• Jean

    Make sure that Leta’s outfit doesn’t have metal snaps anywhere, not even the little crotch-snaps on a onesie. She has to go through security checks the same as you do and if she’s like my kid she will not appreciate getting the big scary wand waved at her if the walk-through scanner beeps.

    I’m not a fan of drugging kids who are physically healthy for the sake of parents’ personal comfort or convenience. If you don’t want to experience discomfort or be inconvenienced, don’t travel.

    Go ahead and google statistics on babies/kids getting injured during turbulence. Why anyone with enough money to buy 2 seats would not buy a 3rd and bring their own car seat is beyond me.

    Can you nurse her in the bjorn? I’ve only ever seen one person do that and it didn’t look comfortable. A decent open-ended sling can be a baby blanket, baby carrier, changing pad, lap seat-belt, peek-a-boo toy, and emergency wipe-rag. kangarookorner.com is where I got my favorite one.

    Yes you can keep your boob in her mouth the whole time – you need to drink insane amounts of water and maybe take a little tylenol for yourself.

    Cheap yet effective ear plugs by the case – mastermans.com.

    A fancy hotel gave us a folding crib that had been recalled because kids were getting pinched by the hinges. Just get a room with a king sized bed and let her sleep between you.

    Don’t forget Leta is a little person and entitled to her own reactions to everything around her, whether you like those reactions or not.

  • Maureen

    I have travelled with 2 kids- one who was an awesome traveller starting at 8 months and one who was and continues to despise being anywhere but in his own home.

    If you don’t need to pre-board, don’t. Send Jon in to pack away the carry ons, etc. and then come on last. If you board early, you will sit there and fret about people taking their sweet time getting settled, etc. and in the meantime, Leta could get hungry and you’ll miss the golden opportunity of nursing her with the whirring engines in the background that might lull her to sleep.

    Take the aisle seat so you can walk with her or a flight attendant can take her or she can look at your seat mates across the aisle. If she’s a flirty, smiley girl, some other passengers are gonna have a hoot with her and that might keep her entertained.

    I don’t think you need to bother with the dollar store toys ’cause she’s not big enough to appreciate the “newness” of them. I didn’t start doing gifts, etc. on the plane until my girl was 18 months old and could unwrap them. Bring her favourites- toys, books, etc. as the familiarity will do wonders for her sense of security.

    Check a pack and play. Bring a blanket or sheet from home to line the bottom of it so that the plastic isn’t rubbing her face. I hated hearing the kids roll around or turn over on plastic covers… it’s not soothing and I think it woke them up, too.

    Definitely take a change of clothing for you, Jon, and Leta. Spit up flies far and you don’t know what kind of traveller she is yet.

    Definitely breast feed during take off and landing… unless she’s sleeping then obviously, relax and enjoy the peace.

    If you can take a car seat on board with you, do. If you are lucky enough to get a 3rd seat, Leta might enjoy having her own space.

    A flight attendant once told me that I wasn’t the first mom to travel with kids who were having “difficulties” and I certainly wouldn’t be the last. Again, that was with my son- my first born daughter was a dream (and continues to be) on any flight.

    Have fun!!


  • http://nownormaknits2.typepad.com/now_norma_knits_2/ Norma

    Holy cripe, there is no way you’re going to read all these comments, but I’d consider bringing back Binky. Just kidding. It’s hard to travel with baby. No two ways about it. Steel yourself for more screaming. My daughter got diarrhea on the plane. Lovely. Can you tell how much I loved it? She’s 19 years old now, and I still remember it with a cringe. I wish you all the best. I am a serious fan of your writing. You’ll get through it, but it ….well, it pretty much sucks. I’ll be hoping good thoughts for ya.

  • dusty

    After going through 4 of those little monsters now, I have to say that travel with a 5 month old is a walk in the park VS. 20 – 36 Month olds. Hell, enjoy it why you can.

