Haven’t blogged in ages, life just got in the way, but I have been on a long haul flight and thought it a good place to start for a new post.
I’m still actually in America and really want to write a post about holidaying with a baby but this post is just about the travelling (I’ll write the other when I’m back)…
So our journey began at 3am 😳 as we were flying out of Leeds Bradford on the first flight at 6am – we booked the flights before we had a baby FYI – Reu normally rouses about that time so I thought we’d just carry him to the taxi and he’d stay snoozing for a bit. No. He woke up at two and wouldn’t go back to sleep so I was actually up from 2am trying to get him back to sleep for an hour, and failing.
We dozily had a shower each and fumbled the baby monitor and sensor pads into the case, before quickly making a bottle and jumping in the taxi. Reu hates the car at the best of times but even more so it seems at 3am sat on my knee, as he was sick three times along the way poor thing. When we finally arrived at the airport we checked in then joined the long security queue. Now feels like a good time to list what was in my hand luggage given I had to pretty much unpack it all at this point:
Three changes of clothes for Reu
Toys (we took 5 small ones)
A tin of milk (he’s on prescription so didn’t want to run out)
2 dummies and dummy clips
5 food pouches
2 bags of baby snacks
Bib and spoons
Pack of wet wipes (much needed)
Disinfectant wipes (to sterilise the used bottles)
Ok so security…
Turns out you have to put all pouches and bottles in a separate tray, two per tray so I needed a total of 4 trays just for them, the woman gave me one at a time so I had to keep asking and she seemed strangely annoyed – babes it’s your job crack a smile.
Once it all went through, I saw with dread, them whisk my bag to one side along with one of the food pouches. I was frantically tying to grasp the 15,000 trays as they came along the belt so as not to cause any delay to anyone else and James was trying to carry Reu, build his pram again and repack his own bag, both of us barefoot due to the stupid take your shoes off rule (I actually don’t mind it cos I’d rather be safe and catching everyone’s verrucas than at risk of anything untoward).
I had forgotten/not realised I needed to take his formula out of my bag, which to be fair probs looked liked a tin of cocaine, and they happily accepted that this was simply milk powder. They did swab my bag (which was a massive old mulberry tote, and for a second I was like “oh god what if there’s drugs on it” – I have never taken drugs – safe to say I was clean). My Ella’s kitchen pouch on the other hand was taken away for some sort of forensic analysis involving a swab! By this point James had gone through to find a seat in departures so when the guy asked for my boarding card to finish his paper work I was like, mate I ain’t got it…luckily he’d lost interest by now and realised it was in fact just a strawberry purée so just sort of jotted down where I was going and my name and I was finally able to repackage my bag (not as neatly as before) and go find James.
Side note – I was always told if you had milk with you they made you taste it but on the two flights I’ve been on so far this has never happened, a godsend given how vile prescription formula tastes!
Ok so by now Reu had done a poo so before settling down to eat my 4am tuna mayo sandwich I went to find the baby changing. When I got there, it was locked so I waited patiently for a few mins before seeing a little sign that said “for baby changing pick up the phone and wait for an answer, someone will then come and open it for you”. So it wasn’t locked cos someone was in it, just cos they clearly wanted to make the process of holding a baby with a nappy full of shit longer and all the more pleasant. Anyway, I picked up the phone and it rang..and rang…I mean you can see where this is going, no one answered. I was freakin’ raging, you know the sort of rage where you want to tell everyone around you and your trying to get their eye contact so you can tell them what’s just happened, unfortunately I was by the bar so the groups tucking into their Stella and full English didn’t seem too bothered about this ridiculous situation.
I stomped back to james and just plonked Reu down and changed him in the middle of the departures, I did tell the phone story to James as loud as I could so that anyone within a 10m radius heard me and didn’t just think I was a hippy mama exposing him for no reason. I did expect a mild applause at my decision to change on the floor and maybe some, just audible, jeers toward the failing airport regarding the locked door but seems as though it was just too early for the people of Leeds Bradford Airport to care.
Urgh so boarding finally begins and we’re on the plane. Reu is not happy. He’s starts to fidget and then grumble before finally just full on crying. He isn’t really a crying baby so I felt bad cos he must be knackered and those stupid baby seatblets make it impossible to get them comfy and even attempt a nap. He cried throughout take off until I could finally get up and rock him to sleep. Some people stared in sympathy some just like ffs why did I end up sat next to the only baby – fair play, I’d be raging if I was. I actually prefer the raging looks to the sympathetic ones, the last thing I want when Reu is acting up is some annoying busy body trying to get involved and telling me he’s tired, hungry or his ears have probably popped. Also please don’t try entertain my baby for me, I know you’re trying to help but I really can’t be arsed talking to you and faking a smile for the next hour, and you’re clearly not helping calm my baby – this sounds harsh but I don’t care haha.
