Yesterday was Annabelle’s first time on an airplane, and we made it to our destination without any accidents, major meltdowns, or breakdowns. We might have just gotten lucky (hopefully not, as we still have the flight home on Monday), but I thought I would share what are my five essentials for stress-free travel with a baby.
A Seat — This is important for both safety and practical purposes. Yes, if the plane falls out of the sky we’re all in trouble. However, if the plane skids off the runway (as happened to a commercial airliner last week), an unsecured lap baby might be the only one to be injured. Not a chance I was willing to take to save a couple hundred bucks. Second, holding a baby who LOVES to stand, jump, roll, and reach for things on the ground for three hours would be physically exhausting. I did get Annabelle out for a while to stretch, but her seat gave her a place to relax and let my arms have a break.
Sippy Cup — Friends suggested I nurse during takeoff and landing to prevent Annabelle’s ears from popping, but since she had an assigned seat I would not be allowed to do so (I believe it is a liability issue.) Annabelle ditched her paci months ago, so that idea was also out the window. She’s fairly new to the sippy cup, but I filled it with water and helped her get going. She drank and chewed on it as we ascended and showed no signs of obvious discomfort. (The picture below is immediately after touchdown– somehow that put Annabelle to sleep–the only shut-eye of the trip– flying was too exciting!)
Snacks — I was prepared to nurse if necessary, but let’s face it, West Virginia isn’t a major travel destination so our plane was tiny. Trying to finagle a twenty pound squirmy baby and avoiding getting hit by the beverage cart or flashing everyone would be tricky. I fed her some of my burger at the airport to fill her tummy with protein and brought a variety of snacks for the flight. Puffs, teething biscuits, and fruit melts kept her satisfied.
Paci Wipes — I keep these in the diaper bag from back when Annabelle HAD to have her paci, but would frequently drop it. If there’s no soap and water nearby, these really come in handy. It was actually ME who dropped the lid for her sippy cup which rolled all the way under my seat. Fortunately a quick swipe with the paci wipe meant I could make sure her cup stayed clean for when it was needed during our descent.
Trendy Teether — One of my top five must-have baby products is the Zipadee-Zip. I love it so much a wrote an unsponsored review a couple months ago simply because I wanted share what has been a total lifesaver for us. Stephanie from Sleeping Baby was so kind as to send us one of their new creations, the Trendy Teether, which is a teething necklace for mom to wear. I knew it would be perfect for traveling, as I could toss it around my neck and not worry about Annabelle dropping it, or it falling out of my purse like other toys. As soon as Annabelle saw it she HAD to get her hands on it and she clutched it pretty much the entire flight– a total hit. It’s not obvious that it is a baby toy– one of my relatives saw me take it off to hand to Annabelle and commented “ahh, so that is actually the baby’s necklace!” Annabelle is cutting tooth number seven at the moment, so she is brutal on toys, but the Trendy Teether is very durable. I’ll definitely be using it on a regular basis!
Obviously I was also equipped with a fully-stocked diaper bag, extra toys, books, and a blanket (though our plane was HOT), but the above items were what I relied on most heavily to make it to our destination with a happy baby and sane mommy. I got lucky, as Annabelle did not mess her diaper, but she also did NOT nap, so it took a little work to keep her occupied and in one place for a long stretch of time. Flying with an infant really isn’t that bad IF you are prepared, so hopefully my experience can help some other brave mamas in their upcoming travels!