  • http://soul-glimpse.diaryland.com alyssa

    i apologize for taking up your bandwidth and posting again, but i must say that (my opinion is…) the people chastising the use of baby tylenol, motrin, benadryl or whatEVER are stupid.

    people’s ears pop on planes. it is not pleasant. that alone verifies giving her something, because she will be uncomfortable: why not ease that discomfort (and your own) with half a teaspoon of some medicine that is 99% sugar and 1% sedative anyway.

    i’m not saying a parent (or other caregiver) should use those medications generously or regularly, but i think calling it “child abuse” is a little extreme and displays quite a sheltered mindset. i have volunteered with foster kids for years and as a (former… obviously) victim myself–whine whine, i know–i know child abuse. it’s just fucking ridiculous to say that a little benadryl or tylenol qualifies. i mean, jesus, you’re not feeding her vicodin daily to shut her up.

    i mean, really. these are the people who would rather not sleep for six hours and just be miserable the next day, than take a tylenol pm to aid them in sleeping.

    a teaspoon of baby tylenol? OH GOD, THE HORROR!

    and though i don’t want a baby, i would gladly make stupid faces at yours for hours. everyone acts like everyone hates to see children on a plane, but i enjoy sitting near babies, especially at that age, because they’re so wide-eyed and adorable. while there are a few bad apples, please don’t assume someone hates you and your baby just because they, too, are not laden down with children and/or playthings.

    and i’m still working on creating that dooce religion :)

  • http://www.slolane.org Angela

    Most of the good advice has already been said, so I will add only this:

    1) Careful on the drugs–my girls react to it with the “opposite” wiring effect, as previously mentioned

    2) I flew across the country with 8-month old twins and survived, if that is any consolation. :)

    3) Try not to panic.

  • http://www.blurbomat.com the husband

    To all those who say that we shouldn’t travel with our baby:


    Shut your holes. You were once a baby. I don’t want to hear shit out of your cracks now.

    Shut your ass crack whiny bitch asses up.


    dj blurb

  • http://shyeyes.org shy

    sorry if i’m repeating what some one else have already said. i admit that as a new mom, i’m just too tired to read through all 200-something posts. and it’s election day here and Canada and going to the voting booth while being a mom took the wind out of me!

    so anyway, we took our little one at 3.5 months of age over to my husband’s home tome by plane.

    she doesn’t sleep well unless she’s in her crib but we were able to get her calm down on the way up by feeding her right before the plane took off.

    also was told that coming down hurts their ears more then going up.

    so i was told to try and feed our baby on the way down.

    yeah… like that’s easy to do when the baby happens to not be hungry at that time.

    sure enough, the pilot descended too rapidly and our baby girl screamed like a wild banshee.

    however, the screaming actually helps relieve their pain.

    it may not help the pain of those around you, but who cares about them… they only have to suffer for about 20 minutes.

    as a parent, it’s better for them to scream out the pain then, then to leave the airport screaming for a very long time.

    good luck!

  • Cath

    Boob and diapers to get you to San Fran. The MOST important thing to bring is earplugs for you and Jon. Nurse during takeoff and landing, and then put the ear plugs in. Youll likely never SEE these people again, so let’er rip! At least she’ll nap later! I think you’re a great mom who shares a lot of things that other moms feel but never dare express. (But I liked the ‘Babies smell fear” comment. That made me giggle!) Enjoy your trip, but be sure to post about it! You serve a public service by amusing the masses!

  • http://shyeyes.org shy

    oh.. and i concur with dooce’s husband… to tell them not to take their baby on their travels with them isn’t called ‘helping!’

    dooce and jon. it’s not that bad. honest. we survived with a younger baby on a plane (who was colic) so i am sure you guys will pull through fine.

    but just in case, bring some of her favourite toys.

  • gaea

    sorry. but the “babies smell fear” thing gave me an idea..

    take along the ‘benevolent dictator’ onesie…but also have one made that says


    ..and yeah. just enjoy it. screw the surplus population

  • MelissaS

    Oh dear, did I forget to mention….baby tylenol is POISON!

    I’m sorry. If you don’t feel like POISONING your baby then you should just stay at home.

    I have no problem POISONING my otherwise healthy babies just for my own personal comfort. This makes my life as a mother so much easier really.

    Ease up people.

