As prepared as I was, each baby is different and each mama is different. For example, I hate nursing in public. I instantly become a hot mess and I don't think Rowan is a fan of me sweating all over him. That meant getting 12 ounces of breastmilk through security and having to pump at 2:30 AM thanks to delays and flight changes. And in case you are wondering... yes, it did feel like my boobs were about to explode. Woof.
Also it should be noted that I was a ball of nerves for the first flight. But I managed to fly by myself with Rowan on his first airplane ride, sans diaper explosions and meltdowns. In fact the folks in the row in front of us on one flight said they didn't even know a baby was behind them! Hopefully Rowan won't make me eat my words the next time we fly!
Here are a few of the things that got us through our first plane trip...
Book Late Flights :: Though late flights tend to have delays more often (ours did and it was no fun), I think it was the best way to fly with a baby. I was able do his last feeding at 7:30 during takeoff or just before we boarded and he was tired enough to sleep through all of the flights. He did wake up during announcements on the plane and when I had to book it across the Baltimore airport for our connection, but he was tired enough from the stimulation that he went right back to sleep. Whew!
Baby Carrier :: I used my Solly Wrap which I love because its really comfortable and easy to get Rowan in and out of for quick diaper changes. However, he has become quite the nosy kid and was trying to turn to the front constantly so an Ergo would have been ideal in our situation. Going through security with Rowan in the wrap was a breeze. He doesn't like to be in it when I'm sitting so I ended up holding him, but it gave me lots of snuggle time with him and I loved it!
Backpack :: I read this over and over again in other blog posts but had no backpacks in my house to use, so I figured I'd just use my regular baby bag. That was such a mistake! It was so hard to carry two carry-on bags, put them in the bin above my seat (only 1 person offered to help on 4 flights), all while keeping R safe and calm in my Solly wrap.
|Elizabeth Bag c/o Lily Jade|
So take it from me and use a backpack. Even better... get yourself a Lily Jade baby bag like the Elizabeth that converts to a backpack! This is the one thing I really wish I had for my flight. It has tons of storage to keep you organized and the strap can be converted from a crossbody to a backpack!
Overnight Diapers :: I picked up this tidbit from Stephanie and it helped me avoid diaper changes on all 4 of my flights. I think I got lucky on the no blowout thing though!
HALO SleepSack :: I got wise after trying to keep a blanket on Rowan for our first two flights and put ended up putting a SleepSack on him for our return flights. He's used to sleeping in them so I think he associates them with sleeping. Plus it was chilly on the plane and this was the easiest thing to do since warmer clothes weren't an option outside.
Car Seat :: I opted to have a convertible seat delivered to my destination but had I chosen to fly with Rowan's car seat and stroller I would have gate checked them (it's free) to give them a better chance at making it with us when we arrived. I also would have gotten a gate check bag to protect it from the elements and make it obnoxiously easy to spot when deplaning.
Feeding :: If you're not a fan of nursing in public, check in advance to see if the airports you are flying into have Nursing Mothers' Rooms like the one below at Pittsburgh International Airport.
This room was so helpful! It had a changing table, chair, side table, and outlets in case you needed to pump. You had to use a phone outside the door to get a code in order to access the room, so no random people would be able to walk in on you.
Bottles/Take Off and Landing :: I was so worried about Rowan having ear problems because of the pressure, so I prepped 4 small bottles to use during take off and landing for all of our flights. That helped me avoid dealing with my lack of coordination while nursing him. He sucked the first one down before we even started taking off (guess I started that a tad early while we were taxiing!) but was totally fine with a pacifier. Just pack the bottles in a bottle cooler and make sure you have an ice pack touching them.
Going through security with breastmilk was no big deal, they just removed the bottles, tested them in a machine, and off we went.
So there you have it, a few of my must-haves and tips for flying with a baby! As far as long car rides go, we also tried to make our 7 hour trek at night so he would sleep. Even with just 2 feedings during our road trip, 7 hours turned into 10. Ugh! Needless to say we're still working on perfecting the road trip with a baby thing!