Travel with baby: surviving a transatlantic flight

Scared to fly with a baby

A week ago I did something I’d sworn I’d never do again – take a baby on a plane. On my own. I didn’t even blog about the last time I did it, when she was six months old, because it really was that awful. At fourteen months it could only be worse.

OK, no, I take that back. It could have been much worse the time before. She didn’t cry the whole way but she was on the verge a lot of the time. I spent most of that flight standing in the exit, trying to jig her to sleep in the Ergo to no avail. Nineteen hours door to door and that child slept FORTY-FIVE minutes! And not even all at once! Post-traumatic stress courses through my body at the memory.

Anyway, my fear of flying with a baby who could now move grew palpable as the day approached. I asked friends who were more experienced parents for advice. I repeatedly scanned the internet with variations of the search term “flying long haul with a mobile baby”. I asked my mother to pray. I half-jokingly begged Laurence to leave his job and fly with me. I questioned my sanity.
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It was hard enough getting a picture of her standing, never mind walking!

The three of us were sitting in the living room a couple of nights ago, catching up on the day before the bedtime routine. Talitha was playing with her daddy’s keys. Then she stood up without holding on to anything.

“That’s a milestone, you know,” said Laurence, in awe of what she’d just done. I tried to say it as sensitively as I could: “She’s been doing that for a while, actually.” Darn it, how do I keep forgetting to tell him about these things?

Then suddenly she took a step. I was about to say that she’d been doing that too – taking two or three steps – but then she kept taking them. I couldn’t believe it. She was walking.
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Seven reasons to wear your baby

I’m over at the Mums and Me blog raving about babywearing, as usual…

I didn’t start off planning to wear my baby. I researched, tested and bought an expensive buggy that my daughter cruelly rejected.

My idle dreams of parking it next to a bench where I’d gaze indulgently over her sleeping form were replaced by the reality that she just hated the thing.

Instead she spent her first six months mainly tied to my chest in a stretchy wrap. It’s been nothing like I’d imagined before she was born. It’s been oddly more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Our baby-wearing journey was born out of desperation but, nine months in, it’s become a lifestyle I’m in love with.

Here’s why.

Read more on Mums and Me…

Wearing an older baby: woven wrap vs soft structured carrier

While I know people who’ve worn their babies in stretchy wraps all the way into toddlerhood, I packed mine in when Talitha hit six months. Her weight by then made the fabric uncomfortably bunch up around my shoulders and the more mobile she became the more easily she wrestled her way out.

Having looked into all available options, I’m quite settled that seriously wearing an older baby is best done in either a soft structured carrier or a woven wrap. No other sling or carrier distributes that amount of weight evenly enough for long carries.

But which one? I’m comparing an ERGObaby carrier and a Storchenwiege wrap.

Ease of use
Either of these is potentially intimidating. There is a bit of a learning curve. Before going to a sling meet, I would have said that the ERGO was certainly easier to get your head around. Having had a face-to-face demonstration, though, I find the woven wrap every bit as easy to use.

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The sling meet: learning to wear an older baby in a woven wrap

Over five metres of intricately woven cloth have hung in my hallway for almost a year. My Storchenwiege woven wrap, a birthday present from my parents, has been draped over the banister, mocking me.

Repeatedly, I picked it up, flung it about my shoulders and cast it aside in frustration. I could put a baby in stretchy wrap with my eyes closed. What was so different about this?

I looked at YouTube videos and kind of got the gist but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. I also lacked the confidence to experiment. I’m not sure why. That’s just the way it was.

But I really wanted to be able to use it. My soft structured carrier, the Ergobaby, was comfortable and easy enough but I missed that cuddly feeling of being wrapped up with my baby.

I know some people go on using their stretchy wraps with toddlers but by the time Talitha hit around six months, my Moby was no longer as supportive. I realise this may have more to do with my physiology than the wrap itself.

Every time I mentioned my woven wrap angst on Twitter, Jax from Live Otherwise kept telling me to go to a sling meet. I meant to. I wanted to. But I kept finding reasons not to go. I hate being the novice in a room. It’s ridiculous but true.

Well, today, I finally went. A babywearing friend with a very pretty Beco carrier offered Talitha and I a lift to the Bristol Sling Meet.
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Babywearing addict tries theBabaSling

When I bought my first baby sling the salesperson recommended it on the basis that I was planning to get into babywearing “seriously”. She neglected to tell me that the thing about slings is this: once you’ve mastered one, you want to try them all.

So, with a stretchy and a woven wrap both securely part of our lives, I was excited to give an altogether different kind of baby carrier a go. Enter theBabaSling – a hammock style carrier and the newest addition to my addiction.
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Our babywearing journey so far

When I heard that this week was International Babywearing Week, my first thought was that some people take pieces of cloth a little too seriously. A public awareness week for slings, carriers and such things? Really?

But actually, I can’t believe how passionate I’ve become about the subject myself. What began as a mode of transport has become a lifestyle for Talitha and me. She has, quite literally, attached herself to me.

Back in April I asked for a woven wrap for my birthday merely as an alternative to the pram. When it arrived, a gift from my parents, I admired its beauty then put it aside and, characteristically, forgot all about it.

Then my tiny baby arrived. And needed to be held. All. The. Time. Like, seriously.

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