I’ve been meaning to write up a “Baby’s First Flight” post forever but I haven’t really been able to think of what to write. Flying with a baby wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it would be, and I don’t know what I could offer on the subject that most moms couldn’t figure out on their own.
Flying from Hawaii to South Texas is usually about a 12 hour ordeal. The first flight is always 6-7 hours long, followed by a 1-3 hour layover and another 1-2 hour flight (depending on where the layover is). This is a long time for a baby to be on a plane. I wish I could say she slept the whole time, but the opposite is true. She was probably awake for the majority of the trip. Eva is a very antsy little baby, too. If she gets bored she gets fussy so we had to do a lot of entertaining. Eva also hates lying down when she’s awake. She has to be upright. We found that the best way to deal with her was to put the tray table down and let her sit on it with some toys. The best toy we found for the flight was this little toy with a suction cup on the bottom so that it sticks to surfaces without falling. At one point we stuck it on the window and another we stuck it straight on the tray table. No flinging toys across the plane for Miss Eva.
The boppy was a lifesaver when Eva wanted to nap. I couldn’t imagine flying without one, especially since Eva can get pretty heavy. When she slept, she slept well. The white noise of the plane was awesome for that. It was also awesome at drowning out any squeals and other noises she made while on the plane. Before flying I was so worried that she would disturb other passengers and we would be “those people.” Other than when we were landing in the small plane (which I will describe later), she didn’t cry much. And you know what? When she did cry I didn’t feel embarrassed or panicked like I thought I would. I just figured, “Who Cares? I don’t know any of these people and will probably never see them again in my life. The decent people on the plane will understand the circumstances.
These were a few things I wasn’t sure about in regards to flying with a baby that I had to figure out before the big day:
1) Identification- Babies don’t need identification to get through security or on the plane. I was worried about that since we haven’t even received Eva’s birth certificate yet. I know this is different if you are flying international, which is why we need to get on the ball about geting Eva’s passport.
2) Stroller Situation- Yes, you can bring the stroller into the airport and take it right up to the gate where they’ll check it for you and put it under the plane free-of-charge. We brought both her carseat/carrier and the snap-and-go thingie. This also made the layover really easy. By the time we deplaned the stroller was right there waiting for us. We were able to get to our next gate fairly quickly. I considered using a carrier instead of a stroller but quickly ruled that out. We already had way too much stuff to carry. The stroller made it easy because we were able to put some of the stuff in the basket underneath.
3) Baby’s Ears- Because babies don’t know how to pop their ears on their own, the change in pressure during take-off and landing can be pretty hard on them. I was advised to plan feedings for this time. Eva won’t eat if she’s not hungry, though, and she won’t let us simply “put off” a feeding until later. Luckily, the chupie (pacifier) does the trick. Also, the planes from Hawaii to the mainland tend to be pretty big and are better about equalizing the pressure. She had no problem whatsoever on the big plane. The smaller plane was a different story. On the descent into San Antonio from Phoenix, Eva woke from a dead sleep with an excruciating scream. I had NEVER heard her cry like that before, not even when she got her shots. It was one of those silent cries that rips a mother’s heart out. She was fine once we landed, though. Poor thing. 🙁
4) Diaper Changes- One of the planes we were on didn’t have a changing table. For the first diaper change (a poopy one) I went to the bathroom and changed her on my lap. For the others (pee only) we changed her on the tray table. Much easier.
5) Aisle or Window? We tried both out on the different planes and I think I liked the window better. When we were on the aisle I felt bad for the person we trapped on a 6-hour flight. That, and I was worried she’d want to get up and go to the restroom while Eva was sleeping. If your baby is being extremely fussy I’d probably recommend the aisle for a quick exit, but if he/she is being chill the window is the way to go, in my opinion.
The worst part about flying for us was the time change. Hawaii and South Texas are 5 hours apart, and Eva’s sleep cycle has been completely screwed up since the first flight. She used to have no problem sleeping through the night and now she has only done so once since we arrived in Texas. Now that we’re back in Hawaii, she wakes up every morning around 2 or 3 (which is 7 or 8 there). The fact that she’s been miserable from teething might play into this too, but I’m not sure how much.
One thing I liked about the whole experience is the fact that we got to dress Eva in some of her outfits that are too warm to wear in Hawaii or Texas during the summer but were getting to small for Eva to wear. I was afraid she’d never get to wear them! I’m glad she was able to for the cuteness overload factor.
I’ll be back with more after I do this on my own! I’m sure I’ll have a different story.