Sunday, March 8, 2015

Flying with an Infant

True Confession: I LOVE to travel (although if you have been following this blog for very long you probably have already caught onto this).

When I was pregnant with Lucy I don't even want to admit how many people said things along the lines of: "your life is over for at least the next 18 years" or "you will never read or travel like you are accustom to" or or or {which why people find these types of advice helpful is beyond me} - I however, while our travel has changed and we can no longer travel with our carry on bag alone, we continue to travel and explore the world just with a child in tow.

In January and February, Lucy took 6 flights. I could see the looks on people's faces as I walked back to our seats - the look of people hoping and praying that our seats were no where near there seats, the look of fear that I was carrying on a newborn who was going to scream and cry the entire flight, a slight look of panic. Lucy did AMAZINGLY on all of our flights.

I didn't actually buy Lucy a seat for our flights (children 2 and under fly free w/in the United States on most airlines - if not all - I am not sure - we flew Delta for all of our flights), I was willing to risk holding her on our flights. Upon arriving at the airport and after getting to our gate I approached each of the gate attendants to see if there were any open seats on the flight and if I could get moved next to one of those seats so that I could bring on Lucy's infant seat and be able to strap her in and down for take off and landing (I have read many reports of how dangerous these times are for planes) and was hoping to be able to. On six out of the six flights I was moved next to an empty seat and I brought Lucy's infant seat on the plane so that she could ride harnessed during the landing and the take off.

I realize it is different for every kid and as kids get older it probably gets harder and harder to entertain on things such as airplanes, however, here is what I found to be helpful:

  • Feed baby on take off and landing to help alleviate the pressure in their ears
    • This worked awesome for us other than on one flight when we were backed out of the gate and had to make a 20ish minute stop to get our plane de-iced before taking off - I had a hungry baby on my hands and didn't want to start feeding her and have her finish eating before we took off - I did manage to keep her mostly entertained during the de-icing so that she would be eating during take off - but it was a little bit of a challenge
  • bring toys
    • this seems obvious but I packed a combination of beloved toys and a couple of new to Lucy toys that she hadn't played with before
  • change the baby right before boarding
    • changing a baby in an airplane is a challenge - I had to change Lucy on 3 of the flights - she managed to fill her pants three times in flight - on one of the flights there was a tiny (tiny even for my preemie baby) changing table in the bathroom - in the other two flights I had to cram in and attempt to change her diaper without a changing table in the small bathroom (uggg)
  • try to have a tired baby before the flight
    • I intentionally kept Lucy awake for the couple hours before our flight when she would have normally napped so that she would sleep on the flights (this worked fairly well surprisingly- she probably slept 75% of our six flights)
  • pack as light as you can
    • while hauling a baby it was obviously important to have plenty of diapers and formula but I also would recommend packing: some toys, and a change of clothes for both baby and you (I didn't get puked on or anything however, it would stink to be midflight and not have access to a change of clothes) but going through security and wandering around the airport I wouldn't have wanted to carry any more than absolutely necessary. 
  • use the family check line at security
    • I had Lucy in a soft structured carrier and they allowed me to leave her in their as we went through security which was WAY helpful so I had my hands to get all of our stuff through the scanner
    • we used the family check line 3 of the 4 times we had to go through security - We didn't go through it in Orlando (although I am not certain they have a family check line)
    • I didn't have to take off my shoes while going through the family check line
    • they were AWESOME about allowing Lucy's food and milk through security as it was clearly over 3 ounces

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