Advice

8th June 2007

We head back to Amsterdam Tuesday. On our last visit I was oblivious to my new state of pregnancy, which made me very moody (you may recall the Midget Busker Incident). I’m hoping the entire city won’t seem so vaguely uncomfortable this time around. Of course, this time we’ll have a baby with us, so perhaps that’s wishful thinking. Speaking of which, comments on taking international flights with infants and “Amsterdam with a baby” ideas would be much appreciated.

61 thoughts on “Advice

  1. Katy

    We just took our first flight with baby, 9 weeks old, to meet his grandfather. 3 hour flight. Pediatrician said to give him baby Tylenol about 30 minutes before take-off, and to make sure he had something to suck on so that it would help with any ear pain. Being quite modest, we had a handful of pacifiers at the ready.

    I packed a Boppy pillow into a duffle bag with a few other things for my carry on. Baby was on our lap, cradled in the Boppy the entire flight. Never made a peep. We had the AB (window and aisle) seats on the way there, and the less desirable EF seats (middle and window) on the way back.

    We also had a diaper bag with a changing pad. My husband, who is a pretty big guy, changed the baby once on each flight. He actually thought that it was easier than he imagined to move around in the lav with the drop down changing table. We also had a few disposable changing pads that we used on top of the regular pad in order to keep the main one clean over the course of the trip.

    We travelled with a lot of powdered formula just in case and used it quite a bit. Took 2 bottles, and glad we did, we left one there by accident. We also fed the baby each time on the plane.

    Call your airline multiple times to try to get the best seats you can.

    Gate check your car seat, and bring your own garbage bag or travel bag to put it in so that it is nice and clean when you get it back. Don’t trust that you will be provided one at the airport. The car seat will not fit in the overhead bin, so don’t bother trying.

    Skimp on your stuff and bring enough basic clothes for baby because you have no idea if you’ll go through them and you don’t want to have to wash them on the road. Definitely wash them in the sink asap though so there aren’t any stains just in case. Since you’re going abroad, bring your own diapers and wipes, unless you think you can get what you need there.

    Our baby was 24″ long and about 13 pounds and slept in the bassinet part of his stroller at night, that might be an option for you. If you are going to use something the hotel provides for you, you might want to bring your own little sheet, or, an “inclined to sleep” pillow if you use those.

    Use family restrooms whenever you can so you have an extra set of hands. The ones we used were very clean and private, including the shower room at the Admiral’s Club at O’Hare. Buy a day pass if you have a lot of time to kill, we had a delay going back.

    Have fun! I was so stressed about the trip and it was much easier than I thought it would be with a little one.

  2. aimee/greeblemonkey

    Is Hank old enough for Bendryll? And if so, check it out on him beforehand because MY SON HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF THE 5% THAT BRIGHTEN UP WITH A DOSE OF BENEDRYLL! Ping, ping, ping around the interior of an airplane! Weeeee!

    Not that I condone drugging children.

    But long flights

  3. aimee/greeblemonkey

    Oops. Didn’t even finish my thought there. Was so engrossed, remembering that Benedryll-induced pinball airplane ride.

    Also, make sure you have stuff for him to chew on at take off and touch down to help his ears.

  4. Lori

    My advice for long flights with infants:
    1. bring grandparents. :)
    2. breastfeed on ascent and descent UNLESS the baby is asleep. if the kid’s asleep, don’t wake him to nurse.

    A friend mentioned that some airlines apparently have little bassinets that can be hooked onto the bulkhead (her baby slept in one on the way to Italy). You have to call ahead to make arrangements for a bulkhead seat and the bassinet, though, so check with your airline asap.

  5. Monica

    Ask for the bulkhead and reserve a bassinet in advance (like 24 hrs). Its nice to be able to have a place to put the baby down during meals and sleeping time. Make sure you bring your own blankets though to cover the bassinet.

