The Messy Truth About Flying with a Baby

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Remember the time when the space between seats seemed incongruous to your ever expanding belly or when the person seated next to you could not look more frustrated at your wobbly exit for your tenth toilet trip? If you thought that flying whilst pregnant was particularly inconvenient, well, think again. Compared to flying with a baby, the aforementioned situation is akin to floating on cloud nine. And here’s why:

1.Airport security offer no leniency

The baby bag has been neatly packed (overflowing) for baby’s first trip, and with thrice her weight in gear. You crosscheck everything before leaving: diapers, nappy rash cream, diaper disposal bags, teething gel, pacifiers (two for safety) change of clothing, bibs, muslin cloths, socks, hat, bottles (four and an extra one), wet ones, another bib, more muslin cloths (surely we’ll need a lot), teething toy, baby’s favourite soft toy, cooled boiled water, hot boiled water in vacuum flask, another pacifier (in case we drop one). You’ve checked online on what’s allowable on board but still run to the security check people before check in. You have to make sure. Ok, everything still neatly packed, check-in done, security next. Officer: ‘Empty all contents’. It takes you fifteen minutes to fit everything back in.

2. Baby-wearing may very well save your sanity

That is, if you’re not into dismantling every detachable part of your stroller (including wheels), and having to fit all parts in those little white trays that go in the cavernous scanner.

3. Who am I kidding? One clothes change?

You may have proudly stated (more than once) that, unlike your other half, you’ve always had successful nappy changes (i.e. no fountains of pee [or poo] mid-change). It also happens to be that you may have very easily jinxed yourself. Fitting in a quick nappy change between your back-to-back connecting flights may have undesirable consequences: such as your baby’s longest pee ever on a strangely-tilted nappy changer when wearing no nappy.

4. Seatbelts on. Oh my.

Whoever thought of the strange baby-adult contraption for safe flying has a wicked sense of humour. Baby hated it, adults loath it. Highly inconvenient, very much primitive and on the verge of claustrophobic. And it doesn’t look safe. At all. Cue baby crying for whole duration of take-off and landing. Great.

5. Neighbours can be downright insensitive.

Add to this concoction killer stares from people in front, back and on both sides. And all other aisles within earshot of course. And no Mr, please do not lower your seat, we barely have enough space to breathe back here! And yes, kids cry, they make noise; you’re flying not at a spa!

6. Puking. A. LOT. OF. PUKING.

It’s either my daughter’s inherited my lovely motion sickness genes, or else a baby fact I was previously unaware of, but there was a lot of vomit in the six hours we spent flying.You know you’ve reached a new level of sticky, smelly and exhausted when the sight of an air hostess carrying a baby bib as an airline freebie almost makes you cry.

The number one lesson learnt? There is no cap for how messy it can all get.