Ever since the goofy movie “Snakes On A Plane” was released, travel writers far and wide have come up with their own variation of the title for a piece they’ve written. I am no exception. One of my most popular articles is called Toddler On A Plane, and I was inspired to write it after the 2nd flight we took with our daughter when she was no longer content to be held on a lap.
The inspiration for this particular post comes from Julie Cole from over at the Mabelhood – her hilarious post Have Breasts, Will Travel, caught my eye for obvious reasons and I laughed out loud at the end.
Her story did get me thinking about a number of things. We flew with our daughter as a lap infant for 3 return flights (and technically she was a toddler for the last 2). I was no longer nursing by the time we traveled with her, so it was easy enough during takeoff and landing to either pop a bottle in her mouth or use her pacifier.
I did nurse the Bub on his first flights when we went to Quebec City, but not during takeoff and landing. We were fortunate to have a spare seat on the way out and were able to bring on his car seat. As we were leaving it was time for him to eat, so I nursed as everyone was boarding (thankfully Porter still has family pre-boarding), and he completely passed out and slept in his car seat for the remainder of the flight.
When we were returning home, the flight was full and I could see the look of anxiety on the face of the gentleman sitting next to my husband, who was holding the bub as my daughter and I got settled. His face wasn’t the only anxious one – with us both having aisle seats, and the ‘side’ that the bub needed to feed from would mean that my boob would practically be in his lap. I thanked Heaven for small mercies – one being that he wasn’t sat next to me so it would actually be in his lap – and two, that Bub actually fell asleep in his father’s arms before takeoff, and remained blissfully so until our seatmate found accommodation more to his liking. I was able to nurse in (relative) privacy until yet again, he passed out for landing.
The reason babies need to be sucking during takeoff and landing is because the Eustachian tubes in their ears are narrower and have more difficulty adjusting to the pressure. I didn’t see the point in waking him to nurse, as he seemed quite comfortable and figured he’d let me know if he was uncomfortable or in pain. The difficulty I have, however, is coming to terms with the fact that if baby is nursing or having a bottle, they’re not in the position they should be during takeoff and landing.
I’ve been told on every flight w/a lap infant to be holding the baby in ‘burping’ position, as that is the safest way to position them. Unless they’re sucking on a pacifier, how are you supposed to feed them while they’re being held that way? Well, you can’t. I’m not really sure what I’m trying to get at here, I guess I just wanted to put it out there that before your first flight with baby you will hear until the cows come home that baby needs to be sucking during takeoff and landing, and as soon as you board, the flight attendant will tell you how to hold him or her during that time, and eating’s not possible when you’re being held that way.
The flight attendants were very pleasant, and essentially added that as mother, I know best. Because he slept, I felt fortunate that I didn’t have to decide to break the rules. Would I have, had he been awake and in pain? All signs point to yes.
Edited to add - just flew to and from Florida and nursed in both airports and on our flight home. Am happy to report that no one blinked an eye or raised an eyebrow – and we weren’t thrown off the plane!