The anxiety of traveling with a little one. There really should not be any but we care so much about how others are going to react. I remember being a non parent and looking at my husband and praying that we would not be sitting next to a baby. The last thing you want to hear is a screaming baby the whole way. As a parent now, thinking back, I feel pretty crappy having those thoughts. Parents should travel with their little one if they can. They should not feel bad about it.
This weekend, we took our 8 month old on his first plane ride. It was a 50 minute flight. We figured, may as well test the waters with a short flight. It beat sitting in a car for 6-8 hours to get to our destination. All the way up to the day, I was super nervous about how he was going to be. I read everything I could online about traveling with a baby. I read all the airline policies. I asked all my friends and family who have kids, what they suggested. I was praying that my son would not be the crying baby on the plane that I used to get annoyed by.
As we got ready for our travel day, I made sure I had my diaper bag (I used a backpack for travel) filled with toys, bottle, teething crackers, his stuffed bun bun bunny, and extra diapers. We put him in an overnight diaper right before we got on the plane to avoid a super wet diaper. Again, I was so nervous with all the what if’s. What if we forgot something he may need? What if we cannot get a boarding pass for him? What if they want to take my formula out of my bag since its a fluid? What if the baggage people thrash our car seat and stroller? What if we get held up and miss our flight? These things all stressed me out.
The day came. We made it through security no problem. We even got to go ahead of people in line since we had the baby. Everyone was super helpful. My son smiled at everyone. But, we still were not on the actual flight. The pilot walked by us and asked if it was his first time. We said yes with a little stress in our voice. He said not to worry, its a short flight, and just give him a bottle as we descend for the ear popping. We were thankful for that.
I could feel people staring at us at the gate ready to board. I could see the “please don’t be sitting next to us” glances. We get to our seats and my little one just wanted to look around. This was all new to him. The person who was sitting next to us, he even switched with my husband to make it easier. The hubs likes aisle seats but took the window seat this time. Again, people would walk by us to take their seat and I saw the glances. Again, I prayed to myself “please let him be in the great mood he is in for the whole flight, I don’t want to be the one with the crying baby”.
As we take off, we kept him super distracted. Long and behold, he was quiet through the whole flight. He made one little shriek when we were descending but I popped a bottle in his mouth. I was a proud mama. But, even if he was fussy the whole way there, it would have been OK. Other people should understand that just because we are parents, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t travel. I should not have to leave my baby behind with a sitter or family because we enjoy traveling. I want to share all the experiences with our son.
We should not hear the comments like “now your not going to cry the whole way are you?” as people walk by us in our seats (yes, one lady said this to us as we were getting ready to fly home) or things like “can’t you keep your baby quiet”. Babies cannot tell us what is wrong. They are unable to communicate so they cry. Do not make us feel bad about that. Put on your headphones and mind your own business! My son did sleep the whole way back home. Did not wake up until we landed. Don’t worry, I know we got lucky… this time. Next time… may not be so lucky. But you know what, who cares. We are going to continue to travel and travel with our baby.