To answer your question; all in all it wasn’t that bad!
A lil painting the picture scenario to those not in the know – a large chunk of my January was spent lording it up in Miami with my better half and darling daughter. Good times were had, but the to-ing and fro-ing obviously involved some (a lot) of air milage with a five month old (who hates sleep). Of the four flights we travelled (Dublin – JFK, JFK – Fort Lauderdale and repeat), only one was hellish. Here’s how we got on…
This was to be Pearl’s first time flying, and involved one devoutly unorganised mama to swiftly change her tune and get planning. The AMOUNT of stuff we needed to bring as hand luggage… Cray! In saying that, all the major stuff needed (car seat, cot etc) was sorted for us in Miami thankfully, so as for baby equipment all we brought was her pram. This proved handy for the few hours in JFK, with Pearl being happy enough strolling(!) around. I also brought her baby carrier (I’ve the Beco Gemini), which saved our lives when waiting to board our delayed Fort Lauderdale flight.
For those who’ve asked about the milk situ at security, you’re allowed bring through whatever baby food you like – liquid milk/powder/water/sachets of food etc (regardless of the 100ml liquid restriction). You may be expected to taste some, and airport security are obliged to run everything through a specific scanner – but no biggie. The air hostesses are also able to heat up any liquids on flight. As I’m still breastfeeding Pearl, this saved a lot of hassle on that front, although I did still bring one of those ready to go bottles just in case, and some cool boiled water for fear of her dehydrating en route!
We flew from Dublin with Aer Lingus, and had pre-booked a bassinet seat for the Queen. What is a bassinet seat I hear you ask?! If you’re like the pre-baby me, you too will have feigned selective blindness to such baby facilities on board. An on-flight bassinet is essentially a glorified fold-down food tray, but with a hole in the centre into which a cardboard box (in the shape of a moses basket) slots in. Serves its purpose, and reminded me a lot of the Finnish Baby Box Tradition, of which I love the sound of.
Plane number one was as good as empty, and as it was an early flight I wasn’t expecting Pearl to sleep through it. We subsequently chose to leave the bassinet seat behind us and just take a random row to ourselves. Unless she was being paraded down the aisles for a walk, Pearl stayed on my lap – playing, feeding, cat-napping, watching cartoons and just generally living the life. She had the flight attendants eating out of her baby blues, and we sailed through the eight hours.
Cut to flight number two, which was beyond the realms of torture. After a delay leaving JFK, and having being on the go for far, far too long, Little Pea was having none of it on our cramped (and full) plane. Oh how she cried. And cried and cried and cried – more than she cried in her entire five month existence combined. But, although we definitely gained some haters, we survived to tell the tale and all was soon forgotten.
Flying home was a doddle; the two flights were a breeze with my ‘Gerber Baby’ practically signing autographs to everyone she encountered. Although now that I think about it I found the bassinet scenario a tad farcical when actually needed…
As our New York to Dublin flight was an evening one, I was hoping to have the baby asleep in her cardboard crib for as much of it as possible. However (let this be a warning to ya!) as soon as that dreaded ‘seat belt sign’ is turned on, you MUST hold your baby on your lap. I therefore gave up on the bassinet scenario after the first half hour of the flight – said annoying seat belt bell rings literally every ten minutes. I just let Pearl sleep in my arms. But if nothing else, by booking the basinet seats, you get (a lot) more leg room.
(Excluding the Obvious) My Flying-with-Baby Must Haves:
- Double the amount of babygros (and nappies) you think you need… (I thought I was being crazily excessive and used every last one!).
- I kept Pearl in babygros only as opposed to outfits for ease and comfort. If you can get them, Bond’s Wondersuits are amazing, with a two way zip – so handy.
- Dettol Wipes -you’ll fly through these!
- Download the ‘Relax Melodies’ app on your phone – and not just for flying actually, I use it daily.
- Extra large muslin blankets if you’re planning on using the bassinet.
- Milton Mini portable soother steriliser
- Water – depending on your baby’s age etc but flying is obviously very dehydrating.