Airplane Travel Tips for a Squirmy 5 monther - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-30-2010, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can anyone give me some advice about how to fly (alone) with a darling but incredibly squirmy and squawky little one? Anything from how to navigate smoothly through the airport to how to pack and mange the carry-on bag to surviving the flight is welcome. Many thanks from Liam's nervous mama.

Proud Mama to Liam Greenleaf 5/31/10
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#2 of 17 Old 10-30-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Call now and request the front row. There's way more legroom there. We laid out a little blanket (you can even use the airline blanket) and let DS play on the floor in front of the seats. There isn't room to do that in other rows.

Also, lots of getting up and walking through the plane. And try bringing some new toys he hasn't seen before. GL!

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#3 of 17 Old 10-30-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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My advice is always invest in the extra seat. It's four times safer (as per the FAA), you can pee when baby is sleeping, you can eat, and you can have a safe takeoff and landing.

I also feel the flight staff is less nervous and more helpful when I have that option. It doesn't mean you need to keep him in there the whole time. Just when the fasten seatbelt light is on and if possible, when he's sleeping. Especially if he's a carseat sleeper, it could be a godsend.

Other advice: learn how to nurse over said carseat; bring a gazillion toys, let him tear up paper, and enlist the flight staff right away. "It's my first flight, please let me know if there's anything special I need to do." Smile in advance at the neighbours--"Gee, if only I could drive across the Atlantic, I would! Sorry if he's noisy. I'll do my best."

Good luck! Five months is not the easiest but when he's two you'll be thinking of this time wistfully, LOL!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#4 of 17 Old 10-30-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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nak

wear baby (I use moby wrap)
nurse for take off and landing
use basinette if available
rely on kindness of strangers for help with luggage
keep smiling
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#5 of 17 Old 10-30-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I flew alone with my dd when she was 6 wks, which is surely easier than 5 months, we have a flight planned when when she is 4.5 months as well so I'm curious about what others have to say, here is what I found helpful:
~ wear your baby, and bring a stroller to push around your luggage (you can gate check strollers for free)
~ I wouldn't bother buying an extra seat for baby; however, you can bring your carseat to the gate (click it in the stroller if you can) and if there are open seats they will allow you to bring it on board, if not they will gate check it for free.
~ ask strangers for help with luggage
~ nurse your baby as often as possible during the flight, if he/she won't nurse or suck on anything on the way up and down it shouldn't be a big deal just nurse whenever they will take it

Proud mama to beautiful Ophelia 7.29.10
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#6 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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I flew a lot with my son when he was between 4-8 weeks old, and I would agree with a PP that it is probably easier when they're younger (he slept most of the way, and when he wasn't sleeping he was eating). You may need to bring documents (i.e. birth certificate or copy) to prove your child is under 2 if you don't want to pay for the extra seat (even if the baby is obviously not 2...they made me show mine for my 4 week old!). You also may need this to get a boarding pass for the baby.

I flew Southwest each time, and opted not to purchase the extra seat. I brought the carseat and stroller to the gate each time (even if you are holding the baby, it helps to have something to put all of your stuff in), and while I was getting the gate-check tags from the desk I would ask the airline employee if there were extra seats available so I could strap the carseat in. Out of the 5 flights I took, only once was it completely full and thus I had to hold my son. I highly recommend putting your baby into the carseat if possible, because it is definitely safer and more comfortable for you to have this option. Most airlines let families board first, so I had my pick of seats (I opted for the back, near the restroom and with the white noise of the engines).

When packing your diaper bag, make sure you plan not just for the extra time of going through security and getting your luggage, but also for the unexpected flight delays (so bring twice as many diapers as you think you might need, a change of clothes, etc).

Go to the TSA website to familiarize yourself with the restrictions they have, as well as specifics to flying with children. Most airports have a separate security line for families, and it's preferable to go through that line and be surrounded by other parents or understanding adults rather than rushed business travelers who won't understand why you can't take off your shoes, pull out your liquids, break down the stroller, etc in under 30 seconds. If you use formula or pumped breast milk, you can usually bring as much as you need, but just need to declare it to the TSA employee (thank goodness the 3 oz rules don't apply here!).

Last but not least, as others have said: smile! Try and stay relaxed, and if someone gives you the side eye (which inevitably someone will) just let it roll off of you, and realize most people don't mind having babies on board, and many are eager to help if needed (putting luggage overhead, cooing at your adorable giggling baby, etc).

