30 January 2012, by Mandy Loh
Ok, the title is a tad silly, but I wanted to rave about Cristan’s very successful first flight! About 2 weeks ago, we left for Brunei to celebrate Chinese New Year with Tim’s family (who reside in Brunei but are Malaysian by nationality). I’ll share more about the CNY festivities in the next post, but this one is all about his first aeroplane ride.
To be honest, I was a little worried that Cristan would turn into one of those tiny terrors on the plane, wailing the house down throughout the entire flight and bringing considerable discomfort to everybody else. I’m sure no parent would like to be caught in such a stressful situation, so I made sure I was prepared. Here’s what I learnt, and maybe it’ll be helpful for other new mommies planning to bring their babies on an overseas trip too!
1. Do the suckle-motion
As anyone who has been on a plane journey would know, it is very important to relieve the pressure build-up in your ears during take-off and landing. In fact, this is probably the primary reason why many babies and young children cry during a flight. And guess what? The solution is really easy-peasy! All you have to do is to get your baby to suck on either a pacifier or a bottle, or nurse him during take-off and landing. And yes, it worked like a charm for us! The suckling motion relieved the pressure from Cristan’s inner ears, and he hardly fussed at all!
One additional tip: during landing, start nursing your baby (or popping in the pacifier/ bottle) as soon as the plane starts its descent. You would be able to feel the pressure building in your own ears, and trust me, so would your baby. So even though it’ll be a rather long period of time, (about 20 minutes) keep nursing or getting the baby to suck on something. The folks on the plane will thank you.
2. Tote your baby in a carrier
We’re blessed that Cristan’s a 20th percentile baby (yes, he’s a small one), but even if you’ve got a mini-sumo, I would still advocate using a baby carrier! Because with a little one in tow, there’s NO WAY you’ll be travelling light. Check out the number of bags we had to haul over for a week-long stay!
With baby safely in a carrier, and with both hands free, we were able to manage quite effortlessly through check-in and boarding. We even had time to do some duty-free shopping!
Cristan also enjoyed checking out the exciting sights of the airport from a higher vantage point of the carrier, rather than looking at the back of people’s knees while seated in his stroller. Lastly, we were able to do a fast trot to the boarding gate as we were (embarrassingly) quite late for boarding!
3. The Art of Distraction
A bored baby is not a happy baby. And an unhappy baby will not be a quiet baby. So be sure to load up your diaper bag with tons of their favourite toys!
If baby gets bored with their own regular toys, you can get innovative and offer some baby-safe items for them to explore. Cristan ADORED the in-flight dining plastic plate. He couldn’t get enough of it!
4. A final KISS: (Keep it Short, St*pid)
Lastly, it’s NOT a good idea to try bringing baby on a long-haul flight for the very first time. I mean, this should be common sense but I thought I’d just throw it in for good measure. Our flight to Brunei was thankfully just over an hour, so that was quite a nice length of time, and a very pleasant experience for everyone.
I’m so proud that our little bunny was so awesome during his first flight! This only means one thing (much to Tim’s dismay), we’re ready for MORE family holidays! Haha! 🙂