Philosophical Monday: It’s Time for Some Advice OR Flying With Babies

Betty was more upset about getting put in this outfit than she was about any of our plane rides so far.

Betty was more upset about getting put in this outfit than she was about any of our plane rides so far.

I just wanted to thank you guys once again for making our Month of Minefields so ridiculously awesome. I really appreciated reading your comments on a range of topics that we hadn’t really talked about before, and I am convinced now more than ever that Fierce and Nerdy has the best readers in the history of ever. Though I’m sure every blog feels that way about their kids readers.

This month I also wanted to go with a theme for my personal columns and that is ADVICE. I decided about a year ago to stop giving my sister unsolicited advice and that has worked out pretty awesomely. Though I’ve had my weak moments, I’d say that our relationship is better than ever because I finally realized that she is an adult and just like I am fully capable of living my own life without following every piece of advice given to me, so is she.

Sill, I’ve always been awfully fond of advice. I love giving it and I love receiving it even more. My mother was awesome at advice, so is CH. And most of my friends give GREAT advice, so I’m forever quoting some wisdom that someone else has given me.

Now that I’m a mom, I appreciate advice more than ever. Seriously without friends and the internet and child-rearing books, I don’t know know how I would have done it.

So this month I want to not only give, but also pass on, and recieve GOOD ADVICE. I haven’t firmed up the topic list yet, so if you have some thoughts on what to talk about for the month of November, please advise (hee! hee!) in the comments.

But today, I wanted to talk about Flying With A Baby. One of the interesting things that I’ve found about flying with kids is that it seems to engender a lot of hate in the hearts of others. I don’t blame these people. I have never been a fan of children on flights, and I used to glare daggers at parents that dared to travel with screaming babies or out-of-control kids.

Psychology Today had this article, which can basically be summed up as “Hey, give parents flying with kids a break,” and the 100+ comments it invited pretty much fell into two classes: 1) No, people with kids SHOULDN’T fly unless they can control their kids and 2) Suck it up, sometimes parents can’t control their children, and you wouldn’t even be saying that if you were actually a parent.

But what was interesting is that while both parents and non-parents were attacking each other, not one person offered any good advice as to how to handle a baby on a plane.

I don’t claim to be an expert on this. In fact I’m a little scared that Betty will go off the rails on our flight home to Los Angeles today. However, she did really well on the 5 hr flight to New Jersey and the 3 hr flight to St. Louis. So well that many people came up to her after both flights to compliment her on what a great job she had done and insist to me that she must be the best baby ever, because her crying time was less than 10 minutes on the 5hr flight and less than 2 minutes on the 3hr flight. Betty is not super-mellow and I’m not super-capable. From what I’ve been able to put together, here’s why she did so well after the jump:

1. We had early morning flights that coincided with her naptime. If I had known how well this would work out, I would have booked the first flight of the day for all legs of our trip. Betty usually takes a nap about two hours after she wakes up, so an early morning flight was perfect for her. On the flight from New Jersery to St. Louis, the reason she cried for about 2 minutes was because I woke her up to get off the plane.

2. She didn’t fall asleep before the flight. I walked around the airport with her in her Baby Bjorn and talked to her about a lot of things we saw. By the time we got on the flight, she was very calm and used to being in a crowd.

3. The first thing that I did after getting settled in was get a bottle ready for her. Betty was basically sucking on a bottle from the time the plane started until after takeoff which kept her ears clear of pressure. And every time, she opened her mouth, the bottle went back in. I don’t practice over-feeding day-to-day, but I found it to be an awesome tool on a plane.

4. I got an easy to pop open can of Enfamil to make putting together a bottle and feeding her easier. My doctor advised that I nurse on the way up, but I knew Betty wasn going to be happy under the nursing cover as we both taxied the runway and went into takeoff, so a quick and easy bottle it was. I also talked to her quietly whenever she was awake, so that she was always engaged in either listening or eating.

5. During the 5hr flight, when she started crying after waking up, I explained to my row mates what was going on and what I was going to do about it. I basically said, “I’m sorry, she’s upset because her diaper is probably wet. I’m going to change her, then I’m going to feed her again to get her to calm down.” I changed her in the bathroom, then came back to my seat to nurse her. Not only did my row mates seem not to be annoyed, they even congratulated me on getting her calmed down and asked if I needed any help when I was trying to get my nursing cover organized with one hand with a crying wiggling baby in the other arm. It was like we were all in it together. Some parents might say that you shouldn’t have to apologize or make excuses for your kids, but it helps other people on the flight if you apologize even for the things you can’t help, so I’m all for it.

Well, that’s basically how Betty and I did it. No guarantees that this advice will work on our flight home or even for non-babies. But I had a lot of difficultly finding advice for flying with babies before the big trip, so maybe this will be of help to someone out there. If you have any advice to add to this list, please let us know in the comments. And wish us luck!

100% Trying,