  • cpr

    I think it would be nice, if you feel comfortable to do so, to make your baby very approachable to the nearbye passengers, so they are completely endeared to her. So if she does happen to throw a teensy tantrum later on, they wouldn’t dare think awful thoughts like ‘shut that kid up’. You know, maybe let them pat her little head, pinch her chubby little cheeks, coo at her, etc.. Work it! Also, I didn’t think you were breastfeeding anymore, right? So what’s with all this breastfeeding on takeoff/landing business. Will the baby get the same sucking affect with a bottle (to prevent ear clog)? Say, what about a MP3 player/walkman with little head phones that she can listen to soothing music to sleep or fun kid music if you want to entertain her, or even some Morrissey ? How about some preloaded entertainment on the laptop (cartoons in flash, etc..) or even download that Teletubbies show she likes and play that over-and-over-and-over-and…Have a great time in my town! I love your blog. It’s hysterically funny. cpr

  • lorrie

    Wow! You sure get a lot of comments!

    My husband and I brought our 6 month old home from China in 1999. She’s a “Leta”–sort of temperamental and fussy. Believe it or not she took to airline travel like a pig to mud. The stimulation actually seems to CALM some temperamental babies.

    Do bring TONS of diapers and a change for you and Jon, too.

    Buy a cheap stroller at Walmart and roll that sucker right up to the plane gate. It will be waiting for you when you get off the plane. Our $10 stroller from Walmart traveled to China twice and lasted 3 more years until somebody stole it.

    Believe it or not Madeleine has been to San Fran and Hawaii from South Carolina (age 18 months), and we just got back from a trip to New York City with a 5 and a 3 year old that went very successfully. You can have adventures even with very small children. We’re planning to take them to London when they’re 7 and 5.

  • http://superfluous-verbiage.com Dea

    heh – I don’t have any tips as I’m just 19 and sadly lacking baby experience (or not so sadly), but my mom is fond of telling me of the time she was flying with me and she got upgraded to first class. the uppity businessmen in the first class section with her were very offended to be included with a woman and her baby daughter ;-)

  • http://arwen.org donna

    When my sister was 6 months old, we flew from Vancouver to New York, stayed there for a week, then bought a bus and drove home. (My parents are insane, don’t ask.)

    Their ideas for travelling with a baby were quite simple: Bring me, the then-22 year old older sister so that when she was driving them nuts, they could pass her off on me and vice versa.

    We also brought tons of crap. Between the three adults, we had our maximum allowance for luggage. Of course, this also included a suitcase of tools for the previously mentioned bus, but then, my parents are insane.

    And they do have seatbelts for babies. She sits right on your lap, and is strapped to you, so even if the plane crashes horribly and somehow you survive? Don’t worry, she’ll still be stuck to your chest whether you hang on or not.

    That said, when was the last time you heard about a plane crashing with survivors? I wouldn’t worry about it. :)

    The only really nasty experience we had was while driving back, we stopped in Niagra Falls for the night on my sisters fathers birthday. I said “Go, have dinner, celebrate!” and sent them off on their merry way. My sister proceeded to scream bloody murder for the next 45 minutes solid. Not being a parent and not WANTING to be a parent, I started getting a little neurotic. I was waiting for the hotel security to come banging on the door at any moment to ask me why I was beating the baby, and couldn’t I please stop because hey, she’s a loud little fucker?

    They didn’t. My parents eventually came home, I went for a walk because after that much screaming, I needed the nice quiet serenity of a tourist town on a friday night. *snort*

  • http://www.peteandjane.com/jessica/ pete

    a little over a month ago, my wife and i decided to take our daughter(18 month old) to thailand with us. that’s an 18 hour flight!21 hours if you include the stopover. when the going go rough, we busted out the benedryl, which knocked her out for a good portion of the flight.

    good luck with leta.

  • http://isabelwearsthepants.blogspot.com Terri

    I actually prefer Motrin over Tylenol. My daughter is almost 1 year and she calms down much quicker with that. I’ve been giving it to her since she was about 3-4 months old and it’s worked great. Good luck!

  • Jill

    Bring your baby monitor. When Leta goes to sleep you and your hubby can have some free time alone outside of the hotel room without worrying about waking travel weary Leta up. Of course, test to see how far you can go (hotel bar/pool/jacuzzi) and figure out the fastest route back to her should she wake up. Have fun!

