Alice Jet-Setting. May 2012.
We are on a little family vacation for Memorial Day weekend. This vacation required us to take a transcontinental flight with our just over two-month old baby. Recipe for disaster? Sort of. Before the flight I'd done a ton of research, talked to a few different moms and did a lot of thinking about how to manage Alice during our flight from Boston to Salt Lake City. No problem, I thought. This will be easy. It's not like she's a toddler and needs to be entertained or anything. Well... I was right about the not needing to be entertained but I was totally wrong about it being easy.
Our first problem was that Alice's afternoon nap kept getting interrupted by our trying to get to the airport and through security. Just when she'd be nodding off, I'd have to take her out of the car seat or out of the baby carrier... and BAM! She was wide awake. And an overly tired baby is no fun.
We gave her a bottle that I had pumped the previous night shortly before getting on the plane. Right before boarding, she was dozing off and I thought Perfect! She'll snooze and be fine for an hour or two! We found our way to our seats and the guy sitting at the window could not have been a worse combination for sitting next to a baby. Older guy, maybe early 60's. Heavyset. Wearing not one but TWO fanny packs. And wearing not one but TWO watches... one on each wrist. Totally bizarre. So I take all this in as I am sitting down and I say to the guy who obviously sees a small baby strapped to me and is probably cursing his luck, She'll be quiet, I promise.
And then two minutes later.... Alice was screaming.
Oh man. There is only one thing worse than being on a plane with a screaming baby.... Being the parent of that screaming baby. Because we were still in the process of take-off, I couldn't get up and bounce and jostle Alice to help her get to sleep. And two-fanny-pack man was totally encroaching on my seat space so I wasn't able to get her into a comfortable position after taking her out of the baby carrier. As her screaming escalated and the people around us began craning their necks to see what kind of torture I was subjecting our baby to, I turned to Lee and frantically said I guess I'll just nurse her to sleep. Our fanny pack friend had his elbows well into my seat space so I had to squish up next to Lee to get Alice in a position to nurse all the while trying to keep my boob from being exposed by Alice's flailing arms. I may have been sweating just a little.
Alice quieted right down as she nursed and our plane took off but that was not the end of her crankiness. I spent 20 or so minutes walking and bouncing her down the narrow aisle of the airplane getting some sympathetic and not so sympathetic looks from my fellow passengers. She finally fell asleep at her usual bedtime of 8:15PM and was pretty much asleep for the rest of the flight.
And I learned something.... Don't fly during witching and bedtime hours. Just don't.
Have you flown with a young baby? How did it go for you? I didn't know this but babies don't have the issue of their ears bothering them from changes in altitude till they are over 6 months old. My pediatrician told me that their eustachian tubes aren't fully closed until then and that the pressure doesn't bother them. Either way, I made sure to have Alice sucking on something during both take-off and landing. Our problem wasn't altitude changes, though... it was a sleep-deprived kid!