The first time i packed a diaper bag, there were no diapers in it.
The very thought of flying with a 9 month old all by myself was petrifying. But I knew a lot women had travelled with younger babies so I figured it couldn't be that bad. About 3 weeks back my baby and I embarked on our first journey across the ocean together. It was a 20 hr trip with one stop at frankfurt. The flight from
to Newark Frankfurt was completely booked and all the front row seats were already occupied by mothers with infants or people with special needs. The airline guys could not find me a seat with access to a bassinet or one with an empty seat next to it. So I had to sit in a crammed seat with V on my lap and her diaper bag stuffed between my legs. Doesn't sound all that bad until come meal time and the tray needs to be brought down. A child in my lap, tray down for food, 7 hrs of no leg room (i am very small, just 5'3" but a diaper bag takes quite a bit of space) and then came the part where I had to feed her. Lets just say Vrishti behaved like an angel, thanks to a very sweet 10 year old boy in the next seat. He had a baby sister of about 6 months of age and he was very excited to see what his baby sister was going to be doing pretty soon. He also let me keep my food/drink on his tray few times and kept V entertained for most of her waking time.
But the second haul from Fra to Blr was not so pleasant. Though we were lucky enough to get a seat in the front row with a bassinet, there was no sweet 10 yr old boy to keep V smiling. Instead there was scary mustache man. V was scared, getting cranky and just wanted to stretch her legs; and I don't blame her. The constant movement was making her throw up, she could not eat much and was making it through on cold ready made formula most times because she couldn't wait for the hot water to come. This time she was in no mood to neither eat nor let me eat. But we made it, safe and sound. I was pretty sure that I would end up losing her feeding bottle or my passport or something or the other. But thank God nothing of that sort happened. Ohh…and I carried a positively ugly hip hugging pouch for passports, boarding passes and paper tissue. Although not very fashionable, it proved to be very useful and convenient.
Diaper bag essentials:
I carried a back pack instead of a shoulder sling.
Pack your baby's favorite food (I packed a small jar of mac n cheese baby food, rice puffs, yogurt, 2 slices of cheese and biscuits for Vrishti)
Babies don't eat much solids. Load up on milk/formula/juice. Best thing to do is pack 3 ounce bottles of ready made formula* and mix hot water to it during feeding. I did see ladies fix up formula on flight but I am too butter fingered to be doing that.
Gripe water/anti gas drops
Pacifier - it will ease the discomfort due to pressure change (and any other thing your baby loves to carry around like her blankie or favorite teddy etc).
Teether, bibs, burp cloth, extra pair of socks, cap, rattle/toy, change of clothes, facial wipes, pacifier wipes
Diaper changing kit - pad, diapers, wipes
Do we get our stroller during transit or not? - Many friends I spoke to told me that strollers are not given back to us during transit but given only at the end destination. I got my stroller when we got off at FRA, where we had to take a bus to get to the terminal. I am guessing that is why they gave us the strollers. Or it could also have been because I was traveling on two different airlines hence the strollers needed to be taken along to be given at boarding gate of the second airline.
What will the airline provide us with to keep the baby in? - In case you buy a ticket for your baby, you can carry a child/infant car seat and attach it to the airplane seat using the safety belt. But in case you carry your baby as a lap-child,then you can request the airline to give you a seat in the very first rows where a bassinet can be fixed for the baby. You can make this request at the time of booking the ticket but make sure you do get the seat of choice while getting the boarding pass. Most airlines try their best to accommodate requests from parents traveling alone with a baby.
Can I carry a thermos with me for hot water? - No. Hot water will be given at request on board. But make sure you ask for it well before your baby begins a hunger fit, as such requests can take a while.
Should I give medicine to make my baby drowsy on board? - Not needed in my opinion. Babies already feel drowsy and sleepy when in motion so I personally would not recommend drugging them in flight. This will also result in them missing meals. Keep your baby entertained by talking, playing, taking walks down the aisle or letting them play around with the in-flight TV. Crying babies may be a disturbance to other passengers. But hey, isn't that why they are given headphones to plug up and movies to watch?
Can I change my baby's diaper in the basinet? - No. Be courteous to your fellow passengers and future users of the basinet and take the baby to the lavatory. When inside the flight, locate the lavatory with the changing station. Not all of them will have it. You don't want to wait for 30 mins only to find out you were in queue for the wrong one.
Will they have extra diapers on board? - Long shot. Avoid risk and carry more then the usual number your baby uses.
What can I do to ease any ear discomfort for the baby during flight? - Ask your PD if infant ear drops can be administered to ease the pain that runs through our ear canals to the jaw during take off and landing. (I believe most babies can feel this pain but not all adults) I gave her a drop in each ear just before taxi for take off and she was definitely calmer than all the other babies in the flight during take off, landing and pressure change. The drops usually work for 12 hrs.
* Ready made formula come in 3 oz bottles made of glass and 8 oz bottles made of plastic. Though glass bottles are heavy and might not seem like a good option for travel, it worked best for me because V drinks only 3-3.5 oz at a time. The bigger bottles would have been wasteful.
Pic Taken on : Jul 7 2011
Pic Taken on : Jul 7 2011