We have traveled with my son since he was tiny. In fact, we actually traveled quite a bit even when he was growing in my belly. So, our family is no stranger to traveling, and not unfamiliar with traveling with a little one. WE even braved a trip to Hawaii when he was a year and a half. Until recently however our son had been under two, and we have traveled with him as a lap baby. This method was clearly the most cost efficient however, it was far from the most comfortable or easy for mom. The first few trips when he was just a little peanut weren’t all too bad. He was tiny enough that I barely noticed his weight in my arms, and a flight was a perfect time to indulge his marathon nurser behaviors. The problem here was that my son did not stay tiny long. He’s always been in the 90th percentile and quickly became very large and squirmy on our laps. When traveling with my husband my son had to stretch across us both to nap; when I was traveling alone I put on a smile and made friends with the person next to me, because I could almost guarantee they would be spending the flight with my son partially in their lap. The bigger, and more active he got the harder it was to fly with him as a lap child.
As our son got closer to two I was looking forward to the third seat requirement-since if it were up to my husband he’d sit with our son on his lap till he’s 20 before he spent the money on a seat. We recently visited Minnesota and experienced our first trip with the third seat and let me just say, IT IS A GAME CHANGER. Before the third seat flying with my son was a sport. I needed to come prepared and be ready for any problem my son could have during the flight. I had to think about my outfit, if it was too hot to be smothered by a 30lbs baby for two hours or not; I needed to be armed with snacks, and entertainment. This time I came into the flight with the same preparation I always had. I was armed with treats for bribery, new toys for distraction, his iPad with all his favorite shows on it. We all piled in the row and prepared for the flight I expected to be spending responding to the demands of our little tyrant for two hours, while we tried at all costs to avoid a meltdown. We had come up with a very effective way of flying and although it was exhausting for mom and dad he rarely cried on the plane. Mom often felt like crying by the end though.
The second we shuffled into our row and put our son in that third seat I knew it was going to change everything. The extra space allowed our son to have his own space. For the first time in two years I spent a flight without overheating, and without being touched out by the end. I remember leaving flights with my lap child feeling like my skin was crawling, I wanted nothing more than to have my own space-and even though he couldn’t tell me, my sons sweaty head told me he felt the same way. This flight was different from the start. We all had ample room to move. While an airplane seat seems small to an adult, to a toddler the seat is huge. Its plenty of space to stretch out in; he could stand and sit whenever he chose. Mommy wasn’t used as a jungle gym, and at one point he was even able to stretch out between us to lay down! He had so much fun just having his own space he did not need any of the preparations I had come with. His iPad, which was previously a MUST, stayed tucked in his backpack the entire flight. He was content looking out the window, reading the safety pamphlet, and adjusting where he was sitting in his seat. So now is when I say something I know my husband is shaking his head reading but it’s the truth and I have to share it. Because ladies, I feel like I’m missing something….
THE THIRD SEAT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY WE SPENT ON IT!
That third seat was a game changer! Why didn’t anyone tell me?! That could have been a 5-hour plane ride and he still would have done great. I cannot even imagine having a toddler on your lap an entire flight. But even beyond just the inconvenience of having a toddler climb you like a tree-that seat provided him with the comfort he needed to not be so needy during the flight. He didn’t need to be bribed because he was happy, there didn’t need to be a distraction because just looking out the window was interesting enough, the iPad was irrelevant because he now had his own seatbelt, which was hours of entertainment. This seat is worth every penny you guys. So, I’m telling you right now if you have a husband like mine, who just cannot spend a penny without heavily weighing the pros and cons, this is a fight worth having. If I had known what a breeze it would be flying with that middle seat I would have demanded it so much sooner. The second that little nugget overflows from your lap, fight for the third seat! I wish I had sooner.
Get out there and have some real adventures now that you know that power of the third seat!