    You should always ask at the check-in counter and again at the gate if there are empty seats and can you have three seats together even if its not the bulkhead. This way you can bring the carseat on the plane and have an even better place to strap the kid in during meals and sleeping time. Of course, that is dependant on if your baby will sleep in the carseat. Lucky for us, the carseat was like Ambien to our baby.

    Bring a carry-on with crazy extra diapers, clothes, formula (if you aren’t breastfeeding), toys, etc. but also bring a smaller diaper bag or purse that you can put the important stuff in (a couple diapers, wipes, pacifier) and put under the seat so you aren’t going in and out of the overhead compartent whenever you need something.

    Milk the baby for all its worth. Seriously, I know nobody wants to be a jerk and seem like they are taking advantage but traveling with a baby is a whole new level of travel logistics so take the shortcuts whenever you can. Get on the plane during pre-boarding, accept when security offers to cut you to the front of the line, do the same at immigration and customs. Don’t feel bad.

  6. Cam Bowman

    Hi Maggie,

    Yep, easiest way to travel internationally is with the bassinet in the bulkhead. Call ahead for the bulkhead seats but I know they keep at least two bassinets on board for passengers traveling with small babies. The biggest concern for new parents traveling is ear discomfort. Great advice from above, breast or bottle feed for the first ten and last ten minutes of the flight, this will relieve any blockage in the ear canal.

    Have a great time!

  7. karen

    We took our firstborn to Germany for a wedding when he was 12 weeks old. I nursed him during takeoff & landing and played with him – soft toys, pat-a-cake when he didn’t sleep (which, luckily, he did a fair amount of) on the flight. Check the wall over the toilet on the plane for a pull-down changing platform. I missed it the first two times I went in and boy was it easier than changing the baby on the toilet with the top down! We traveled with a carry-pack (no stroller) and had a blast. Pack light and have a great trip!

  8. Tracy27

    If Hank seems to be having trouble with his ear canal pressure during takeoff/landing even after you’ve tried having him suckle, you may want to try getting coffee cups with hot paper towels in the bottom (i.e. dampened with hot water) to clamp over his ears; the heat and humidity seem to help the ears stabilize. Most flight attendants are familiar with this trick and won’t think you’re from space for asking.

  9. Seattle

    I’d head to the Voldelpark (large part in the Oud Zuid section). Nice weather will bring out everyone, but the park is large enough to not be overcrowded. Also, the grass area in the Museumplein tends to have room.

    The Jordaan is a neighborhood with many families, for what that’s worth. Other than the immediacy of the Centraal Station, the Leidseplein, and the Rembrandtsplein, you really can’t go wrong and will have a great time (Besides, based on your writing, I doubt you are the type to want to mix it up in the drunken foreigner vibe that pervades these places).

    Veel plezier!

  10. Melanie

    Maybe he could have a baby hookah, thereby calming him? Or not.

    I’m jealous, I want to go to Amsterdam!! Even if midgets sing to me.

  11. Mel

    I’ve found that travelling with babies is pretty painless when they’re really young (pre-crawling). Both of my boys have slept better on planes than they do at home – I think it must have to do with the droning of the engines and the motion.

    One item missing from my carry-on last time was a change of clothes for myself. Consequently, I spent half the flight smelling like baby puke – lovely!

  12. MeL

    The furthest I have flown with an infant was from DC to Utah, so I am entirely lacking in inter-continental childcare advice. Just make sure you have a copy of Hank’s birth certificate – we found out a week before our flight that we had to have one (for children under 5) even to fly domestically. That was a fun, sweaty phone call to the state records department!

    So, lacking anything actully constructive to say… I’ll just confess that I have an unholy envy of your second foray to the glittering city. The hubs has been there several times, and I finally had to banish all talk of his joyous exploits there from the house. It was too painful.

    Have a great time, post lots of photos, and take advantage of the fact that this is likely the last trip you will take there before Mighty Baby is old enough to remember exactly what Mommy and Daddy were doing on that vacation…

  13. Sarah

    Flying with babies is easy so don’t worry too much. Make a list of things you want to bring so you don’t forget anything and then bring half of it in your carry-on just in case your luggage doesn’t make it to Amsterdam at the same time as you do.

