Flying with Baby take two (and three)

After five wonderful and long weeks we are finally home sweet home and it feels so good! We had such an amazing time with Gauravs family, they got to bond so much with Sim and we really enjoyed our time in India. We were also able to spend 5 days with some of our best friends in Dubai, who have a son that is 15 days older than Sim. Watching the babies interact and “talk” to each other made for some great entertainment. The worst part about G and my relationship is that our families are so far apart, so no matter where we go we are without one side of the family.  So as good as it is to be home we really miss his family and look forward to the next time we see them which is hopefully soon!

But the purpose of this post is to talk about my other flights with Sim so lets get started. Our flight from Mumbai to Dubai was only 2 1/2 hours long so I didn’t put much preparation into it, just made sure we had a couple diapers and toys. We were seated with another couple that had a 16 month old boy so he and Sim decided that rather than harmonize their voices they really wanted to each have solo parts so they too turns voicing their sleepiness and frustration at being contained in one location for too long.  Thankfully they both did sleep for a bit giving us a little break. Unfortunately my husband had to sit in one of the middle seats so that when I was feeding Sim her legs didn’t end up in the other dads lap. Those of you who know my husband also know how broad his shoulders are, so he came out of the flight sore and worrying about what our 14 hour flight was going to be like.

Fast forward 5 days and we were preparing for our 2:30 AM Monday flight. Yes I said AM.  We were able to put Sim to sleep by 10 PM allowing her to sleep for 1 1/2 hours before we had to leave for the airport.  We did our best to keep her asleep, packing everything in the car so that all we had to do was transition her from the bed to the carrier and get in the car. Well Miss sensitive Sim immediately woke up after being put in the carrier, but thankfully she was very happy to hang out and observe all that was going on around her.

A couple of flights were canceled the previous day due to fog, which resulted in a huge line for check in when we arrived. We witnessed a couple of  arguments as over tired people inched forward with their luggage for an hour and a half while the ticket counter workers looked like they could care less. In fact as I got closer to the front I took it upon myself to help speed the process by directin people to open counters. I was informed by our line neighbors that this was a very unusual situation for the Dubai airport. Sim was a trooper through it all and charmed all the people in line with her smiles as she sat on top of the luggage on the cart. We breezed through immigration and security and were able to be one of the first to board courtesy of Sim (one benefit, well maybe the only benefit of traveling with a baby). For this flight we did not buy a separate seat for Sim and we chose first row seats giving us some extra leg room and access to a bassinet. We anxiously waited to see who our row buddy would be and we were delighted when a very slim woman slipped past us to her window seat, and proceeded to put headphones and an eye mask on.  She did not move from her seat until just before we landed and said maybe 10 words to us the whole trip which consisted of multiple statements of “its okay” in response to my apologies as our belongings encroached into her space despite my best efforts.

Because Sim had stayed awake for the whole airport experience she was extremely exhausted by the time we boarded.  I had partially fed her while waiting to board and held off feeding her more until we were going to take off. She was happy to watch everyone board and as soon as I started feeding her again she fell asleep.  When the air hostess set the bassinet up I was able to put her in without waking her up.  She slept for about 1 1/2 hours and woke up just in time to join us for our dinner (argh!) Unfortunately with the bassinet set up it is in the way of the entertainment system so I couldn’t really use it. I was also too afraid of her waking up to sleep myself so I decided against using the bassinet for the rest of the trip.

I used the same packing system as described in my previous post and it worked out well again. I was so grateful for the travel boppy, I didn’t bring it on the short flight and breastfeeding was very uncomfortable.  In the month that we were in India, Sim became a lot more confident sitting by herself and also found an interest in solid food! That made it possible for us to take turns feeding her on the plane. Unfortunately in that month she also took up some bad sleeping habits which included wanting to fall asleep while feeding and screaming bloody murder if she couldn’t. That left me as the majority holder for her periods of sleep.  She slept pretty steadily for the first 6 hours of the flight so that allowed me to dose for a couple of hours myself. The rest of the flight went quite uneventfully, with her sleeping on and off. We took turns walking to give her a little change of scenery, and we put her on a blanket in the open space in front of us to give her a little play time on her own.

On the way to India I flew Air India, and even though it was a good experience, it did not compare to the wonderful service that comes with flying with Emirates. It reminded me of what it was like to fly 10 and 15 years ago. We got a pillow and blanket, headphones and a pretty bag with earplugs, socks, eye mask as well as toothbrush and toothpaste. We were also given hot towels that were extremely refreshing.  Sim got a small gift bag with wipes, lotion, bib and baby spoon. The food was delicious and plentiful and the staff was extremely friendly. The entertainment system was amazing with a huge amount of options for movies, tv shows and music.

I have to say that Sim’s curious and social nature really  played a huge roll in the success of our trips and I was very grateful to be able to have the help of the hubs on this return flight. I will say that even with my husband there, if it can be managed financially it really helps to have a seat for the baby. Unfortunately I do not really have any pictures other than the Polaroid that an Emirates staff member took of us. My husband and I were already exhausted and sleep deprived from our trip but we determined to keep a positive attitude whatever may come and I believe that it really helped with to make the whole experience that much smoother.

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