Airplanes, Babies, Pregnancy…and How to Survive


Last year, I experienced the singular pleasure of a 24.5 hour trip to New Zealand with my husband, 18-month-old daughter…while I was 5 months pregnant. Before going, I read up on all the tips and tricks I could find on how to handle such a large amount of time in planes with a toddler. Everyone said the same thing, “Snacks, books/toys they haven’t seen before, see if the flight attendants will allow for contraptions that can make the seat longer to allow for the baby to stretch out to sleep, etc.” 

I got all of it and then some.

Plotting how to break her Mama.

The trip there was pretty awful. She slept maybe 5 hours total. TOTAL. Not at one time. I was so stressed a rash formed on my lower arms. Did you know that airports don’t carry Hydrocortisone cream??? I do…now. The only antihistamine in the area is oral Benadryl and out of necessity I bought it and took it. Thankfully it didn’t add to my drowsiness!

As you can see, we did survive!

Coming back to the states was easier. It did help that the flight times all together only were 22.5 hours. Really though, taking what I learned from the first flight really helped me out. It’s about getting in a good mental headspace. It’s not about keeping them on a regular schedule (that’s pretty much impossible in an airplane with hardly any wiggle room, no bed, and so many strangers around), it’s about keeping yourself calm and be mentally ready for the meltdowns. 

I’ve compiled a survival list that is geared more toward how to reach that good mental space. I hope you find it helpful!

How to survive with your toddler on planes…

  1. Remind yourself that it will end. Time feels like it’s going by super slow, then all of a sudden it’ll be done and you will be able to get that kid back into a routine.
  2. Snacks for baby and for you. Keep the protein up, sugar low, and stay hydrated.
  3. Accept that they may not sleep. Doing this will make it easier to handle when they don’t, and even more awesome when they do.
  4. Throw the restricted TV time out the window if you have to and play “Mary Poppins” 3x in a row (or…you know…a movie your kid is obsessed with). 
  5. If you have a partner with you, hold a strategy session before you get on the plane. Actually, before you even get to the day of transport. Take shifts, give each other grace, remember that each of you will need a break.

How to survive a flight while pregnant…

She got pretty silly sometimes. Letting myself relax a little helped me have fun too!
  1. Do not rush yourself.
  2. Take compression stockings with you and USE THEM. They will keep you from getting swollen ankles, or varicose veins. The first round of flights to our destination I only wore them for half the time, and on the way back I wore them the entire time. BIG DIFFERENCE.
  3. When you get to choose your seats, choose the seats next to the restrooms. It makes having to go pee every 1-2 hours so much easier. The attendants keep the rooms pretty clean and are in and out of them all the time to keep it that way, plus the plane noise covers up most other noises coming from there.
  4. Stay hydrated! Stay fueled! I cannot stress this enough. You can’t keep going for the super long flights without protein.
  5. Accept that you are pregnant, and with that comes certain limitations. I was forced into accepting this on the first round of flights. Don’t be me! Come to grips with this before you go!

Have you ever been on an insanely long flight with a kid? A regular length flight? Were there differences/similarities? How did you survive? 


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