Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Noelle Takes Flight

Oh what fun it is to ride….with a infant on a plane, across country, by yourself! NOT!!!! Tj wasn't along for the journey because he was on one of his own. Driving from Orlando to San Diego with the help of our friend Patrick. I do have to say Noelle is such a doll and did so good on the way to Arkansas for our family reunion, there was a very short lay over and she was a peach. But on the way from Arkansas to San Diego was rough, my poor sugar was over it and so was I. When we walked onto the first plane I asked the flight attendant for any advice, his reply….Benadryl!!!


I had read a few blogs and articles with tips for flying with an infant and they all pretty much said the same thing including feeding the baby on take off and landing. But what they don't tell you is what if it's a short flight and your baby doesn't want to eat again on the way down and your baby HATES a pacifier. Or how to keep your baby from exposing you in front of strange men while your feeding them under your breastfeeding cover.

So this is how I did it!

What I wore:
- A nursing tank top to keep from having to lift my entire shirt to feed her 
-A button up shirt or caridgan over the tank for more coverage
-Leggings
-I would suggest something very simple and comfortable for footwear that you can take off at the security check point without having to fumble around like Toms

What she wore:
-Something very simple and non fussy. She wore a onesie without pants in order for me to change her diaper easily if needed, and boy did I need to (we'll talk about that later)

Entertainment:
-Just a few of their small favorites will do. It is honestly annoying to be digging in your diaper bag for toys with a baby in your lap
-Noelle had her Sophie (duh) which by the way, having something to clean it if it falls would be a really good idea!! 
-A rattle, though toys that don't make much noise would be nice for the other passengers or a wipes bag will do



Don't be a bag lady!! Seriously! Fight every urge you have to pack your life with you on the plane. I tried my hardest not to over pack and still ended up with a diaper bag, my purse, a carry-on and a back pack. It was way too much. But I was also moving across the country so I'm sure a normal vacation WITH my husband wouldn't be so bad. It is easier said than done especially for an over packer like myself. If they offer to check any carry on's well that's a no brainer. 

Wear your baby! There was no way in the world I was going to be one of those Mom's I'd seen in the airport struggling to open and close their strollers through the security check point. I always feel so bad for them. Why make it any harder on yourself? If you need to have a stroller I would look into checking it if possible. It was so easy with her in my Baby K'tan wrap

Seating:
If you are on a plane where you pick your own seating (like Southwest) don't cut the boarding time too close because you want to do family boarding so you can get a window seat. If the airline has assigned seating, they will usually place you in a window seat. But you do have to call ahead and tell the airline that you are traveling with an infant. This is important because it may take awhile when you go to check in if you didn't do it in advance or if they don't do their job and make a note on your reservation (I digress). Now I wish they would make a note they said, "don't sit this nice lady and her baby next to any creepers". Ok so the front of the plane vs. the back. Obviously this is only if it's self seating. I did both (and the middle) and I think I would prefer the back. It is closer to the majority of the restrooms (easier for changing the baby), closer to the flight attendants if you need them to help you with anything and less people will be affected if your baby starts to go HAM on you. 

Bring snacks:
-If you are a savage like me then those little peanuts and pretzels aren't going to do. And oh yeah snacks for your baby if they are eating too. If you aren't traveling by yourself then it won't be such a hassle to stop and get food in the airport but by yourself would be a challenge. I had very short layovers so changing Noelle and getting to the next boarding gate on time was challenge enough.

The first two flights to Little Rock were great, she ate on the way up for plane #1 and was sleeping during the landing. Plane #2 she ate on the way up and was awake during landing but didn't seem to mind the pressure changes. I think it's because the pressure change isn't as severe going down as it is going up and we thankfully had the middle seat open for both flights. Plane #3 was very different. We had this crop duster...



..which had 3 seats across the whole width of the plane with the smallest isle imaginable. We sat next to a man (of course) who I proceeded to apologize to upfront for the awkwardness that was soon to in sue when I covered myself to feed Noelle. Now I know there is no shame in feeding your baby but let's be real for a second. I was about 5 inches from a strange man on a cramped airplane and he knew what I was going to be doing under there. Why not use a bottle you ask? It's too much to get into but the point is I'd have to worry about pumping during this journey and that was just not gonna happen with everything else we had going on. Poor guy starred out of the window the entire time I fed her and didn't dare move a muscle. 

Plane #4 from Houston to San Diego was all downhill and made me NEVER think to judge a Mom with a crying baby ever again. Believe me, the anxiousness we feel to get our babies to stop crying is enough for entire plane and flight crew. It was about time for Noelle to eat when we boarded but I wanted to hold her off until we took off. This didn't go over so well with Miss Elle. She fussed really loudly for awhile. I tried her toys, teether, bouncing her, but her octave level never changed. After about 5 minutes her fussing went into a full blow cry, a loud one!!! And inevitably it was taking FOREVER to push back. People are putting in ear plugs, the whole nine. I tried so hard not to get flustered. After what felt like an Ice Age I caved and fed her as soon as we got onto the runway. But she got an air bubble and had to burp, she was pissed she couldn't eat because she was hungry so the screaming continued until I could burp her. Finally she burped and ate. Ok, that's over! She fell asleep for about 2 hours which was heaven sent. But when she woke up…she smelled something mean. Decision time. Do I wait a little longer to make sure she's done and risk a blow out (my biggest fear) or change her now. The guy next to me is opening up his air vents. Well I guess that answers that. Now I have to get up and ask these two men to let me out and proceed to the back of the plane to change her diaper. Ok, diaper changed and we're back. She plays with her toys for about 2-3 minutes and then starts starring off into space, concentrating. CRAP, she's pooping again!! I look at the time, 30 minutes until we land. But she REALLY reeks! I ask the guy next to me if he can smell her, he says no. I'm just gonna wait. 


Thank the Lord in heaven! All my Mom's recognize this near miss. We were about a half an inch from a mile high poop party!


But praise Jesus we made it safe and sound. All of us! By the way, I have no idea of the best way to transport breast milk! We left half of it in Orlando with my parents and half came with Tj in a cooler with ice. Which I just found out is not the safest because it could melt, get into the bags and bottles and contaminate your milk…..oops! But this is just the first of many moves so I'm sure we'll figure it out. But for right now we're just getting settled into our new apartment and learning about San Diego. I'll post more soon!


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