Monday, March 10, 2008

Random Observations on Traveling with Baby

We’re back! It was wonderful to see family that I hadn’t seen in far too long (seven years or more for some!) and to introduce Elliot Rose to her family. She definitely loved being doted on and made some new friends while I reconnected with cousins and enjoyed a spectacular wedding.

The most useful “flying with baby” advice from all that I read:
  • Don’t go solo if you don’t have to. Two sets of parental hands make all the difference.... and except for must-see family events, try to wait until baby is a distractable toddler…. At least with my kids, that would be easier!
  • Get baby to suck on something during landing and takeoff (unfortunately on a two hour flight that’s the whole thing… but Elliot did deign to take a pacifier)
  • Bring “new” toys for baby. even at 5 months they are most entertained by new things. Elliot was most distracted by my seatbelt, the plastic bag that held her Tylenol, my boarding pass (I had to watch her close to make sure she didn’t eat it!) and my seatmate’s newspaper (he seemed to have a sense of humor about it). For toddlers, gift wrap all toys, new and old. That’s just more activity!
  • Don’t tamper with baby. If you are flying with a baby, don’t play the keep-her-up-so-she-naps game or you’ll end up with miss crabby pants. I did this on the first flight and Elliot was a puddle of tears for most of the trip. She was hungry and tired, but was too wound up to eat or sleep. We had a bit more success on the return flight, when I made sure she was content before hand.
  • Strength train! After 4 days of traveling solo with baby, I’d developed serious shoulder muscles. This was very useful for awkward bouncing in coach airplane seats. I seemed to have the touch on the return flight.
  • Remember that most likely fellow passengers just feel bad for the crying baby, and if not, you’ll never see them again.
Also, I was surprised to learn that even at 5 months old, Elliot has a real attachment to her home, her things, and her family. She was hysterical when we arrived at our hotel suite and it wasn’t her home (after the plane and the car, I'm sure she expected the comfort of her own swing!). It took her nearly 24 hours to mellow out. And when we did get home, she was clearly overjoyed. She kept lunging for Maya and daddy and talking to all of her familiar toys. It was kind of amazing to see. She is full of personality now!

A ridiculous number of pictures follow:

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