Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

I Left My Baby in San Francisco

I think I’ve already established that I’m not so good at this Mother thing, what with not picking up my baby or loving her enough and all the times I’ve wrapped her up like a mummy in dangerous paper towels and left her to scream in the middle of the street.

In the weeks leading up to Leta’s birth I received several gifts from friends, including infant clothing and receiving blankets, breast pads and tiny nail clippers. I remember looking at all the stuff and wondering, “What the hell do you do with a breast pad? Can you eat these things?” because I had NO EARTHLY IDEA what I was getting myself into. I honestly thought that the baby would come with all the clothes she needed. After giving birth to the baby and the placenta, I thought a whole package of cotton onesies would shoot out the birth canal, followed closely by several nightgowns and a six-pack of tiny pink socks. I had gained so much weight that I was certain Leta would arrive with luggage.

I’ve learned a lot in the last five months. I’ve learned that babies don’t necessarily like to be dangled by their toes from the rooftop or to have their mouths clamped shut with clothespins. Duct tape works better at silencing the screaming than swings or strollers or diaper changes. I’m now an expert when it comes to breast pads (no, you cannot eat these things), and I can shoot breast milk at a target thirty feet away.

Jon and I are totally neurotic first-time parents, and we’re learning how to do this whole thing day by day. I will admit that he is a little less neurotic than I am, and he doesn’t throw things or growl or serve as a host body for Satanic demons. But every night we take inventory of what we’ve learned and add it to our notebook of parenting: Leta likes to be outside; Leta does not like the vacuum cleaner or other obnoxiously violent noises; Leta likes the book about the ladybug, does not like the book about the rocking horse; Leta will stop screaming if you sing her that new Morrissey song about forgiving Jesus for all the desire he placed in me when there’s nothing I can do with this desire, and please don’t sing it in your normal voice, you must sing it in your Morrissey voice, because SHE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE, you stupid parent people.

Last week we were feeling a bit over-confident in our baby skills and made the monumentally insane decision to click the “Book Now” button on two plane tickets to San Francisco (Leta will be traveling for free, on my lap). We made this decision after two screamless days and after a shot or two of whiskey — bourbon is good for the baby as it gives her liver practice for the hard life ahead. In that frame of mind we were thinking that not only could we travel with this baby, but also that she should have eight or nine brothers and sisters! There are actual days when babies don’t scream! How cute is that! Let’s have MORE non-screaming babies! Pour me another shot!

After the screamlessness wore off we were sort of confronted with the fact that shit, we’re going to travel with this baby? What idiot made that decision? [points finger firmly in the direction of She who serves as host body for Satanic demons] HOW THE HELL DO YOU TRAVEL WITH A BABY?

No seriously, I’m asking you, how the hell do you travel with a baby? We have no idea what we’re doing. Keep in mind that Leta rarely sleeps anywhere but in her crib, and she never falls asleep on our shoulder or in the stroller. How the hell will she fall asleep in San Francisco? Are there cribs in San Francisco?

Do you have any tips, other than to shoot myself?

(comments now closed)

  • Larisa

    Check the car-seat as luggage, nightmare to try and bring on the plane. Hopefully she will nurse during take-off and landing since she is now off the binky. Bring anything portable from her crib that is easy to pack. Good luck-

  • Amy

    Looks like everyone has the travel thing covered. Just wanted to say that your website keeps me sane. I have a 3 month old daughter and I’ve been reading your site since my last month of pregnancy. Nice to see someone going through the same things and having similar reactions. I don’t feel so bad for wanting to have a few shots when she’s screaming in my face ;P Keep up the great writing and the sense of humor!

  • Suzette

    Remember these few words as you are getting on the plane…you will never see these people again.

  • When I traveled with my daughter (at 10 mos.) to Florida from Missouri I met a pilot’s wife who assured me that what always worked for her children was gas drops, such as Mylicon. Apparently if she has even a little gas it becomes extremely painful in air, which could be why some babies cry on planes.

