December 08, 2016

My 1st Long Haul Flight With A Baby

Yup, I did it and not only was it long haul, I did alone. And I survived.

I was dreading the 12 hour flight, yet I was secretly excited by the anticipation of flying alone with my 4 month old baby. Would he be a good baby on the flight? Will the flight attendants be helpful? What do I do when I need the toilet?! Plenty of those thoughts raced through my mind in the weeks and days leading up to the flight. 

Turns out, Isaac was pretty well behaved on the flight. However, whilst I was blessed with a good baby for the flight, my own lack of organisation, too much hand luggage, having a rubbish seat and not very friendly passengers/flight attendants made it a stressful experience right from the moment I arrived at the airport. 

At The Airport
Once my luggage had been checked in, it dawned on me that I'd forgotten to pack nappies for the flight. I forgot the nappies...! Seriously?!

I'd packed my suitcases weeks ago but thanks to some last minute rearranging, all the nappies went into the large suitcases and none for hand luggage. The Boots on the departures side were were out of the right size nappies but they managed to get the Boots pre-immigration to send a pack over. There was only a large pack left, so that got added to my already overflowing hand luggage.

Getting through security was a tough experience in itself. I had bottles of ready-to-feed formula and all my liquids held in one hand whilst juggling the passports, boarding passes and pushing a wheelie case with the other. I had Isaac in the carrier on my front and a heavy rucksack on my back. 

Everything including the carrier needed to go in for scanning at security, so once that was done, trying to put Isaac back into the carrier and stuff all the loose bits back into the suitcase by myself was no easy feat.

Boarding The Flight 
As soon as we boarded, I took off my baby carrier and plonked Isaac haphazardly on my seat whilst I frantically scrambled through both my rucksack and hand held suitcase to pick out what I needed for the flight, only to be told I couldn't stow any of this under my seat for take off anyway. But I needed some take-off essentials, so I grab those and fling them on the seat around Isaac.

My seat was absolutely tiny. It's right in the middle and I'm sandwiched by two middle aged men (and another 2 men behind me) who didn't care to have a baby accompanying them on the flight. Between the 4 of them, non offered to help me as I struggled with stowing my hand luggage until I asked outright. The guy who sat on the outer seat even had the cheek to stare at me as I tried unsuccessfully to pass the case over his head.

And right about now, I realised I've forgotten my breast pumps for expressing milk. How could I forget my pumps?!

Isaac refused to breastfeed directly at 3 months old and there would be no chance he'd be helping me to relieve my expectant engorgement. 

Take Off
By now, I'm exhausted and sitting in a cramped seat with a baby and all his bits wedged around my butt, my back and my sides. And take off was delayed by a whole hour. 

I completely forgot to use my Lapbaby, and the whole point is to use it whilst baby is sat on your lap to save your arms. I could have used my carrier too, but in the flustered state that I was, that didn't even cross my mind. Isaac also got tired waiting for take-off. He needed to be put down for sleep so he started to whine loudly, but thankfully he only did it for a short while. Once we were in the air, the flight attendant was quite fast at setting up the bassinet. It was such a relief when I was finally able to put him down.

I remembered to use the Lapbaby for landing at least!

Inflight
Isaac took to the bassinet pretty quickly. I guess he was happy to finally be laying down comfortably and once he was settled, he managed to sleep for 4 solid hours.

Our flight was packed with other babies and toddlers, and as soon as one cried, Isaac would stir. One particularly loud cry woke Isaac up in such an alarm that he started screaming too...! I guess he was startled by their crying and then that was it, he didn't go back to sleep after that. He was wide awake and just laid there for the rest of the flight, staring into space.

I didn't sleep a wink on the flight either. Something along the lines of Jodie Foster's movie Flightplan crossed my mind and paranoia set in. Surely, I'm not the first mum to have thought this crazy thought whilst inflight, right?!

Three quarters the way through the flight, I knew I had to deal with the non-existent breast pump issue. It had gotten really painful, and let's just say manual intervention was required in the toilets. Once I landed, my sister in law was waiting for me in arrivals with a new set of pumps, bless her! G realised I'd left my pumps at home, so he messaged his sister and she spent a good morning sourcing them for me. I couldn't thank her enough!  

We made it to Hong Kong!

After such a chaotic first flight with a baby, at least I have it covered on the return journey home and know what to do and what not to do.

Hong Kong itself was not what I had expected this time round with a baby. Isaac didn't take to going out as the intensity of the noises kept him over stimulated. I could only go out with him for a few hours each day for lunch and then he would have had enough and throw screaming fits. Dinner was out of the question, and halfway through the holiday he caught his first cold and then we were both confined indoors for over a week.

Our planned 3 weeks in Hong Kong ended with Isaac and I cancelling our return flight because he developed a high temperature the night before we flew, despite having almost recovered from his cold...! We're going to be here another week until he is well enough to travel again.

As with all holidays involving kids, things just don't go according to plan! 
  

4 comments

  1. You survived thats the main thing and glad the lapbaby came into good use!

    http://www.onesliceoflemon.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I survived! And thanks for telling me about lapbaby, it is so useful!

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  2. Wow, that sounds pretty stressful, but you got there in the end! I'd be the same as you, forgetting the essentials and things. I get flustered going through security anyway, everyone is rushing and I always have bags, coats, shoes, belts, jewellery everywhere... I can't imagine a baby to think about too. Ha, I have it all to come!

    Merry Christmas!
    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lyndsay, the good thing to come out of it was that my return journey ended up being a breeze! You will be fine once it's your turn! haha x

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