DO: Buy "ready to use" formula to bring on the plane
This stuff is spendy as f**k, so I never bought it before this trip. I paid $10 for a damn 6-pack. But, it meant that to feed Audrey on the plane, all I had to do was fish a bottle of formula out of my bag and pour it into one of her bottles. If even that sounds like too many steps, you can get nipples that attach directly onto the formula bottle itself. I opted not to use these, though, because the nipples are really small and weird and make me feel like I'm feeding a baby animal instead of a baby human.
Haha look at this goat! He's having a bottle!! What a crazy goat! What's he gonna do next?!?!
The other advantage of bringing ready to use formula is that you have to undergo some extra screening to get through security at the airport, since large liquids aren't usually allowed. This will give you a great opportunity to flirt with the cute TSA agents as they check to make sure your baby's Enfamil isn't secretly a bomb or something.
Hey baby what are you doing later?
DON'T: Have the kind of baby who thinks pooping right as you board the plane is some kind of hilarious laugh riot
There isn't a whole lot you can do to avoid this, but maybe start by having a sit-down talk with your baby about air travel etiquette before the trip. I did not do this, and as a result, my baby pooped as we were boarding not once but TWICE. The second time, she even blew out her diaper a little bit. (for any non-parents, a "blowout" is when the poop, ummm, 'exits' the diaper through the back waistband, frolicking instead in baby's clothing. You can't sit the baby down or push on any part of the diaper at all, lest more poop come out. It is exactly as horrifying as it sounds)
Both times, I had to ask the flight attendants for special permission to run to the bathroom and change her diaper before takeoff, while all the other passengers on the plane rolled their eyes and stared at their watches. We were those people.
You know, 'those people.'
DO: Bring a baby carrier onto the plane with you
I strapped Audrey into her Ergo carrier several times during the flights. On the first flight, I put her into it so that she could take a nap, and she slept wonderfully. On another flight, I put her into it before we landed, and she sat calmly the whole way down. I just had to bounce in my seat like I was having a seizure for like 20 minutes straight, but that was better than listening to her crying. The Ergo also let me be hands-free while we exited the plane. Turns out it's a lot easier to wrangle luggage when you're not also holding a baby.
DON'T: Try to eat a sub sandwich while baby is in the Ergo carrier.
You will have to turn it sideways and eat it like you're playing the flute, and then lots of crumbs will end up on the baby's head. People will judge you.
Like this, but with a sandwich.
Having trouble imagining it? Okay, here:
Please don't make me also add the baby carrier. I don't have Photoshop and that's way, way beyond my abilities in Paint and PowerPoint.
Ugh, okay fine. See, I told you this was going to be a disaster, and I was right.
DO: Buy formula and diapers (or better yet, ask family members to do this before you arrive) at your destination rather than packing them
These things take up a lot of space. Don't do that to yourself.
DON'T: Travel somewhere that doesn't have your store brand of baby formula
Canada doesn't have Rite Aid, which means they don't have the Tugaboos Gentle formula that Audrey drinks. No big deal -- Tugaboos Gentle is just Rite Aid's off-brand version of Enfamil Gentlease. So we got Audrey the Enfamil instead.
Holy good God Almighty, the things that that Enfamil did to her digestive tract were unforgivable. After a day and a half drinking it, Audrey started letting out farts that could clear a room. They smelled like the worst dog farts of all time -- like a dog that had eaten nothing but overcooked Brussels sprouts and yard poop farted directly in your face. It was a sort of rotten vegetables and weeks-old dirty mop water fermented in feces kind of smell. And she was ripping them constantly, with a big smile that suggested she was proud of her work.
As you can imagine, a couple of brewskis only made the farts smell worse.
The poops smelled just as bad, and they were liquid. She blew out her diaper more times in the week we were gone than in the previous six months of her entire life. That was what I got to deal with on the tiny changing table in the cramped airplane lavatory while an entire aircraft full of people waited for me.
I have PTSD about the whole experience now.
On the whole, Audrey was very well-behaved on the trip and it was great to see her in the arms of her great-grandparents, who had never met her. I might even go so far as to say it was all worth it.
But if I never again have to clean up a liquid poo blowout in an airplane bathroom AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE WAITING FOR ME, it will still be too soon.