My seven month old just took her first flight on MEP from KOMA to KMKE and back on my wifes lap last week.
Before leaving, we consulted our doctor as to what we might expect, in terms of physical discomforts. He said there are two schools of thought on this: Drug them or keep them occupied. Not wanting to go the drugging route with benadryl, we chose the occupation route.
- My child hates being restrained for long periods of time whether that would be in my lap, her high chair, her stroller, etc. Since she was going to be on my wifes lap for the 1h 15m flight, we took her a sort-of-quiet part of the terminal about 45 minutes before board. We laid out a blanket with toys, and let her roll/crawl around to her hearts content. By the end of the 45 minutes, she was begging to be held by my wife or me.
- We checked her stroller on gate side, but learned the hard way that the airline is not liable for any damages to the stroller when you do this. Upon arriving in Milwaukee, we discovered the airline broke her stroller. Luckily, the part they broke off was a $5 piece that took a quick trip to a baby store and 30 seconds to re-install. Had the value of the broken item been more, I would have been upset.
- On the flight to and from KMKE, the flight attendant would ask if she had ever flown with an infant before and gave her special instructions as to what to do in the case of an emergency. Additionally, she gave tips on how to keep her calm throughout the flight.
- At the advice of our pediatrician, on the accent and decent, try to feed your child. This will help your child to pop their ears as the cabin is being pressurized/ depressurized. So, we packed a bottle of milk for her to have during these times and it worked like a charm. According to her pediatrician, most crying is the result of the childs inability to pop their ears.
- We brought along several of her smaller hand-held toys to play with during the flight. On the flight up, we didnt need them as she slept the whole way. My wife kept her up a little longer past her normal nap time that morning so that she may be a little more likely to sleep. On the flight back, we needed the toys as our flight was first thing in the morning and during her normal active time.
Im happy to report that Norahs first and second flights were a success and I think she enjoyed the experience more then her parents. Now, this was a one hour flight. Next month, were flying from Omaha to Regan National in DC, which is 2h 15m. Weve purchased a seat for her and I hope that flight will go smoothly as well.