  • http://www.lorifusaro.com Photographer Lori

    No advice from me….I’m childfree. Good luck. I’m sure it will be a memory to remember. :) Good or bad, it will be something to write about. Have a great time…SF is great! I’m in LA and the husband and I drive up the coast often….You two are really great parents! Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise….LORI

  • Sue

    OOH, TYLENOL!!! but don’t forget the BOOZE!!

    I liked the comment on re-insertion (of the baby!)…however, sounds a little more painful than giving birth…I would re-think that as an option..oh, uh-hmm, BOOZE!

  • http://www.askthehand.com The Hand

    Okay, this one is easy. Don’t give the crying a second thought. Instead, assign Leta a “backstory” that you can provide to any co-passenger who dares to shoot you a dirty look. For example, “Sorry about all the noise. We just told her she’s adopted.” It’ll shut up your fellow travelers and give you something to laugh about the rest of the trip.

  • http://1mp.blogspot.com Jme

    Leta gets to go on her first plane trip! What fun – considering I didn’t get to even smell in interior of a plane cabin till I was a sad 17 year old. Anyway, from experience with travelling with sis when she was a baby, just bring enough diapers for the the flight and day, there’s always more in SF. And definitely do the whole ‘feed on take off and landing’ thing – a lot of passengers will be thankful for that. And if your neighbour decides to give you and Leta annoyed stares when the baby is working her lungs, just make Leta show her the finger. I’m sure you’ve taught her that by now. Right? :D

  • katie

    Tip on how to endear yourselves to other passengers (who see you with a baby and want to killkillkill): Buy a bottle or two of those foam earplugs at the drugstore and offer them to everyone seated around you. Seriously, if you do it with a bit of humor (our standard line is, “We’ve already lost our hearing from the screaming, but you don’t have to!”) your fellow planemates will love you and think you are exemplary human beings and parents.

    Bringing along several changes of clothes is a great tip. But a better one is to fold up a few trash bags so you can stash any messy garments. And bring a few Ziplock (or similar) bags to deposit a messy diaper and wipes — the flight attendants will love you, too!

    You’ll all be fine! Have a terrific flight and a great vacation.

  • http://www.roguesun.com Raymond

    I think that all children should fit in the overhead compartment between the gymbag and the folded London Fog overcoat. This last can be used as a pillow and is, as I understand, quite comfy. The child should not be placed under the seat below you because feet have been there and you wouldn’t want them whiffing toejam and coming down with some sort of infection.

    For children held in the lap, they have those nice baby-sized bottles of liquor to soothe exasperated nerves.

    In all seriousness, let Leta fly the plane, under strict supervision of the pilot, of course. She needs to learn a trade so she can take care of Momma and Daddy when they get old.

  • http://www.thegendlers.com Julie

    My daughter is almost the same age as Leta and has been on several plane flights. She actually does much better on them than she does in her car seat (which she hates). She tends to be fussy and for the first flight I was really nervous so I took a box of earplugs (enough for about 10 people) so I could give them to nearby passengers. I breastfed her on the runway and she was asleep before we even took off, slept throughout the entire flight and woke up when we were pulling up to the gate, so we didn’t even need them! So maybe it will go better than you think! Also, we rented our car seat from Hertz instead of lugging ours around and it worked out great (as I said before she hates the car seat, but loves the Bjorn).

  • http://sknitfit.typepad.com/aint_no_answer/ Hilarie

    Good luck to the three of you on the trip! I think it’s brave and admirable that you’re going. Have a great time!

  • George

    DONT USE THE BENEDRYL! Don’t knock her out. It is a rather short flight and you want her awake and swallowing during approach and landing to equalize the air pressure. Otherwise you are going to be greated by the worst screaming you have ever heard when she wakes up!

    One interesting thing you might do is get a middle seat between two strangers, particularly if you get airsick. Nothing is more inspirational than sitting hip to hip with a woman with a screaming infant who is spewing all over the fully upright and locked tray table. The effect is even better if you need to sit on the tarmac for a while without air conditioning upon landing. Ah … the memories of travel.

