She was six months old when my baby, my nine year old daughter, and I traveled back to America. My husband was in training so it was just going to be us going home. I was scared, anxious to travel with two kids by myself. From London, Heathrow to JFK Airport, New York was going to be six hours or so, so I thought it wasn’t going to be bad. Another 2 hours connecting flight from NY to VA was ahead of us, eh, it didn’t sound bad. After all my nine year old daughter is very helpful and I can depend on her.
Four hours in to the flight, I’ve noticed there were a lot of walking back and forth from passengers and staff. I wondered why there was suddenly a traffic jam. A family of 4 were placed where the flight stewardess sat during the flight. I closed my eyes, tried to keep my baby calm, my eldest daughter was fast asleep. Eventually I stood up, brought my baby for a diaper change, when I noticed there was a passenger on the isle. I asked the lady in front of me whose trying to get by. She was stuck there for a while and told me the passenger had a seizure and the staff and volunteer medical personnel tended to her. Sure enough the captain announced that we were getting diverted for medical emergency to Iceland! Normally I wouldn’t mind, it’s not like I had a choice, but I’m traveling with two kids and one is a baby. The flight to Iceland added another 5 hours to our trip to NY. We were grounded in Iceland for refueling for another close to an hour. Yes, it was over ten hours of flight time in which I held my baby in my arms. The basket for her to use when she’s sleeping didn’t work because of people walking back and forth. she just kept waking up, so I just held her the whole trip. Finally we were up in the air again. (reword) Then, another person couple of rows behind us started to require an oxygen mask. At that point I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to land. That was my experience traveling with my two kids.
Couple of things I learned from traveling with an infant. By the way she is bottle fed, so depending on how your baby nurse is totally different.
- Dress your baby in separates. This will make the changing very easy.
- Have the diaper changing mat next to you or near you, since sometimes you’ll hit turbulence and you can’t get to your bags. I had the changing mat to my side, it didn’t take that much room so I didn’t mind sleeping (or trying to sleep) next to it.
- Since my baby is bottle fed, I had a bottle pre-made just before the flight and had it handy before take off. I gave the bottle to her while we were ascending. One, it helped me with my anxiety of flights and two, it helped her with the pressure.
- When things starts to calm down, ask the flight stewardess to give you hot water. Having a thermos was very helpful. If you don’t have it, they are happy to put water in the bottle and warm it for you.
- At first, I didn’t know if it was allowed to bring pre-made bottles, so I dumped a perfectly good bottle out so I won’t be delayed at check in. But on the way back from the US to the UK, I experimented and had water in the thermos already and had two bottles ready in its insulated bag. They didn’t make me throw it away. They just had to do a check and it was fine for me. Other airlines might have a different policy so check with them first. We flew with Virgin Atlantic.
- The guilty feeling that your baby is waking up the whole flight when she cries is definitely there. I just stood up and try to console her. I think if people see you’re trying to make her quiet then most of them will be understanding. So don’t worry about it too much.
- This one was really helpful. I had extra wipes and diapers in all the carry on bags. I even put some in my eldest daughter’s bag. When you’re so busy with everything else in flight, you just want accessible diapers where ever possible.
- Don’t forget to have disposable diaper bags for dirty ones. And I also had a regular size plastic bag in my bags for just in case situations.
- I brought a baby carrier because when I researched flying with babies, it said it will make it easier. I just had it in my bag but didn’t use it.
- Check with the airline about bringing strollers and carseat. My stroller was flight approved. Just tell the people at the check in that you want your stroller to be gate checked. They will help you with it.
- This one I learned from my sister. Have different toys that she’s never seen before and it will entertain her, hopefully for a while. Mine lasted 5 minutes. haha.
Traveling with kids, especially one being a baby, isn’t so bad. I have my eldest daughter to thank for. She really helped me a lot. Just calm down, don’t freak out and happy travels.