    If your baby is asleep during take-off or landing then don’t wake him, it won’t bother him at all.

    We’ve travelled with all four of our children at all different stages and 10 months until 2-1/2 years is the worst since they don’t want to sit still for any amount of time. My husband always brings a book and thinks he’s going to get a chance to read it AND get some sleep. Foolish man. I always have to have a pow-wow with him in the airport about how we need to focus on the kids if we’re going to get through the flight. I think that it the best advice I can give.

    Have fun! Amsterdam is awesome.

  14. Gwen

    There’s a lot of construction going on in Vondelpark right now, so it might not be your best bet. But the Museumplein is a good place for small children, and you can get some pretty tasty food (and beer) from the outdoor side of the cafe there.

  15. Amanda

    I learned when Dooce asked this question that you should breastfeed on takeoff and landing. It took, like, 672 comments for that little tip to sink in.

    Have fun — can’t wait to see your pics. Amsterdam is on my list!

  16. kate

    Bring a change of clothes for everyone. Bring pacifiers and a bottle, even if he isn’t a pacifier, bottle sort of baby. Bring just a couple toys. The flight over should be fine. It’s the flight back that will be harder. Not that it’s ever EASY with a baby, but from my experience, as well as what my friends have said, the smaller the baby, the better.

  17. Michelle B

    We traveled from Michigan to Australia when our boy was 3 months old (4 months old on the way back) and to Texas when he was 6 months old. And I’ll just say it – Benedryl was our friend. It also really helped for getting him adjusted to the 16 hour time change. Aside from the baby drugging – having something for him to suck on is great. And if you use formula – only use bottled water on the plane – as the plane water is laden with bacteria (yes, something I learned watching Oprah). And try to use bottled water in Amsterdam – our little guy’s stomach couldn’t hack the change in water in Australia and Texas and as soon as we started making his bottles with non-tap water he was much happier.
    Just remember to have a great time! Oh, and you can gate check both an infant car seat and a stoller.

  18. Fiona

    We took our 3 month old baby to Amsterdam last year from Sydney Australia. Apart from the long 22 hour flight, we had an awesome time and everyone was very helpful to us with a baby. Check out my blog at http://www.baby.thoms.com especially week 18 for the Amsterdam run down and week 21 for the travel tips.

    By the way love your blog. I haven’t commented before but you inspired me to start a blog on Sydney a few years ago. We have recently moved to the US for 2 years and have a new blog on the weird, wacky and wonderful things I am encountering over here!

  19. denise

    be early, organized and as streamlined as possible. as a frequent flier, nothing is more irritating to me and fellow passengers than people traveling with children, carrying 15 different bags, acting like the world stops for them and delaying take off while they get situated. i’m sure you don’t want to be “that person”.

  20. becky

    Ditto on the breastfeeding. Also my in-laws got us a car seat cover/carry bag (from Marshal’s or Tuesday Morning–some store like that) and though I thought they were crazy at first it is actually really helpful because things get tossed around like mad under the plane, even with at-gate check-in. Garbage or large bage would work well too.

    And it can take a while to get those things when you get off the plane, so either don’t hurry to get off or one of you wait for the stroller/car seat while the other takes the baby inside the airport to wait. Almost every time we have flown (3 times in her four months of life) it takes MUCH longer than expected, and it gets too crowded if everyone waits in the jetway.

    Love your blog and store! And Hank is pretty cool, too.

  21. thethinker

    Ooh, Amsterdam! I’m extremely jealous. The last time I went to Europe, we never got around to Amsterdam.

    Have a fun (and safe) trip!

  22. Matthew

    I don’t have advice. Just a question…

    Are you CRAZY?!!!

    There’s no way you’d do this with twins so perhaps I don’t have the right frame of reference. :)

    Have a great trip!

