Traveling is a passion of mine, and I am fortunate to work in a job that takes me too many different places. When I found out I was pregnant, I was a little concerned that my days of traveling were over. My husband and I talked and decided that we didn’t want to stay home just because we have a baby. We made a commitment to take him along with us on all our adventures. After all, it can only be good for him to experience so much culture.
We typically fly on airlines that are known for being family friendly. We like to sit in the back to be as far from the business and first class passengers as possible and close to helpful flight attendants. We also do our best to keep Aiden happy and entertained, which has worked well so far. For the most part, we have met a lot of wonderful people while traveling; there have also been some not so wonderful people. If you are worried at all about traveling let me help you out by sharing the types of people you might encounter while flying with your baby.
Family boarders: First of all, the family boarding section is cut-throat especially when it comes to large families with older children! We first learned this when we flew cross-country from Washington, DC to San Diego, CA when Aiden was three months old. We were clearly a new family with a tiny baby. When they announced, it was time for boarding we made our way over to the family boarding section only to get run down and cut off by large families with obviously older children! I get it, you’ve done this before, but can’t you let the little guy on first? Do you really want to separate us? There will be plenty of seats. This leads me to the…
Mom with more than one kid: This is the mom that looks at you and tells you how lucky you are only to be traveling with one baby who isn’t mobile yet. This is usually happening as you are struggling to get a stroller and car seat down the jetway. OK, I get it, you have two (or more) kids, and yes, it probably is harder to have an older baby that wants to move around, but is it REALLY that much easier? As a first-time mom, having one baby is hard, and I have nothing to compare it to, so give me a break! Yes, I realize that as soon as number two comes I am totally going to be THIS mom!
The eye-roller: So there are definitely annoying babies. The ones that kick your seat or scream and the parents do NOTHING about it. That’s annoying. However, there are the people who roll their eyes or make rude comments as soon as a baby walks on the plane, even if it is happy or quiet. My favorite is when they dramatically get out of their seat and ask to move. I have learned to ignore these people. They either have never had a kid or are miserable people. You can’t do anything to change that, and really, most people are empathetic to mamas with a baby on the plane and will judge the eye-roller anyway.
Super helpful and understanding people: This surprised me (probably more than the aggressive family boarders). These are the people that you will encounter the most. It turns out that most people are more than happy to help out a family traveling with a baby. They are even more helpful if you are a mom traveling by yourself. I have had people help me load and unload my stuff on the x-ray machine through security; airline personnel holds my baby while I tried to quickly fold up ALL THE GEAR at gate check, entertain my fussy baby during the flight and just offer words of encouragement.
If you are worried about traveling with a baby, I get it. My biggest fear was that people would judge me or be inconvenienced by my baby. However, that should not stop you from traveling. Most people are helpful and nice and those that don't don't really matter. It’s your right to take your baby on a plane. If someone has a problem with it, maybe they should buy a first class ticket, or travel a less family friendly airline or just get over it. Don’t worry mama…you got this!
Hi, I’m Melissa! I am a mama to my baby boy Aiden, and a wife to my police husband, Dan. We live in Virginia, USA. I work full-time as a meeting planner for two non-profits, one of which is international, so I travel several times a year. When we brought Aiden home, we were smacked with a huge dose of reality, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. I now share my experiences and adventures of being a first-time mama on my blog babycastanonboard.com to hopefully help other first time moms.