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First Flight with an Infant: Preparation and Planning

Let's goooooooo
Let’s goooooooo

First Flight with an Infant: Hopes and Fears

First Flight with an Infant: Preparation and Planning

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My wife and I are generally pack the night before kind of people. Though I was hoping this might change now that we have a child in tow, I don’t think it’s going to change too much. Still, this is where our planning is a few days before our flight – I aim to talk about how it all worked out after the fact. Some of the issues we are considering:

What “Extra” to Pack (what we’re packing for our baby)

– 8 diapers per day for a total of 32 diapers. Personally, I think this is a very liberal estimate, plus, if we ever run low we can buy some (it’s not like we’ll be in another country or anything)

– 2 or 3 toys. Right now, baby M is only just starting to become aware of her surroundings. I don’t think toys are a major necessity, but it will be good to have a couple to distract her with – rattles and what not. Our pediatrician has said that “you are still her biggest source of entertainment” and we’ve seen that play out in practice and don’t think she’s going to grow out of that in the next 5 days.

– 3 to 4 burp cloths. We’ve mastered the art of doing laundry in the hotel sink so this should be plenty even if she spits up on every single one.

– 5 to 6 onesies. She’s been going through one a day, plus the laundry thing, this should be enough.

– 4 to 5 outer jumpers. Same.

– 2 swaddle cloths (one of which is a miracle blanket which is awesome).

– 1 hat.

Soothie are a great pacifier since they are soft
Soothie are a great pacifier since they are soft

– 2 pacifiers. My favorite soothing mechanism. We use soothies and they are great.

– Butt wipes and hand wipes. I think one huge pack of each should do the trick.

Baby K’tan. Our current go-to carrier

The Baby K'tan fits nicely in my jacket
The Baby K’tan fits nicely in my jacket

– Carseat – Chicco Keyfit 22 along with Caddy. We’re planning to bring this stroller/car seat combination and gate checking it at the airport. We’ve already tested the carseat without the base, it should be fine in our rental car.

– Bottled breast milk? We might need this for the plane, still deciding on this.

– Exercise Bouncy Ball and air pump? Nothing puts our baby to sleep like this bouncy ball. Even deflated it might take up a lot of room, but maybe it’s worth it!

Typing all that makes me realize that we have to bring a ton of stuff, and our baby isn’t even old enough to play with toys yet! In terms of sleeping, we’re planning on asking for a crib at the hotel so we don’t need to bring anything extra for that.

To Check or Not to Check?

Like a lot of people, I really hate paying checked bag fees. I don’t think I’ve paid a checked bag fee in my entire life. Will we need to make an exception for our daughter? I THINK we can fit everything into our two roller suitcases, especially since it will be warmer in D.C. so we won’t need thick clothing.

Working against us is the fact that I need to pack my suit although I might just wear the jacket on the plane (or will it get spit up on?!). Even if we can fit everything, it might be a bit much to push a stroller AND drag two rollers behind us. We could just check one bag, saving us $25 each way and then carry on the other. Or we could check both, make life a lot more convenient, but it would cost us $50 each way or $100 total. Though I guess you don’t HAVE to do the same thing both ways so there’s always that option.

Anyway, we haven’t decided yet, but right now I’m leaning towards biting the bullet and paying for at least one checked bag. If only I had booked this on Jetblue or on any of the airlines whose credit cards come with one free checked bag (all of which I have)! Something definitely to remember for the future.

Tentative Plan

Our flight to DC departs at 6 AM. When I booked it I thought it was smart, but now I’m not so sure. Baby M usually likes to eat breakfast around 5 to 6 AM, so I thought it’d be great for her to feed during takeoff to help with pressure equalization. What I didn’t think about is how she freaks out when she’s hungry and we might not have the luxury of waiting until the exact moment on takeoff to feed her. My tentative plan, then, is to push her night feeding back a little so she’d be on track to feed around 7 AM instead of 6. Then we can hopefully get ready and get to the airport while she’s still sound asleep (maybe even have her spend the night in the carseat if she’s willing).

Should I sleep in this all night?
Should I sleep in this all night?

After we’re through check-in, I’ll put her in the K’tan where she usually is quite comfortable, that plus walking around should keep her sleeping until we board. We’ll push her stroller with us so we don’t have to carry the diaper bag around. We’ll leave a bottle of milk in the diaper bag just in case. After getting through security, we’ll gate check the stroller and decide when to board depending on how much luggage we are carrying on/how crowded the plane is.

If we have luggage and the plane is crowded, we’ll take advantage of the early boarding and I’ll just stand in the back galley bouncing M to keep her asleep. If we don’t have too much luggage and/or the plane is relatively empty, we’ll board later so we can keep her moving. On takeoff, we’ll give her the pacifier or bottled milk to help with equalization.

Hopefully she won’t be hungry until we are landing at 7 AM, which is when we’ll feed her. If she freaks at any point on the plane I’ll just walk around, bounce her in the K’tan, stuff a pacifier in her mouth and pray it works. We won’t change any diapers except blowouts – this shouldn’t be an issue on an hourlong flight. Since she isn’t eating solid foods yet there isn’t that powerful odor that we’d need to take care of for the sake of others.

If baby M freaks and people are glaring at her, I will discretely take pictures of them for the blog. Just kidding…sort of. Anyway, this sounds like a great plan and I can’t wait until it’s entirely ruined! But in seriousness, I feel better typing this out. After we land in D.C. we’ll grab our car rental and either go to our friend’s place or check in early if the hotel lets us. Whee!

Final Thoughts

Some of this post is tongue in cheek, but most of it is just my stream of consciousness thinking about planning for this trip. It’s probably uninteresting for most of you, so for that I apologize. But maybe some of you find the thought process interesting, or maybe others of you want to judge me, which is fine by me! Feel free to sound off in the comments with advice, although of course as all parents we will take everything with a grain of salt. And hopefully for my sake I will post about an uneventful trip after the fact, or for your sakes it’ll be a complete disaster!

Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

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