  23. Blythe

    Lots of good advice above, which I plan to re-read when we do our transAtlantic trip next month with our six-month-old!

    One note – Pampers diapers and wipes are widely available throughout Europe (I live in Germany), so you if you’re OK with that brand, you don’t need to bring enough with you for your whole trip.

  24. amanda

    The power of the breast cannot be stated strongly enough.
    Soothes the baby, keeps other passengers at a distance and takes your mind off bumps.

    Gallon Ziploc bags a’plenty. Each poopie diaper gets its own.

    I’m not a religious woman, but a little prayer can’t hurt.

  25. Cath

    The weather is set to be glorious here in Ams this week! The zoo (www.artis.nl) is open on Saturdays until sundown and you can bring along a picnic. Otherwise there is the Blijburg ‘beach’ on IJburg, which you can get to via tram 26 from Centraal Station (all of the islands along the IJ are worth a look for the quirky modern architecture and it’s much quieter out there than the centre). The parks are all great (although lots of construction at the top of Vondelpark) and very accessible. Oh, and avoid Rembrandtplein at all costs – midget busker’s current favourite stomping ground.

  26. elaine

    after having taken a 6 week old from the east coast to the west coast and a 6 month old from boston to italy, i an say that it seems like everyone has covered the bases very well for you with the advice. the nursing on take off and landing is THE BEST advice. no one want to hear a baby with painful ears crying until they can equalize him, not even the parents!

    have fun! in my experiences in europe with babies/small children-the europeans love ’em! esp the older women-they cannot walk by without some interaction with a baby.

  27. Nienuh

    What Seattle and Cath said. Can’t really add anything, except maybe a cool museum when it gets to hot.

    Anywhere along the IJ will be perfect, or… you can take the train to Zandvoort aan Zee, about 30 minutes from the central station. Don’t do it on the weekend… it will be very crowded but on weekdays it should be ok as most people are @ work then.

    Veel plezier!

  28. Lauren

    We flew to Amsterdam when my daughter was 3 months old. I had her in a Maya wrap sling so it was easy for her to nurse whenever she wanted. She didn’t make a peep the entire flight. While we were standing in the plane waiting to walk off people around us were shocked we had a baby with us.

    One thing I have learned from traveling with kids is to pack a ziplock bag with anything you might need if they get sick. Tylenol, gas drops, syrup of ipecac (because I’m crazy) a baby thermometer, all that drugstore stuff you might not think to bring but will be real happy you have in the middle of the night in a hotel room.

    Disposable diapers work great at catching vomit if you’re quick enough.

    Have fun & good luck!

  29. GraceD

    Knowing how together you are, I know you’ll check with Mr. Hank’s pediatrician about giving him Benadryl. The doc may not agree with some of your kind readers above, and then again she may say that’s fine and provide specific dosing information.

    Breastfeeding on take-off/landing worked for my kiddo Molly when she was a wee one. She’s been a hardy traveller ever since, though now that she’s 16 I would hesitate to let her leave my sight in Amsterdam, hash cafes and all. Not that she doesn’t see that sort of action here in Santa Cruz, CA.

    Take along a bulb syringe in case the Hankster catches a travel cold. I just came back from the UK with a doozy of a virus and I would imagine the babies are just as vulnerable, even more.

    Should people shoot you glaring stares on the plane if Hank cries, keep in mind that they will be dealt a hand of savage bad karma for their lack of compassion. They will be cursed on many levels, from not finding a good parking place for at least 20 minutes to a tax audit that will whoop their asses.

    Finally, for your kazillion adoring readers, bring back reports on all the cool European baby goods.

  30. Judy

    I just read the June/July ’07 issue or Fit Pregnancy which has a Q&A (page92) with this question. The doctor agreed with the nursing/bottle during takeoff and landing.

    He said that babies are susceptible to all the viruses on the plane. He said to bring an eye dropper and drop a few drops of saline solution or breast milk in each nostril every half hour. This will kill viruses, loosen mucus and make the baby sneeze -the best way to eject virus out of the nose.

