This past weekend I flew to Long Beach with Everett, BY MYSELF.
Thank you for your applause.
Seriously, you can stop clapping now.
Okay then. The good news is: I survived. The bad news is: I will probably never do it again unless I have to. However, if you find yourself in a flying-alone-with-your-baby situation, here are my tips for making the most of it:
1. Strap your baby to you. We have the organic Ergo carrier and I love it. You can wear your baby all the way through security and straight onto the plane. Win.
2. Invest in a car seat bag. My sister-in-law Jen let me in on this little secret and I’m SO glad she did. Car seats check for FREE, and with a car seat bag, you can fit all kinds of extra stuff in there without paying to check it! What kind of stuff? Diapers. A booster chair. Sippy cups. Toys. Crib sheets. Blankets. Plus your car seat AND base! Is this sinking in yet? It’s basically like checking an extra suitcase without having to pay for it. Here’s a super affordable car seat bag that is similar to the one we borrowed from my sister-in-law.
3. Use your snap & go stroller as an airport cart. I discovered this trick by accident, but it works great. So, your baby is strapped to you and your car seat has already been checked. At this point, your snap & go is useless, right? Wrong! Your empty snap & go stroller makes for a perfect airport cart to hold your diaper bag, sweater, cell phone, carry-on bag, etc. So instead of carrying four things (plus your baby!), you’re just pushing one little stroller through the airport. You can check it at the gate (for free!) and grab your bags right before you step onto the plane. Done and done.
4. Bring a toy box. While we’re waiting at the gate, I let Everett sit on the floor and play with toys in his toy box. If you’re a germaphobe, you can put down a blanket first and make sure none of his toys touch the actual ground. If you’re not a germaphobe (like me), you can sit in your chair drinking a peppermint mocha while ignoring the nearby stranger lecturing you about germs (true story).
5. If you can nurse during takeoff and landing, great; if you can’t, no big deal. Sometimes you can’t time your feedings to perfectly match your flight schedule (like, if your flight was delayed an hour, for example (except it’s not an example because it actually happened)). Everett has flown four times now and I did not nurse him once during any of the eight takeoffs or landings. I had either just fed him, or he was sleeping, or he wasn’t hungry, or whatever. I totally panicked, but his ears were juuuust fine. If you’re really concerned about your baby’s ears, I suggest bringing a sippy cup of water or a pacifier (if they take a pacifier) to have on hand as backup in case your feeding schedule doesn’t coincide with your flight schedule. Speaking of nursing on the plane, I use this nursing cover and highly recommend it!
and last but certainly not least….
6. Charm the pants off of everyone. Smile. Wink. Crack jokes. Compliment. Say please and thank you. Airport karma doesn’t always pay off, but sometimes it does. Case in point: on our way back from Long Beach, I was assigned a middle seat in the back of the plane. Ugh. That was the only seat available when I booked my flight, and certainly less than ideal. When I checked my luggage, I was SUPER nice to the JetBlue attendant (it also didn’t hurt that Ev was batting his big blue eyes and flirting with her, atta boy!). She immediately removed my seat assignment so I could get a new seat at the gate. When I got to the gate, Ev and I both smiled big, and the guy told me to come back once they started boarding so he could give me the best seat available. I didn’t even ask him for anything! So, I ordered a turkey cheeseburger and let Everett play on the floor for a while, before finally returning to the gate where I was assigned an AISLE seat in the FRONT of the plane with an OPEN seat next to me!!!!!! Airport karma I tell you. Smile. Wink. Let your baby flirt. It does wonders.
Mommas, anything I missed? Any other tips & tricks for flying with a baby?