Don’t do it.
Ask yourself, will this trip be worth it? Can this vacation be postponed? Can that wedding be rescheduled? No? Alright then. You’re going in. Let’s proceed.
Know that any bad thing that can happen will happen.
Your flight will be delayed by six hours. You’ll be seated next to a childless twentysomething who has never seen a baby in his life. You’ll drop the baby’s pacifier and it will roll down the airplane aisle into oblivion. I recommend bopping your head along to the first sixty seconds of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on repeat to get you into the right frame of mind. Deep breaths. You got this.
Pack an extra outfit.
For yourself. Whatever power your tiny baby wields, they will use to cover you in bodily fluids with a force you didn’t even know they had. But this won’t happen in the airplane terminal where you have easy access to a sink. It will happen as soon as you are seated and stuck and strapped in with nowhere to go, in full view of your fellow passengers. You’re going to have so much fun.
Dress your baby in clothes you wouldn’t mind throwing away.
Take a moment to reminisce about the good old days.
Can you remember when you were kid-free and having to fly on an airplane was sort of a chore? What you wouldn’t give now to have two and a half uninterrupted hours to be able to sit in one spot and read your Kindle while a cheerful someone offers you pretzels and diet soda (or lets you nap! Bless those flight attendants). Life is so funny.
Get into insanely good shape before you go by doing a hundred pushups every day.
This is so you will have the right arm/upper back muscles to be able to hold/wear your baby for 14 hours straight which is pretty much what you’ll be doing during a whole day of airplane travel. You’ll wear them in the terminal, bounce them on your lap during takeoff, cradle them awkwardly to feed them on the plane, wear them when you get back into the other terminal on your layover when they refuse to nap… You are a one-woman baby-soothing machine and it’s a wonder that the people around you don’t stand up and applaud your unsung efforts.
Wear your strongest deodorant.
Prepare to be a sweaty mess during your first airplane trip with baby. Waiting to go through airport security for the first time? Already sweating. Baby starts crying eight minutes in to a four-hour flight? So sweaty. You finally land but it feels like you will absolutely never leave that plane? Sweat level: hot yoga.
Learn mantras and repeat them in your head when things get real.
I will never see these people again.
This too shall pass.
I am an ocean of calm and nothing on the surface can disturb my deep peace.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
Prepare to feel like a real badass when you finally reach your destination.
After you travel solo with your infant(s! people who do this with twins are true miracle workers), I’m not going to say it’s the same feeling as after you give birth to them, but you are going to feel like you can do ANYTHING. Like traveling with a toddler ☺