nine months + flying with a baby!

Today, Avery is 9 months old!

9months!

9 months! I can’t believe it.

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She’s getting more confident in her mobility and strength, but still a little wobbly when it comes to balancing on two feet. Just this morning I was standing in the kitchen when I felt her crawl up behind me and pull up to standing using my pajama pants. There was a certain look on her face that said, “mom, don’t make any fast moves ok?”.

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At 9 months, she is still bald (more or less, there are a few wisps!) and still toothless. Any day, right?

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But that grin, it melts my heart.

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I also figured some of your might be interested in my thoughts on flying with a baby. To date, we’ve made three trips with Avery (11 flights, 7 of which were just the two of us). Side note: Oklahoma, Seattle, let’s get a direct flight, ok?

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, Avery and I flew to the east coast to visit my sisters (and Avery’s 14 month old cousin, Holly).

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Since we were little girls, we’ve made it a tradition to have an annual get together. The four of us are scattered across the US and typically rotate where we meet up. This year we decided to pick a baby-friendly venue that none of us had been to. Where did we choose? Colonial Williamsburg! Oh yes. It was fun, the weather was perfect and Avery really enjoyed the historical reenactments!

The last time I flew with Avery she was 5 months old so I knew things would be a little different this time around. We had a direct flight (5 hours) on the way there and a layover in Denver on the way back. I thought it would be a good test of what was better – one long flight or two medium flights. (The answer, one long flight. Definitely.)

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I think one of the biggest challenges of flying solo with a baby is figuring out how to schlep all your gear to the airport. Kyle was out-of-town when we left, so I ended up driving to a shuttle lot at 5:30 a.m. The above photo is how I managed to actually get from the drop-off area to the terminal. Precarious, but effective.

Typically I check her carseat, base (not essential, but nice to have), stroller and luggage if we’ll be gone long enough. This time though, since I would be the last one to arrive at the airport I decided to try NOT CHECKING ANYTHING. After I got into the terminal, I transferred Avery to a carrier and piled all the luggage in the carseat (which included her diaper bag plus one carry-on bag for both of us). Because of our long flight, I decided to bring her carseat to the gate in the off-chance that they’d have an extra empty seat on the flight. And you know what? It worked. And it was amazing.

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Not only was Avery able to nap easily on the flight, but she also used her carseat as a chair and jungle gym! It kept her entertained far better than any toy or distraction device I brought. In fact, I sheepishly bought an iPad mini before the trip (for the baby!) and ended up using it for me! To read a book! (On our way back, I only got an extra seat on one of the flights. Fortunately, it was the one from Denver to Seattle – much appreciated after a 1.5 hr layover turned into a 4 hr layover due to a snowstorm?!?)

In my experience, I try to only bring what’s essential and that might vary depending on where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. For this trip, I knew I’d need a stroller but in a few weeks Avery and I are going back to OK for my sister’s graduation and I’m thinking of leaving it at home since there will likely be a family member holding her at all times. But without a stroller (aka fancy shopping cart) I’ll probably check the carseat base and our suitcase. But, I’ll definitely bring the carseat to the gate again. Absolutely worth the hassle of carrying it through security and being that person.

Do you guys have other tips for flying with little kiddos? I was fearful at first, but it hasn’t been so bad. Then again, I haven’t had to deal with any explosive diapers or mid-flight meltdowns. (I just jinxed myself, didn’t I?)

Comments

13 Responses to “nine months + flying with a baby!”

  1. Deena says:

    I would still travel with a stroller! But get one of those light weight ones, they collapse easily and I think at target they are around $20 bucks. When u get to the walk through jet way prior to boarding the flight – if there is room you can collapse the stroller and put it in the over head compartment – or the flight attendant will tag it for u to pick up when the flight lands. It is just so much easier to run through a busy airport without having to carry ur baby, car seat and carry on bag. I usually strap the car seat and carry on to the stroller handles. But be very careful, as that car seat and stuff weights a lot more then the baby, and the since the stroller is so light weight – it can easily topple over. However, all works well for walking through airport and great distances – as well as if they fall asleep at an event. (Like graduation?) What I also have done – as they got older and their ears will start to bother them on the flight is to add a small amount of Tylenol to their juice bottle. Right around 9-11 months is when that air pressure will bother their ears for some weird reason. Good luck!!

    • Lauren says:

      Thanks Deena, I was thinking about bringing the stroller frame for the carseat. It actually has a bigger basket than our regular stroller so would be good for the airport and easy to collapse down and gate check. Good to know about the air pressure…it hasn’t bothered her so far but I’ve also heard it happens more when they’re a little older.

  2. mai-ling says:

    Lilly On-Ling big thing is doing the raspberries,
    I’ll post her nine month entry tomorrow and her video
    on facebook.

  3. LauraC says:

    Oh she is a.dor.able! Those expressions are so cute. And yes, an extra (free) seat for the baby . . . priceless. 😉

  4. aunt ginger says:

    She’s such a baby doll…..and I’m not being partial!

  5. wendy says:

    i HIGHLY recommend a Go Go Kidz for your carseat. it turns it into a stroller and can be used with just about any size/type of carseat. and continue flying with carseat! best way to keep your little one contained (airplane buckles are toys!) and they’re used to just chillin’ (and hopefully crashing out) when sitting in their carseat. i think we flew with a 5-point harness seat for my eldest til she was 5, and plan on doing at least one more year for my now 3.75 yr old (we fly once or twice a year).

    also… avery is beautiful. don’t worry about the hair, it’ll come! 🙂

  6. mrslimestone says:

    Thanks for sharing (I do not know how you carried all that stuff yourself!). We are going to be taking Agatha on an international flight when she is just about the same age so I hope it works out as well. (I thought my days of reading on planes were over!)

    • Lauren says:

      I think 9 months is actually not too bad because they are easily entertained by everything happening around them. One of my favorite “games” with Avery was just to lift her up so she could see everyone behind us and there would always be a few people that would make faces back at her. An international flight might be a bit more challenging…this has actually been a big topic in my mom’s group lately. Some recommend getting a bulkhead seat with more room in front to “play”. If you can swing a seat for her, that would be ideal but having two people will definitely help. Also, I’m sure the plane will be nicer on an int’l flight, meaning there might actually be a changing table. 😉 I think some of the best advice I received was just not to stress too much and understand that people around you will be more accommodating and understanding than you think.

    • Emily says:

      To add to Lauren’s advice about bulkhead seating, on our last Lufthansa flight, there was a family in the bulkhead seats and they had a bassinet attached to the bulkhead. I saw the flight attendants attaching it before the flight. I don’t know what you have to do to get those, and I didn’t see them on our trip to Germany this year (we flew Delta this time), but I thought they were really cool. Gives you a spot to put your kid when you’re eating or they crash. They aren’t very big. I think the babe we saw was only 6 months or so.

  7. Peetu says:

    I keep coming back to this post since we’ll be flying with our 5 month old. I’ve a question though. Is that a chicco carseat? It looks upright, more like a convertible carseat.

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