  • Spring

    -Breastfeed on take off and landing, it’ll save your ears, her ears, and the ears of everyone around you.
    -If you get a travel crib, take a sheet from home for her to sleep on. It’ll smell like home and will help when it comes to sleeping, trust me.
    -Bring.The.Bjorn. It’s a lifesaver for a cranky child and she may actually sleep in it.
    -If you do decide to drug her, make sure you clear it with your pediatrician and have her weighed, that way they can give you the correct dose.

  • http://papernapkin.typepad.com Sheryl

    Hi, It’s me #96 again. I love advice and suggestions as much as the next clueless mom, but sweet merciful crap, I would be feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with all the “help.” It really won’t be that bad, have a great time!

    BTW, I think the reason you have so many comments is we’re all suffering from comment deprivation. I’m gonna close comments on my blog just to see if I’m flooded the next time I deign to open them.

  • http://saladwhore.diaryland.com Saladwhore

    Do you honestly read all this?

    Well, yes to the Benadryl and of course try it before you go to see how she reacts. And no, don’t practices taking trips in the car with her in your lap because you will get a ticket for not having her in the carseat (that was quite a moronic suggestion.)

    Another thing you could take is plenty of earplugs for those sitting nearby. :)

    I do agree though, if you stay calm that will help Leta stay calm as well.

    Oh, and she has the most amazing, intense eyes I have ever seen on an infant! You photograph her beautifully!

  • Julia

    I was on a plane once and a woman from 10 rows behind me put her two week old baby in my lap and said that she had to go to the bathroom. She jetted and I sat holding her baby for 10 minutes watching for the bathroom door to reopen. Probably not recommended, but apparently considered a viable option for one mom out there! A whole plane full of possible babysitters for Leta.

  • Rollo

    Dooce, you had a baby?

  • Katie

    My husband and I are foster parents..yea major shock to my system…anyway, we had our first child about a month ago and he was 3. About the only way to get him to fall asleep was to take him for a ride..in about 20 minutes he was out COLD. But, that was in a car..the whole air-plane thing…yea, I think you might be screwed!
    Hopefully it all goes well…oh, but I do have some words of advice for you…cough syrup, my friend..cough syrup.

  • Beth

    When my son was a baby I changed him in the airplane restroom — not easy, but do-able if the baby stays somewhat still. Heh. Some airplane restrooms have a pull-down changing table, but I think this is mainly the larger planes. I learned to change my son on my seat — just had his dad flip up his armrest so we had two seats available. Bring a towel or disposable changing pad. Also, bring an extra shirt for yourself, in case Leta barfs on you. Yes, it can happen. (Bleah.) The other advice above is great, especially about feeding on take-off and landing whenever possible. Good luck!

  • http://www.dominocat.co.uk/panic domino

    I am commenting without reading the other ones, so apologies if anyone has had the same bright ideas.

    Dose Leta with Benedryl, as people have advised. Wrap her in paper towels. Put her in the main luggage, with a teated (is that even a word?) bottle of burbon in case she wakes up. When you get to San Fran, expect your luggage to be a bit messy.

    Oh, and WHAT ABOUT CHUCK???

  • http://parrotsmeow.com/plog myla

    Leta is going to do great — I’d just see if you can get your seats in the bulkhead (where there’s a lot more legroom and you can stretch out).

    I look forward to seeing all the great photos (and reading the great stories). . . Enjoy your vacation, you’ve earned it! =)

  • Debbie

    cargo areas are marvellous places to ditch your little one. Noone can hear her down there.

  • http://kimba-bremen.com kim

    my hostma used to travel with five kids from MN to spain. i can give you her email-adress ;o)

    you’re going to be fine with leta! i didn’t read all of the 236 before mine (sorry, my boss.. you know) but i’m sure there’s great advice for you. from my experience (aupair, five kids between 8 months and 8) i think you should definetely take “her” blanket and favorite pet so she has something familiar around. and then the hotel should have a crib. and toys! don’t let her get bored. but there’s so much stuff on the plane she can play with, too…
    i really believe in the whole baby-reflects-parents’-condition-thing so as long as you two take it easy you’ll be fine. and then there’s always domino’s advice..

  • Dipali

    Have a great trip ! Enjoy your first trip with Leta…it will go smoooooooth !

  • cityjen

    If people are shooting you dirty looks, look at them calmly, smile, and say “you were young once, too.”

