With that said, its kind of surprising that we hadn't flown with G yet. But when the time came, I am somewhat thankful that it was a last minute deal, otherwise I would have over thought the process. Instead, on my flight home from Houston on Friday, I scoured Pinterest for some pointers. The most important ones that I noted were 1) Nurse/Bottle feed your babe during take off & landing 2) bring small, minimal noise making toys 3) Bring your sense of humor.
I am someone who likes convenience, to keep things simple and easy. So we opted to get a car seat through the rental car company. Alamo (not sure if other rental companies do this as well) did not charge us for the car seat. They had options for infant car seats, front facing car seat and even booster seats. That's one less (large) thing to hustle at the airport. I also called the hotel to be sure that they had either a crib or pack and play prior to booking. Again, something else to not worry about. In the future I would do both of these things again. If I was not renting a car, I would try to find another way to rent a car seat upon my arrival to the city rather than lug it along, that would be my worst case scenario. I also only brought enough diapers and wipes for the plane ride. We stopped and purchased diapers and wipes once we were in Chicago.
We put G in his umbrella stroller at the airport and checked it as we boarded the plane. It was already off the plane and ready to go on the flip side. Easy, peasy. I did also bring my wrap to carry him. I didn't use it, but I would continue to bring it in the future (until I stop carrying him that way, of course).
Another thing that really worked in our favor was our seating situation. With saying the above, that tells you I did G as a lap child rather than buckling him into his car seat. Right now, G is not crawling around, and he is perfectly content sitting in my lap or snuggling on up me. Having him in my lap was the right choice for us. Now when we go back to Chicago in May, I might have to rethink that situation, depending on his demeanor at that time. Our plane on the way to Chicago had two seats on one side and three on the other. We were in the two seater side and I sat at the window with G on my lap. It felt like we had a lot of privacy to nurse and we didnt have anyone else in our row that could be "bothered". On our way home we were on the three side, but had the row just for the three of us.
Nursing on the way up and way down worked like a charm. From everything I read, they said that this would help with the pressure in G's ears. Both flights, G was snoozed by the time we took off. Full and sleepy.
We were lucky enough that G slept the first 45 minutes of so of both flights. And lucky for us he was easily entertained once he woke. Small toys, high fiving, standing looking out the window, giving my face a million sugars, and flirting with our neighbors was all it took. I did download several episodes of Mickey Mouse onto my iPad, but it wasn't necessary.
As an airline brat - I of course wanted G to have his first pair of wings (a pin that is a pair of wings) but unfortunately they do not do them anymore; however they do these small passport-like books where the captain fills out the distance, captains names, and a small note to the child. So cute! And a fun way to document where your kids go!
Here is the short list of my biggest take aways:
- Rent a car seat and crib/pack and play on the other side
- Use an umbrella stroller or wrap at the airport
- Arrive to the airport early enough incase you get held up with your milk/formula/etc
- Dress easily enough to get through security - easy on/off shoes, no jewelry, no hair accessories
- Change your babe's diaper right before boarding and directly after to avoid the teeny tiny bathroom on the plane (unless your little has other plans for you)
- Nurse/feed on take off & landing
- Pack extra clothes (G had a blowout preflight on the way home), plenty of diapers/wipes incase of delay, food/snacks, small (noise free/quiet) toys, nursing cover, small blanket in case its cold on the flight
- Bring your sense of humor/Be flexible. Travel snafus happen all the time. We luckily didn't have any, nor did G have any screaming fits. But just because he was an angel this go around doesn't mean it will always be like that. Think about it this way, you wont see those people ever again. Who cares. I mean, I have been on a million flights where there was a screaming baby. Everyone can deal with it. As long as its not international. Then every one really does hate you. Just kidding. Sort of.