Here is the tough part. Since I had Calihan in the carrier, I had to get all of that out and take him out of the carrier to carry him through security. This was not easy as I was also a tad flustered not knowing what to expect! (If you plan on having your child attached to you, this all gets a thousand times easier) Tip: take everything out that you need to put in the bins, then take your infant out last. That way you are not struggling to hold them while taking everything out. This of course is why there is the added extra time if you are not quite a pro yet. Once you collect your belongings on the other side, make sure to put your child back into the carrier or stroller first then get everything together to make your life easier once again. This sounds so simple, but I watched a lady next to me doing the opposite and she looked a thousand times more stressed than I was! The testing of the water (again, if not breastfeeding) takes a little bit so you might have to wait on the other side. If you breastfeed, you will not have to do this, and you can easily feed your child on the plane! (little jealous here)
After security, I went straight to our gate to see where it was then right before boarding, I made sure to change Calihan. This way, I would hopefully not have to deal with that on the flight. When boarding, they check your carrier at the gate OR you might get lucky and there will be a seat next to you empty that way you can sneak it on. I was incredibly lucky on the way back because I had the whole aisle empty, so I snuck the carrier on. This is also why I do not check the carrier before the gate. Just incase😉 Our first flight though, was very full so I checked the car seat at the gate and carried him on.
Tip: if you must make a bottle for take-off, make the bottle right before you get on the plane, so you do not have to fuss with it and have your child in your arms! This is in hopes that you do not have any issues and the plane takes off right away, but it was so convenient to just pull it out when take-off came. We use room temperature water for his bottles and it’s the only way he will take them, so I just feed him wherever, but if you need to warm up your bottle then the flight attendants are most likely able to do that! Or at least they were pre-covid. Feeding or having your child take a pacifier is KEY to take off and landing. Their poor ears will hurt due to the pressure change and so I just made sure to feed Calihan when we started moving and then again when landing (my favorite part since I am a chicken on planes). The second bottle I would have to pour the water in on the flight, or I would just give him his pacifier. Other than that, the actual flight feels like a car to them. Sleeping is normal and if they are not the type to enjoy car rides, bring lots of distractions. Calihan also liked just sitting there observing everyone since that is somehow his thing.
Be careful about letting anyone else hold your infant in order to “help” you out. I know this sounds silly, but it is the first thing the doctor told us about flying because of all the germs, etc. that babies have not been around yet. I would trust a flight attendant to help if absolutely needed.
Lastly, Enjoy the experience! This can all seem incredibly stressful as a first timer, but I had incredibly low expectations and it worked out well! The experience of flying together for the first time is something to take in and enjoy. Calihan has now been on 6 flights and we will continue to take him once everything relaxes a little.
You totally got this!