Boobs on a Plane

flying with a toddler, toddler on a plane, flying with toddlers
What’s scarier than snakes?

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. 

Once upon a time I wrote Toddler on a Plane. I was inspired to write it after the second flight we took with our daughter when she was no longer content to be held on a lap.

Breastfeeding on a Plane? Yikes

We flew with our daughter as a lap infant for three return flights. Technically she was a toddler for the last two. 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 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 use 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). He completely passed out and slept in his car seat for the remainder of the flight.

Breastfeeding on a Plane = Anxiety

When we were returning home, the flight was full. I could see the look of anxiety on the face of the gentleman sitting next to my husband, who was holding Bub as my daughter and I got settled. His face wasn’t the only anxious one. Both of us were in aisle seats. And the ‘side’ that Bub needed to feed from meant my boob would practically be in his lap.

I thanked Heaven for small mercies… The first being that he wasn’t sitting next to me so it would actually be in his lap. The second being that Bub actually fell asleep in his father’s arms before takeoff. He remained blissfully so until our seatmate found seating more to his liking. I was able to nurse in (relative) privacy until, yet again, he passed out for landing.

The “Burping” Position for Lap Infants

The reason babies should be sucking during takeoff and landing is because the Eustachian tubes in their ears are narrower. They have more difficulty adjusting to the pressure. I didn’t see the point in waking him to nurse. He seemed quite comfortable and I figured he’d let me know if he wasn’t or was in pain. However, I have difficulty 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.

On every flight with a lap infant you are told to hold 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.

Sucking or Eating vs. Screaming?

I’m not really sure what I’m trying to get at here. I guess I wanted to put it out there that before your first flight with a baby you will hear until the cows come home that they need to be sucking during takeoff and landing. And then, as soon as you board, the flight attendant will tell you how to hold them during that time. And eating is not possible when they’re being held that way.

The flight attendants were very pleasant. Essentially they said 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.

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