    Have a fun trip!!

  31. MustacheBoy

    My biggest recommendation for the flight: take a box of earplugs with you. You can use some yourselves, but also offer them to everyone around you. That way they won’t hate you and be mentally willing the plane to crash into the sea, in the event that your kid’s really fussy in transit.

  32. Ellen

    Great advice- and like everyone has said, it will be easier than you think, and far easier now than when he’s moving!! Zip-locs, extra everything (because we’ve all heard the horror stories of sitting on the runway), and a SLING are on my list of must-haves, even with an 18-month old. I never carry a stroller or carseat. The sling is indispensable for getting her to sleep in the airport/on the plane.

  33. Lucy

    I find it horrifying that some parents would drug their babies for a flight. Nurse on takeoff and landing to help his ears!

  34. Francine

    I live near Amsterdam (about 10 mins from central station, by car), and I work in Amsterdam. Drop me a note – if you need anything at all, directions or whatnot, I can probably help you out while you’re here.

  35. Cristen

    I’ve taken 27 flights with my now 15 month old including 2 overseas trips. Ditto the previous advice; breastfeed on take-off and landing, try and get a seat for the carseat by asking at every opportunity. Don’t let the europeans tell you you can’t take a carseat on the plane, you can if the carseat says it’s allowed on planes. I have hauled her car seat on every trip and NEVER regretted it, especially in a crazy cab in a foreign country (or our own). We haven’t had an extra seat on the overseas flight yet though. The bassinet on the bulkhead wasn’t a whole lot of value unless they put a blanket inside it, otherwise it was just a small box (literally a cardboard box) on our airline. If you choose the bulkhead row, you may be sitting beside another infant, who may or may not be sleeping and crying on the same schedule as your infant.

    Bring enough formula for the whole trip if you use it, different country’s formula tastes different. I always brought one bottle and one sippy, even though my L.O. was breastfed. Always use bottled water for baby. Bring lots of extra, and easily accessible kleenex, lots of plastic bags for garbage bags. Lots of extra empty ziplocs are handy. Diaper wipes are a great hand cleanser when necessary. I always brought the water-free hand sanitizer too.

    I never drugged my kid. I travel with her vitamins, saline for nose, tylenol for emergencies (never used it so far) and sunscreen.

    Spare clothes for mom in the carry-on are a great idea. I made that mistake once. It was bad.

    You can bring baby food and formula that will not count towards your single quart-sized ziploc of toiletries, but you will need to remove the food from your carry-on through every security checkpoint so you might as well put it in a big ziploc too.

    I loved having my kid in a sling through the airport, it felt safer having her close. And it’s a great privacy shield and pillow for the baby during the flight. You can’t wear your baby in a sling during take-off and landing though.

    Buy diaper cream there (and diapers too), europeans have great stuff.

    I always pack light, expecting to launder, but layers for babies and don’t expect the weather forecast to be right. You will need very warm and very light clothes on almost every trip I find (A/C on too high, no A/C, cold plane, etc.)

    good luck! Travelling with an infant is great. You talk to more people and restaurant people are often really helpful.

  36. NormalNot

    Alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.

    A stiff drink for you. A stiff drink for Bryan.

    For peace with your seated neighbors, stiff drinks all around. (Remember, on international flights, drinks are free.)

    Finally, when nobody is looking, a second drink for you. It will all seem so much easier.

    Needless to say, I am not winning any parenting awards or accolades from AA.

    Our flight to Heathrow out of SFO was tranquil after we relaxed and stopped worrying and out 10 month old and our 3-1/2 year old seemed to relax when we did. We did have a lot of “I am so sorry’s” during the first 30-40 minutes of crying 10 month old and his older sisters tantrum over seatbelt issues.

