Last week, we - my husband, myself, and our six week old son - took our first family vacation. Across the country. On an airplane.
Were we crazy? A little bit. But this trip was important because it meant introducing Calvin to grandparents, uncles, and extended family who weren't able to come out in April. However, as much as I was excited for our trip, I was equally as nervous about the flights.
I generally enjoy flying, but never traveling with a baby before was throwing me off my game. So I turned to friends, Twitter, and Pinterest for any & all tips on what to expect when flying with a baby. Some of the information was gold and some didn't apply to us, but the wealth of knowledge I found was reassuring to this new mama and I thought I'd share what ended up working for us.
I used to be the person who ONLY brought a carry-on when I went on a trip, but after this trip, I'm convinced that the less you need to carry on the plane, the better. My husband & I still carried on multiple bags each, but I chalk that up to thinking we needed to bring everything with us.
My advice: only carry on the essentials - diapers, wipes, a change of clothes. With Calvin being six weeks old, he didn't require much and I found that I only ended up using said essentials.
2. Wear your baby
I've become a big fan of baby wearing since we brought Calvin home. And when it came to navigating the busy airport and crowded plane, my love for wearing my baby multiplied.
We went with the Ergo carrier with the infant insert so either my husband or I could wear the baby. Not only did this free up our hands to hold our carry-ons, but within minutes of putting Calvin in the carrier, he fell fast asleep. Another plus? We could carry him through security without taking him out of the carrier.
3. Window seat
Pre-baby, I tended to prefer the aisle. After researching 'flying with a baby', one of the popular pieces of advice was to get a window seat and without hesitation I changed my seating assignment.
As the advice noted, sitting by the window brought several positive features: more privacy to nursing, kept people from ogling & touching Calvin, and gave me something to look at.
As an added bonus, our flight back east was not completely booked and we scored a full row to ourselves. This made our flight so much better than the return flight (without the extra room) because we could ALL spread out a bit.
4. Feed the baby during take-off & landing
Of all the advice we received, this was at the top. Due to the change in air pressure, I was advised to feed specifically during take-off & landing to force my baby's ears to unplug, so I did. Someone else told me to nurse whenever the baby wanted, so I did that as well. Thankfully, we didn't notice any discomfort in Calvin's ears on either flight.
Flying can be stressful, but add a baby into the mix and it seems to multiply. There were several times when Calvin began to cry and I instantly began to worry about disrupting those around us. I know we weren't the first to fly with a baby (or the last), so by remembering that fact & turning my full attention to the baby, I was able to re-focus & relax a little.
Jet lag is a thing. Alternate title: being up until 4am is rough after traveling all day.
Have you flown with a baby? Any advice you have to share?