My son just barely turned one, and he’s not walking yet. We went to go visit my in-laws and enjoy their under 100 degree weather. We just went out there in April, so I kinda have the drill down, except that this time I would be flying without my husband. That meant there would be no passing the baby back and forth through security or when the bag or baby got too heavy. Or during the 5 hour flight when he wouldn’t sleep or got too fussy.
What I Took:
I brought two bags with me. One was my new messenger bag, the one I made so that I could easily bring my laptop. It fit in an outside pocket so I could easily slide it out through security.
The other bag I brought was my carry-on suitcase. It wasn’t easy bringing both bags, but it was reassuring that it wouldn’t get lost or stolen. I also had the opportunity to get something out of it if I needed.
I also was wearing the baby on my back, using this carrier. If you are going to wear your baby be sure that you are familiar with it, and that you can handle the weight there for awhile. The carrier I have puts most of the weight on your hips like when you would normally carry a baby, so it made it a bit easier. I had other carriers that I would have never made it through the airport with.
Going Through Security
I was well aware of the fact that they may ask me to take the baby off my back, but both times through security they let me walk through with him. They did a new test though, they swabbed my palm and tested the sample for explosives. It was quick and easy.
They also let you bring in liquids for the baby that are more than 3oz. They don’t make you drink them or anything crazy but they do test them. The test doesn’t touch the liquid either. I had an unopened box of liquid children’s allergy medicine, and they did open the box to test it.
For children under 12 they are able to keep their shoes on. I also found it interesting that people over 75 can keep their shoes and light jackets on as well.
Before the Flight
At some airports they have play areas. Take advantage and let the kids (no matter what time it is) get some of their energy out. I let my son crawl around the seats as we were waiting and make friends with the passengers. It was almost 10pm the first time because we took a red-eye flight. I followed him around while keeping an eye on my luggage and moved him back when he got too far away. Other people were very understanding and they wanted me to let him crawl around too- so then he might be quieter for the ride.
I also made sure to get our drinks ready, but I didn’t let my son have anything to drink at that time.
My son had to go back on my back as soon as they mentioned boarding, and we were able to pre-board.
On the Plane
During take off I tried to get my son to drink from his sippy cup. He was thirsty because he hadn’t had anything to drink in awhile, but he drank it too fast. The goal was to get him to drink while gaining altitude so that his ears wouldn’t pop or start to bother him.
The first flight we took was overnight. It took the baby a long time to get to sleep and then he didn’t stay asleep for long. If you baby falls asleep on you– don’t move– even if you are dying, it’s not worth it! On the way back we flew in the late afternoon to night and it went much better. He slept some but was happy when he woke up or wasn’t sleeping.
I had plenty of new toys to cycle through as he got bored of them and tried to let him sleep. We had the blanket from his bed, as well as his stuffed animal to try to make him know that he could sleep.
If he was too fussy or if we had some grumpy seat mates I was fully prepared to buy drinks or give out ear plugs if necessary. I also had brought a cheap set of headphones for the baby in case that would entertain him, and it didn’t. The headphones did come in handy when the baby fell asleep and there was someone behind me playing loud music without headphones.
Overall my flying experience with the baby went well. It doesn’t beat having my husband to help, but I am proud that I managed it alone!