Our first flight was to Amsterdam, let’s book a two part journey we said, it’ll be fine we said, he’ll probs just sleep we said 😳 W.R.O.N.G! We had a cheeky 5 hour layover in Amsterdam, yes…FIVE hours. Luckily Reu was actually a little dream boat and ate, played, then finally settled for a brief snooze before boarding. The most ragy thing for me about this leg of the journey was the £22 James payed for two McDonald’s meals!!!!! You even had to pay for the goddam ketchup! #travesty
Ok so we’re now on the plane to Washington, a cheeky 8 hour flight. Beforehand James and I were like, yeah it’s a long time but Reu has to sleep at some point in 8 hours so we should get at least one film in, maybe two. Ohhhhhh how naive we were.
We had booked bulk head seats, at no extra cost cos Reu is under 9 months, meaning we had extra leg room and a basonette hooked into wall in front of us, great for all that sleeping Reu was gna do.
Ahh yes, I’m sure you’ve guessed, Reu did not sleep a wink! He was totally delightful and smiled and lolled the whole way, but he did.not.sleep.at.all!!!! I watched the opening credits of beauty and the beast before calling time and just going back to playing candy crush on my screen so Reu could tap it and it not matter.
We ate our in flight meals Tag team style (me second 🙄) and took it in turns to hold Reu.
When the women came round with the drinks trolley, I was so nerve to order wine, I looked at her nose when I ordered it so as to avoid eye contact and swiftly ordered a Diet Coke to go with it, she deffo gave me a judgy side glance. However, after my first mini bottle I was over her judgy eyes and ordered my second bottle without a glass as it was so much easier to just drink it straight from the bottle.
The flight actually went pretty fast as we always had something to do, be it feed Reu, change him, entertain him…
However, we were about 30 mins from landing when there was a major incident on board…
I was sat with Reu on my lap, and all of a sudden I thought ooo he’s pooing, good he hasn’t had one in a while. I even gave James a gentle elbow nudge and mouthed “he’s pooping, I can really feel it coming out” (I comment on his poos a lot).
Turns out I could in fact feel it coming out, but not into the pissing nappy, it managed to totally and utterly bypass it and land 100% in my lap, which then squeezed down between my legs onto the seat and subsequently all over the blanket they give you. This actually sounds like a part of the story I’m adding for a bit of a lol, artistic license if you will. It’s not, it happened.
Suddenly all the people who had been cooing over Reu actually looked like they may be physically sick. The man next to me (who had two kids) kindly said, we’ve all been there. I beg to differ pal, when did your kid last shit in your lap on a plane which seeped through to the seat?!
So yeah, this happened and James and I frantically wet wiped as much up as we could before I got up to go to the loo, and of course there was a queue. Whilst waiting I asked an air hostess if they had any PJ bottoms in business class I could have. She said why? I pointed at the shit in my lap and she actually looked horrified (it stank as well) and said she didn’t have any but I could take the fleece throw to wrap around my waist. I didn’t tell her that this was covered in shit too and that James had already shoved it under his seat.
I managed to wash off most of the poo, but was left with a delightful brown/wet patch all over my pants (I wish I’d taken a picture but I was in a flap). Next job was to clean Reu, which took me a good 15 mins at which point we were ready to land.
So yeah our first long haul flight was fab, Reu didn’t sleep and he pood all over me and the plane. Joking aside though it was actually totally fine and here are my top tips:
- Pack lots of snacks for baby, ones that help shut them up in times of desperation.
- Request bulk head seats as you have so much more room. The family next to us let their kid sleep on the floor in front on a makeshift bed from blankets and stuff. It also means you’re most likely to be near other familys who are most likely to be more understanding of your situation.
- Don’t expect to sleep, so take enough toys to entertain for the duration.
- Take one more set of spare clothes for both yourself and baby than you think you’ll need as, trust me, there is nothing worse than running out/having to go through immigration covered in baby shit.
- Use your usually daily routine to break up the flight – feed, play, sleep (or not) and it will go much faster than you think.
- Have a drink on the flight. If you’re like us then before you had a baby you used to drink as many “free”‘ wines as possible. I mean maybe don’t go this far now but deffo have a couple to ease the stress of the whole situation.
- Plan your onward transport before arrival. We were collected by family, but getting a taxi would have been such a nightmare after such a long trip unless pre arranged.
- I mean this is obvious to most sane people but where possible try book a direct flight! Layovers are not so fun with a baby.
- If you do have a long layover, try get them to nap in the pram (try get a pram that lays back!) as it was so much easier doing this in the airport than on the plane.
- Obvious one here but don’t expect it to be anything like flying pre baby. No relaxing drinking wine, eating food and watching films. You have a baby now, you cannot relax.
- Maybe take a baby carrier on the flight to walk the baby to sleep in. I wish I’d done this.
- If you get sat next to someone who’s baby is a sleeping goddess, move away as you’ll end up pinching them to wake them up just so their parents can’t enjoy the flight like you’d imagined yourself doing.
- If you’re rich book a freakin business class flight with a seat for the baby and maybe hire a nanny for the flight haha!
Peace out xxx