So we’ve done four flights now with our little lady, all of which were about 2.5 hours. Well in fact, one of those flights had a bit of a delay that meant we were on the flight for 4 hours. (The good news of that one is that it confirmed we can probably get to America while herself still gets a free seat!) Anyway, never thought that we would have learnt so much already about flying with a little one so soon but we’ve surprised ourselves. Here’s the checklist we’ve developed so far that has helped us:
Make your peace with the flight time
Now, we’ve heard of different ways to do this but we were clear that we didn’t want to disrupt the routine too much. So when we were booking flights – we opted for times that were good for us and her schedule. So while there were early, early flights that were a bit cheaper, we opted for mid-morning flights. That way, we all got a full night’s sleep the night before and her basic routine wasn’t disrupted too much. Granted, she slept at weird time and in weird places on the day of travel, but at least we all had that full night in the bank to start the day.
Now, other pals of ours have done the early flight and all was well. I think our family treasure our sleep that bit too much to compromise on that!
The boob/bottle/soother thing on take off and landing
If you say you’re travelling with a baby, I could guarantee this is the bit of advice you’ll hear the most often from folk. It does work in fairness. A boob, bottle or soother on take off in particular is a) a great distraction from what has to be a rather crazy sound of a noise taking off, especially for a baby hearing it for the first time and b) helps the ears from getting sore.
We’ve been incredibly lucky on our flights – bottle time was just about the time as take offs, or near enough to make something work. I’ll never forget her face that first time she heard the take off sound. Startled was not the word!
For the landing thing, we found it was less essential but still handy to make sure that the ears are minded in the same way.
The right sized toys…
Especially for our second trip, when Herself was that bit older, we packed a bag full of small hand-sized little books, stacking cups and little things that didn’t have an annoying repetitive song button on it. So many minutes were whiled away as she sat on my lap popping things in and out of the cups. We learnt the lesson of not having too many things that rolled – because once they are gone, they’re gone.
…and the right sized foods.
For second trip, so many small ricecakes were consumed. Well, if I’m honest, they were not so much eaten as licked vigorously. Still it was great to have them and not to care how many were and were not eaten. Each one was a few minutes of entertainment. And that meant not crying.
Remember that not all folk hate babies on planes.
Well we found that anyway (I hope you do too and sorry if you don’t!). In the four flights we done so far, we braced ourselves for that horror face slowly appearing on folk sitting near us as they realised that they were the lucky ones. They were going to be sitting next to a baby for a flight.
Now it may have just been a few lucky flights but so far we’ve been pleasantly surprised with just how lovely folk have been – taking an interest in her, having a little play with her and being really supportive if she did have a bit of a cry. Folk have been really understanding. No doubt there was a few faces about a baby but we didn’t see them.
Calmness for you
Probably the most important part of the trip. One of the trips, Herself woke super early in just awful form. I mean the narkiest of all narky babies. Wrestled to get into clothes, wrestled every nappy change in the morning, decided she didn’t want to eat that morning, hated the car journey to the airport. Refused food in the airport but instead yelled and pebbledashed the floor of a coffee shop in the airport with her porridge. You get the picture.
My husband and myself took many a long breath that morning – and just kept reminding each other that we needed to be cool about all of this and no ‘cools’ were to be lost. There was a far bit of tagteaming that went on so that each of us got some kind of break if we could before we got onto the dreaded flight.
Yet when we got our seats, Herself gulped her milk and conked out for take off and for the first 1.5 of the flight. She tested the amount of deep breaths two adults could take but boy was I glad that we kept our cool and just got through that morning.
Now, off to book that flight to New York…..