pair of PJ's. Didn't use.
- 2 plain white onesies. Used 1.
- 1 extra pair of pants.Used.
- 3 bibs. Used all.
- snacks (mentioned above) plus a banana, cheese sticks and pre-made grilled cheese & peanut putter sandwiches. Everything was eaten
- toys (mentioned aboveUsed all.