    Good luck!

  • OY! Make sure you ask the airline for the “first flight” pair of wings and certificate! Kind of cheesy, but who doesn’t like little plastic wings? Act like your pinning it on Leta, then, of course steal it for yourself. Best of luck.

  • Fiona

    Calpol!! We have that in the UK and I’m not sure if it comes under the same brand name there but it’s basically a kind of drowsy cough/cold/headache medicine for children. I know a LOT of people who were practically reared on the stuff when they were infants & suffered no harm.. I’m not suggesting it for everyday use but maybe to get you through the journey…. ! 🙂

    Good luck, I know babies are all different and everything but my nephew (and his mum, on her own!) made it back alive from Ireland to England when he was a week old – it IS do-able and I’m sure your other half has a special geek machine to soundproof the air around your seat anyway..

    Well done for being such a good mum anyway, you seem to be doing brilliantly. I must advise against too much morrissey though as he really is a miserable bastard malcontent!!

  • Just Me

    Seriously? Buy a 3rd airplane seat.

    Google the statistics on babies injured during turbulence each year. Or, you could just rent “Fearless”.

    Is a couple hundred bucks worth the risk of Leta being seriously injured?

  • Lisa

    Get her her own seat – after 30 flights (duration 2-6 hours each flight) with my daughter before she was 16 months – I can attest that your arms will want to fall off after about 35 minutes in the air… And bring cold medication – cause she’ll probably catch one the second you look at the aircraft.

    Have a blast!

  • donna

    Not sure where a few commentors are from but here in Canada, babies cry. That’s what they do. Odd isn’t it?

    I sat next to a an arabic woman on a long flight with an infant once. She rubbed her infants eyebrows for hours, lightly. She said it was to relieve the tension the baby feels over the eyes from the altitude.

    Baby seemed quiet. Or drugged not sure which.

    Have a fantastic time, dammit!

  • Whilst I know nothing about babies except for how they’re made (I think), I’m reckon you might want to practice some off-the-cuff sounding remarks for the people transmitting their “please-god-don’t-be-sitting-next-to-me-with-that-potentially-screaming-baby!” thoughts.

    Bon Voyage!!

  • Corie

    OMG..after all this advice, I cant imagine that you’ll ask for it again! LOL You may feel like you dont know what you are doing, but you are Leta’s mom and you know her best. I’m all for whipping out the boob on takeoff and landing. Really, you’re going to be great and so is she.

  • jw

    I think everything has been said so I want to emphasize what I think are important points given 26 years of parenting.
    1. Pack light
    2. Breast feed throughout
    3. Forget everyone else. You’ll never see them again.
    4. RELAX. It’s NOT going to be that bad!

  • Nicole

    My best advice is to take the stroller all the way to the gate and have them gate check it! It’s such a pain in the ass to be carrying a child to a different conquest! Have fun!

  • Sarah

    My crazy Aunt decided this summer to bring her twin baby girls, both 13 months old at the time, from Germany to Canada. Even crazier still, she did this on her own. Despite having the desire to flip out on a couple occasions, she stated repeatedly that if it hadn’t been for the incredibly kind flight attendants, she would not have been able to do it. I thought that perhaps this would be inspirational if nothing else. 😉 Good luck and have fun!

  • We traveled from St. Louis to Detroit when Clara Jane was 3 months old. Travel light, obviously. Most big cities have businesses that will rent any and every variety of baby equipemnt, and they’ll often deliver to the airport or your hotel. That’s much easier than packing a stroller, carseat, bouncy, etc., and it’s usually fairly inexpensive. Definitely cheaper than having to replace your stuff when the airline loses it.

  • Cindy

    Rachel didn’t go anywhere until she was 4 months old, but I assure you, she loved San Francisco! But then it’s only an hour flight for us.

    Advice? Sorry, but you’re gonna have to take everything under the sun. Leta will have her own suitcase and you and your hubby will have to share a bag. That’s just a given. You do need a carseat, but you don’t need a stroller. Buy diapers when you get there.

