Garren and I knew basically since Blair was born that we would be flying to Utah the end of June to have her blessed and spend some much needed time with family. I am not a fan of flying. Many friends, family members, and a certain spouse of mine can probably show you the scars on their hands from my fingernails digging into them during takeoffs, landings, and bouts of turbulence. Adding a baby had my fears sky high. So I did what I do best. I read every website, blog post and article I could find on the subject. I also asked countless of my mommy friends for advice. No joke every single thing I read or heard focused on one thing: binkies (and/or extra bottles). The pressure from takeoff and landing could really bother a baby’s ears so it’s important to keep a baby sucking on something. This had me in an absolute panic. Not only does Blair not take a bottle or pacifier, she wont even entertain the idea of one for a few minutes. So if your baby is like mine here are some things that helped me! (Also general things that helped)
- Starve your Baby. Sounds cruel I know but I NEEDED Blair to eat during takeoff, as this is when the greatest pressure change occurs. She usually goes about 2.5-3 hours between feeds so for our 12:00 pm flight I fed her last at 8:45 am and then not again til takeoff. On the way there this was actually really easy. I just had Garren hold her and distract her until it was time to takeoff. It could not have gone better. She is usually done eating after about 5-8 minutes but she was so hungry she ate for nearly 20! So we had passed the “safe” zone well before she was done eating. The way back I was alone and proved to be much more difficult. She spent about half an hour crying in my arms before we started take off and ended up only eating her normal 7 minutes BUT it seemed to have done the trick because her ears never bothered her.
- Get an aisle seat. We flew southwest so it’s just open seating. Most people told us to ask, when we check in, if the flight was full. If not, to have Garren sit in the window and me in the aisle with baby, because who in their right mind is going to sit in between that? Unfortunately both flights were at full capacity. Probably because we had a direct flight to and from Manchester. Regardless. The aisle is where you need to be. If you can pick your seat when buying the ticket, checking in, or boarding be sure to do this. You will most likely be getting up to change the baby, rock/jostle the baby, or a thousand other reasons for needing to get up.
- Air Vent. Ok this one may be a complete hoax but I am now convinced. On an airplane the air is re-circulated. That means any sickness or germs are also being recirculated. I had read some where on the internet to make sure you have your little air bulb blasting air on you at all times. I did this on the way there and everything went smoothly. On the way back I sat by strangers and since the air things were above them I sort of spaced it. 24 hours later Blair had her first cold. YES IT MIGHT BE A COINCIDENCE. But it’s such a small, insignificant thing to try what can it hurt?
- New Toy. This is aimed for babies probably a little older than Blair but it worked out well for us any way. Buying them a new toy gives them something to play with that they have never seen (ummm duh?) so it should captivate their attention for a longer amount of time. I also brought her current favorite toy (Sophie the Giraffe) so that she would have something familiar through out the trip. This actually turned out to be a huge help when she constantly had to be in her car seat. I will definitely be doing this one for future flights since she will be older and have a greater desire to “play”. We also brought a tablet that had a preschool app that Blair finds entertaining on it. That helped for maybe ten minutes, but your kid may be more receptive.
- Ask for Help I am a pretty independent person and asking for help is not something I think of first, but being alone with a baby on a five hour flight I quickly learned how too. Listen. I had a baby 5 months ago. Things are still a little messed up. I can’t hold my bladder for 5 hours. Have you been to an airplane bathroom? I had no idea how I was supposed to go to the bathroom and hold my baby. Luckily the couple next to me were super nice, and thought Blair was the cutest thing in the whole world! They offered to hold her any time I needed to go to the bathroom and/or just wanted a break! I could tell they personally didn’t have kids though because he second she whined they were handing her back to me with a semi panicked look on their faces. It was actually pretty cute. I am so grateful!
- Let it Go. In the now famous words from Frozen. Let it go. Your baby will most likely cry, get upset or even have a complete meltdown. Yes other people on the plane may give you dirty looks. Guess what? You will never see them again. All you can do is your best, the flight will not last forever. Take a deep breath and just push through it. Stressing about what other people think gets you absolutely nowhere! I promise it will be ok!
Honorable mentions. Blair is not quite old enough for snacks but I bet having plenty of those would help so much with older babies! I will definitely be utilizing that in the future!
Finally my cute husband met me at baggage claim with a coke in hand. WINNER.