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Parenthood, Travel

Surviving a flight with a baby in tow

30 Dec , 2014  

#11mo #myfirstplaneride #taiwan #pleaseletmesurvive #5hoursintheairandnoweheretogo #traveltips

We’ve all heard of the classic aeroplane nightmare – (1) screaming, crying, inconsolable baby, (2) distressed, panicking, paiseh parents and (3) frustrated, about-to-perform-a-seppuku passengers. Fear not, mamajas is here to (hopefully) alleviate your concerns and banish the nightmare scenario from your perfect holiday with my Travel Tips! LOL.

I’ve been fortunate enough not to have been in the role of the frustrated passenger, heng ah! but certainly have heard of many nightmare stories shared by my mostly single friends. As such, some friends have dissuaded me from taking a flight but but BUT how to not travel for an entire year! So we went ahead with our annual holiday trip(s), and booked ourselves a flight to Taiwan, a 5hours flight (not too long for a ‘pilot’ (pardon the pun) flight).

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Let’s attempt to put bubs in a good mood before the flight so he is in the best state of mind! Hurhur. Every little advantage helps!

When deciding to go on a plane ride, it is important to understand your baby’s quirks, character, likes and dislikes and arm yourself with the necessary battle equipment to ensure intact sanity for all. Ray is an extremely active baby, who loves to jump, crawl, and climb. A plane ride is not gonna fare well for us in this regard due to the confined space, plus the fact that he won’t be allowed to crawl on the floor and hasn’t quite learnt how to walk.

Below is a short list of items that are lifesavers:

(1) Bubs’ favourite toys (that will preferably has some mileage in ‘replayability’ and ability to capture attention)
(2) Bubs’ comfy object (could be a blankie or a favourite stuffed toy)
(3) Bubs’ favourite food and food accessories (scissors/tupperware etc)
(4) Baby carrier
(5) Pacifier/Boobies
(6) Books for bubs (if he likes ‘reading’)
(7) New stuff that can attract bubs’ attention

For Ray, we brought the following:

(1) Fav Toys: He doesn’t really have a favourite toy, so we brought along two bath fishes that he likes to hold and manipulate (those plastic flatfish that floats on water) in his hands, and a star, which works well when bathing him

(2) Comfy Object: I’ve tried introducing comfy objects to him but he has taken to nothing. Boobies are his comfy object

(3) Fav Food: He likes avocado, which we packed in a lock n lock box. We also brought another lock and lock box to keep the Gerbers blueberry puffs that he loves and which he feeds himself. If we give him the whole box, he usually stuffs a few puffs in his mouth, so we ration it to drag out time LOL. When he’s eating and feeding himself that (it’s also a form of skill to learn how to feed themselves), he is usually happy, quiet and occupied! You can buy these puffs of iherb and use this link to have savings of $10 for first timers http://www.iherb.com?rcode=FRJ250 or key in the discount code FRJ250 in the checkout cart.

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Happy bubs = Sane Parents and Surrounding Passengers. That streak of sheen on his tiny hand is probably his saliva LOL

(4) Baby carriers – oh so important for the flight! When he refused to sleep even though it was his naptime, the rocking motions of the carrier lulled him to sleep when the boobies didn’t work! Of course he complained a little but in no time, he hit the sack!

(5) Boobies!

(6) Books: We brought 3 baby books for him and that gifted us a few minutes of peace. You may scoff at mere minutes, but trust me, mere minutes can seem like years of hell if you have an unhappy bubs who won’t be reasoned with

(7) New stuff: We had this mobile phone toy that was given during his one month celebration (thanks Qian and Cole!) and we thought it was perfect to bring it since he is always interested in our phones. However, the newness of the phone only lasted for about a minute before he discarded it. Sad. However, the plane itself has many new stuff that can entertain bubs.

For example, we would let him flip the pages of the magazines found on the flight. We also let him try out the remote control. Being an extremely active bubs, he would also take to entertaining himself by climbing all over us, and playing with the flight passengers behind us. Keep your fingers crossed that your fellow flightmates love kids!

You can also request for children’s games/toys and even diapers for kids on the flight! When booking children’s flight, try to book earlier as the bassinet seats are limited and taken up fast. We saw a taiwanese couple fighting with the ground staff at the check in counter for bassinet seats and it was UGLY and held up the queue erps.

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Flight Attendants deftly putting together the bassinet

We ‘ordered’ the baby weaning food but it was quite gross imo. Better to bring your own food especially if you are particular about what your baby eats.

Another thing that may make or break your trip is your baby’s nap time. I mean babies’ sleep change and differ slightly from day to day but you would have a good grasp of their sleep patterns. Use that knowledge to your advantage. I had Ray awake so that when we boarded the flight, he was getting sleepy so I latched him and he drifted off to sleep for a good 2hours which was peace. Haha. On the other spectrum, an overtired, cranky baby can raise hell quicker and better than any devil so gotta keep the balance there!

I guess another lifesaver that comes to mind would be the introduction of the iPAD with children cartoons saved in the device. Kids are naturally predisposed towards the flashing animations and actions on screen, especially when there’s music to boot. However, I would be mindful of how much screen time to give to a baby, especially one that is younger than 3 years old. This is because the fast movements and changing scenes on TV lead to attention deficit (and as it is, Ray is BORED OF THINGS EXTREMELY QUICKLY SOBS), poorer language development (contrary to popular belief, those baby einstein programmes aren’t doing bubs any favour! Babies learn how to speak from hearing it spoken, from watching your lips, not from TV because of the way it is spoken. Babies younger than 3 cannot make sense of the 2D world in TV as it does not equate to the 3D world we live in).

Okies. I have to stop here before I launch into a tirade against letting bubs watch TV but sometimes, can’t be helped lah. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Just try to moderate screen time and let it be a life saving ring and not become a crutch for everyday convenience ;). I personally advocate no/less screentime before the age of 3, and then, it’s limited screentime and more outdoors time.

Bon Voyage!

XoX

Jasmine

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