    We tried to make sure that Rachel drank something on the takeoff and landing, but I don’t think she was fazed one bit.

    Oh and Rachel has already been to Hawaii twice and she will turn 2 next month and we haven’t bought a seat, yet. Ask for the backrow. There is usually an extra seat there.

    BTW, I think a carseat provides baby with something familiar on the plane.

  • No real advice, I’m afraid, but have a good time! I’m looking forward to reading about it.

  • Way

    We used Benadryl. He had ear infections and it totally knocked him out. He ended up sleeping from takeoff to landing.

  • I think the answer is obvious is it not? You must strap Leta to the wing with duct tape. It’s perfectly safe.

    Traveling light is always a good plan especially since, in a pinch, a toilet paper roll makes a pretty awesome toy for a 4 month old. Of course, if you leave the toilet paper on the roll you have the added bonus of endangering your baby’s life.

    And also, because I am a far worse parent than you (but with a less popular website to save me from the scorn of the general population), I would pack either: benadryl, orange triaminic or baby tylenol….

    Please test the benadryl before you attempt this. We tried this method on a 5 hour drive and it had the opposite effect on our child. My God she was wired and our ears were bleeding by the time we arrived at our destination.

  • gaea

    just remember to relax (as much as that sounds clich), leta is at the age where the new stuff that she’ll see may just astound her into total silence! (yes..babies can be cute and adorable and SILENT).
    try taking a “practice/prep flight” a few days before the trip. dont let her sleep too long the night before…but if she does..oh well. give her a warm bath, maybe some “calming lotion” (they make it with chamomille and lavender and it even works on me and I’M an almost 25 y.o problem sleeper!). then just take a short road trip. if she can pull through that..the rest is as easy as bourbon goin down.

    bring a new and old toy. something to keep her occupied that DOES NOT MAKE NOISE! (even a teletubbie doll ::gasp::)

    i flew for the first time when i was two weeks old..and seeing as im still here…my parents survived and didn’t drown me for making a scene.

    and last and maybe kinda important. leta is one of the most smooshiest, cutest,
    angelic (looking) baby on the web…(people will often time excuse alot for a cranky baby if she is a cutie pie).
    weither she freaks or falls asleep. this is a milestone. remember ever moment and use it for blackmail when she starts asking for money in a couple years..

  • Amy

    I am to lazy to read all these comments, but after traveling with a 9 month old, I learned the value of an umbrella stroller. You can fold it up and it is very light. You can use it up to the door of the plane and they will check it for you and have it waiting when you get off the plane. Why is the umbrella stroller (or any stroller) a must? So the night after you have carried your child through the airport you can feel your pinky and ring finger. My arm was so worn out!!!! You can get them for around $12 at Wal-Mart or Target. Once we got to California, we found a Wal-mart and I used it for the trip back. I wish I had it at the beginning. And I still use it today since it does not take much space in the trunk of the car.

  • 1. Don’t be smug when you get to preboard the plane. “Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” will get you nowhere.

    2. Get your hands on some free drink coupons and hand them out to the people who have to sit around you. A guy with three kids did that for me once. How could I complain when he’d plied me with free liquor?

  • annette

    My parents love to tell the story of when they took me to San Francisco when I was a few months old. They said I cried like a banshee when we rode on the trolley. My advice: avoid trolleys while in SF.

