Maybe we were feeling particularly brave, somewhat crazy or just in desperate need of a vacation, but the urge came upon us to book a trip to Maui–wife, husband and 10-month-old baby. As the trip approached, people continually warned us about how awful the plane flight would be and offered tips on how to keep the baby-screaming to a minimum. We scoured toy stores and the internet for tiny toys to pack that might keep our little guy amused for the five-hour flight.
And then the day finally arrived. We were as prepared as we could be and fully expecting the worst.
By the time we reached our gate, the flight was already boarding so there was no time for Brayden to crawl around and get tired before takeoff–something we had counted on. We bumped and jostled our way down the aisle with our bags filled with diapers, breastmilk, baby food, clothes, toys, and all the other odds and ends parents can’t travel without.
We found our seats and Brayden was instantly captivated by the little lights and buttons above the seats, jumping up and touching them as he giggled loudly and grinned ear-to-ear. While he was pretty noisy, at least these were happy noises and not screams or tears. As the plane began to taxi down the runway, we grabbed Brayden’s sippy cup and offered him some milk for the takeoff (a tip we had been told to try to help with the ear popping on takeoff and landing). Brayden sipped for a few minutes and then snuggled in and fell asleep before we were 100 feet off the ground. SUCCESS! Barely in the air and we already had a quiet, sleeping baby — no screaming at all! Phew!
*One side note. One thing that has always helped Brayden fall asleep is if my husband or I wear a robe when we rock him. We ALWAYS wear one when we rock him or get ready to put him to bed, so we made sure we brought one on the plane with us. And yes, I put on the robe while I sat on the plane and held Brayden. I’m sure people thought I was getting a little too comfortable in a public place. What would I do next – put my hair in curlers and pull on a pair of house slippers? But if they knew that this little trick was the key to getting our babe to sleep on a crowded, noisy flight, I’m sure they’d be ok with it. 😉
Brayden slept for about 2.5 hours — much longer than his usual nap, but the hum of the engine and the bumpy plane ride seemed to lull him to sleep. When he woke up, we fed him and then pulled out one toy at a time — all entirely new to Brayden — and played with each until he got bored. One of his favorite activities turned out to involve a toy we didn’t even bring (isn’t that always the case?). He loved flipping through the pages of the Sky Mall magazine and hearing the sound they made when he ripped or crinkled them. Tearing pages of the magazine kept him occupied for close to 45 minutes. Before we knew it, the plane had landed and Brayden had made it through the entire flight without a single tear or scream. The trip couldn’t have gotten off to a better start!
Our plane ride home from Maui went even better, if that’s possible. Our flight was delayed two hours, but that just gave Brayden extra time to crawl around at the gate and get good and tired. It also gave us time to feed him dinner and get him in his PJs before we boarded. Once we were in our seats, Brayden was happy and awake for the first hour, playing with the lights or fan. Before long, he settled in (after I put the robe on again…). I told him a story, sang him a song, and before we knew it, he was asleep. And he slept the rest of the flight, slept while we exited the plane, slept while we got our bags at baggage claim, and continued sleeping on the ride home.
We were in complete shock that the flights went so incredibly well. If you’ve read previous posts, you know that Brayden has not always been such a wonderful traveler. When he was younger, he absolutely hated traveling in anything — car seat, stroller, you name it. Even the shortest trip to the grocery store would be a test in patience as Brayden would scream every second from the moment he set eyes on the car seat until the moment he was taken out. Apparently this is another one of those things that babies can eventually outgrow — thank goodness! Now that we know our little guy is a better traveler, we’re feeling much more confident about taking more trips with him in the future! My next post will be about how the rest of the trip went. 🙂