This past weekend we attempted yet another first in Cora’s life. Her first airplane ride. I can honestly say I had more anxiety for the 5 hour drive we took back in July versus this plane ride. Mainly because of her hatred for the car seat. We were heading to Rochester, NY for a wedding and it required two flights because we live in the middle of no where.
I prepared by reading up on blogs and any other helpful article but it is pretty much all the same. Bottle/binky for take off and landing. New toys for distraction. Snacks. Plan around naps. Cross your fingers. It turns out you can read whatever but your kid will do whatever they want.
We flew out of our tiny airport where a security line doesn’t exist. We have all the TSA in the world to help put things on the scanner belt and wait patiently on us. I did wear Cora in her Ergo through security while the Husband had her infant car seat/stroller combo that conveniently held her diaper bag and our extra backpack. All we had to pull out were her bottles of formula for them to inspect and that was about it. Shoes back on, formula back in the bag, and we were off on the other side. Wasn’t that bad.
I will say, since we were gate checking our stroller and car seat we purchased these bags from Babies R Us. They saved our car seat and stroller from getting completely disgusting while on the plane but folded happily back up into themselves when not in use. I think they are totally worth it. And yes, I found taking her own car seat easier than renting one from the car rental place. I may change my mind as she goes to a different car seat.
For the most part, my kiddo wasn’t bothered by take off or landing. In fact, she wasn’t bothered by much of anything. She behaved, played, enjoyed her new toys, licked the window, waved at fellow passengers, and was quite happy at having Mom and Dad’s full attention.
Our largest problem came when she was over tired. She isn’t good about falling asleep because she might miss something. So I won’t lie, there were meltdowns before she would give in and fall asleep. Meltdowns that maybe lasted 15 minutes tops. Twice a flight attendant gave me free wine once she was asleep in my arms. Amen. Out of all four flights total we received zero dirty looks. Some gave a silent thumbs up once she fell asleep but that was about it.
Also, remember, those flight attendants are there to help. They don’t want you to have a crazy baby either. They let the Husband stand in the back for a few minutes to get Cora to sleep without so much distraction. I tell ya, they have a job I couldn’t do. But also keep in mind, they are not there to cater to your child. They have first class to cater to.
I have to say, I was actually shocked by how nice people were in general. On our very first flight a Mom sat right next to us and eased any worry I had. She was on her very first flight without her now 2 year old daughter and now stuck with my kid. She was headed for a girls weekend and we chatted the whole way. She has flown a lot with her little one and gave me all of her advice. I could have hugged her. No one glared. No one rolled their eyes at the baby on the flight. In fact most people said, “Hey, I was a baby once. I bet I cried a few times!” And lastly, the best comment people can make when you get off the flight “She did great!”
I won’t say it was easy. Delays suck. Lack of sleep sucks. Travel makes for a long day no matter what. All the germs suck. Tight cramped places, even with a happy baby, suck. Wine served on planes sucks but I won’t complain because free wine when desperately needed should never be complained about. The main thing is, we survived, we learned a few things and we had a great time.
A few great things to pass along:
- Even though it was warm out, we dressed her in pants and socks because reality is, a crawler needs to stretch their legs and that place happens to be on the nasty airport floor. Bring an extra outfit and socks for baby.
- If your child is a binky baby, remember plenty of extras.
- I cannot say this enough- baby wipes and hand sanitizer. We went through so many wipes. Because baby hands and airport floor.
- You have to swallow your fear and just know that All. The. Germs. will happen. All of them. You can’t stop it.
- Bathe your child immediately once you hit the hotel.
- Be polite to your flight attendant and those around you. Do not let your baby hit their seat or grab their hair.
- Think ahead about your own clothing choice, especially if wearing your baby most of the time. Flip flops were a must to make security easier.
- Keep your shit organized. No one wants to stand in line behind your while you dig around for your ticket.
- We purchased this Fisher-Price backpack diaper bag and have been using it when we go places more often than my shoulder diaper bag. Makes life easier in an airport and I love the pockets and storage. It does have a cooler on the side for two 4 oz bottles.
- We also used one of these cooler bags. Comes with an ice pack that is allowed, by TSA, to cool formula. It only holds three 4 oz bottles but worked.
- My husband also brought an extra backpack that held the new fun toys. All not loud and not bulky but new to baby. We also had an extra shirt for each of us because you never know when poop or puke can happen. From the baby, not my Husband. To add to that, have a plastic sack stored somewhere in case of those accidents.
- Baby food and extra spoons. I accidentally threw away a baby spoon instead of a wipe. Ooops!
- Don’t over pack. You have to haul all that shit around. Our two backpacks were easy for us to place below the seats in front of us and we gate checked the stroller and car seat. My Ergo, when not in use, was also easy to shove into a backpack as those weren’t overly full. I didn’t carry my purse, just wallet. We obviously checked our main luggage.
- Tag team with your spouse. Give one another breaks.
- Stop for wine/beer/food on your layover and don’t bitch about the price. One glass tastes so good and is so worth it.
- Check to see what your airline rules are for infants. I can say Delta was a bit more relaxed than United when it came to wearing her, standing in the back, etc.
Lastly, go with the flow. It is hard to do with our Type A personalities but we didn’t set the bar too high so we didn’t feel like we were failing. There were so many times we were shocked at how well she did. This kid always surprises us! Just don’t ask how she slept in the hotel. That is an entirely other blog post.