We’ve all been on a plane with a screaming baby behind us.
It’s miserable – for parents and passengers alike.
That we would be that family with a screaming baby was my worst fear in the days leading up to my first plane ride with Liam.
And I did my fair share of Googling and blog stalking for tips and tricks from other moms.
Fast-forward three months. Liam and I have eight plane trips under our belts, and I’m proud to report that his total elapsed “cry time” is about 15 minutes. Maybe I’m just blessed with a good traveler, but I like to think that the two of us have a system worked out when it comes to airport maneuvering.
What works for us:
• I leave the stroller at home. Not only does Liam hate riding in the stroller, but also it’s just one other thing to struggle with through security and boarding. I use the front pack, which keeps my little guy happy and me with two hands free. At security, they let you leave your baby strapped in as you walk through the metal detector with little to no extra screening on the other side.
• I check the car seat with my baggage. Some airlines try to convince you to purchase an extra ticket and use your car seat on the plane, but honestly who has the extra cash to spend on another ticket if it’s not completely necessary? Most airlines won’t even charge you for checking your car seat, plus they’ll wrap it in plastic to protect against travel damage.
• I keep my carry-on light and pack only my diaper bag essentials – diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, diaper rash cream and a burp cloth. I also bring a blanket and a few toys for Liam to spread out with on the floor during layovers. It gives both of us a break from being strapped in. Also, instead of carrying a purse on top of everything else, I just take my wallet.
• I make sure to book an aisle or a window seat. The aisle is nice if you need to get up and bounce your little one mid-flight, and the window is more private for nursing - although nursing on a flight when your seat partner is not your husband can get tricky (especially if you get stuck in a middle seat). I try to time Liam’s feedings so I don’t have to nurse on the plane.
• A lot of people recommend having a pacifier or something for your baby to suck on during takeoffs and landings because it helps their ears adjust to the pressure. Unfortunately, Liam doesn’t take a pacifier, but I was able to force a teething toy on him.
Even if you’re a seasoned traveler and have prepared for the worst, there will likely be some turbulent times (pardon the pun) throughout your trip with a little one. Most travelers and flight staff understand you’re doing the best you can with the situation you’re given (most are parents, too, who have been in your shoes at one time or another – they’ll tell you).
And if it does turn out to be the worst day of your life (hours of screaming, wardrobe malfunctions, mid-air diaper mishaps), hopefully you’re rewarded with a white, sandy beach and a Mai Tai on the other side of it all.
I leave the stroller at home. Not only does Liam hate riding in the stroller, but also it’s just one other thing to struggle with through security and boarding.