Why You Should Fly with a Baby
The first time we flew with our twins I broke into a sweat before we even reached the gate. My husband and I arrived at the airport on a hot July afternoon each with a baby bouncing in a Baby Bjorn on our front, a backpack on our back, and huge wheeled suitcase stuffed with our safety net of baby supplies for our two night trip to visit family. I felt as if I had packed our entire home to bring with us. Every parent fears being the one with the screaming baby and this exhausted mom was questioning the idea of ever bringing her babies on board.
I was afraid they would scream.
I was afraid they would spit up all over everything and everyone.
I was afraid one would refuse a bottle and I couldn't fathom how to tandem feed my twins on a plane.
I'm going to put aside the opinion that we could all be a little more kind to parents (have you seen this awesome JetBlue video?) and tell you that despite all of those difficulties and potential embarrassments, you absolutely should fly with your baby. As moms, we often imagine the worst and this can stop us before we even get started. Don't let your fear get in the way of flying with your baby - there are too many positives you would miss.
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With plane prices sky rocketing, this is a no brainer. When our twins turned two overnight a flight for our family cost double what it had the month before. I wish we had flown with them even more often than we did. Take advantage of free flights for your kid while they fit on that lap!
As much as I worried, when we got on the plane we fed our babies and then they both fell asleep. We spent the flight both holding a snuggled sleeping infant. I'm not promising this will happen every time, but babies are far more likely to fall asleep on an airplane than an older child. Some kids sleep anywhere, but mine stopped this magic trick around the time they learned to walk so I felt incredibly grateful for this window of time when I could cuddle and rock them and they would just doze off wherever they were when they were tired.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, babies can eat in most places. My twins spent a good deal of time dropping Cheerios and Gerber Puffs on the floor of airplanes as toddlers, but I thought this was the easiest time to feed kids on a plane. Nowadays we are racing through airports trying to find dairy-free food for my child with allergies and subsisting on bagels and chips.
Car Travel vs. Airplane Travel is a complex decision. Personally, I would rather deal with the potential issues of air travel than car travel. Having been stranded in an airport several times, I understand the fears of flying, however a flat tire or weather impeded roads are no more enjoyable with small children.
I like a good road trip, but babies won't get much out of the experience. Furthermore, feeding a baby and changing a baby is far more complicated in a car. I would rather embrace time at the destination and get there faster.
This was one of the rules of parenting that my parents passed down. Whatever you want your kids to learn to do, start them young. When I wrote about 7 chores your toddler can learn today, I tried to emphasize that even though it might seem harder to start now it will make it easier in the long run. This is true with teaching kids to clean up their toys, get dressed, and fly on a plane.
Flying with an infant will get you over your nerves about flying with kids. By the time you reach the toddler phase, you ignore all the reasons you shouldn't (which are far more plentiful) and just do it.
There are no perfect family holidays. Family travel is always a little bit nervewracking if you let it be.
Back on that first flight with our two month old twins, the flight was great. As I said, both kids slept the whole flight and I actually read a magazine. When we landed however we learned that they had left our suitcase behind. You know, the one we had carefully packed with their pajamas and diapers and wipes and every other conceivable thing we might need? We didn't get it back until the night before we flew back home.
But, we survived.
Diapers and other essentials were purchased. Other disastors were overcome. At the end of the day, our twins got to meet their great-grandparents and other family for the first time and I would go through it all again in a heart beat.
Life is short. Book that ticket, pack that suitcase, and load up that Baby Bjorn. You have a flight to catch.
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