  • suggestions?

    other than don’t take my flight?

    as i am a self proclaimed expert at all things airport, i can offer you all kinds of suggestions. however, i have limited experience in taveling with babies. i’ll try to apply what i know to the new parent.

    stay home. not an option? basically, you’re fucked.

    bourbon. lots and lots of bourbon. not for you – for all the people who sit around you.

    print your tickets out first, and don’t try to go through the security check point with more than two items. one pissy agent and you end up checking leta.

    i hear those vibrating seats work wonders. i’m just sayin it’s what i heard.

    ipods rule. turn that puppy up loud enough and you won’t hear a peep from leta the whole flight.

    never ever ever ever fly southwest. assigned seating rules.

    dont wear any shoes with metal. no rings, shanks, buckles, etc. i can’t stress this enough. don’t try to get through security wearing a goddam pair of hiking boots. seriously pisses everyone off. and don’t hide any firearms, bowie knives, or handcuffs in her car seat.

    fly on a weekend, and leta will have lots of other screaming kids to keep her company.

    most reasonable hotels do have cribs. they also have high speed internet, mini bars, tickets to STOMP, and access to call girls should you need that too.

    finally, who gives a fuck. SLC to SFO is only an hour or so anyhow and i’m willing to bet she has screamed for more than an hour before. you will do great.

  • Allie

    When my niece was 3mos old her grandmother (not my mom, the other one) became very ill and her parents left the little ball of sweetness with me to go handle the crisis. Long, long story short I ended up with her on a plane for three hours to go see her parents. I don’t have any children and to say the least was not sure how she or I would survive the flight. This is how it was done. Bjorn, bottle for take off, recording of her crib mobile, black and white flash cards, diaper bag that fits under the seat (it’s not easy to get in the overhead every time you need a wipe or blanket), and her blanket. i refilled her bottle with warm water in between feedings. i did have to change her in the bathroom. i was shameless and aked for help from an attendant. i checked the car seat and stroller. believe it or not, she slept, laughed, cooed at all the hot men and now it’s a great story. if i, the single gal in the city (at the time), made it without a breakdown or needing iv sedation at the gate, i’m sure you’ll do fine. have fun!

  • I concur with the bottles to drink (to relieve pressure on her ears), and the motrin or tylenol (or whatever you normally use to relieve her pain) an hour before take-off, and something familiar from the crib.

    And remember, no matter how much you pack, you’re likely to forget something anyway.

    I hope the sleeping situation goes well!

  • Margie

    My darling daughter had her first-ever non-soothable screaming fit at the age of six weeks while my XH was on the phone making reservations for me to fly cross-country with her, solo. Like you, I’d been thinking it was going to be great, right up until that moment. But then I was skeered.

    The trip went great, but she did somehow manage to pee on two outfits, one in the airport bathroom while I was changing her, then another while I was changing her in the airplane bathroom. I strongly recommend bringing triple the diapers you think you’ll need for the travel time, and a few extra outfits, too.

    Be warned that airport and hotel carpets are disgustingly filthy (if she’s even crawling by then?) and while her hands will clean right up, her clothes will never be the same. And airplane carpets are even worse…I made the huge mistake of changing her on the floor by the galley on another flight. Eww, eww, eww.

    If you ever see them somewhere, a rainbow playsilk is a great toy/blanket/coverup/teether for travel and it takes up virtually no space. My girl is now six and still plays with hers for one reason or another, although now it’s more likely to be fashioned into a sarong than used for peekaboo.

    Definitely breastfeed on take-off and landing if she’s not in her carseat. If she is, they say the most dangerous parts of any flight (and the only parts the carseat would really make much difference for) are the immediate take-off and landing–so leave her in it for the minute or so, then as you’re climbing to altitude, then breastfeed, and again on descent until you see the flight attendants actually starting to get into their seats.

    I’m not big on drugging kids, for whatever reason, especially parental convenience (wouldn’t it be great if we could just give teens good behavior drugs, too?) so I don’t support the whole Benadryl/Tylenol thing. She’s a baby, she’ll be who she is and that’s not a bad thing. Maybe just a little bourbon for you, though.

    I think someone else already mentioned reserving the aisle and window seats. If someone does get seated in the middle, they’ll be more than happy to switch with you.

    Oh–and it might help to think about this before you reserve the seats–if you do get to put her in her carseat, which side would you rather she sit on? I am WAY more comfortable with her on my left side (I’m right handed) so I always ask to be on the left side of the acft–in the A/B/C seats. It’s just less awkward if you have the sudden desire to pick her boogers or something.

