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We're Leaving On a Jet Plane…And I'm Pretty Nervous About It

By Lauren Hartmann |

photo via {iStockphoto}

Flying isn’t my most favorite thing in life.

I always get a little anxious about it, even though, blah, blah, blah, riding in a car is less safe, insert statistics here, blah, blah, blah… I was actually just going to look up some stats to link to here, but then I thought the better of it for my sanity. Anyway, the point is that I don’t love it.

Add to that a baby to entertain? Sounds like a recipe for an anxiety attack.

But, despite all this I will be flying with Fern to the San Francisco area this week. It will be her first time on a plane, so I’ve been scouring the internet looking for tips and tricks. I decided that no article is going to be better than real-life-mama advice though, so I’m going to list off some of the suggestions I’ve read and then hopefully you guys can either add to my list or chime in with personal experience to help ease my worried mind and I’m thanking you in advance!

Flying Tips and Tricks I’ve Read On the Interweb:

1. Plan a flight during sleepy time (our flights are scheduled during naps).

2. Nurse or let your baby suck on something during take-off and landing to help with ear pressure issues.

3. Pack an umbrella stroller.

4. Pack extra clothes in case of emergencies in your carry-on

5. Put your baby in a sling or carrier if you won’t be purchasing a separate seat for them (we aren’t since it’s such a short flight)

OK, that’s actually all I know and now that I wrote it down it seems incredibly insufficient. I’m a little overwhelmed with the whole thing to be honest and may start hyperventilating at any moment, so please bombard me with suggestions and tips – I could use them! Thanks mamas!


Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More Babbling…

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About Lauren Hartmann


Lauren Hartmann

Lauren Hartmann is a wife, wardrobe stylist, and mama living in Portland, Oregon. She writes about her adventures in motherhood on Babble's Baby Channel. You can also find her blogging at The Little Things We Do or obsessively partaking in social media. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lauren's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “We're Leaving On a Jet Plane…And I'm Pretty Nervous About It

  1. Meagan says:

    At the beginning of the flight they tell you the standard “please stay in your seat unless using the bathroom etc” shpeel. Ignore it, if you need to get up and walk with her (assuming the seatbelt sign is off) do so, if you catch the eye of a stewardess, go ahead and ask for permission to walk “to keep her settled.” I haven’t had anyone say no yet.

    If everything goes badly in spite of your planning, just remind yourself that it will be over soon, and you’ll never see these people again.

  2. laurenhartmann says:

    Thanks for the tip Meagan! I actually am super nervous because Fern has been gearing up to crawl over the weekend and I’m worried that if she learns before we leave then she’s going to be pretty discontent just sitting in a seat being held for two hours. Oh well! You’re right…I’ll never see any of these people again :) .

  3. Carmen says:

    Bring a change of clothes for yourself too. Diapers seem to explode at high altitudes. I had to fly from LA to Chicago with baby pee on my jeans. Bring the easiest stuff to dress little Fern because its hard to wrangle them into those clothes in the bathroom or airplane seats. I was super nervous too but baby did just fine!

  4. laurenhartmann says:

    Good ideas Carmen! Thank you!

  5. Chelsea says:

    I’ve only flown with my 6 month old daughter once when she was 2.5 months and, contrary to my nightmares, it went great. Like you, I did lots of internet research to prepare but I found that most of my anxiety came from worrying about what other people would think if she was crying uncontrollably or if I took too long to go through security. The best advice came from my best friend who told me, “Just own it.”. Don’t freak out because you will never see these people again & most of them will understand. So, stay calm & just own it.
    Also, my pediatrician, who is also an LC, told me to nurse as much as possible. She said the body is constantly making antibodies to whatever yuckiness is on the plane & the more you nurse, the more you pass on those germ fighters to your baby thus helping her avoid getting sick. She advised me not worry about running out of milk or offending other passengers. You’re doing the best for your baby & that’s all that matters!

  6. Bryony says:

    I’ve heard people bring treats & earplugs for the people sitting around them on the plane…..I sang Violet her favourite song (quietly in her ear) for any turbulence so she was distracted…..if you ask the flight attendants they’ll sometimes let you change her on their counter at the back instead of in the tiny bathroom….it will go better than you anticipate – I was nervous too & Vi did great…..happy flight!

  7. Leslie says:

    We just flew with our 7 month old to Alaska–4 flights there and 4 flights back! I was really scared but he did great. All your ideas are good, here are my suggestions: Put a variety of toys in a ziplock and put it in your seat back pocket before you take off, that way you are not bending over to rummage around in the diaper bag in flight. We brought a regular pillow and laid it in our laps for him to sleep on, which worked great! One of our friends had a great suggestion–let them play with a bag of peanuts/pretzels (unopened) they love the crinkly-ness of the bag. Keep in mind, airplanes are really loud, so even if she is fussing, most people won’t be able to even hear it. I was expecting to get a lot of dirty looks, but it was the exact opposite, most people were extra nice to us because we had a baby and commented on how cute he was. Just try not to stress too much, it will be ok! Good luck!

  8. Annie says:

    When flew from California to Washington DC and back last month with my son who was 3.5 months at the time. My tips are.

    1. aisle seat is your friend. easier to get up and walk if baby is being fussy. On the flight to DC, we sat in a window seat. I thought it would give us more privacy for nursing. It was horrible, when my son started fussing, I had to ask 2 other people to get up so I could walk him.

    2. double diaper. I put 2 diapers on my son for the trip back after having to deal with 2 HUGE blowouts on the way there. It made it easier to change him. All I had to do was tuck the dirty one under, wipe, and voila ! clean diaper was in position and ready to tape up.

    3. practice changing diaper on your lap just in case there is no changing table in lavatory.

    4. be prepared with toys, books anything for distraction.

    5. Pack carryon light. I had my diaper bag that converts into a backpack.

    Other posters are right, a lot of people were nice and the noise of the engine does muffle any baby noises. On the flight back, one of flight attendants told me that if someone has a problem with a baby on a flight then they can charter their own plane.

    After surviving a cross country flight, I would have no hesitation taking him on a short flight. Good luck and it will work out…and if it doesn’t no worries, you’ll probably never see those people again.

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