  37. Aimee

    Hi there…

    I live in Paris, France and I just flew home to the US to see my family last week with my 2 month old son. I nursed him on take off and landing and he had no problems with the pressure change. I found that the constant white noise on the plane actually put him to sleep. Once he was asleep I put him in the baby bassinet that Air France had available. I also used my maya Wrap to hold him against my body while he was awake instead of holding him, it was nice having my arms free and I could walk around with him to sooth him. I don’t know why but strangers felt that it was ok to reach out and touch my baby’s face. He’s cute, ok. But when he’s sleeping in the bassinet he’s right by the isle and they just thought it was ok. So, maybe keep an eye out for that. Other than that… I think as long as your babe is close to you he will be just fine! This is the best time to travel with them.

    Oh, and I asked people around me to hold my son while I went to the bathroom and that seemed to make them more easy about about having a baby around them. All of them looked at me like, “oh shit!” when we were sitting down. But after a while they were glad to be around us.

    Have a nice trip! I’m sure it will go just fine.

  38. Aimee

    OH, and I packed extra baby things like his drops for his eyes, meds, etc in zip lock bags just in case and had a few extra plastic bags in case of air sickness. Glad I did because my son barfed landing in Paris, he didn’t even care but I was happy to be able to take off his cardigan and put it in the ziplock bag and forget about it. Also, I found that the plane was super cold. So I had a little skully hat for my son to wear to keep him warm.

  39. rob

    Wow, I hate to dissent here (I’ve been a fan since the 90s) but unless its a family emergency of some kind, don’t travel with your young child. Not only does it seem like a lot of trouble given all the comments here, but I can’t figure out what Hank gets out of the deal, other than a lot of discomfort. What benefit will the trip have for him?

  40. Marlespo

    My 3 year old has taken 19 flights, 15 of them international from London to the USA or back. So looong flights. My 4 month old (also named Henry) just flew with us from Chicago to London last month. So I have a lot of tips, especially for international flights. :)

    It depends a LOT on the temperament of your child. My 3 year old has always been extremely difficult on flights because he was so full of energy and bounciness and did NOT want to sleep on the plane. Which means some of the flights nearly led me to kill myself. my little one is SUPER mellow and he didn’t even notice we were on an airplane. He could not have been any easier, seriously.

    Either way, these are the most important bits:

    1. Bring ziplock bags. I’ve been peed on, puked on (on my face no less) and pooped on mid flight. Empty ziplock bags hold gross things well. Which brings me to my 2nd point.

    2. Spare space for a new top for you. You might not need it, but if you do? Oh youl’l be sorry to have not packed a new top. I was, when I got puked on in the middle of a 9 hour flight with nothing to change into.

    3. Give up the notion of free time. Don’t pack a magazine. Or a book. Or anything for yourself. use every bit of space for things for Hank and *if* you get the chance to do something for yourself, just use what they’ll have on the plane. The movies, the music, etc.

    4. Use a plastic changing mat for the plane. The fold down tables in the bathrooms get gross pretty fast, and a plastic mat is wipeable. Fabric mats will get as gross as the gross surface beneath it.

    We fly so often because my husband is from the UK and I’m from the US, and it is important for us to have our kids know both families. Plus, I believe raising a kid to be internationally aware, living your life as normal and making your child adapt to you rather than changing your universe to be a bubble-wrapped babyland… is wonderful. :)

    Only a handful of the flights were intolerable, but they were still WAY worth it. You won’t regret taking Hank overseas. :)

  41. debra

    All great advice so far, and therefore very little to add although I’ve found traveling with some sort of NIGHTLIGHT (one of those types you clip on a book) is very helpful when you’re trying to maneuver in a darkened room with a baby (and then you don’t have to worry about a plug adaptor). Also, I have found that some hotels will do baby LAUNDRY and charge a very minimal amount for the “load”. (I think I paid $5 at one place –they’re flummoxed with baby clothes and don’t know what to charge, so just throw out any reasonable number!). I hadn’t seen anyone mention BIBS, but take a few of those on the flight for any messes/barfs as well as several of them in your suitcase. They don’t take up much room and can help you avoid a clothing change. Like other readers, I’ve been puked on during the flight and have now learned to bring a clean T shirt for myself (and hubby needs to do the same). I also travel with MICROWAVE STERILIZER BAGS since you can “nuke” bottles, pacifiers or anything else you’d like. Most hotels (and even airports) will have a microwave in their kitchen even if you don’t have access to one in your room. This is a super quick way to get your things cleaned, and the bags don’t take up any room.

