Tips-y Tuesdays: Flying with an Infant

So, this is kind of a joke. Today we are flying again cross-country with our infant. 5 nice long hours with a baby. When we flew out the first time, people told us all sorts of things. Some were helpful and true, and some were wrong for our baby.

Us on the plane...early morning flight meant we were all sleepy.

Us on the plane…early morning flight meant we were all sleepy.

It all starts with sleep. And ends with sleep. Really, with babies, it’s all about sleep. What kind of flight should you take? Should you fly direct (if possible) or with a connection? We opted for direct, and I do think that was best. It meant only getting on and off once, and being able to “settle in” to our spot. But, it also meant that the Fudgelet didn’t get to move around as much as usual. During the day, he usually gets walked through the house (both levels) multiple times, rolls around on the floor, plays on a playmat, etc.

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His day was fairly boring, but yet also traumatic. I do wish strangers would stop thinking that babies want to talk to them. There were so many people who would come over to him and get fairly close, then start talking to him. He is not a fan! If he doesn’t know you, he typically will not smile. If you’re lucky, he will just stare. But, since we had to wake him up early to leave for the airport, he was cranky and just cried for the strangers. And if he cries, or just stares, please just move away. Don’t think it is your job to cheer up my baby! Sigh. Maybe other babies are more sociable with strangers, but mine is definitely shy and appreciates his personal space with strangers.

Something else that is boring…packing. I had a running list on my phone that I updated as I thought of things. I started the list over a week ahead of time and plan on using it for future trips, just editing it as needed. It made packing go a lot faster because I had already thought about what we needed. Then, with extra space, I could pack some “wants” from the list. And speaking of packing…make sure you include both changes of outfits for you and baby in your carry on. Also bring any necessities in the carry on, just in case something happens to your checked bag. You don’t want a baby without a favorite toy/diapers/etc.

Ok, back to the flying part…security was awesome. I wore the Fudgelet in my baby carrier, and we got to go through (as a family) the metal detector, instead of the normal body scan machine. We did not have to remove anything from our bags, take off our shoes or coats, and I got to just walk through with him. They did swab my hands (to test for explosives), but that’s it. No pat-down or anything else. Plus, the workers were really friendly. That made me feel better!

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We boarded early so that we could get him settled. It worked out okay because I think boarding a full plane would have been more upsetting for him (so many new faces and smells). Luckily, we had the row to ourselves. We booked our seats so that K and I had aisle and window. Window was definitely best for nursing, sleeping, etc. I tried to walk on the plane with him, but the aisle was so small on this plane that it was tricky.

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One tip we received that was helpful was having my nursing pillow (I use the Boppy). We put it on my lap to provide extra cushion for him on my lap, as well as used it on the middle seat with a blanket for him to lay in the middle of it. This way, he could play a bit and at least get a small change of location.

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We did make sure to wipe down areas he might touch with wipes. On our return trip, I have no idea if we will get a row to ourselves or not, but it is nice. It makes me think about our next trip and how I might like to buy the Fudgelet a seat to guarantee it. Plus, we were able to change his diaper right there between us. We had his changing pad/etc. and much more room than in the tiny airplane bathroom.

Now, the tip that everyone said that was not helpful…”the airplane noise is like white noise. Young babies sleep so well with the noise and the motion.” Ha! Sooooo not true. At least, not for the Fudgelet.

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He has become so much better at falling asleep easily in his crib or pack and play, but not so much in random places. I nursed him before takeoff and landing, which did allow him to then sleep for both (you want them sucking or sleeping to help for their ears). But, other than that, the whole trip was lots of fussing, nursing, short naps, and playing. We used a pacifier clip to help with playing (to keep the toys from falling on the ground). Thankfully, he did not really cry, just whined a lot. It was more annoying for us than anyone else. Oh, and to top it off…there was a 6 month old who sat right in front of us. He slept almost the entire flight. Sigh. I asked the mom what she did, and she said he sleeps horribly at night but loves sleeping on the plane. So, who knows, maybe the Fudgelet is just an anomaly.

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When we arrived in Maryland, the Fudgelet was exhausted. He kept crying over and over. He sometimes would eat, and other times would just scream. He would calm down, then get worked up again. Eventually he went to sleep. And slept. And slept some more. The little bugger ended up sleeping his best night of sleep ever! 6 hours followed by 4 hours. I couldn’t believe it. He felt good after, too. But then he returned to form with tons of spit up that first morning. Oh, Fudgelet, I love you.

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2 thoughts on “Tips-y Tuesdays: Flying with an Infant

  1. The hardest years to fly with a baby are when they are between 1 and 3. I’m quite glad those years have passed for us. We had one flight home from Mexico where my daughter decided that seatbelts were unnecessary torture devices. Not. Good. But hey, it’s only 2 years in the grand scheme, right? Happy New Year!

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