SuzieQ (27), wife to my wonderful husband of 5 years, mom to a beautiful baby boy born 3.28.10
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#7 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I flew with the daughter at 4 months, 10 months, 14 months, and will again at 18 months.

Buy the extra seat. It's a safety issue if there is any turbulence at all. I would never want to have her safety depend upon my ability to hold a squirming child.

I have a set of wheels that strap onto the car seat that help with moving it around the airport. For boarding wearing the baby is helpful. A backpack as a carry on that you can wear while baby wearing is ideal.

Make sure you have an easily accessible pocket for boarding passes and ID.

Take a letter from the other parent saying they consent to the travel, and ID proving the child is yours. It isn't needed often but you don't want to be without it if questions are raised.

Take the sorts of toys likely to distract your child the most. At four months I took familiar books and noise making toys, but for some kids/ages novel is better.

Don't be afraid to walk up and down the plane aisle if there is no turbulence. In my experience people often will talk to you and your child, which can be a life saver if your little one is a social butterfly, and make you feel less anxious that you are making others miserable.

Pack a small plastic bag inside your carry on with one diaper and supplies for one change. This is easier to manage in a airplane bathroom. You can restock it after each change. Also, make sure you find out which bathroom has a change table -- often only one has one.

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#8 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 05:53 AM
 
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I would never want to have her safety depend upon my ability to hold a squirming child.
I completely agree, and to hammer the point home:

She could be behaving absolutely perfectly or even sleeping and the gravitational forces present during medium and serious turbulence will rip her out of your hands.

A wrap is not a five-point-harness.

There is a reason the airlines are phasing in requirements for infant seats now. 400% more likely to die in turbulence and crashes is not a statistic I'd mess around with.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#9 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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While I appreciate and share some safety concerns, it is so incredibly statistically unlikely -I don't have time to pull up statistics right now- to be involved in a plane crash, that I just don't worry about it. Not to mention many of us simply cannot afford to buy a whole extra seat. I fully respect those of your opinions that getting the baby their own seat is worth it, just saying for me I wouldn't.

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#10 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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I've flown with my different children at different ages, and recently did a trip with my baby when she was a 5 month old. My best tip is to wear your baby. Easiest for navigating through the airport and keeping your hands free. Be prepared though to take him off going through security. I did a trip with a stroller one time and it was an enormous pain in the a$$. Not worth it. Get a carry on bag that is either a rolling bag or a backpack, again for keeping hands free. Wear shoes that slip on and off so you don't have to do any tying. If you are flying without your spouse and leaving the country have a notarized letter saying your spouse is aware of your trip. And if it's at all possible get an upgrade to first class!!!! The extra space is so worth it and the flight attendants are so much nicer to first class passengers.

SAHM to 3 girls
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#11 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANK YOU EVERYONE! I'm still nervous but this is all so helpful. I am so grateful!

If I can take the carseat on board, will the FA be able to help me strap it in?

Also, DS will tolerate riding front in the ergo and facing out/dangling in the moby. He could last longer in the moby while I'm sitting but I can't bf in that position and it's a little hard for me to get him in/out of moby. Thinking aloud but not sure which I should use...?

Proud Mama to Liam Greenleaf 5/31/10
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#12 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Not to mention many of us simply cannot afford to buy a whole extra seat.
I appreciate that it's statistically unlikely, and that's one of the reasons we prefer to fly, all other things being equal.

However, you would never say you couldn't afford a carseat for the car... you would not go if you couldn't afford it.

The same rule applies here.

If "safer than the car" is good enough for you, fine. However, I do think people deserve to be informed.

Quote:
If I can take the carseat on board, will the FA be able to help me strap it in?
It depends. Some of them don't have the skills. Be sure to tell them when you check in and ask.

Quote:
Also, DS will tolerate riding front in the ergo and facing out/dangling in the moby. He could last longer in the moby while I'm sitting but I can't bf in that position and it's a little hard for me to get him in/out of moby. Thinking aloud but not sure which I should use...?
I didn't like the wrap in airports because there was so much in-and-out and re-wrapping could be difficult. I've had them ask me to remove the carrier at security (twice, often they do not... seems like a crapshoot to me). Plus the Moby touches the floor more often when you're wrapping it which is not good in an airport. So I vote Ergo, but that's very subjective. Interested to hear what others think!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#13 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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I used a Moby but that's just personal preference. When I have traveled with a car seat the FA has not helped me put it in. And really with any flight experience so much depends on the flight crew, how helpful they feel like being or how friendly or whatever. Big variance. And some airlines are better than others too in that regard. I will also say if you're taking a car seat on the plane it is a huge hassle to lug that thing all over the airport, especially if you have any layovers. Are you traveling with anyone? That makes all the difference imo.