    Stay cool, it’ll be fun. She’ll love it, and I bet you’ll hear every mom’s favorite phrase on the way out of the plane: “I didn’t even realize you had a baby with you!”

  • wixlet

    no advice on the traveling, since my son is just now 7 weeks old and our 3-hour road trip to houston and back wasn’t too eventful–he slept almost the entire way there and back. but i do have to say that our kid LOVES THE NEW MORRISSEY ALBUM, particularly ‘i have forgiven jesus’, just like leta. this irks the shit out of my husband, since he’s not so big on the morrissey, but it delights me to no end.

  • I have wanted to tell you that what awesome parents you and your hubby are! Being a parent is always a learning experience no matter how old or how many you have. Anyone who cant see the love shining thru your entries needs to get a sense of humor and possibly an enema.
    On the flying….breast feed at takeoff and landing. Ask Dr. about Tylenol or Benydryl and to a test run if you feel comfortable. DRESS HER CUTE…the previous posts about a cutie-pie screaming are true. PR goes a long way, so get the uber-box of earplugs and a box of good chocolates to hand out as people will appreciate your attempts to recognize that you care about their comfort ( even if you dont). Oh and one last thought…you had mentioned that Leta likes a certain TV show in a previous post. Might want to invest in a portable DVD player and play that show. If she isnt interested now, she soon will be for future trips.

  • I’m the bazillionth commenter – woohooo!!!

    Well should you *somehow* not have any other friends here (doubtful) and you can *somehow* leave Leta with someone else – and I’m in town whatever weekend you’re coming out here – then let’s go to a show!! My music calendar is updated 🙂 Have a wonderful trip no matter what! xoxo

  • Rita

    Okay, this is totally not PC and not something you should let anybody see you do, but I’ll throw it out there just in case. Back in the early Seventies when my brother was a baby, it was standard to tell mothers to drink a (1) beer before breastfeeding if their baby was fussy or colicky or whatever. They sleep really nicely and it helps the mom to relax, too. Just don’t let anybody see you do it, because some people are hypersensitive about that sort of thing, but as long as the circumstances are exceptional (flying, super colic, etc.) and you don’t make a habit of it, there won’t be any damage done.

  • kyndgrrl

    I’m not even going to try and finish reading the others but here’s mine. Quickly. Yes to nursing.

    Please don’t borrow or rent a carseat. This advice has scared me beyond belief. It could have been in a wreck. Or if you get it with a car at a rental place you have NO IDEA what has been done to it. If you can at all, you need to bring your own carseat. It helps on the plane like many others have said. And a lot of times you can get an extra seat. If you can’t bring your seat for some reason, you can get a decent seat for $40 dollars at ToysRUs and if you don’t bring it home you can donate it.

    Other than that, you’ll do fine. You guys love her and she just wants to be with you, wherever that is at the moment!

  • AE

    Try the baby tylenol or benadryl, it really does work wonders. And just a sidenote,Kate, if you think you can control the whinning of a 2 yr old, I wish you the best when you have children!

  • Rae

    Oh. My. God. One hundred seventy-five comments! From people who LOVE you and your family. Well, make that 176.

  • Julia

    Hi. It’s me again, polluting this already ridiculously long list.

    I forgot the hardest lesson I ever learned: BRING A SMALL BOTTLE OF WATER. I know you BF, but you never know. My horror story is too long, but let’s say it involves a bitch stewardess.

    Now, okay, are people crazy?

    1. IT IS NOT OBNOXIOUS TO PUT A BABY IN A CARRIER SEAT FOR A FLIGHT. 5 month olds do not feel “trapped” — they live on their backs and if you have a baby at home, they’re in something similar all day long, or laying on the floor, anyway.

    2. You are not going to overdose your kid unless you OVER dose your kid, duh. Any pediatrician will tell you that you ARE SUPPOSED to give a kid tylenol before a flight, and not to give Benadryl for a flight or an illness before about 12 months (before then you use a different antihistamine, and even that not until they’re about 16 lbs).

