I did it! I flew alone with my newborn son. Remember how I was freaking-out about it? If not, here’s the link to my freak-out moment. Now, I can’t really call myself an expert because I only went on two measly flights that were only 80 minutes long. However, I think I can give a little insight and hopefully some reassurance to you Mamas out there who will be in the same predicament. Here it goes…
1. Get Help. I made the mistake on my first flight of trying to get through security alone. If you’re taking your stroller this will be a nightmare. I had to try to fold my stroller, take off my shoes, and load everything onto the conveyer belt, all while holding Luca. Not fun. I was wearing him but of course, he was crying as I was awkwardly trying to load everything. Also, trying to bend over while wearing your babe is no easy task. For the next flight, I went to the ticketing counter and asked if the airline could provide me with an extra set of hands to get through security. This got me to the front of the security line and was a lifesaver while going through the screening process. (Note that if you are going to wear your baby through security, you are required to go through a quick extra security screening in which they test your hands for chemicals used to make explosives.)
2. Treat Yourself. I flew on Jet Blue and highly recommend it to anyone flying with babies. You can upgrade your ticket to receive “Even More Space” (more legroom) and “Even More Speed” (a fastpass through security) for only $15. It’s worth the extra cash, do it. If you can’t fly Jet Blue, definitely take advantage of the above piece of advice as it will get you through security faster, allowing you to have more time to prepare for the flight once you get to the gate. When the announcement is made for early boarding, take advantage of that too, you are in a special life-phase right now that requires special accommodations, no one (who is a reasonably decent human being) will judge you. Once you get on the plane, ask the flight attendant which bathroom has the changing station and then go check it out.
3. Prepare to Nurse. This was a piece of advice given consistently to me from other Mamas. When you are taking-off and landing, have your baby ready to nurse. I love my Bebe Au Lait nursing cover. Nursing will help he/she get through the elevation change without their ears popping. During one of the flights, Luca wasn’t hungry during the landing so I gave him a pacifier instead and that worked fine. If you’re not into pacifiers, consider having your baby suck on your pinky finger.
4. Be Comfy. Wear shoes that are very easy to get on and off during security. Also, think about what you can wear during the flight that will be low maintenance. For example, choose a black top so that if something (like spit-up perhaps?) gets on the front of your shirt, you won’t feel as rushed to change. Also, keeping my Moby Wrap already on made things easier because I could just transfer him in and out of it as needed. Make sure your baby has something very comfy on too. I put Luca in some fuzzy PJ’s that had easy bum access for quick diaper changes.
5. Be Positive. This is my last and most important piece of advice: Try not to stress-out. You will be more absent-minded and this could cause you more problems (For our first flight, I left our diaper bag at security, luckily they chased after me to return it!). Your baby will also pick-up on your attitude. If you are calm, your baby will most likely stay calm. Try to enjoy yourself. I was surprised by how many people were delighted just by the sight of Luca. I thought people would be grumbling about having a baby on the plane, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If your baby does cry, just remember, most people have either had babies themselves or they at least have a heart of empathy, they will be more understanding than you think.
I hope this helps and if you have any more advice or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section!