We have a travel-safe baby

I’ve had the luxury of travelling many places of the last few years. Of those times, I’ve been on more than a few planes that were exhibit to babies that did not travel well. And by not travelling well, I mean they cried.

A lot. Loudly. Ear-piercingly.

My biggest fear is that we would have one of those children. Loud. Ear-piercingly. So instead of casting disapproving glances at others, we would be the recipients of such withering glances as to kill off entire forests.

I held out hope that if there was one gene I could pass onto my offspring, it would be the ability to travel without much concern.

So this weekend, we flew out to Maple Ridge to visit with family. (Alex’s family, that is. Oakville will have to come later.) Alex and the wee one are here for about a week and a half. I’m here only until tomorrow. But the first trip out was a joint affair. It had to be — just in case.

Packing was a little rushed at the end, mostly because everything had to be tied around a final feeding at home. (Everything is ultimately tied to either feeding or sleeping, and schedules be damned.) Although late leaving the house, we managed to get to the airport pretty zippily, and I dropped off Alex and our assorted stuff at the terminal, before whipping over to the Park ‘n Fly to drop off the car. (Yes, we should take a taxi, but for what they charge, it’s just easier to leave the car.)

I was back in less than 10 minutes, which caught Alex off-guard, as she didn’t expect me that quickly. Turns out I wasn’t needed for check-in. But I did prove somewhat useful in bagging up the Bugaboo to go into oversize baggage. Then we joined the longest security line I’ve ever seen for Gate D.

Twenty-eight minutes to spare, we opted for Subway to tide us over until we got to the Lower Mainland. The wee one was mostly asleep in the Bjorn, much to our collective relief. So far, no issues. (I even managed to take the kid through the metal detector in the Bjorn, and it didn’t set off the alarm!)

A last change, and we boarded our flight. WestJet seemed to put everyone with babies in the same area. For better or for worse, it seemed. No squawk, no fuss. So far. As we began taxiing, Alex started to breastfeed. Although the recommended procedure is to hold your child until after takeoff, there was enough squirming to suggest hunger. The squirt was out like a slow base runner before we even got to takeoff, and remained asleep for a good 30 minutes.

In fact, the only sound she made was one whine as we started descent — not even anything major. She was genuinely hungry (having had very little on the way up). We hit ground, slowed, hit the terminal, and waited for everyone to leave. Not a sound, except a bit of cooing.

Allen was waiting for us at the security doors, and would not let us pass until he’d kissed his grandchild. Then it was picking up the bags and off for Maple Ridge.

While this is but a single case, and a very ideal one at that (the Calgary-Abbotsford run is barely over an hour), I’m holding out a lot of hope that our child will be a good traveler. Given that some of our family is a four hour flight away, and we want to travel to other places (we’re already in early stages for a Europspecial handlinge trip in April), a good travelling baby will help us a lot.

Now we just need her to learn a few languages… starting with English.

7 Replies to “We have a travel-safe baby”

  1. Being in a similar situation as you guys having family on opposites of the country we did A LOT of traveling. The breastfeeding trick works wonders, and not once did we ever have anyone tell us not to do it. Both our kids could of been next to the speaker at a rock concert and wouldn’t flinch if they were feeding.

    As they got older, one of the best investments we ever made was one of those portable dvd players and a bunch of Baby Einstein DVDs. This was before the airlines had TV in the back of the seats (some planes still don’t). Even with the TVs not all the shows available entertained our kids like their own DVDs. To me the Baby Einstein stuff is like a bad acid trip but it kept our oldest entertained for hours. Our youngest is more interested in books so we usually have a bag full of them.

    The last thing, even though kids fly free until they are two, a few times we broke down and bought the third seat in the row, nothing worse than having a squirming kid and being crammed into two seats. Its not fun for you and it is definitely not fun for the other person. It starts out cute, but after the 4th hour of being kicked you can see the rage in their eyes.

    Wait till she starts walking, then plane rides are real fun, I counted once, 47 times up and down the aisle of the plane on a 4 hour flight to Toronto. We knew everyone on that plane by the end of the flight.

    I have noticed WestJet seating all the kids in the same spot, you will notice that more and more. Restaurants do this too, take a look around next time you go out to eat, I bet you will see a lot of other high chairs and strollers in the area.

    Not sure if you guys are planning to have more but that is when traveling “really” gets fun. But its all worth it, and the sadist side of me thinks it is kind of funny when the kids act up and people around us get annoyed. My response to one lady who asked “is there anything you can do to quiet him down?” in a really sarcastic tone was, “Sure, help me out with the overhead, I’ll stuff him in there for a few hours, if it doesn’t quiet him down at least it will muffle the sound for a bit.” she looked at me in a very shocked manner and I followed up with “unless of course you would fit up there”. Lets just say she didn’t look over very much after that.

    Anyway, I’m glad your first trip was a good one, I know how much you guys like to travel. I can’t wait for your first blog posting on changing a diaper in one of those closets they call a restroom on a plane.

  2. Great for you three…. sounds like a piece of cake! One of Kara’s first flights was Syracuse to Pittsburgh and on to West Palm. In true Scottish fashion, since she had just turned 2, we only purchased two adult seats, figuring she could sit on a lap. Syracuse to Pittsburgh was a snap…. 40 minute flight….. stayed on the same plane. Breakfast was served after we were airborne out of Pittsburgh. Bob ate and I fed Kara off his full breakfast tray….chunks of pineapple, bits of toast et cetera….. so far so good. Then I ate while Bob held Kara. After I was done, she sat in my lap and was headed off to a snooze when all of a sudden, she sat bolt upright and threw up onto my lap…… including chunky bits of pineapple et alia. The lady golfer seated to my right promptly turned as “green in her face” as the golfing attire she was wearing!
    A stewardess was called and the golfer was moved to another row, freeing up the third seat. I wandered down the aisle with the edge of my dress turned upward to contain my lap contents and cleaned myself. When I returned to my seat, Kara was belted into the middle seat and sleeping. After that flight, Bob and I figured we could run an ad in the local paper offering “Rent a Puker” service for adults not willing to pay for that third seat. There’s a lot of humor needed in parenting and boy oh boy, do you ever learn a lot!!
    Please let me know when you are headed to Oakville. I would love to see all three of you.

  3. Yeah, we didn’t have to change diapers in the plane this time. It’s only an hour, so unless she unloads rather heavily, we can wait until the other end.

    That said, sooner or later we have to go east. If it ain’t to Ontario, it’ll be to Europe. That closet change is a-comin’…

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