So although I was looking forward to spending Christmas and New Years with our families I was feeling a bit apprehensive about taking our first flight with The Baby. I asked a few other mums for advice and also consulted the world wide web. Some conflicting advice I was given was:
- feed your baby on take-off and landing so their ears pop
- customs are okay about milk and you can take on extra liquids if its baby milk
- you should order your milk at the Boots in departures
- you can only check a pushchair if it is fully foldable
- you can check a car seat and push chair seperately
- take a sling so that you have your hands free in the airport
Luckily at check-in they said you can have two parts of a pram. We flew Brussels Airlines so they may be more flexible than the notoriously strict Easy Jet or Ryanair.
We checked one sports bag with our clothes in and the presents for his family. Our hand luggage was my camera and all of his changing stuff and baby clothes, also some toys for him. Our bag was not over the weight limit (which the Belgian was VERY anxious about - he's a worrier you see!). So far so good.
We got the the security checks and they took our liquids (two pre-made bottles) and made us put them on a different conveyor belt. It was slightly more stressful juggling the baby, the pram and stripping ourselves of belts, boots and coats. We kept having to pass the baby between us and I think the people behind us were probably wishing they had joined another queue.
I went through the detector with The Baby only to have us pulled over and frisked (rather vigorously) so at only five months old he has been patted down. Poor little thing!
We picked up the two large containers of pre-made formula, that we had ordered online, in Boots. Slight hold-up as they were reserved in my maiden name as I haven't changed my name on my passport yet. Have any of you? I always have to remember to book the plane tickets in my maiden name too!
We had a leisurely breakfast of mini pancakes in Burger King and browsed the shops. We were feeling ever so slightly smug. We had loads of milk and our bellies were full and The Baby was happy.
We stopped for a little photo shoot as this was clearly an occasion to be captured in the scrapbook. I was delighted when a lovely mother offered to take a picture of all three of us (see below) and even seemed to know how to handle our ancient SLR and was taking shot after shot with different angles and settings. Score!
We got to the boarding gate and were looking forward to sailing past all of the other chumps and boarding early. The Baby started to grizzle for a feed and it seemed perfect timing as we could feed him on take-off. I looked under the pram for his bottle bag and, horror of horrors, it wasn't there.
We started frantically searching and it confirmed our worst fears. The bottle bag was MIA. The Belgian went running through the concourse retracing our steps. The cleaner in Burger King kindly informed him that if it was left lying around it had probably been destroyed. Gee thanks for the vote of confidence pal!
The Belgian returned flustered clutching a Boots bag. Could this be a solution? It contained a pink sippy cup. The Baby doesn't use them yet. My heart sunk. But I persevered and filled the sippy cup with the recently purchased milk. The Baby was having none of it. Turns out boarding gate eighteen was not the location for teaching him how to use a sippy cup.
By now he was really howling. He only ever really cries when he is hungry. But his hungry cry sounds like he is being horrifically tortured or has been starved for a year. The fellow passengers were all secretly hoping they did not get seated next to us. I hadn't even brought sweets to bribe them with as one mummy blogger had suggested. This was quickly turning into a nightmare.
I urged The Belgian to try the security gate as this is when I felt like I last saw the bottle bag. He obliged even though it was miles away. Another mum took pity on me in the meantime and gave me her ten month old's sippy cup which had a longer teet. He still wasn't interested.
Spoiler alert in the picture below..
The Belgian returned, even more flustered and sweaty than before,but he was clutching the bottle bag. I was SO relieved. The Baby was soon sucking away contently.
I asked how easy it was to retrieve them and he said they weren't going to hand them over and that he ended up having to drink some of the milk to prove it wasn't arsenic or something.
I went to the facilities to clean out the kind ladies sippy cup and when I returned a girl was chatting The Belgian up, whilst he wrestled with the hungry Baby. She was an ex-student and wanted a big catch up with us. I was immediately wondering if she had witnessed his hungry meltdown and felt that we weren't selling the notion of parenthood so convincingly!
We borded the plane. He fed and slept on take-off, totally unfazed by it all.
Our air hostess was an older Scottish lady who loved babies and made a big fuss of him.
I had to translate for The Belgian as she said things like, "close your wee peepers, wee bairn, to get some shut eye."
He was the model flyer and now we are thinking that the world is our oyster.
I liked this capture below...as if I got to read a page of that magazine...
He was awarded with a Brussels Airline bib and penguin shaped teething toy. Both of which are being put into his special box.
We were even given a complimentary drink and chocolates. However as the air hostess made her way down the aisle offering a basket to passengers from their reactions you would think she was offering them fish guts. I was pleasantly surprised to find the basket full of little squares of chocolate instead.
By the end of the flight he was pretty tired...
But not too tired that he couldn't fill his nappy just as the seat belts sign came on and we had to stay in our seats ready for landing. The Belgian informed me that if I had any sense of smell it would not be pleasant.
Needless to say once we landed the bag with all of his spare outfits came in handy. Plus a bumper pack of wet wipes.
The return flight was not as stressful. We didn't let that elusive bottle bag out of our sight though...that lesson is now firmly etched in our minds.
Pictures of The Baby in Belgium coming up on the blog soon...