In the past eighteen months, or so, I feel like I've done sixty-kajillion trips around this planet, to-ing and fro-ing between Asia, North America and Europe, all the while accumulating a significant body of knowledge with regard to travel and babies. And so, for your edification and entertainment I present, Traveling With Your Infant: ProTips.
Diapers are NOT Invincible
Pack a change of clothes for the baby AND YOURSELF in your carry-on luggage. Otherwise, you'll find yourself engaged in conversation with the kindly grandmotherly figure sitting next to you, and think you smell something strange, but didn't hear anything explosive, so take no notice of it, and then during a lull in the conversation, look down and discover you're covered in shit. Oh, and it's your thirtieth birthday. Happy birthday, me. My present to myself is forgetting clean clothes for me. Yeah birthday poo!
Limit what you carry
Despite my previous instructions, don't bring everything you can think of. Don't even bring half the things you find on a list of What to Bring When Traveling With A Baby. Diapers. Wipes. Clothes. A gigantic zip-lock bag. Food if you need it. A few toys. That’s about it. You’re only going to the airport, not Siberia. And if there is any unforeseen diaper / baby food emergency, there are stores in airports, you know. Nothing screams AMATEUR louder than new parents loaded down with a suitcase, gigantic diaper bag, purse, laptop bag, three auxiliary shopping bags overflowing with junk, a stroller, and a massive boppy. YOU DON'T NEED ALL THAT CRAP, People!
Ditch the stroller
Get your kid in a baby carrier. Its SO much easier. The baby will be contained, close to you, and happy. Plus you have more hands to carry all that junk you'll never use. And it won't get lost or stolen as happened to friends of ours (the stroller, not the baby).
Babies = Power
Don't be afraid to take advantage of that kid. Seek out the family lane at security. Go to the special assistance counter at check-in, request a better seat. With a baby, ask and ye shall receive. Usually. If you're in Asia. Not so much in the US. Even less so in Canada. But you WILL get all sorts of special perks and assistance when you are traveling alone with a baby in Asia, so take advantage of it.
Don’t be a Jerk
Be nice to the flight attendants. Take them a box of girl-guide cookies, or something. Or failing that, just don’t be a dick. A small gesture of appreciation can make your flight WAY more comfortable. Cuz those people have power. Like the power to ask the guy sitting in the one and only empty row to switch seats with you so that you and the baybeh can stretch out. Mmmmmmmm....leg room.
Get the Bassinet
Even if your kid won't go inside, it does make a GREAT place for your junk.
Be Careful Who You Befriend
While it may appear, on the surface, unendingly cute to make friends with that sweet little four-year-old Korean girl seated behind you, I suggest a reconsideration of this strategy. For when you finally tire of orchestrating a game of over-the-seat peekaboo with a jacked up, strung out, overtired baby and decide ITS BEDTIME, KID! the little Korean girl, who does not speak a word of English, will not understand your appeals for quiet, or your mimes indicating the baby is sleeping. Peekaboo! No she's clearly not! Look! The baby is awake! Peekaboo! Squeek! Squeek! SQUEEEEEEEEEK! (the sound of your own toy the girl has hijacked to keep your baby awake, thus riling her up further) And this little minuet will continue, probing previously untested ends of your patience, while the Korean girl's father snoozes beside her and the flight attendants ignore you and SQUEEK! you expose yourself to the entire plane as the baby pops off your boob and she's jolted awake AGAIN.