    3. Gimme a break about the dangers of turbulence. I’ve heard of about as many flights crashing as those that have had “dangerous” turbulence — i.e., 1 in 50,000 (if that many). Holding her in your lap will be fine, if they run out of seats and you have to check the carrier (by the way, you don’t technically have to have a base when you get to the rental car — you can thread the seatbelts right over the seat itself. THE MANUAL SAYS SO, lest I read crap about abuse).

    4. All these people are radically overstating the ear thing. Oh, and I guess I was about the # of flights we’ve taken; it’s 14, the earliest one at 8 weeks. So, 14 flights over 5 months, and Max has never had ear trouble — I know, not all babies are the same. But in general I think that they’ve improved the pressurization process. My own ears haven’t hurt from a domestic flight in about 15 years.

    5. Triple and quadruple FUCK anyone who said anything negative about you taking your baby on the plane. As a corollary, as many have said, don’t worry if she screams: you hear it much more than anyone around you. Although sitting at the back of the plane is a help (louder).

    5. Don’t worry about changing tables. You won’t be changing her on a 2 hour flight, for goodness’ sake.

    6. They may have baby beds on transatlantic flights, but no such luxury exists on domestic flights (at least not in coach).

    Okay, sorry, had to vent a bit.

  • On a 15 hour flight from LA to Melbourne, I put up with a screaming..and I mean SCREAMING..toddler who would start up for 45 minutes, then sleep for 15..every hour, like clockwork! I’d switched seat rows with his family so that his mother could put the middle armrest up, which meant I was now right in front of him. (The mother told me that she’d left his carseat with checked baggage because it was hard to carry and it was now obviously a huge mistake)
    The thing is, despite my having almost no sleep, and a pounding headache upon arrival, I could not blame the child, or even the mother. It happens, everyone reacts in different ways, and you’ll never be able to predict what’s going to occur. Some of these suggestions sound pretty wise…so at least you have some new ideas!

    If you pass this milestone with flying colours, why not give yourself even more fun next time and bring Chuck along too!?

  • Hmmm…is it too late to recant on the pacifier rehab? You know, it usually takes smokers several tries at quitting to kick the habit…

  • Amber

    I have to get the “you rock” out of the way. That said, as someone who works with 18 month to 3 year olds in daycare and has been forced to make many trips with them (because no one not being paid for it would do it, and it’s hard to convince someone who is being paid for it to do it), pray that she sleeps. And usually on trips, kids aren’t too bad even if they don’t sleep so long as you sit them by a window so they can watch all the things passing by. Now once we get them to whereever we may be going, they go crazy and make me wish I hadn’t decided to work in daycare and oh my god why won’t they stop… but lucky for you Leta doesn’t walk yet, so you don’t have to worry about her wandering off. And she’ll probably do better than you think with the whole situation, so long as her routine stays relatively normal.

    Hope all goes well!

  • Melissa

    I don’t have a baby and am unsure if I want one ever. Given that I really cannot give much relevant info…. However, I do see that your instincts have been good so far and you are a great mother. It’s a short flight and babies cry. Trust your instincts and remember the one comment – ‘you are never going to see these people again’. You can check your car seat, portable crib thing, etc. whatever you need to feel comfortable in SF. That is the most important thing – that you are comfortable and Leta is happy. If you obsessing the whole trip I am sure Leta will notice. So what if you bring to much stuff there are plenty of stores and Laundromats in SF. You will never really know how to fly with a baby till you try. My 2 cents.

  • Let me relate to you the most savvy piece of child-rearing advice ever perpetrated upon me. When I was teething, my father would pour a shot of whiskey, dip his finger in it, rub the finger over my gums and pour the rest of the shot into my bottle. After that (and, one presumes a shot or two for himself) there were no teething difficulties. How does this relate to traveling with a baby, you ask? Sedatives. Some for you, some for baby, some for everyone else on the plane. Dope ’em up and fly happy!