    You will survive – we traveled from London to NYC to Dallas with a 9-month-old and we did.

  • http://kitschenette.typepad.com/kitschenette kitschenette

    a 5 month old babe is much easier to travel with than one who is already mobile! just to add to the huge mass of advice that is already here:
    - take the baby bjorn. it’s easiest and she’ll probabyl be happiest next to you /jon. unstrap her when you/jon sit down, but just take the front off, leave the arms on so you cna easily get her back in when you disembark
    - definitely give her a breastfeed on take-off / landing. it equalises the pressure in her eardrums and also helps to calm her should the take-off (big loud noise) scare her. i used to travel quite a bit with max when he was small and i always found myself feeding him pretty much the whole way until he fell asleep.
    - i don’t know how ong the flight is to san fran, but just remember, you have jon there with you, there are two of you to one adorable babe, so the ratio looks good! maybe she will sleep, and maybe she won’t, but you’ll be fine!

    - good luck! enjoy san fran!

  • christine

    As a seasoned Mom and traveler (my boys have lived to the ripe old age of 12 and 7) I can tell you that now is actually the easiest time to travel. Leta isn’t yet trying to hike up and down the aisle of the plane and the bathroom doesn’t yet have a fascinating hold on her. Definately breastfeed on take off and landing….or in desperation let her suck on your finger. (as an aside I wish I had fought the good fight and given up the Nuk early…mine hung on to their’s way TOO long!). You can do this and have fun! I have traveled a lot with my kids (including a yearly 9-10 hour trip in the car with just the boys and myself and I’ve done this since they were babies)and we’re still traveling AND speaking to each other.

    My theories – What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

    Most of the people around you on the plane have either had children themselves or will one day regret ever making a commment because they will be in the same boat – or plane as it were.


  • tawyna

    unfortunately i don’t really have much advice. i’m currently 6 months pregnant with twins (both boys)…and this is my first pregnancy! i can’t do any travelling this year, so we plan to go to the beach with them next summer and that will probably be the first real travel experience.
    i think you guys will be fine w/ leta. just enjoy yourselves!!!

  • http://www.tvjournalist.dk Tanja

    Making it short: BOOBS & BURBS. It’s not only plugged ears that makes all our little rays of sunshine cry insanely on an airplane; it’s also the bubbles of air in their stomach – from eating and sucking on paper tissues i.e. – that grow larger when taking off. So make Leta burb, maybe she can even charm some young, single solitaire-playing men?

  • http://www.poopeddoggy.com Art

    We have an 11 month old daughter, and although we haven’t flown, we’ve traveled with her quite a bit (several overnights).

    Try not to stress too much leading up to the trip…it really isn’t too bad. We found that the change of scenery and new things to look at kept her very occupied.

    Note: As long as my wife brings her boobs with her, Nora is just fine…they are the instant calming devices. :)

  • http://theresnosuchthingasnormal.blogspot.com/ Suzy

    I’ve never traveled with a baby and I hope to never have to!

    Book some nice detox rooms for you and Jon, for your return home and drink enough during your trip to drown out the screaming.

  • http://www.postednote.com Eddomatic

    Well Dooce, after all those suggestions, mine won’t matter, I was going to suggest baby hypnosis, it’s normally done by waving the breast in a simultaneous rhythm back and forth, back and forth, until the baby falls into a deep trance… I don’t know if this works on girl babies, but it works on all boy babies…

  • Jill

    A shot of bourbon at the airport bar will work for both you and Leta. Do take stuff that smells familiar for her to sleep on. I know Leta’s young, but I’d still bring an infant friendly dvd (home movies of Chuck?) and music she likes (with soft headphones for her) Don’t worry about the other passenger if she screams…that’s what they bring those noise reducing headphones for! Enjoy your trip.

  • http://trancejen.diaryland.com Trance

    I was once on a plane to New York next to a woman who massaged her baby right above the ears for almost the entire flight, and he seemed to be perfectly content. He also breastfed a good deal of the time.

    I wouldn’t stress – if she cries, she cries – you and Jon are used to it, and feeding/dosing her should alleviate the worst of it if she gets her diapers in a twist. :) If anyone on the plane is that insensitive, give them the old double eagle salute. ;) Good luck!