Also, lots of getting up and walking through the plane. And try bringing some new toys he hasn't seen before. GL!
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
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!
~ 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
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).
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.
|I would never want to have her safety depend upon my ability to hold a squirming child.|
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.
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
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...?
|Not to mention many of us simply cannot afford to buy a whole extra seat.|
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.
|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...?|
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.
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.
enjoying motherhood way more than science:
married to DH (2003) mama to DD(Nov 2008) & DS (Mar 2011)
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!
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.