I got to admit, I was more than a little nervous to take our first plane flight with baby. Flying can be hectic enough, but throw a little one who could possibly spend the whole flight screaming into the mix and the anxiety level definitely goes up a notch. Pre-baby I was the traveller who would try to sit as far away from babies as possible, and generally cringed when I'd see one was boarding. While I know a crying baby on a plane isn't really the parents fault (hey, you got to travel), I still didn't want to be "that lady" on the plane.
Fortunately for us, Claire proved we have nothing to fear from flying with her (we'll see how it goes when she's old enough to move around). In fact, she spent most of the flight like this.
So all of my worry was for naught. As long as Claire was sleeping or sucking on something for the landing and take off she was perfectly happy. We had about 15 seconds of fussing on the first take off right at the moment when I noticed my ears were feeling their worse, and after that it was fine. In fact, we think she thought this was the best day ever because she was constantly being held and loved on.
Aside from baby's behavior, navigating an airport with baby wasn't all that difficult either (I'm sure that wouldn't be the case if I was travelling alone with her). I just had her in a little carrier and she was good to go and I was hands free. They've changed the rules so you can walk through the metal detector while wearing your baby, they just ask to swab your hands to make sure you weren't doing anything bad before you got there like, you know, making bombs.
I also found the TSA people to be particularly warm and friendly when interacting with Claire and me. I imagine their interactions with a lot of travellers probably aren't all that pleasant, so I made sure to repay their friendliness by being extra pleasant during the screenings. I think it made all our days a little better.
Honestly I think the hardest part about travelling with baby was the prep that goes into it, not the day itself. While we could have packed a third bag, I was trying not to because we already had an extra bag to take back full of stuff for my mom. I really didn't want to be trying to maneuver four bags and a baby at the airport! Figuring out how to pack all of our necessities and hers without packing an extra bag took a little planning, but it also made us be minimalists in what we took with us. As someone who tends to over pack, it was actually kind of refreshing to go bare bones and yes, four pairs of shoes is bare bones for me!
Our first experience travelling with Claire was certainly a sucess. I look forward to taking many more adventures with my little family in the future and hope the getting there portion of the trips are as uneventful as this one was.
My General Baby Travel Tips
1) Fit everything you and baby need into one carry on bag. The fewer the items you have to juggle the better.
2) If you have an Ipod, load some books on it. You can listen to those while holding baby for the next 10 hours.
3)Make sure your paci is on a leash or you will constantly be chasing it under seats. Also pack at least two because you'll be switching them out to clean them a lot.
4)After you finish packing your carry on, pack one more outfit and bib for baby.
5) Take extra plastic bags (we had two poopy blow outs).