We just arrived home from our first experience travelling with an infant.
And there is only one word that can describe the event.
Below are a few highlights of travelling with a baby and maybe even some tips 🙂
We chose to fly close to naptime/bedtime – Both our flights were scheduled for sleepy times. The first for bedtime, the second for her morning nap. This worked swimmingly, even though she didn’t sleep much. On the way out Ariadne would fall asleep but wake because of the loud noises and lights being turned on. Luckily, because she was well fed and comfortable (we put her right in her PJs at the airport) she was content the entire time. The return flight was similar, but she did sleep for 45 minutes of the flight. I was pleasantly surprised by how happy she was just to smile and talk to all of the other passengers. We got way more than our fair share of “She’s sooo good! She must fly all the time!” comments. I was beaming with pride.
Soo that nursing/feeding while taking off and landing thing? – I’m banking on myth. Well, maybe it’s not a myth, so much as not as big of a deal as people make it. I made special care to nurse during take off while heading out and we had no problems – landing she was sleeping. On the way home I nursed heading out but she wasn’t hungry on the way down, so instead she sat on my lap looking out the window. And we got not one single peep. I was shocked. I expected screaming or maybe just a little fussing. But no, she was happy as a clam the entire time. So, moral of the story? If you can fit in a feeding for take off/landing, try it out…but if your baby is kicking the other passengers because she’s not hungry…accept that things will probably still go smoothly.
Routines are really important – We tried really hard to keep Ariadne’s routine the same while travelling. Of course, this was hard on the day that we had back to back family Christmas celebrations…which resulted in a baby that wouldn’t nap just anywhere, and was so exhausted that she ended up falling asleep an hour before the usual bedtime, and sleeping for 13 hours. I’m not so sure I consider this situation a fail, as it’s the first time in probably over a year that I’ve slept 8 hours without getting up to pee, nurse a Charlie Horse or tend to a babe. But things went much smoother the rest of the time away when we followed her regular nap and feeding schedules.
Don’t lose the teething necklace – Without fail, your baby will be working on teeth while you’re travelling. Or maybe not? But ours was. Two days before we were scheduled to fly out we had a feeling that something was up with Ariadne as she was tugging on her ears. A quick checkup from the pediatrician (since you know, a baby with an ear infection can’t fly) told us that she was clear from an infection, but had TWO MORE TEETH on the way. Oh joy. This was definitely apparent in the coming days as we started up the old teething symptoms of major drool, face rash and gum tugging. I was thankful we didn’t forget her teething necklace. Unfortunately, we left it on the bed this morning while getting ready at 3am. Oops.
Empty flights are awesome, but full flights aren’t so bad – Our flights were polar opposites (in some respects). One was a late night, less than half full fight. The other was a morning, every seat taken flight. On the empty flight I took a chance by booking the window and aisle (leaving the middle open) in hopes that no one would fill that seat and we could have the entire row. It worked like a charm and we had a ton of space to move Ariadne around during the flight. I would recommend this to anyone booking a flight! The gate attendant even came over to me before boarding and let me know that she had checked and our middle seat was still open, so we could use the car seat in flight if we wanted. We opted not to, since we wanted to try to let Ariadne sleep (and she doesn’t like the car seat) but it was great that she thought to check for us.
On the way back, it was a packed flight. Not only that, but somehow, our seat assignments got screwed up. So even though I booked a window and middle in the back of the plane…we ended up with two aisle seats in the front of the plane. Luckily aisle seats are a hot commodity, so we traded the middle for my aisle seat so we could sit together and lay Ariadne on our legs while she napped. I was worried that a packed flight would be troublesome. But it ended up being wonderful as everyone was very understanding of the cramped space.
Family boarding/lines rock – I have always been secretly annoyed with the family boarding/security lines. But I totally get it now. Our extra gear was always getting in the way (until we got to the gate we were toting my camera bag, a laptop bag, our carry on, the car seat and the baby) so being able to board ahead of time allowed us to not hold anyone else up. The family lines didn’t save us too much time, but meant we didn’t have any hurried business people trying to work around us as we put everything back together off the conveyor belt. My words of wisdom on this subject? Use them, but don’t use it as an excuse to be a jerk or move slower than you would otherwise.
All in all, our trip went much better than I expected. We had a fabulous time with The Hubs’ family but also couldn’t wait to get home and back to the ease of everyday.