Thursday, 16 May 2013

Our trip to Malaysia - Part 1: Getting on a plane with a 3 month old baby

A couple of weeks ago, I decided on the spur of the moment to travel back to Malaysia with Isaac for a holiday. It was a month since my parents and in-laws left Melbourne and I was really missing family. Isaac was also doing all these new tricks and I was so eager to show him off. Not very rewarding for Isaac when he is only performing to an audience of one everyday - Mummy and mummy again. Isaac's a bit of a morning person so he doesn't really respond to dad when he comes home after work or any night visitors who want him to strut his stuff. All the baby really wants to do at that hour is head off to lala land or rest on mummy's chest while sucking on his tiny fist.

After I booked our tickets, I suddenly had a panic attack. I only had one day to pack for the both of us and I was really nervous flying with a baby especially since Ken wasn't coming along. I had to sshh the chaos that was going on, be positive and come up with a plan, try to stick to it and hope for the best. I read a couple of articles and tips from parents who had flown with an infant so I took all that in. 

So the big day arrived and this is what I did...

I didn't have a stroller (only a big-ish pram) so decided to put Isaac in the baby bjorn carrier whilst carrying him at the airport until we were on the plane. This was great as Isaac felt secure being close to me in such a public space. It also freed up my hands. 

He had his dummy attached to his bib all the time. This kept my mind at ease knowing he could be easily and quickly soothed if he were to start fussing or wanted to sleep. 

We also web checked-in so it saved us time queuing up. After we checked in, we headed to Mc Donalds to get some breakfast including Isaac. I took him out of the carrier to feed him. 

It was really helpful travelling with someone as my father in law was in charge of completing our departure cards and holding on to all our boarding passes and passports. This helped me concentrate fully on the baby such as talking to him and stroking his head or hands so he would be settled. Just as we were about to leave Mc Donalds and head in, Isaac needed a nappy change so we got that done. I was happy knowing that he was full and had a clean nappy. 

We quickly headed in and there was a very long queue at immigration. We were running slightly late. While we were queuing up, Isaac got lots of adoring smiles from other passengers and those around us even chatted with us. Finally passed immigration and dashed passed the shops towards the boarding gate. Too bad no time for window shopping :(

We sat down amongst some aunties. Isaac got more adoring smiles and so did we! Then someone said that families with children had boarded so we quickly jumped the queue and the flight attendants let us in. 

Some passengers had boarded the plane by the time we went in. We flew with a budget airline so it was pretty cramped. I had booked a front seat where the bassinet was but was told the seat directly in front of the bassinet was taken. I assumed another family with an infant was travelling. However, it turns out it was a couple without an infant. It was a bit awkward at first but I shall skip through the details. It all worked out in the end because I managed to use the bassinet seat and the couple didn't mind even though it was in their way. *Not flying with budget airline for international flights again*

Most people say to allow the baby to feed while the plane takes off to relief the pressure in their ears. Isaac fed at first but when the plane started going really fast and started its ascend he was startled and had his eyes opened really wide looking about what was going on. I then gave him the pacifier and he didn't cry at all. For safety purposes, he was also attached to me using an infant seat belt which was a bit cumbersome and I didn't quite like. It is optional so I didn't use it on my return flight.  

Anyhow throughout the 7 1/2 hour flight, Isaac stuck to his feed, play, sleep routine. He has eczema so the itch from it was really the only thing that bothered him. It was a bit difficult to sleep in the bassinet because he was so distracted by all the people walking up and down and looking at him. He slept in my arms or his grandpa's arms a few times and only slept in the bassinet twice. Each time he slept for only about 30 minutes.

The other issue is that I could not raise the arm rests where I was and it was too cramped to breastfeed Isaac so towards the end of the flight, I was feeding him in the restroom. It wasn't dirty or smelly which is why I decided to feed him there. 

I often find that I get really bored during the flight. 7 1/2 hours seems like a lot of time to kill. This time, it went by so quickly! I couldn't believe it. I was doing so many things like playing with him, feed, burping him, changing his nappy and before I knew it, 5 hours had gone by and they were serving the second round of meals. The next thing you know, we've arrived! The baby was sound asleep in my arms when he descended so no dramas. When we were about the exit the plane, the lady next to me complimented Isaac on how good he was. I was so proud of our little boy :)

Ah what a the holiday begins!