Our extended family lives interstate between Melbourne and Brisbane. As thus and because Steve and I are big travellers Odessa has already chalked a few up on the flights board! I usually fly to Melbourne on my own with her to see mum while Steve is working. The flight is only 1.5hr and we fly Qantas because it's often booked on frequent flyers. Following are a few tips I've learnt along the way. Some things I wish I knew before hand!
Flying longer trips, overseas and with someone changes the advise completely. This is my experience for short domestic flights on my own.
-Wear a scarf. This doubles as privacy for breastfeeding and as a blanket for baby.
-Dress in layers. Between sitting before take off in the heat and then the air-conditioning coming on having baby dressed in layers will help control her temperature.
-Eat first. If you have a baby on your lap it's exceptionally difficult to put the food tray down. So instead of the whole tray I often just ask for the easy to handle snacks if I'm hungry.
-Pack light. Keep your carry-on luggage as light as possible! If it's a short flight and your baggage is in the overhead locker you're not going to get a chance to get to it. Just pack an emergency nappy change.
-Get a trolley. Paying $4 for a trolley is usually something we hate however physically struggling with bags and a baby will only get me worked up when I need to be calm.
-Boarding pass. Your baby will get it's own boarding pass.
-Sling it. Wearing baby in the sling will help getting to the gate but just to let you know they need to scan it separately through the x-ray machine. Most airports will offer a padded mat to lay the baby on when you need to get back into the sling.
-The capsule. Every infant passage will get aprox 10kg of luggage so this covers the 6kg capsule we take. We have a large soft bag we put it into. An ikea large yellow bag might do too. Trying to wrap the capsule at the airport after using it to get to the airport is just a pain so the bag is much easier. Usually it's checked through as special fragile cargo and so far we haven't had any damage issues.
-Get an isle seat. This means you can get up if you need too. I have done a flight next to the window with two others next to me and I felt exceptionally confined. I just don't think she's old enough to appreciate the view yet!!
-Stay calm. Remember that your baby can pick up on how you're feeling. I know when Steve left me at the gate for the first time my heart was going a million miles an hour and I have plenty of flight experience!
-Infant seat belt. An infant seatbelt is supplied by the airline, this loops through your seatbelt. The best way to sit the baby is on your lap facing out however it is possible to lay them down or rest them on your chest.
-Baby's ears. I was a little paranoid on our first flight thinking Odessa would start screeching on take-off. However she was good as gold, in fact the vibrations put her to sleep. If you're concerned breast feed on take-off or use a pacifier to reduce the pressure in her ears.
-A pillow. A small flight pillow is usually supplied by the airline as cushioning for your arm if you're nursing.
-The toilet. I've had plenty of practice at home going to bathroom while still holding Odessa. This is no different on the flight!
-Nappy changes. Change tables are available on flights however make a change just before you get on board if you can.
-Breastfeed. I try to keep the feed until take-off. This keeps her distracted, happy and usually sends her to sleep afterwards.
-Crying. In the end if your baby cry's for the whole flight, who cares? We've all cringed sitting near the baby however a lot of people are parents and sympathetic and for the rest of them their is always earphones!
-Park for 10min. Sydney parking is free for the first 10mins in short term parking. Steve can manage to park and run into help me with the bags, install the capsule and get out of the car park. If we aren't so lucky it's only the minimum charge.