I am going to try something new; on Tuesdays the post theme will be about trying new things. Hear things could be big or small – a new recipe, trend or challenge. Stay tuned!
A few weeks ago, baby J and I went on our first flight. He was just shy of 8 weeks old. We knew people on our flight, which was very helpful, but we were sitting by ourselves and I was nervous as all get out. How did we manage? What would I do the same or differently?
1. To thine own self be true. Listen, if finances will allow it, book a flight on an airline you like at a time you are at your best. My 7 week old didn’t have a reliable schedule so it was more important for me to choose a flight time that worked for me. An afternoon flight meant time to sleep in the morning, shower, run last minute errands, etc, and have a bit more peace of mind.
2. Travel lightly. This was the first time in several years that I checked a bag, but not having to carry one more unwieldy item through the airport was very helpful. I wore baby J through security in a Baby Bjorn and carried a diaper bag that held my phone and wallet.
3. Dress smart. Realistically you’re not leaving anywhere with a new baby without some evidence on you – somewhere. So dress comfortably and with clothing that comes on and off easily. I’m nursing, so my scarf also served as a cover and a blanket.
4. Accept help and smile. . One tip I read before our flight was to ‘remember, most everyone else on the flight is also a parent.’ And I did. The woman next to me helped me fasten my seat belt, for which I was very grateful. Another woman told me I should have dressed my baby warmer, to which I smiled.
5. Time your meals. Assuming you’re not stuck taxiing or some other painful travel annoyance, the most common advice I heard – and followed – was to nurse or feed or use a pacifier for take off and landing. I did and baby fell asleep before we were airborne. The sucking they do when eating or using a pacifier prevents the ear pain that the rest of us are susceptible to getting.
6. Come prepared. I had 8 diapers in my diaper bag for a two hour flight. I had antibacterial wipes for the seat, which he never touched and two changes of clothes, which he didn’t wear. This is counter to the advice of traveling light, but the extras made me feel more comfortable and that was really mattered.
7. Stay cool. Traveling is stressful and more so when it’s with a tiny human that can’t do much… at all. Things can happen – delayed flights, bad seat assignments, crying babies (either your own or others), the realization of just how small an airplane bathroom really is… Anyway, along with the wipes and outfit changes, pack some patience and a sense of humor. They’re good accessories for life anyway!
P.S. Prior to the flight, I picked up a bag of Hershey’s mini bars with the intention of sharing – and buying good will – if baby J wasn’t too happy. At the start of the flight I offered them to passengers around me and one man asked, “are those for him (the baby)?” No one took any candy. I had four pieces, which made the flight sweeter for all of us!