By the time February rolls around every year, I’m a Michigander who yearns to see and feel the warmth of the sun. In order to boost our vitamin D levels, my husband and I decided to start a new family tradition – an annual winter retreat to Naples, FL!
I don’t know how many of you moms worried about your first flight with your LO (or still worry if you haven’t taken your first flight yet), but after sleep training then 5-month old B in December, I seldom worry about any new experience with him now. I worried more that I would forget B’s SPF 50 sun tan lotion and birth certificate than how he would handle his first flight.
Despite my worry and to my surprise, during and after the flight we received many compliments from the crew and other passengers that B was extremely well behaved so without further delay and in no particular order, (although my husband may disagree), here are my top 5 tips to our success on our first flight.
#1. A bottle of water. We heard having something to drink upon lift off and landing was critical to popping ears. I planned to breastfeed B to help pop his ears, which I eventually resorted to, but since he loves to do anything “adult” do and we’re practicing drinking out of “big boy” cups, he was fascinated with a bottle of water for longer than I expected.
#2. A boppy. Some parents told us their LO sleep in a front body carrier on their flight, but B is not a fan of any carrier and hates to be confined. (You can only imagine our shock when B was hours old that swaddling was completely out of the question). I had to be creative as to how he was going to sleep on my lap. Praise to the high heavens that what I thought may work, actually worked and my mother’s intuition kicked in! B felt most comfortable sleeping on our boppy on his back with both arms and legs extended far out in all directions.
#3. My boob. On the flight to Florida, there were a few seconds when B started to cry. After being kept up past his nap time, exhaustion set in. His fascination with the bottle of water ended and I panicked. Was he going to cry during the entire 3-hour flight? I quickly whipped out my boob and B was home sweet home. As soon as his crying started, it stopped, and he slept through touch down upon our arrival in Florida.
#4. Reading B’s cues. I knew I had to make B as comfortable as possible since this was a completely new experience. Upon take off, when he looked at me like I had 10 eyes, I explained what was happening. When he started to cry, I fed him so he could go to sleep. When he woke up in a panic from his sleep, not knowing where he was at, I positioned him in the other direction on the boppy, fed him again, and he slept the remainder of the flight. The flight attendant even commented he looked so relaxed and peaceful.
#5. My husband. He stood in the aisle with B until he was required to sit down. He entertained B for the longest game of peek-a-boo that I’ve ever seen. He shielded wandering teenage boy’s eyes when my boob had to make an appearance for breastfeeding. And he told me I was doing a great job keeping B as comfortable as possible. I must say so myself, he is husband and Dad of the year in my world!
From one mom to another, I hope you find one of my tips help you in your first successful flight with your LO. PS – And after worrying about B’s birth certificate, they never asked for it.