Starting Our Little Travel Bug Early

I mentioned earlier that we’re planning to visit the Netherlands over Christmas. I wasn’t sure what to expect traveling with a 3.5 month-old, but was going to jump in and hope for the best.

We ended up taking a trip to Idaho last week, which allowed me to see how the J-man would react to flying. I’ve seen advice for traveling with kids, which mainly amounts to “bring new, distracting toys” and “feed the baby at take-off and landing.”

My husband came with us on the first leg of the trip on his way to a business trip. He ended up getting upgraded to first class (the perks of TONS of travel. I only get free checked luggage.) He offered it to me, but I told him to take it, since he would have a long day of travel. He opted to hold the baby, which I’m sure his fellow first-classers were viewing with horror. But Baby J did really well. He slept most of the first flight, and played quietly on my husband’s lap for the second flight.

I had been looking forward to some sleep, since our flight left at 6 a.m., and I was free from baby responsibilities for a few hours. The college girls in the row across from me were WAY too excited to be going wherever they were going, though, and they kept waking me up. I glared at them on the inside.

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In the airport on our way home.

On the way back, our flight was in the late afternoon/evening. He did fine on the afternoon flight, but once we hit our three-hour layover in Salt Lake City, he melted down from all the stimulation. I couldn’t get him to nap with all the lights and noise and people in the airport.

More proof that people from Oklahoma are the nicest: I stayed in the departure lounge as the others boarded our flight. Baby J was screaming, and I was trying to get him to calm down before I subjected all the passengers to his wails. Three different people asked me if they could help or carry anything for me. I told one man I was trying to calm the baby down. He told me, “Don’t worry about it; we’ve all been there.”

Once we got on the plane, Baby J spit his pacifier on the floor within two minutes. The man across the aisle and one row back ended his phone conversation with his wife and crawled under the seat to retrieve it. The flight attendant offered to clean it in hot water. The baby fell asleep in my arms. After we took off, the attendant came back with three pillows and a sterilized blanket so I could prop my arm up while he slept.

The Delta staff impressed me: as I got off last from one flight and stopped to get my stroller, the pilot asked if I needed help, and he ended up opening the stroller for me, since my arms were full of baby and diaper bag. As I was boarding another flight, the ground crew guy took the stroller and folded it for me. And when we landed at 11 p.m. in Oklahoma, the ground crew guy  pushed my stroller along the tarmac and carried it up the stairs while I held the sleeping baby. Good job, Delta! You made a tired momma’s job a little easier.

So in summary, here’s what we can expect for our much longer trip in December (fingers crossed and prayers sent):

  • Ears: don’t seem to bother him. A few times I didn’t feed him during ascending/descending, and he didn’t react at all. I remember it being really painful as a child, so let’s hope he doesn’t get a cold to make it worse.
  • Sleeping: The engine noise and vibrations did a pretty good job of putting him to sleep on the longer flights. I hope this will stick.

We purposely booked an overnight flight to Holland (I think most flights to Europe go overnight to help with the time difference, anyway), so he’ll hopefully be sleeping most of the way, and just wake up to eat. We’ll request a bulkhead seat, and hopefully the airline will provide one of those bassinets that hook on the bulkhead so Baby J can sleep. I’ll bring plenty for him to eat as well as diapers and changes of clothes in case of accidents.

Am I forgetting anything?

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One thought on “Starting Our Little Travel Bug Early

  1. Sounds like you’re doing great already! Natalie’s first flight was at 2 months from Indiana to Seattle; Claire’s was at 7 weeks from Chicago all the way to Papua! When we flew the first time to Indonesia, Natalie was 7 months old. When they’re not mobile yet, it’s a lot easier to travel once they get crawling and more squirmy! I wouldn’t worry about too many new toys, etc, because at that age they don’t even really notice. Bring a few toys to distract him, but not too many. Definitely lots of diapers and a few changes of clothes (for you AND him!) On international flights, I have found the flight attendants to be so much more helpful than on domestic flights. I think you’ll do fine! Does he take a pacifier? It was really nice for us to have a “plug” when I couldn’t be breastfeeding. And when we traveled was when I was so thankful that I was able to breastfeed. Not having to worry about bottles, formula, etc, was such a blessing!

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