As a parent, I’ve dreaded that first holiday where I was going to have to fly with my baby. Yup, I was nervous about having a screaming baby which I simply can not settle because we are strapped to our seats. Little did I realise there were bigger things I needed to worry about.
I know most people are completely understanding of parents with young children who travel. But travelling sure is hard. As a first time mum let me share some of the mistakes I made! Rookie mistakes, but looking back on them sure do make me laugh.
Mistake #1 – Do you want checked baggage?
As an individual. A single. A person who travels frequently on short haul domestic flights. I HATE checked in baggage. Opposite to many, I like my carry on baggage because it means I don’t need to wait around and collect my bags at the end of a flight.
Me…. I have a habit of arriving just as the plane is boarding. I hate wasting time, sitting around feeling unproductive. I travel light purposely so that I don’t need to check-in bags or arrive at the airport early. Well, Dominic sure turned my world upside down in more ways then I thought.
I knew as a mum travelling with a baby I was going to have to arrive earlier then usual. But when I booked my tickets I was still in the habit of saying ‘no’ to checked in luggage. BOY want that a mistake. My husband and I had 4 travel bags we were carrying along with a baby in my Bjorn carrier. Baby on the front, a back pack on my back, and my handbag in one hand was not easy. My husband was carrying the 2 bigger bags of course, so help was limited.
By the time we left the long term parking and arrived at the airport dragging our bags the first thing I did was walk straight up to the service desk and asked the lady to check in these bags! It cost me double what I would have paid if I had booked it online but at this point… I didn’t care!
Note to self: Always opt for checked in baggage when travelling with a child.
Mistake #2 – Tired baby boarding the plane
I booked an afternoon flight, but with all the rush of getting ready to go I wasn’t focused on making sure Dominic was getting what he needed. With the rush of trying to get to the airport and terminal, we were so flustered so we decided to take a seat. I prepared his milk because it was almost time to eat and I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the milk during take off and by that time he was going to be screaming for his feed. I started to feed him when I realised he had just soiled his nappy. The terminal toilets didn’t have change tables! so we had to change him on the floor (poor baby). By the time we got out of the toilets , the plane was boarding so I feed Dominic while waiting in the boarding line.
Once we got into the plane, I realised poor Dominic was not hungry. He was tired from all that travel and effort to get to the airport. That’s when the screaming baby started. When you board a plane, there is usually a fair bit of wait time whilst everyone boards, takes their seat and the plane gets given the green light to take the runway. And I think every parent knows…. staying still is not a baby’s preference especially when they are tired.
Note to self: Go to airport early. Settle in wait areas and let baby rest. Board last! It’s a long wait for an unsettled baby. Pay the extra $5 and book a isle seat close to the front.
Mistake #3 – Prepare the change bag before entering the cubical
Lucky for me Dominic decided to poop on the plane. He refuses to sleep if he has a dirty nappy so once the green light was on for us to move around the cabin, my husband and I went to the toilet cubical. Boy was it small.
Note to self: Don’t bring the whole baby bag, it can’t fit! pack a smaller travel bag specifically for the baby on the plane. Have only a couple of nappies, small packet of wipes and small powder.
It was a learning curve for my and my husband as first time parents. LOL. We even said we won’t fly anymore. We might try driving next time.