  • If you get those little bags of pretzels, after you’re done with them, let the baby play with it. Kept my kids busy for the longest time on their first flight when they were about 7 months old. My husband and I found ourselves anxiously awaiting those blasted foil bags of pretzels.

    Also, buy or borrow some new toys (although, try to keep ’em small so they don’t take up too much room) and don’t let Leta see ’em until you’re on the plane. Also bring along some old favorites too.

    Nursing during take off and landing is a good tip. If, by some miracle, she does fall asleep on the plane (happened with my kids after they nursed), don’t even think about trying to move her. We made that mistake and oh boy did we pay dearly. No matter how confident you are that you can slip her into the car seat or into another position, you can’t. Give up that hope quickly. If you keep the baby still, though, you may get a nice long quiet nap, though.

  • Karry

    BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR YOURSELF. If you do nothing else, do that. I’ve been puked on by my kids so many times that I packed a spare t-shirt and bra under all the diapers in the diaper bag. She’s not going to like the air pressure, so feeding at takeoff and landing will be good, however please consider bringing a pacifier “just in case” – you never know, might not want to flash a boob when people are boarding and leaving. Good Luck!

  • Kath

    C’mon….this is Leta we’re talking about. She’ll charm the pants off anyone who sees her, even if she is crying.

    She’ll be fine and so will you and Jon.

    Every time I’ve ever flown on a flight with a screaming baby, I’ve always told the parents on my way out that they are lucky to have such a beautiful child…it’s the truth!

    What I really want to know is who’s watching Chuck?

    Have a great time in SF!

  • lisawhip

    I’ve traveled cross-country with my daughter several times a year (she’s two now). Never had a problem, and she’s a screamer too. When she was an infant, she rode on my lap; later she got her own seat. Again, never had a problem. All the advice above is good (with the obvious benadryl-as-child-abuse/don’t-bring-your-spawn-on-my-flight exceptions). The only thing I can add is this: it is much better to have a diaper you don’t need than it is to need a diaper you don’t have.

  • Christine Kennedy

    You will have moments (just like in Parenthood in general) where you think you will never make it back alive, but you will. You will all have a blast and will have a wonderful memory of your first family vacation.

    What I can think of:

    Be careful about hotel cribs…I watched Dateline or something and will NEVER use them. I don’t know if a pack-n-play can be checked for a flight, but maybe that would be a better idea.

    Make sure Leta gets some down time here and there. My first baby was a non-sleeper too. We just made sure she got a break to just do whatever she felt like from time to time instead of the go, go, go that our “before children” vacations were like.

    Hope that helps. We are about to drive 2500 miles with a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I’m wondering if we will make it back in one piece!!!

  • A friend once told me this story, and oddly enough, while on a plane from NM to NY this weekend, a father did the exact same thing:

    The kid had been crying for an hour. Not just crying– screaming. Not just screaming– ear drum gorging, brain swelling, sinus splitting wails that I surprised didn’t disengage the emergency exit doors due to air pressure fluxuation.

    Calmly, the dad stood up, little 5 month-or-so in arms, opened up the luggage compartment, and pretended to stow his child.

    The couple who were sitting next to me had one of those wimp-ass rat dogs in a sherpa carrier. They offered it to him.

    In all seriousness, screw the other people in the plane. Obviously, you want Leta to be comfortable (and you want to be comfortable)…but beyond that, the rest of the plane can just suck on it. It’s not like you’re flying to Malaysia.

  • I travelled on a plane for three hours with my firstborn when he was about five months old. I seem to remember keeping a boob in his mouth the entire way.
    Also, just pack clothes. Buy diapers there. And keep consuming alcohol. A lushy mommy is a good look and keeps baby happy.
    Good Luck!!

  • I have no advice to offer but how could I possibly pass up a chance to make this page just that much longer. Afterall it isn’t everyday that dooce allows comments. Booya!

  • 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. 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 –

    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!!


Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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