Sunday, June 2, 2013

Flying with a Baby

We've flown with Micah three times now. Two short flights when he was two months old, four longer flights (on my own) when he was seven months and two flights (with an up and down) to San Diego and back at eight months.

I did a bit of research on flying with a baby and this was honestly the most helpful thing that I could find. Even having the right attitude and vowing to not get frazzled can go right out the window when you don't follow simple rules of travel with a baby (like not giving ample time preflight and not checking in the night before on Southwest! What am I? A travel rookie?). Here are the things that seem to help me:

1) Check in online on time. Or at least before you get to the airport. I, the world traveler, was so worried about what all to pack that I completely forgot to check in ahead of time. I also thought that two hours ahead of time for a six am flight would be unnecessary, both huge mistakes. The flight was oversold (hello spring break week) and so they had to wait until people volunteered to be bumped to let Micah and I board the plane. Last people on = so not awesome. Micah was overtired and super hungry. Basically everything you don't want while traveling. I was so determined to not let traveling alone with the baby overwhelm me, but then when he was fussy and upset and I knew it was only because of my bad, I couldn't help getting super frustrated and feeling frazzled. The poor guy was miserable because of me. But, we made it and he wasn't even the annoying kid on our flight. The toddler in the row in front of us stole that award. And there was a super nice lady next to us that helped me change his diaper and held him so that I could use the restroom.

2) Give yourself the two hours ahead of the flight to get to the airport. Again, even if it is a six am flight on a Saturday or whatever other time you highly doubt will be crowded. With a baby, you can never have too much time.

3) Pay attention to the boarding monitors and sit as close to the gate as possible. Don't make that last trip to the restroom for yourself and a diaper change thinking you have a long lay over. Maybe go for yourself and then just change the kid at the gate. Of course this is speaking from experience, since I had a two hour layover in Chicago, which was great. I got dinner, Micah had tummy time and play time, we had time to read books, and he was getting himself tired enough to be ready to sleep on our next plane. That's when I pulled the, "oh look, it's almost time to board the plane. Let's go for one more trip to the restroom for myself and a Micah diaper change" and got back to the gate to find out that I was again the last one on the flight! Mom brain is bad, people. Bad!

4) Check ahead of time what kind of family boarding and options there are for security at the airports you'll be flying to. SeaTac has a special line at security for families, which is of course so helpful and amazing! At Chicago Midway, I wished I had brought our stroller since we could have taken it in the handicapped line at security and skipped the crowd. Cleveland had nothing special, but it's Cleveland, so you one was there. (Just teasing!)

5) Feed on take off and landing, but don't fret if your baby is sleeping. There is no need to wake him or her up just to feed. The white noise on the airplane's keeps most super young babies asleep. Micah's ears seemed to regulate just fine when he slept through the occasional take off or landing.

6) Remember that people are usually super nice. I've heard stories of that one jerk on the plane who says something super rude to the parent of a fussy baby, but remember that's one jerk in about two or hundred people. Ideally an aisle or a window seat is best if you are traveling alone with the baby if you are breastfeeding since then when baby kicks his little feet you will only have to annoy one person, not two. But, don't worry if you end up stuck in the middle. I did on our last flight from Chicago back to Seattle and Micah was lengthy and active during feedings, but we luckily had super nice and helpful people on each side (who both happen to be understanding grandparents).

7) I realized on the last trip that I would like to find one of those backpacks on wheels or a small purse size carry-on with wheels. As cheesy as they are, it would be super helpful when you are already lugging baby and everything else for baby and yourself. I don't want something too big, since then I'll fill it and it will be too cumbersome to lift into the overhead bin or fit under the seat in front of me. It needs to be something that will fit, an Ipad, your camera (which for me is my big DSLR), toys and books and teethers for baby, extra clothes for baby and yourself, all the normal diaper bag essentials, snacks for yourself, and a water bottle (especially if you are breastfeeding. You do not want to solely rely on the free drinks and waters on board).

8) If you are visiting family, borrow what you can and/or have them buy a few items before you arrive like extra diapers & wipes. We borrowed strollers and high chairs and pack and plays/cribs from my cousin and aunt on our last trip, which was awesome. Ok, let's be honest...Micah didn't use the high chair and crib or pack and play at all, but we could have borrowed them if he was. They also had diapers for us when we got there, which was nice since it would have been a pain to lug them with us and a pain to have to go shopping just for those when we got there.

9) Bring your video monitor with you while traveling. I did not and I really wished that I had. It would have saved me the billion trips I made tip toeing into our room to check on him while I could have been relaxing and enjoying the company I was with without interruption.

10) Relax, stay calm, and if you get rattled or frazzled, don't let it ruin your whole trip. Oh and again, read this awesome post.

1 comment:

  1. I am so re-reading all of your blog posts when it's time for me to join the mommy club!!


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