Friday, 10 July 2015

The flight with 8 month old Nico

I wanted to tell you a bit about our flight to Japan, but keep in mind that this is just "our experience”. All babies are different. The type of things that a child is doing also affects how they behave during a trip - Nico started crawling at 7 months and during our stay in Japan, he started to sit by himself (but he was still a bit wobbly) and stand up by grabbing our hand. He also started climbing stairs at my parents’ house, but luckily we don’t have stairs at our home in Oz!

Melbourne Airport

-Flight to Japan
We requested a bassinet for our flight but we couldn’t get it, so instead the airline gave us four seats for the three of us.Our flight to Japan was delayed and the departure was around 1pm afternoon. We worried that Nico might have ear pain from the pressure, so we followed the advice of our friends who are mums and fed him while the airplane was taking off. The one positive thing about the delay was that Nico was very tired and slept in my arms while I was feeding him. Thankfully he didn’t have any problems with his ears.
After he woke up, Paul and I decided to look after Nico in turns. Some people advised us to book two separated seats for each parent, so that you can have a good rest when you’re not looking after your baby...but we wanted to sit together so we didn’t do that. When I was looking after Nico, Paul was watching a movie on his iPad. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything with Nico, so didn’t take any entertainment with me, but in hindsight I think I could have taken something.

Looking after a wiggly Nico while staying in our seats was really hard. He can stay still when he is in his car seat or stroller (when he’s really stuck in somewhere!) but he just wants to move all the time when he’s in our arms. Even though he wanted to, we couldn't put him down on the floor and let him just crawl around on the airplane. He’d just go under someone’s seat or trip up the staff. We took lots of toys with us, but they didn’t do much good because Nico wouldn't just sit and play with them. We sometimes walked up and down the aisle. At the back of the aircraft, there was a small space where he could crawl a little bit and stand up, so it was good for a change. Sometimes the flight attendants entertained him there too.

Putting him down to sleep was the hardest part. He was so sleepy but just couldn’t go to sleep, so he cried really hard and we felt a bit stressed. After Nico went to sleep at 7pm (which is his usual sleeping time), it was much easier. He woke up a couple of times, but after feeding, thankfully he went back to sleep quickly.

Although it wasn’t easy for us to travel with Nico, we saw some other Japanese mums travelling themselves with two kids and it looked much harder. Once the younger child started crying in her carrier, the mum had to go to the toilet so that the baby didn't bother other passengers, and the older child therefore had to go too. When Nico was sleeping, I had nothing to do, so I was thinking about offering the mum some help, but I was too shy and didn't want to interfere (a Japanese trait). Now though I think that maybe I should have done offered...what do you think?

-Flight from Japan
During our stay in Japan, I kept thinking ahead about how I could make our return flight easier. Paul had also injured his back, so I knew he wouldn’t be able to walk around carrying Nico. I thought “Nico is usually happy in his car seat playing with his toys...but seat belts on an airplane don't really hold a baby properly. Is there anything I can use to put Nico in a seat with?”
Then just two days before our flight back, I ordered this special belt.

This belt is really handy!

The new belt was really good! After taking off, I put him on a seat with the belt and he just sat down and played with his toys exactly like in a car. (It didn't last for hours, but it was still good!)
And when we were having food or feeding him solids, we didn’t have to hold him at the same time, so it was much easier. Although Nico likes to be cuddled by his parents, he also wants to settle himself so he looked happier in this belt. 

I am happy:-)

There were also a couple of other babies on the flight that were similar age to Nico. When I walked around with Nico, I could have a chat with their mums and it was good entertainment. I realised how having interactions with others is good for all of us!

Again, after Nico went to sleep, it was much easier. We had to wake him up around 11pm for landing, but he slept pretty well until then. I had to declare my business goods at customs, so by the time we got out from the airport it was nearly 1am and we arrived at home around 2.30am, but it wasn’t too bad for us.

As a result, I’m glad we didn’t get a bassinet this time because it looked a bit small for an 8 month old Nico and the bassinet also took their parents' leg room. If you’re flying with 3 month old baby or younger and who is sleeping most of the time, I think a bassinet would be handy. If you have older baby and your flight isn’t full, you could ask for an extra seat - for us, that was better than the bassinet. 

Now I feel like I have a bit more confidence about going on a flight with a baby and have some ideas about what to do, but if I’m asked “Would you fly with a baby again?” my answer will definitely be "No!!" Oh.. but I’d love to go to Japan with Nico again ;) We had a really great time over there and my parents loved it too.

With Love,


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