Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flying With an Infant

A few weeks ago The Sailor, The Seamonkey, and I packed up and got ready for a trip across the country! As I may or may not have mentioned before, I'm originally from Massachusetts - aka as far as you can get from Naval Air Station Lemoore without leaving the country!  Since my whole family is in New England and they were all itching to meet the first grandchild in the fam my crazy Mom offered to buy us plane tickets to fly home for a trip as a belated wedding present.

Now, there is an airport in Fresno which is less than an hour from us, but if we flew out of there we would have had to change planes somewhere - something I really didn't want to do with an 11 week old baby.  Instead we opted to drive 3 hours to San Francisco and to not only have a direct flight, but to also get to fly Jet Blue (my favorite airline).  Our flight heading to Boston left San Francisco at 10:18 pm.  Instead of parking at the airport, we saved some moolah by parking at the Radisson hotel which has shuttles to the airport every half hour.  I really wanted to have more than enough time to get there and I wasn't sure if we would hit any traffic or not, so we left our house at 3:30 pm.
Ready to go!
The first 2 hours and 45 minutes of the ride were flawless - no traffic and the baby was sleeping!  The last 15 minutes took almost 45 and the baby started screaming while we were stopped dead in traffic and I couldn't even pull over anywhere to feed him....the last 20 minutes of the trip were HORRIBLE as The Sailor tried to console The Seamonkey to no avail. But once we got to the hotel and I got to feed and change my Little Man he calmed right down.

We chose to carry on both our stroller and the carseat.  We didn't really need our stroller for the trip itself; in all honesty I only really use it if I'm going shopping and want to try on clothes or if I'm walking the dogs.  Other than that I use one of the many carriers that I've accumulated.  But I had to bring the carseat and I would rather gate check it than check it with the rest of the bags because in my mind there's less risk of it getting broken if it's gate checked.  So basically, the stroller was just a means of easily transporting the carseat (and our other carry-ons) through the airport...
Strollers are so handy!
Where was the baby, you ask?  Well, in the airport itself I wore him in a mei tai (more info on what exactly that is when I post about babywearing) since it doesn't have any metal parts meaning I could keep him in the carrier as we went through security.  Speaking of security...the Baby Jogger City Mini does not fit through the x-ray machine in airport security!  We found this out the hard way since it fit through the initial opening and then got stuck in the middle of the machine.  Seriously...who designed that thing?  If it fits in it should also fit out, and yet it did not.  So we spent a half hour holding up the line at security as the TSA agents tried to get it out.  Luckily they didn't break it or else I would have flipped shit.

So, once we got through security we went and grabbed a bite to eat, I nursed The Seamonkey, and we headed down to the gate.  At this point I was really happy I had made the decision to leave so early since we basically had just enough time to re-arrange everything in our carry-ons to make things we would want in-flight easily accessible (we had my Vera Bradley diaper bag, the large digi-camo diaper bag I made, a Planetwise wet-dry bag that was just holding all of our cloth diapers, and my Boppy pillow to carry onto the actual plane with us), go to the bathroom, and change the baby before it would be time to board the plane.

Fun fact - we didn't want to be flying all over the country with dirty cloth diapers so we chose to use 'sposies in transit.  Those things are effing gross!  How do the majority of parents use them!?  They smell funny! {sorry for the rant} The first one I put on The Seamonkey that he pooed in, the poop shot straight up the back of it and onto his clothes.  I was terrified of this happening while we took off and then I would just have to sit there with a poop-covered baby waiting for the stupid fasten seatbelt light to turn off.  So I double-diapered him...I put a 'sposie on him and then put a Best Bottom cover over it.  Since the thought of poop just floating around in the cover grossed me out I ended up putting a disposable insert in the diaper cover so he was legit wearing two diapers at once.

After I had him double-diped and in his jammies we went to sit by the gate...and he turned into a silent terror.  He wasn't crying, but he was being a complete turd.  He spit up on me twice...he rarely spits up.  He was fussing like a madman.  He refused to be put in the ring sling, which I planned on wearing him in on the plane since it is easy to get him in and out of it (more on ring slings when I post about babywearing) and kept straightening his legs so he wasn't securely in.  All I could think was this is going to be the longest night of my life....

We boarded the plane and left the stroller and the carseat at the gate and he continued to be a silent terror.  He could tell things weren't "normal" and he was refusing to go to sleep even though it was past his bedtime (it was almost 10 pm at this point).  Everyone else is boarding and I could feel them all staring at me with hatred as the watched me struggle to settle The Seamonkey as we geared up for a 6 hour red-eye flight.  After everyone boarded and they started going over the safety info I started to nurse the Little Man and he passed right out.  I think the whole plane let out a sigh of relief as I put him into the ring sling and he continued to sleep soundly.
Passed the eff out!
He only woke up twice during the entire flight to eat.  He didn't even poop, so I didn't even need to get up to change his diaper.  In fact, since he was securely strapped to my chest in the ring sling, I actually slept pretty well myself!  Once we had landed and were waiting to get off the plane he let out one loud "waaaaahhhhh" but then went back to being quiet and the people around us actually chuckled at it.  We had arrived in Boston at about 6:30 am local time so we got off the plane, I changed his diaper {into one of his normal cloth diapers}, got him dressed, and while we waited for our baggage I nursed him again.

He really couldn't have been any better during that flight.

The flight back to California was during the day and he slept for the first half and then the second half I just bounced him on my lap.  It wasn't as easy as our first flight, but there weren't any real issues.

Since this post turned out to be way longer than I initially anticipated I'm gonna wait and post later with my personal tips on flying with an infant.  Until next time...

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