    You will be tired, but it will be wonderful. Take lots of photos. The European clothes and color sensibility are brilliant (although a LOT more expensive than Old Navy), so I expect to see some stylish threads and cool toys. Have a terrific time.

  42. Wendy

    I had some trouble breastfeeding my daughter on the flight when I traveled with her when she was 3 months old (she refused to eat for whatever reason) and ended up with mastitis. Yeouch. If you’ve got the space, I might suggest bringing a hand pump. And keep a good sense of humor on hand. I have found people to be really kind when I’ve traveled with my young girls. Have a wonderful time!!

  43. Sarah

    We’ve made the Seattle-London trip with our son at age 3 months (4 back), 7 months and 17 months and the first trip was definitely the easiest, so you’re smart to be going now. A non-mobile baby doesn’t realise you’re not letting him/her move around on a plane and the environment’s plenty exciting enough. Jetlag transitions are simpler when the babes are still on a shorter cycle, and that helps you transition more quickly too.
    It’s worth knowing that as well as the traditional flat bassinet, many airlines also have bassinets which are essentially carseats configured for the bulkheads (on British Airways, they’re made/supplied by Britax, even). BA actually only carries one flat bassinet per longhaul flight now because so many people have requested the carseat “bassinets” instead. It depends how long your wee one is, but we found that ours just wasn’t comfy in the flat airline bassinet (the straps are tightened over the top which just freaked him out, and he was too long for it) whereas every time we’ve used the car seat “bassinet” he’s slept really beautifully on the flight to Europe. The flight back is a different matter because it hasn’t necessarily been sleep time, but again, this was easier when he was smaller.

    The flight crew was also really helpful in the matter of spare blankets, warming up bottles in microwaves on board, etc, especially once we were flying with an older kid, so it’s always worth asking. And honestly, if you’ve got ANY air miles you don’t mind blowing, get an upgrade. Just for the use of the lounges, it’s worth its weight in gold on flights to Europe.

    Finally, dunno if anyone’s mentioned pre-boarding, but that’s quite nice too. I’ve done it both ways – gone on first, and at the very very end – and I think it probably depends on your baby and how overstimulated he’s going to be/tolerant of waiting whilst the 263 people in front of you find somewhere to stash their bags in the overhead lockers. If he’s like mine and nosy, then he’ll love it; otherwise, it could be worth getting onto the flight early and bedding down.

    Have fun!

  44. Weeze

    I’ll second the recommendation for the Jordaan. I just spent a week there, and it really is heaven on earth. Calm, beautiful, peaceful.

  45. jill

    I was always kind of surprised by people advising me to dose my children with gravol or benedryl prior to travel. I’d always consider it, but then decide it was much easier just to take it myself! Whatever your route, a calm mom helps create a calm baby…. stay cool! good luck!

  46. Pam

    Seats in the bulkhead with Hank in the bassinet is a jolly good tip. For you, if you’re going to be doing a great deal of walking, check out Anti Monkey Butt Powder. The stuff seriously rocks – for grownups only, though. http://www.antimonkeybutt.com

  47. marrije

    Yay that you are coming to Amsterdam! I’m going to attend the Adaptive Path shindig (all 4 days) and maybe I’m going to see the internet superstar baby there!

  48. kate

    Lots of good advice above. I second that you don’t need to drug your child! Nurse or provide something to suck on during takeoff and landing, but yeah … no need to wake a sleeping baby.

    Also, a sling or a wrap will be a lifesaver for you. As long as there isn’t any metal on it, you can walk right through security without removing the baby. That eliminates a major hassle.

