Thursday, June 30, 2011

Flying with a baby

If Zoe had received air miles for her flights she would be platinum on Star Alliance by now. Unfortunately babies who are under 2 do not receive any miles, in particular because they are (almost) free as long as they ride on your lap. And for babies under 1 you definitely want them to ride on your lap so you can comfort them. I mainly nurse Zoe for most of the flight (except of course the long-haul ones) and in fact kept nursing her past 1 year *also* for that reason. It is much easier to comfort a rowdy baby with a bit of comfort milk than with a rice cracker. And I have tried both. There is a lot of controversy about if infants should ride in car-seats on planes and I must admit that I take a rather pessimistic stance due to my obsession with studying airplane crashes: a plane is not like a car, there are very few 'small' accidents where a car seat would actually be useful. Instead I focus on being able to hold my baby and comfort her, and I like the extension belts that are common on European airlines. These help hold the baby in place in case of minor turbulence and during take off and landing. Unfortunately US airlined do not use extension belts but leave it up to the parent him/herself to hold the baby tight. Their reasoning is that you will not squash the baby in a hard breaking situation (a crash...) so in reality there are pros and cons about both ways. My experience is that Zoe cannot slide down on the floor during a normal take off or landing (which is luckily most common) with an extension belt, however this is a possibility without.