Earlier today, I posted diaper bag necessities and baby gear suggestions for traveling on an airplane with your baby
. Keep reading for more suggestions and helpful hints.
Rely on the kindness of strangers
Sometimes I had it all together! I was calm, cool as a cucumber and things just fell into place. One day, I sailed through security with a diaper bag, carry-on that included a laptop, a stroller and a car seat. I mean sailed! A nice fellow-mom who was traveling alone approached me on the other side and said, "I was going to run up and help you, but by the time I got there, you'd made it through! I was so impressed. " Oh yes! Other times, I was a one-woman train wreck. On a particularly bumpy and long late night flight, my son (finally) fell asleep in my lap. After we landed well after midnight, I realized I was in a pickle. He was passed out cold in my arms, it was impossible for me to get the Ergo back on and secure him in it, I had several lose items in the seat next to me (I failed to notice them before landing, as did the flight attendants), a carry on, a car seat AND a stroller waiting for me at at the gate. I briefly thought about crying. In the middle of my mini mental breakdown, an incredibly kind flight attendant approached me and said, "Okay, what am I carrying for you?" I'm normally the gal who turns down help, but this time I gladly accepted it and thanked her profusely. She helped me all the way to the luggage claim in the St. Louis airport, where my husband was waiting. Take home message: Accept help! And if nobody offers it, don't be afraid to ask a flight attendant or airport employee. Now is not the time to let your pride or your independence get the better of you.
Ignore the looks/whispers/really loud comments/direct criticism...
Sometimes your baby will be an angel - he'll sleep, coo, relax, hang out and generally make your life a dream. And other times? He's going to be that
screaming baby. Do what you can to comfort him, obviously, but also realize that as with other situations, there are times your baby is going to cry. Fellow passengers who do their best to make you feel bad either don't have kids, forgot what it was like to have kids or are just plain intolerant. Sure, sitting next to a screaming baby is not fun. I get it. I've been there, done that when I've flown alone. But it's life. The more you allow the stares and comments to affect you, the harder the flight is going to be for you. Plus, babies feed off of our reactions. Stay calm.
Keep your baby's ears clear
This is so important! Babies and young children don't know how to clear their ears as the altitude changes. And uncleared ears result in pain. And pain results in crying. Lots of it. Have you ever flown when you were sick? I once flew halfway across the world with an extreme upper respiratory infection. I couldn't clear my ears and it was an incredibly excruciating experience. If it were socially acceptable to cry loudly, I would have! The pain was unbearable. To help your baby clear his ears and avoid the pressure and resulting pain, either nurse him or feed him a bottle during take off and landing. This sucking and swallowing actions will help clear his ears and keep him comfortable. Trust me - you don't want to ignore this one.
When all else fails, just smile. It's only temporary and you will arrive at our destination!