I'm due November 17 with our second child. We live on the west coast and baby's grandparents and most aunts and uncles live in Colorado and central Midwest. I'm not sure I dare buy tickets for Christmas to fly with a 4-5 week old baby (possibly younger if it comes a bit late). The cheaper tickets from bigger airports would involve a 3 hour drive on either or both ends of the trip, possibly through bad weather at that time of year. Because of job situations I don't know if family will come here, perhaps, but no guarantees. We normally see them twice a year: Christmas and summer. Time off from work isn't a huge issue, my husband has a generous paternity leave and can work remotely if needed, but he doesn't want to be out/away from the office and his co-workers for huge extended amounts of time either, just for his own productivity's sake.
Another option is to try to do Christmas with immediate family in January or February, but might not be able to see as many great-grandparents, my aunts and uncles and cousins, etc.
We did a lot of activities and travel when our first was a newborn, but they didn't involve flying or winter weather, and family came to us and then we did the camping/traveling/etc together.
Any creative solutions for my situation?
Has anyone out there ever bought tickets for baby's first plane trip before baby is born?
What are your Christmas plans?
Luckily all my family lives nearby.. dh's is on the east coast, but his parents are coming to visit in the beginning of december. I did travel across the country when ds was 3 weeks old. Yes, buying our tickets before he was born. I trusted that he would come early like dd did because I really didn't want to travel with a baby under 2 weeks! It was for my SIL's wedding.
Whats your family's traditions like when it comes to gift giving and such? Will people likely want to drown you and your kids with presents you'll be stuck flying home with? Because that is a *pain* With most airlines charging for checked baggage these days, luggage is EVIL. 4-5 weeks might be easier than 3 weeks. A little more time to recover and such. With all the luggage we dragged through the airport, since we checked nothing, my pp bleeding increased a LOT. It was too much for me. Actually being there, however, was quite nice. I was able to rest and snuggle the baby a lot because there was so much help with dd! Consider whether being around all that family will lighten your load, or increase it. Will you have people helping entertain your toddler, let you get naps in and such, or will you be put to work with christmas prep?
If you do decide to go, its probably pretty safe to assume your lo will be "old enough" to fly (under a certain age.. forget what.. 2 weeks? requires a dr's note I think...) so buying a ticket in advance isn't that much gamble. Unless of course there's complications.. which we don't like to dwell on that possibility! Newborns are really easy to fly with. Snuggle, nurse, sleep. The actual flight itself shouldn't be an issue (for the newb at least, good luck with your toddler though! LOL) Pack as light as you can. Try and get your dh to haul as much of it through the airport as possible. Rent one of those little smart carts. If you can afford checking luggage (or fly southwest so its a non issue).. do so! But remember checking car seats can cause invisible damage to them and make them unsafe, because baggage handlers throw them and drop them @@. If you can't use the carseat on the plane (non issue for ticketed babies) gate checking is safer.
Thanks for your encouraging response and for helping me think through the details. Good to know I wouldn't be totally crazy to buy tickets before baby is born.
My family is very helpful and would entertain, feed, and put my toddler to bed. I think once we got there it would be, overall, very relaxing.
We try to fly southwest if possible and check an extra bag or two coming back (like a duffel bag that we took along folded up), or leave extra things behind for others to deliver to us later. For carseats, I try to get my parents or inlays to borrow one so we don't have to take an infant one with us (toddler would be riding in his in the airplane).
Anyone else trying to figure out Christmas logistics?
I would probably buy tickets in advance if there was somewhere important for me to be. My sister flew with her 3 week old baby a couple of years ago without any issues.
That being said, we're staying home this year. My mother is going to be spending Christmas with my sister, who's due to have a baby on Dec. 24th. It looks like my IL's will probably be here, as my MIL is going to be staying with us for about a month after the baby is born anyway. We'll probably have a low-key holiday with my sister (a different one that lives close) and my IL's.
I'm more worried about Christmas shopping this year though! I highly doubt that I'll want to shop with a newborn and a toddler, uhg. I'm pretty much going to start now with gifts and hope to be done by early Nov. Here's hoping!