For Christmas my family decided to rent a house in Hawaii, the North Shore of Oahu to be exact. So even before baby H was born (we didn’t even have a name to give the airline when we booked) we decided to go. Were we feeling like this was going to be super fun… to be honest not particularly. I must let it be known that I was that person on the plane that would see a baby, roll my eyes (to myself) and think “I am going to be sitting next to it, and it is going to cry, and I am going to be sooo annoyed”. I apologize to the universe for being such a jerk. Somehow we managed to survive the flights and even the trip itself with a 5 month old!
What we learned:
- No matter what, it will end! I decided before we got on the plane that this would be my mantra… because sometimes all you can do it try your very best but baby is still going to cry and people may still be annoyed… but eventually it will end!
- Fewer people than you think will actually be bothered by a baby… even a screaming one! On the way there another family was doing to bouncing walk with their little one and mentioned how quiet baby H was being. Apparently their little one was having a heck of a time and was making a huge fuss… we heard nothing! Planes are a lot louder than you think! On the return flight baby H had a tougher time and we were doing the bouncing walk through the plane. While N was changing her a few of the passengers around me mentioned how great she was doing… really?? The important thing is that we were trying was what they said!
- There are some serious perks to travel with a baby! As everyone knows travelling at Christmas can be insanely busy… this holiday was no exception. Yes there is the getting-on-the-plane-early perk but there was something I wasn’t quite expecting as well. I remember shuddering as we rounded a corner to security and coming to a complete stop, when usually you would have continued walking for some time! Then magic… the person checking our boarding passes took one look at baby H and simply said “follow me”. We then walked right past everyone; seriously, we were second through the metal detectors. Oh you have fancy first class tickets… ahead of you, oh your plane is about to leave… ahead of you, oh you are flying the plane… ahead of you (ok in a different line, but still). We were right behind another family who had been ushered up front as well. It was like being in a secret club as we gave each other knowing nods… like “oh yah we do this all the time”, “ I could travel alone but having a baby is so much more convenient” ok maybe not so much. I did notice some dirty looks… listen people we have a baby!!
- You really don’t need to bring everything in the world on the plane with you… and seriously you don’t need anything to entertain yourself (ipod… haha, magazine… no way, book… oh that’s cute)
- Fly business class… or in normal-people everyday-life the bulkhead really is the bees knees… people told me “get the bulkhead… seriously… do it” and I was all “yah yah.” Seriously get the bulkhead! We flew economy plus (free checked bags, extra room, great service) and had the bulkhead going there.. it was great! Two seats and then the aisle we could pop up and down no problems. Heading home we were in the second row and our lovely forward passengers decided to recline their chairs the ENTIRE flight (even when not sitting back… ugh). This really did make getting up and down rather challenging. We made a very conscious choice to also fly direct. Would it have been the end of the world to transfer in Vancouver… no… would it have been a much larger hassle… yes!
Gear we brought that we actually used:
- We gate-checked the stroller and car seat (super handy to have the stroller right away after de-planing!)
- We brought a tummy time mat (basically a blanket that has some waterproofness to it so you can wipe up slobber) which she played on before we got on the plane. In the future I think I am going to get a plastic picnic blanket… same basic principal but with her moving around a lot more these days we need something a bit bigger (but still compact).
- Light change pad for tiny airplane change table, diapers (we basically brought one for every hour, even though we didn’t use nearly that many) and wipes
- Pillow (great for when they are little and tiny furnaces), baby H enjoyed star fishing on the pillow for a few little naps. I enjoyed the pillow for some extra support! I don’t think I would bring one now that she is a big bigger though.
- Blanket – particularly for the return flight when the plane felt like an ice box!
- Tiny stuffed Elmo (Gund) – we brought a TON of toys… why I have no idea as we only used this one! I am sure, now that she is older, toys will be a bigger thing to consider.
- Extra clothing for her, myself and N. You never know when a poop explosion is going to go down (we avoided one, but you never know!). We made sure baby H was dressed in one of her pj’s as these are the easiest thing to change her in.
- I wore a muslin receiving blanket as a scarf that I could use as an extra blanket or nursing cover if necessary.
- I brought some baby Tylenol with me as well… I had used it before (so knew there would be no bad reaction) and took comfort in knowing that if things got REALLY bad… I had medical backup!