I was hesitant in writing this post because I feel like we got lucky in a sense. We didn't plan ahead much for the plane ride and everything people told us to expect on the plane really didn't happen for us.
So here is what we were told:
1. Baby will sleep the entire plane ride because of the amazing white noise of a plane flying through the air.
2. Baby will need Tylenol or Benadryl to go to sleep.
3. "Just" nurse the baby during take off and landing (although true it's easier said than done).
Here's our reality:
We flew JetBlue and decided to spend the extra money for the Even More Room seats because it was our very first time flying with a baby and we didn't know what to expect. This is where we got lucky. We took the first flight out (highly recommended) and even though the flight was full, the Even More seats weren't. No one was sitting next to us. This gave us the opportunity to spread out and have the baby lay between us to play and stare at the TV.
If you want some sanity, purchase those seats. Even without the extra seat, it's so much easier to maneuver around with the extra room. If you have money like that, buy your infant a seat. That extra space was worth it.
Our son did NOT sleep the entire flight. He's not a long napper and as I've mentioned in previous posts, he likes routine so we kept to his nap schedule. We had to leave our home at 3am to catch our flight. My husband and I went to bed early and we got the baby to go to sleep an hour earlier than usual. He was in bed at 6pm. He had seven hours sleep before we woke up him to leave. I think that made a huge difference in his temperament.
My husband and I woke up at 2am and got ready. Around 2:40am, I began the process of waking our son. I walked in, rubbed his back and said his name. He opened his eyes but went right back to sleep. I walked out the room, did some things and walked back in ten minutes later. Turned off the sound machine and he popped right up. I changed his diaper and kept him in his pjs to minimize the fuss. Quickly grabbed his sound machine and crib bumper, packed them, and left the house.
Our friends picked us up so my husband went down first to put the luggage in their car and to install the car seat.
On the ride to the airport, he was wide awake. He's not a big car napper either.
Once we parked the car and were headed to the shuttle train to our terminal, I placed him in the Ergo Baby carrier with a blanket over it to keep it dark. He falls asleep right away in that. It was a little before 4am. He fell right to sleep. He slept through check in, security, and the wait at the gate. About 30 minutes before our flight was boarding, I took off the blanket and began unsnapping the Ergo. I knew that would wake him. It did.
So he was up, looking around at all the people, etc. When they called the Extra Room Seats first, my husband went in and settled everything with the baby. I ate my breakfast and held on to the stroller to check at the gate. This was also a way to keep him from wanting to nurse right away since I had to nurse him at take off. Breastfed babies like to nurse for comfort especially when in new surroundings. I kept away because I knew, he'd demand his comfort if he even smelled me.
BUT as soon as he saw me, he was all about wanting milk and fussed until I nursed him. I unlatched him a number of times so that I wouldn't fill him up but that wasn't very easy. We distracted him with toys and waited for the pilot to let us know that we were really taking off.
By then, he was frustrated and not in the mood. My son is highly distracted when it comes to nursing in public so all the noise wasn't helping either. I had to gently turn his head towards me and encourage him to nurse. A bottle would probably be easier but I'm not familiar with it so I can't give you much details on that.
He nursed the whole way up. We made it to the friendly skies and now he wanted a nap. "Cool! I'll just gently rock you to sleep and the white noise is going to send you straight to sleepy land, right? "
He wasn't comfortable laying on me.
He wasn't comfortable with his head on my shoulder.
He didn't want to lay in his beautiful free Extra Room seat.
Luckily, we are short and when standing, we don't hit our heads at the top of the overhead compartments. My husband stood up, snapped the Ergo baby carrier and put the baby in it and within minutes he fell asleep. 40 minutes standing. Whatever needs to get done, right?
Then he woke up and was up for two hours. We brought lots of toys along and we introduced them to him slowly. Only when he would get bored of one, did we give him the other. Don't introduce them all at once or else you have nothing left. They get bored quickly. Also, when baby is done with a toy, take it away before you give him the other one. This way you can reintroduce it later and it's like brand new.
We also had the TV on and he watched some Mickey Mouse cartoons with no sound.
Our flight was three in a half hours long so he requested another nap. After he nursed, I tried again to let him just sleep on me but NO, he wanted his nap in the carrier.
This time it was my turn.
I snapped it on and sat down and rocked him that way. It worked. 40 minutes.
When he woke, we were about to begin descending. Again, he threw a fit over nursing. My son doesn't take bottles or a pacifier, I was getting a little worried because I didn't want him to be in pain. I gave him my finger and it worked. He sucked on my finger and we had no issues with his ears, etc.
The flight back, we did exactly the same thing. The downside was that we didn't have the extra seat but the woman seated next to us was very understanding and she even entertained him a couple of times.
Hope this series was helpful to you! Have an awesome trip with your infant!