    I am normally an advocate of not using the dvd player on road trips, etc. But on my last flight I was really happy to have it with. At one point my daughter was really fussy and we popped in Baby Signing Time (the only thing she’ll ever actually watch on tv and she loves it because it’s full of babies and kids). We turned the sound down very low and it settled her quite nicely.

  49. wingnutamy

    Here’s what’s crazy: he will need a passport. I’m sure you already have one for him, but I am lagging on getting one for my daughter because I am totally annoyed that if I’d taken her abroad in 2006, we wouldn’t have needed one, and now it takes 10 weeks to get one EXPEDITED.

    Other than that, all the moms who travel with me to Korea and back nurse their babies, snag rows with multiple empty seats when there is one, and use the bulkhead bassinet hook ups. I fly a lot, and babies/toddlers do not bother me. They tend to sleep when you score tickets around their regularl sleep schedule (if you are lucky enough to have a regularly scheduled sleeper.)

    Have a great trip!

  50. marrije

    Maggie, I guess you are probably in Amsterdam by now. If you happen to run out of baby clothes, be sure to run to the nearest HEMA (can’t miss them, any Amsterdammer can direct you swiftly to the nearest one) – they have excellent, simple, affordable clothes, particularly in Hank’s demographic bracket.

    My kids are now 6 and 10 and I still pine for HEMA baby clothes…

  51. danielle

    Maggie, I don’t know anything about traveling with babies. But I can give you some advice about shopping in Amsterdam (for kids). Keet in Huis (http://www.keetinhuis.nl/)for example is a great store for kids clothing, furniture and toys. They have a very stylish collection. Please let me know if you’d like to have more great shopping tips. I am more than happy to help out. Have a great time in Amsterdam!

  52. dana

    first of all, take your strolle to the airport and don’t check it until you get to the gate. it’s really hard to get through the airport with a baby if you’re carrying all the stuff and the baby too. also, at most drug stores, they have ear plugs called ‘ear planes’ and they come in adult and child sizes. they will help with the ears popping during ascent/descent. since they limit liquids, and sometimes when ears hurt the kids won’t take a bottle or breast bring lots of LOLLIPOPS! get the kind w/safety string – easier for little hands to hold and safer. i know giving an infant sweets is normally a no-no but desperate times call for desperate measures and if a kid has never had (or only seldom has had) candy it will completely take their mind off the pain, even if just for a few moments. bring or wear an extra shirt if you can for yourself in addition to plenty of extra clothes for baby. murphy’s law dictates if you bring yourself something to change into you won’t be barfed on…but if you don’t you are guaranteed a barf fest. i learned that the hard way. travelling ALONE with 2 kids under age 3. banana baby food, grape juice and cheerios smell much nicer going in than they do coming out.

  53. Jennifer

    Well, I’m not parent, so I don’t have any advice on traveling with babies…yet. :)
    BUT, my Mother is from The Netherlands and I love visiting the old country. Amsterdam is just marvelous, so many beautiful flowers and delicious foods.

    I also have one of the most common forms of dwarfism called achondroplasia.

    “Midget” isn’t a nice term to use, in fact it’s offensive. It was a term coined by P.T. Barnum to describe General Tom Thumb around the turn of the century.

    It would be nice if you bestowed the same type of open understanding to people with dwarfism, that you show to other minorities you support. We don’t like being mocked, discriminated or made fun of either. We’re just like everyone else.

    Have a great trip! Hank is just adorable. :)

  54. Maggie Post author

    Hi Jennifer, thank you for being so kind about my ignorance here. Do you mind if I ask what the preferred noun is? I thought it was “little person,” but then someone told me that was more offensive. Do preferences vary from person to person?

  55. Koray Berk

    2 major issues with flying with babies.
    1) make sure that they arent tired/overwhelmed before the flight.
    2) have something around that they can drink/suck. the swallowing helps release the pressure on the ears.
    I just flew a number of times with my twins.

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