Flying with a baby will be easy they said, babies will just sleep they said. Em, let me just revisit what I can only describe as a very painful flying experience with my child. An experience that I am in no rush to revisit for some years. Let me elaborate.
Our travels back from Cyprus to reach home began at 315pm with a coach transfer to the airport from the resort we were staying at. Now, I knew that the time of day and travelling through dinner time as well as bed time could be an issue, little did I know just how much of an issue and the upset that was to come.
The bus ride from the resort to the airport was fairly easy going, Eleanor sat on my lap quite chilled out. Watched out the window and played with the window screen, there was little fuss and I was in good spirits, particularly good spirits considering we were headed for home and back to the daily grind. Although holiday was over, I was excited to get back into a way of life and routine.
We arrived at the airport and got through security with no issue, we had a coffee stop and a toilet trip to get Eleanor changed and freshened up for the flight. Our problems began soon after, a tired baby who refused to nap for the day and didn’t take much food is never a good sign. Waiting in the queue for the gate to open and board, I could tell the trip would be a bit of hell. The queue was massive, the plane was to be full and my baby was very grumpy and impatient getting, this would only worsen as the hours went by.
We finally got boarded and took to our seats on a full plane. To begin, we tried to entertain Eleanor as best as you can on a plane with limited space. We got out her toys from her travel bag and used them as a distraction for her, as this was failing, we tried her with some snacks. Eleanor was not in the mood to play, nor to snack, nor to even have her feed of milk. It was going to be one of those days only without the comfort of home.
The plane was very hot and we had to strip her off to her nappy to try and keep her cool along with a hand held fan. As Eleanor was becoming crannies more people began to intervene. The children in front of us tried to play with her and offered soft toys (she tried to gnaw on these) and I gave them back before the children were left horrified. We were offered words of support and guidance from those surrounding us and we shared sympathetic looks with another mother on board with a baby.
Eleanor was very upset and frustrated after a short period on the plane, with five hours to go of this we tired her with a dose of nurofen to rule out teething pains and a trip to the bathroom to change her. In honesty a change made it worse and she returned to her seta screaming and crying. As red as a beetroot and my heart was breaking for her. I’ve never seen my baby so upset and I was worried that the plane was too hot for her, I didn’t want her to have a convulsion from the heat or anything scary. There was little that I or Euan could do.
From hour three, probably two hours of crying down, this became a constant scream and attracted the attention of the whole flight. I rocked my naked baby in my arms as Euan fanned her off. I tried to offer her the breast but she refused and just wriggled about as though in pain and screamed. I was unsure what she wanted, I haven’t seen her in this way probably ever, a sight and experience that I do not want to revisit. Ever.
The holiday was great, but seeing Eleanor so upset and uncomfortable broke my heart and I have vowed to never put any baby through the stress of travelling again. I’ll never forget how upset she looked and how helpless that I felt in those hours on the plane. Did we push her too far unneccesarily?
We finally got Eleanor to sleep through feeding and rocking, it was painful and heartbreaking. I was worried d for my babies health and I hoped that she was okay as she lay along my torso flat out and hot. I watched her every breath like a hawk and monitored her through tears in my eyes. Travel was just too much for her and I’ll not put her through this for some years again. Not until she can walk, talk and tell me what she needs and wants.
When landed, we had to dress Eleanor who was like a rock from being so flat out. Trying to fully dress a sleeping baby is no easy task, believe me. We waited until near last to get off the plane to avoid the rush. We didn’t avoid the stares of others and the judgement from people as they passed, I wouldn’t have expected to either after the scene that was put on. I was glad to be going home as I’m sure all three of us were. The next goal was getting to the car and making it home for midnight.
Upon arrival home we just dumped our bags and got into bed soon after changjng Eleanor. What a day, what an experience and what a fright we all had. I felt hot and bothered just reflecting on the time we spent aboard the plane. Bed time was a long awaited treat, we were all exhausted and a good sleep was definitely required.
Though not a great experience to say the least, I’m glad that we gave it a go and if was worth while for some family time in the sun and a different climate bonding. Eleanor and Euan have grown a great bond and I’ve fallen more in love with my family than ever which is hard to imagine as I thought I couldn’t possibly have more love to give, turns out, I do.
If there is anything the trip has taught me, it is to chill out and relax more. Don’t live life so on the edge, take it as it comes and forgive yourself for mistakes and mess ups as they will happen, over and over. There’s no way to parent right or wrong, only what works in that moment. We can revisit and review, we can scrutinise and reflect on our abilities but we should never punish ourselves for what has been. We learn grow and move on and I am learning to be more supportive of my own decisions and confident of my parenting.
I’d not recommend to fly with a baby so young but you don’t know how it will go until you try, if you are getting set to jet off with a baby, all I can recommend is that you are as prepared as can be and are aware that it can go either way. Good or bad. Whichever way however, it wont last forever and a bad experience will slip to the back of your mind soon after landing.
For now, I’m sticking to those home comforts and local surroundings. I’ve done my time in the sun and I’ve had my fair share of stress that comes with holidaying as a three, baby in tow. I need to holiday to recover from the holiday, there is no two ways about that. As I return to work in a few short weeks, I am going to have some down time at home with my baby and making the most of the moments that we share together. I am keen to work on her development and milestones at home for the time being and enjoy as much cuddle time as I can possible get. I am all too aware that I will be back to reality soon and that my days with Eleanor all to myself are well and truly numbered.