1. I used a carrier with Cy and just checked our carseat and stroller at the ticket counter. I know that you can gate-check those items, but our stroller situation is really just a snap-in frame for our carseat. I realized pretty quickly that at security I would have to remove Cy, take the carseat off of the frame, fold up the frame and put both through the x-ray machine, and then do the whole thing in reverse, all while holding Cyrus. This just didn't seem practical to me. By using the carrier, I was hands free and the security part was essentially seamless. Also, the carrier worked great when Cy fell asleep during the flight and I wanted my hands for drinking, or eating, or doing a Su Doku puzzle.
2. Breastfeeding. I toyed with just bringing expressed breast milk in bottles for the flight, thinking it would be easier, but I'm glad I didn't. Cyrus doesn't just nurse for food, he nurses for comfort. I was able to to nurse him when he got cranky, and basically just put him to sleep. I think this made the whole thing more enjoyable for both of us. Plus, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be to nurse him on the plane. He is still small enough, I supposed, that he doesn't really encroach on the seat next to ours.
3. I took advantage of pre-boarding. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I saw a woman with a baby get on with the rest of the cattle today, and all I could think was, Why? Having a few moments to get the necessities out of my carry on luggage and get ourselves all settled without having to worry about hoards of people coming down the aisle really helped.
4. I had an aisle seat. On both flights, I was able to easily stand up and rock Cy when he got cranky or restless. I think this made a big difference for both of us. I would have felt really trapped had I been in the middle or on the aisle.
5. Cy is only 3 months old. Yep, I think this definitely helped. He will sleep in my arms, and he has no problem just chilling in my lap. I have a feeling that things may not go so easily in a few months.
A self-portrait as we wait for our flight to Denver
And now, a few thoughts about pre-boarding:
When I pre-boarded on the flight to Denver, the couple sitting next to me also pre-boarded. Now, as Jason pointed out to me when I complained about this, I realize that they don't ask you if you plan to pre-board when you choose your seat, but I really think they should. Isn't it the point of pre-boarding that you have a few minutes to get yourself settled without feeling pressured by those around you? When that other couple showed up right after I got to my seat, I felt like I lost my opportunity to relax and get organized for a minute, because I became instantly anxious about letting them get through. Granted, they were extremely gracious, but still. I think this should be taken into consideration. Just a thought.
Today, after they called for pre-boarding, I made my way to the gate and happened to be the first one there. The woman taking boarding passes put her hand on my arm and said "Wait a minute, this woman needs extra time" and then gestured to an older woman with a cane who was standing behind me. She took her boarding pass and then took mine. Now, I have no problem with this woman going first, but I have to admit I was confused. Weren't we both there because we needed extra time? Why was her need for extra time greater than mine? Sure, she took longer to get down the gateway than I did, but I'm pretty sure it took me longer to get situated in my seat. Was she in a special pre-pre-boarding category? I just didn't get it. I don't know that I've ever seen pre-boarders be prioritized, but maybe that's just me. Can anyone offer any insight for this one?
So, there you have it. Chalk it up to another milestone, if not for Cy, than at least for me.