24 Hours with an Infant...
I feel like everyone wants to ask how the plane ride went but they're making a cringe face at the same time, just because they don't expect the best answer...
Honestly some people would probably even question our decision to travel so far with such a young baby, but to me, it was no question, because that's where half of her home is, that's where half of her people are and this is where my home and this is where my people are.
SO OFF WE WENT.
The flights went:
New Orleans to Detroit - 2.5 hours - Departed 7:25am in the morning
Arrived at 11am Detroit Time
Detroit to Tokyo - 13 hours - Departed at 1230pm (Detroit Time)
Arrived in Tokyo at 230pm
Tokyo to Singapore - 7 hours - Departed at 4pm
Arrived in Singapore at 1150pm
(If you'd like to know about how to handle baby jet lag, check out my post here!)
Sienna, lucky for us, is a perfect flight baby. PRAISE THE LORD. There was never a point where she cried for no reason. She's perfectly happy on an airplane as on land and that was just the biggest blessing. The hardest thing for her to handle was when she would wake up from a nap and it would still be dark because the lights are off in the cabin. I would walk her back to the attendant's station to show her some lights and just distract her from the darkness!
Things we did right:
- Packed a crap ton of toys.
>> This is KEY. Just things to distract her is a huge huge thing. After all, you're stuck in one place, with very little to distract for a LONG TIME.
- Requested a baby bassinet (and got it for the 14 hour leg)
>> The real kicker about getting the bassinet is not really just getting the bassinet. She's about to hit max capacity for laying down in the bassinet and the thing can't be up on the wall if the seatbelt sign is turned on (it HAS to be removed each time the seatbelt sign is on) and so we only really used it a handful of times. The most amazing thing about getting the baby bassinet is getting assigned the bulkhead seats. I cannot stress how much you NEED to get this if you have a young child. You just have more room and makes it a lot easier for storing toys and moving around, bouncing her. We had regular seats for our 7 hour stretch and I have to say that it was significantly more miserable.
- Purchased and Brought our stroller arch.
>> When I bought this for our rock and play, I worried that we were being a bit excessive and buying yet another toy we wouldn't need that much. THIS WAS SUCH A BLESSING as we were able to put it on her stroller, as well as the baby bassinet.
- Purchased and brought an umbrella stroller
(Made transit and security a lot easier than having a weight on us while maneuvering through the airport). Got ours as a lightning deal on Amazon for $109 and we love it. It has a car seat strap as well which is really nice. Not sure if we'll use that particular function on the trip but it's a nice thing to have since we did bring the car seat with us also.
Things we didn't do right:
- We booked our tickets online first, then called to handle infant fees and etc.
>> This is a Rookie Mistake and a BIG tip for you:
I didn't find this tip on any blog I was researching -
DO NOT BOOK INFANT IN ARMS TRAVEL ONLINE.
Call the reservations line straight and they will automatically assign you the bulkhead while booking over the phone. If you DO NOT, it will be on a first come first serve basis. Some airlines are more accommodating than others. Regular passengers will request the bulkhead and Delta (from Detroit to Tokyo) knew there was an infant on board and did not give those seats away but Delta (from Tokyo to Singapore) went ahead and assigned the bulkhead to regular passengers before we managed to get to the counter at the gate.
- Flying the trip with three legs
>> Now, we didn't really have a choice, because we booked the trip based on the price. However, we would have much rather flown 16 hours straight from San Francisco to Singapore than to fly 13 hours, then know that we had to do another 7. That was incredibly grueling and I will know now to put the direct flight from SFO to SIN on price alert all year round. We didn't have much transit time which I can't decide if I liked or not. It would have been nice to stretch, but I don't know if I would have wanted any longer of a journey than we had to.
How did the parents fare?
Sienna did great and she did sleep. However, she didn't sleep in the bassinet like we were hoping she would, because she couldn't turn over onto her tummy in it, so that meant we had to hold her for each nap and her bedtime sleep (about 4/5 hours) and boy, was that hard AF.
Sleeping on the plane, without a baby in your arms, is hard enough. It's even more uncomfortable holding her so I don't think we got any real sleep while she slept. On the last leg, my body was shutting down because we had been up for 24 hours by that time and so when I held her for her nap, I actually managed to sleep for at least an hour from pure exhaustion.
To say we were tired when we arrived, and to say we were elated to touch down in Singapore is an understatement. I truly think, at one point, we weren't sure if we were going to make it, hahaha!
The biggest thing to make this whole trip successful is stay positive and keep your eyes on then “prize” which is landing at your destination.
We made it and so can you!!