The prospect of taking a ten-month old on a 23 hour non-stop flight is enough to strike fear into the heart of any parent. It certainly did mine, so much so it made it hard for me to get excited about our holiday because I couldn't see much past the flight. The flight had its highs and lows, but overall was a success and more than I could have hoped for. Here's an excerpt from a diary I kept, from preparing to leave to getting the Squishy over his jet lag.
High The Squishy takes his first three steps in the kitchen on the morning we leave.
Low The Squishy is quite wingy while we are preparing to leave. I realise I have forgotten to feed him - woops! Fed baby = happy baby - fancy that!
High Mum and Dad drive us to Sydney to catch our plane which saves us adding a five or six hour train journey to our already huge trip.
Low Dad pulls into the loading zone at the airport before having to quickly pull out. My screech from the back seat stops him colliding with a bus. We missed it by no more than an inch. Pre-flight disaster averted!
High The Squishy has so far travelled beautifully and takes great joy in stretching his legs is an empty departure lounge.
Low Accidentally get on a travellator going the wrong way. Shits and giggles with some vigorous pram pushing gets me to the end. Another disaster averted!
High We are seated next to another couple with a baby. Their baby is young enough that she sleeps all the way to Singapore.
Low The airline loses our stroller in transit. Crap.
|The Squishy asleep in the air-plane bassinet|
High The Squishy sleeps for several hours on the first leg. At 1.30am we change flights and he is bright, happy and easy to manage. Once we have boarded our flight to Athens, he quickly resettles and is back off to sleep.
Low The in-flight chicken dinner - although the garlic potato mash deserves a shout-out.
High Greek passengers delight in the Squishy. They actively seek him out to play, ask for cuddles and generally adore him. He laps it up. He particularly likes an elderly Greek man by the name of George who sits next to us. He also enjoys George's wife who plays 'Ring a ring a rosie' on his hands.
Low Did I mention Cattle Class? Well it deserves a mention #businessclassenvy
High Sitting on the bulk head with a bassinet affords us plenty of leg room - sweet!
Low For a short time I feel mildly nauseated - thankfully it passes.
High The Squishy plays contentedly for the remainder of the flight. On disembarking we give him a round of applause.
Low Struggling with luggage, fatigue and paperwork for tracking a lost stroller.
High The airline feels bad and fast tracks us through customs in the queue reserved for diplomats. Awesome!
Low No stroller.
High Bus at the front door of the airport drops us to the front door of our hotel. No waiting. The Squishy sleeps all the way.
Low Fatigue sets in. Running on three hours of sleep in the last 30+ hours. Must stay awake until night fall. Hard given we arrived at 7.30am.
High We go exploring in our jet lagged haze and find a nice cafe / bar and order a couple of beers.
Low The Squishy knocks the glass off the table - it smashes everywhere.
High Staff are lovely. They clean up the mess and replace the beer.
Low Five minutes later, the Squishy does it again. This time the drink showers everything in a 180 degree radius. I have beer on my face, my newly washed hair and all over my clean top and jeans. It even soaks through to my undies. Thankfully, no broken glass this time, so we can laugh along with the patrons laughing at us.
High An early lunch, moussaka, fresh fried calamari and Greek salad.
Low No baby high chair - we secure peace from the Squishy by serving him copious amounts of bread.
High We retreat for a two hour nap. Desperate for sleep!
Low Trying to wake up when the alarm goes off is horrendous and the Squishy is the biggest grump. I'm so tired I want to vomit. I shower instead.
High We eventually come to and have an evening drink, lemonade for me, Greek coffee for the hubby, ginger biscuit for the baby. The Squishy finds more Greek fans to snaffle him for a cuddle.
Low There is no laundry in the hotel to wash our beer stained clothes and there is no such thing as a laundromat - crap!
High The Squishy falls asleep while we are out - we retreat to the bedroom to read, write and SLEEP!
Low The Squishy wakes at 2am ready for the day. Not cool. After a couple of hours of hoping he will go back to sleep, we give him a light sedative as advised by our GP. After half an hour, he sleeps through to the morning. We made it.
We could not have asked for better from our little man and most of the fears I had were unfounded. His jet lag lasted for two days, both nights we gave him a small sedative at around 2am which had him sleeping his regular hours. By the third night he had resumed his normal sleeping pattern.
So what did I learn about flying such a long distance with a baby of this age?
- Take a small selection of NEW toys.
- Bring rusks or food that will buy you small moments of peace.
- Speak with your doctor about a suitable sedative in case your baby becomes distressed. Test it before you go.
- Keep up your babies fluids. The air-conditioned environment is very drying.
- If you are breastfeeding, keep up your own fluids to ensure you have a good supply.
- Have multiple sucking options available for your baby for take-off and landing to assist with relieving ear pressure. This can include breast, bottle and dummy or pacifier. Don't commence feeding or pacifying your baby too early should they loose interest during ascent / descent when they need to be sucking and swallowing. Have all options at the ready should your baby prefer one or the other.
In short, we survived - arguably we thrived in a situation that could have gone horribly wrong. For that I'm thankful.