SAHM to 3 girls
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#14 of 17 Old 11-01-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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We always buy a seat for our infants here too. Not only is it useful if you can get them to sleep in them, but yeah, it's safer. If we couldn't afford the trip, we wouldn't fly, end of story.

Statistically yes, it's unlikely to be in a crash. But I don't buy it for a crash. In a crash, we likely all die, car seat or no. I buy it for the turbulence. I've been on several flights in my life where unpredicted turbulence has been violent enough I worry that I wouldn't have been able to hold my child - once on the flight we took last month (plane hit an "air pocket" and dropped - cups went flying, and my reaction was to grab the arm rest). I was very glad DS was in his seat. In the spring we took another trip and the stop on touchdown was unexpectedly HARD - again I was glad I didn't have an infant in my arms. That said, I DO take DS out to nurse him, and he did fall asleep in my arms on one leg of the trip and I held him there. I didn't enjoy it at all though.

If you DO use a seat, be prepared that the staff may not be aware what the regulations are for how to use it. We've been told by ground staff several times that the baby would have to be in arms anyway for takeoff/landing (not true), and one leg of the current trip, an attendant told us that he'd have to be taken out and held if there was turbulence. We were reassured later by another attendant that she was unclear of the rules. I am planning to write to the airline to clarify their policy and bring that on any future trips.

We don't typically take a stroller - we'd rather babywear and lug the stuff, but if I was traveling alone, I likely would use it as a luggage cart. I have been asked to take my baby out of the carrier at security - sometimes. So I'd go with whatever carrier is easiest.

Because DS rides in the seat, I bring a water-filled sippy for him to suck on. I don't actually think he ever has had problems (neither did DD) but it's nice to have just in case.

Good luck!

Perdita - newly SAHM to DD July/05 & DS Feb/10 joy.gif
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#15 of 17 Old 11-02-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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I'd like to just add that most flight attendants really have NO idea what the regulations are for flying with a baby! Depending on the individual FA, they will tell you all sorts of nonsense, including, you're not allowed to bring car seats on board. WHAT!? So be your own advocate, be prepared and act as if you KNOW what needs to be done. That confidence will help them help you.

When I flew with DD at 10 mo, I brought both hotslings & Ergo. I use Ergo through the airport but used hotslings on the plane. Just smaller and easier cuz no straps hanging, etc.

Good luck!

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#16 of 17 Old 11-10-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to thank everyone who responded. We had four wonderful flights. I am amazed it went so well. None of them were full and I got two seats and took the carseat on board for all of them. I didn't use it much but I liked the security of having it there. I did a lot of nursing, DS did some sleeping and when he was awake, he seemed to get that we were somewhere verrrrrrry different and he did not attempt to squirm away or squawk for that matter. I put some of his toys in the carseat and we cycled through them. He also turned on the charm for the disinterested businessmen around us. I lucked out with very kind fairly knowledgable FAs. Part of what made this such a success though is the way I was able to relax into it and feel confident after all your responses. I think he took my cue. Thank you all so much!


Proud Mama to Liam Greenleaf 5/31/10
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#17 of 17 Old 11-13-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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My baby is a screamer, he likes to hear his own voice. We are flying to see family for Xmas, and I am dreading the looks from other passengers. I fly for work a few times a month, so I get it.
My Tips-
1) I bring a bunch of cheap sets of earplugs, and offer them to near by people so they don't have to hear my sons fussing. Its only a few $s, SO worth it!
2) I will be wearing my son, make sure there's no metal on either of you, or your carrier. You may be able to walk through w him, may not, it depends.
3) Have all my bags, except diaper bag and purse, checked at the curb. Free on Southwest, a few $ on other carriers.
4) Get a skycap to help when you pick the bags up. You can have someone lug all your stuff for a tip!
5) Bring single $ bills, you will be happy to have them, this way you don't have to rely on strangers and can ask for what you need without worry.
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