Flying with a baby

 We recently flew for the first time with our 9-month-old baby.  We flew from Melbourne to Perth, about a 4-hour flight with a two-hour time difference. I wrote a post about how I was preparing for the trip before we left.I have since found that some of the normal flying tips we use are actually the exact opposite of what we want to do with a baby. 

We picked our flight time with 2 different things in mind.  Our number one priority was the price. We wanted to get the cheapest flights we could. The second thing was timing it around Mary’s sleep. Which was easy to do if you have ever tried to buy cheap flights.  We flew there leaving at 9 pm and arriving at 11:15 pm.  We flew back leaving at 11:40 pm and arriving at 5 am.  I’ll talk about our flights later, but the timing did work out well for us. 

When we pack we normally try to carry on all our luggage instead of checking luggage. This prevents the airline from losing anything and also saves us time at the baggage claim.  This is actually a bad idea with a baby.  We carried on 5 items and checked two bags. In the future, we will get bigger suitcases so we can carry on much less.  We had a nappy bag containing nappies, wipes, a few books, and toys. My husband’s bag had our journals, his change of clothes, sudoku book, snacks, my crocheting project, and our passports.  My backpack was packed to be accessible from our seats. So it had an emergency nappy, change of clothes for me and Mary, my nursing cover, our ring sling, Mary’s dummy, and two toys and one book for the plane.  We had a black laptop bag with all our computers and power cords. (With Covid we choose to take our personal laptops and my husband’s work computer.) Our last carry-on was our stroller.  We have a baby jogger city tour 2. It is wonderful. I can fold it and unfold it with just one hand and a foot while holding the baby.  Our checked bags were Mary’s car seat and two carry-on sizes we already have. We packed clothes and toiletries for those planning for 5 days and washing halfway through. 

Our first flight was on a Tuesday evening. We got prepared and deep cleaned our house before a friend came at 5 to give us a ride. Mary fell asleep in the car seat on the way but woke up at the airport.  We made it through the airport security without a hitch, just needing to pick up Mary to go through the scanner.  We were surprised that we were not asked for our IDs or boarding pass.  We got to board the plane early with Mary. A nice hostess took our pram and carried it up the airplane for us and put it in the overhead compartment.  Mary loved the plane and looking around. She was great for take-off. We did give her a dummy for the ascent.  Once we were in the air and they dimmed the lights, I fed Mary to sleep. She woke up when the lights came on for the descent. She woke up quietly and was very well behaved. Not a peep.  We were the last off the plane with all our stuff. We had border control for covid and then met my cousin.  We arrived at midnight.  Mary slept great! We were impressed by how well she adjusted to the time difference. 

Our flight back! This was much later at night. After a final dinner with the family, my cousin drove us to the airport the long way.  We stopped for a walk along the river and saw the city lights and ice cream.  Mary had slept in the car but woke up when we stopped. After our walk she fell back asleep.  Mary slept all the way through the airport. We had great service at the airport. We arrived 2 hours early and the airport was empty.  We had help using the self-check-in and bag check.  I had to pick up Mary for security, but she barely woke up and a security person opened our pram for me while Nick put away our electronics. Mary woke up during the boarding process but was very sleepy.  I was given a seatbelt for her on this flight. So we buckled her in on my lap facing out.  It wasn’t her favorite position, but she fell asleep as soon as we were in the air and could lay her down.  She slept the whole way, but when they turned on lights for the descent another small child woke up and started screaming.  This was when we needed to have seatbelts on with Mary facing forward.  I managed to keep her pretty quiet for a few minutes, but eventually, she started crying.  I ended up turning her sideways and fed her to get her quiet. Once we arrived the person next to me was awesome and carried a bag off for us.  Mary has had a rougher time adjusting for the time change coming back, but we are blaming that on teething.  

Overall flying with Mary was a much smoother experience than we were experiencing and I’m really glad we went. Have you flown with a baby or are you planning to? Let me know in the comments. 


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