Flying with a kid is never easy, but if your kid is just a 5-month old baby and you add “flying alone” and a “9-hour flight” to the equation the results can be a complete disaster if you are not well prepared!
As most of you already know, I am from Spain but I live in Canada so every time that I decide to visit my family I have to spend almost an entire day traveling. In the past, when it was just me traveling, long flights or multiple connections were not a big deal. However, my last trip was a whole new challenge because I was flying alone for the first time with my 5-month old baby. The thought of having him confined in a plane for more than 9 hours used to make me feel dizzy (to say the least!) but now I can proudly say that I survived!
If you are an adventurous mom that are planning to fly with your baby here you have some (hopefully useful) advice that should make your first flight more manageable.
1.- Pack Light
You never use half of the stuff that you pack in your hand-luggage. NEVER.
This is something that I learned the tough way when I had to walk for 25 minutes through the Schipol Airport in Amsterdam with a baby on a carrier and a backpack full of useless things… Why did I pack so much stuff? Very simple… because I had read several blogs about flying with a baby and I packed absolutely everything that was suggested!! Believe me, your baby doesn’t need two or three toys, a rattle and a book to have a good flight… You will find ways to entertain him without turning your backpack into ToysRUs! Click To Tweet
Packing light when you are traveling with a baby is not easy since you need diapers, extra clothes for him, formula (if you are not breastfeeding), etc. Your bag will be heavy already by the time that you pack the essentials so make sure that you don’t pack unnecessary things such as extra blankets, extra toys, a pillow, you name it! … I know that you want your baby to be comfortable at the plane but you need to find a balance between being comfortable and overdoing it. I’m sure you get the idea!
2.- Keep calm
Your baby is going to cry during the flight… that is a fact. You may be lucky and he may cry just a little bit or your baby may be like mine and you might have a 3-hour session of non-stop crying. It doesn’t matter if he cries a lot or a little, you have to keep calm at all times. If you are nervous your baby won’t be relaxed during the flight and then it will be likely that he will start crying. Babies have the ability to sense whether you are doing good or not and if they feel that you are uncomfortable they will feel uncomfortable too.
I had a tough first half of the flight because I was not able to comfort the little one. However, I kept calm (as much as I could) and that helped me out in the end. He finally fell asleep and then he spent a great second half of the flight.
Just think that your baby won’t cry forever and he eventually will calm down. That thought made me feel better when my baby was crying and helped me to stay focused and positive.
3.- Ignore the judgements or disapproval
This piece of advice is basically an extension of the previous one “Keep calm”. The only way for you to keep calm is to ignore anyone that can make you feel uncomfortable. This basically includes any passenger that gives you a “dirty look” or makes you feel bad about your crying baby.
One thing that I learned during the flight is that a crying baby won’t leave anyone indifferent. People will either empathize with the mom of the crying baby or they will be judgemental and complain about your “inability” to calm your baby down. There will be passengers that will be supportive and understanding but there will be others that will show some disapproval or will be judgemental about how you are handling the situation.
You don’t decide when the baby starts crying and you, more than anyone else in the plane, want your baby to feel content and calmed. Keep in mind that a baby is completely unpredictable so don’t feel bad if some passengers don’t understand that there are some things that you can’t control.
4.- Ask for help
If you are traveling with someone else then you will have a couple of extra hands that will make the trip way easier but if you are like me and you are traveling alone don’t pretend to be super-mom and ask for help! The flight assistants are there to help you so don’t be shy and ask for help with your luggage, the baby seat-belt, hot water for the formula or any other thing that you can think of.
Having the support of the crew during the 9-hour flight made a huge difference to me. I flew with KLM and they all were extremely supportive and nice (even when my little munchkin was crying like there was no tomorrow…)
If you follow this advice I’m certain your flight will be easier! By the way, I’m also planning to write another post to share some additional tips that will make the flights with your baby a bit more manageable… Coming soon!
Have you recently flown with your baby? How was the experience? Do you have other advice that you would like to share? Please leave your comment in the section below. I would love to hear from you!