I tend to have anxiety. I also tend to overthink the things I’m having anxiety about.
So it was no wonder that when I had a trip scheduled to fly with my 6-month-old daughter, I was both anxiety-ridden and obsessively researching all the things one needs to know when travelling [sic] with baby.
It’s not hard to guess why I was so anxious.
For starters, it was not so many months ago when I was walking through REI, phone in hand, transfixed by a bizarre video of an Asian doctor being violently and forcibly removed from a plane.
Then there was the second viral video of a flight attendant who lost his marbles on a young mom with a baby over a stroller she was trying to carry on the plane.
Last, but not least, was my own experience seven years ago flying with an infant. I sat squished in the window seat next to a lady who had (I-kid-you-not) pants made from zippers. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. Naturally, my almost-one-year old wanted nothing to do with the toys I brought, and only wanted to play with the unamused lady’s zippers. When my baby wasn’t fighting to get her hands on those delightful pants, she was biting the heck out of me every time we nursed with her newly budded teeth. Once we arrived, me barely intact, the stroller I had borrowed for the flight refused to lock, and so it kept folding up on my precious bundle as we wandered around the Denver airport ridiculously lost.
The way home wasn’t much better. The airline broke the stroller I had borrowed from a family member, and no compensation was received. And my baby bit the whole way back. Because why not? I think I vowed never to fly with a baby again.
Combine all of the above and I knew I needed to be prepared for All.The.Things. this go around. . .
Book an aisle seat on all flights — Check.
Bring a stroller I could trust and be able to handle easily in security, but make sure it’s not too expensive in case it gets damaged by the airline — Check.
Wear baby using a comfortable carrier with toys attached — Check.
Carry on enough clothes and diapers for baby and me for two days in case of a delay — Check.
Ask for doctor’s note for baby’s liquid medicine just in case — Check.
Only a few times in my life has my obsessive research actually benefitted me, and I would rank our flights to our destination as one of those times. I had neither too much, nor not enough stuff. Even when the pilot realized something was amiss on our flight at take off, and re-routed us back to the gate for an hour and a half delay, my baby did beautifully. She fussed for only about 5 minutes for the duration of our travel from Seattle to Georgia. And all the people around me ooh’ed and aah’ed over how well behaved my baby was.
Of course, all this combined made me an EXPERT on flying with baby. (I give you permission to laugh out loud, roll your eyes, or generally scoff — whatever’s your thing.)
So as I packed for the trip home, I mentally put together a blog post about how to travel with an infant.