• Rachel Nakayama

Above the clouds, Up Up and Away

Our first flight.

We took our daughter on her first airplane trip. We decided that while the mask mandate was in effect (at that time until April 16, now extended until May 3, 2022) that we would use our "free" miles and take a trip. Of course the miles aren't actually free, they were the miles we had from a trip my husband and I had planned in 2020 before the pandemic had hit and it got cancelled. Those miles were set to expire in September 2022 and we didn't want to lose them. So now the fun part of planning a toddler's first trip. How many diapers do we take? Every parent's guide to flying is "if they take a bottle or a pacifier for take-off and landing it really helps." Well, how much formula should I take, what are TSA's regulations on formula, powder vs liquid? How many changes of clothes should I take for her? How long of a flight should we try for the initial flight? Are layovers better or should we just fly non-stop? What if she just screams the whole way??

First step, destination. I chose to go to Kansas for 5 days, traveling on Wednesday and Sunday. We have some friends who had recently moved and we could fly from Florida to Georgia, Georgia to Kansas City, Missouri and then rent a car and into Kansas. We decided that if we are going to fly we should at least make an adventure out of it and what other reason do we have for going to Kansas. Those tickets for my husband and myself used up all our credits. Step one, complete.

Now for the packing; I thought about mailing out a box of diapers and some formula so that we did not have to fly with as many. I tried tracking how many diapers a day my daughter was using; some days she would average 6 one day she used about 14. I should mention that we like to pack only carry-ons so that if we need to change our flights, we have some flexibility. We decided that Kansas City is a big city, they will have diapers if we need them when we land. I ultimately packed about 50 diapers. Lesson I learned, the car seat carrier bag, has a lot of space to fill with diapers, hundreds of diapers can fit around her car seat and the airlines do not have a weight limit on the car seat bag.

Last step, the flight. I concluded that over the dozens of flights I have been on, there has usually been at least one rowdy child. Maybe it was a screaming baby, maybe it was the child kicking the back of the seat the whole flight. Regardless, I have shared in my plethora of children being, well, restless and uncomfortable on flights. It was now my time to give back to the world. If my daughter cried and screamed the whole flight, that was just going to be the way it was.

My daughter never ceases to amaze me. She loved the flights. She slept on all the legs, loved the Delta cookies, so much that one of the flight attendants packed her a bag of about 30 cookies to bring home, the pressure did not seem to bother her ears and she really only cried once; on the landing into Atlanta with so much turbulence and pressure I can definitely understand how women can go into labor on a plane.

Overall, the worry was for nothing, we were overprepared, we all had a great time and here we are in the middle of April. Our next blog is an appreciation post for the development in our clinic since I last wrote, but this was more fun to share!