Since Joshua was 10 days old, he has taken plane rides with me almost every month. My little one is a frequent flyer.
We learned many things throughout our travels and I’d like to share these with my other mommy friends.
1. Always pack the essentials in your carry on bag. It is so important to have the following in the bag: 2 diapers, travel size wipes, changing pad, baby blanket, jacket, extra shirt and pants, breastfeeding cover, and a few toys. These sound bulky, but it really is not. All these can fit very well in one carry on bag. I have changed Joshua in airplane toilets for pooping up in the air. So better be prepared than sorry.
2. Breastfeed going up and going down. Our baby’s ears are subject to pressure because of the change of altitude and it needs to equalize. To relieve the pain, the moving of the jaws help equalize the ears. When breastfeeding or bottle feeding the motion of sucking allows the ears to readjust its pressure. I have become sensitive especially during the descend to feel my ears. I take it as a cue to start feeding my son. This usually is about 25-30 minutes before landing. If I dont catch it on time, I end up really stressed because Joshua would cry and it would be very hard to console. Not to mention the embarrassment and having to apologize to other passengers for bothering their flight with my crying baby. To make it easier for myself, I have prepared a pre-pumped milk in the bottle for Joshua to drink during the descend.
3. Cheap distractions. Usually the domestic flights we have taken are about 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes Joshua would sleep on the flight, and sometimes he won’t. My objective is to make him as comfortable and relaxed as possible. So, packing about 2 handy toys and a book can help. I also use the emergency instruction card as a “story book”. The bottled water is also good distraction by shaking the water inside and allowing him to play “shake the bottle”. It is also free to pack some nursery rhymes to keep baby from boredom.
4. Note the time. By 4 months, our babies have already accustomed themselves to a schedule of sleeping incorporated with eating and playtime. So it is super important to check the schedule of the flight and what your baby is doing at that time. For instance if the flight is at 12nn, make sure you packed lunch for babes who have started solids (usually 6 months and above). Always pack crackers in the bag and fruit for snack periods. Never make the mistake of starving baby from food or sleep….it is stepping on stress zone!
5. Never forget to pray! This seems like last on my list, but in reality it is what parents should do all the time. When we pray, God takes over as our pilot and He is our best travel companion. Every time we travel, we pray and lift to God the specific details of the trip. “Lord make this flight enjoyable for us, that Joshua will be comfortable and will not have tantrums or cry on the plane. Lord, we thank you that it will be a delightful trip and we ask you to make the take off, flight and landing smooth. Be with us all throughout the flight”. In my experience when I pray I have more pleasant flights than unpleasant ones.
As a newbie mom, traveling can either be stressful or be enjoyable. I think traveling will become a norm in our family and so I choose to make good memories by enjoying it with my little jet-setter.