The baby and I just returned home from spending a week with my parents and it was wonderful! It was our first time flying and it was a success! And now that my daughter and I are veteran travelers, I can share my tips and observations regarding travel with a baby.
Hands down, people are more annoyed with a crying baby than they are a nursing one. We were waiting to board our flight and the baby got hungry. I got the brilliant idea of asking her to please wait until we were on the plane before I fed her but she was having none of it. I tried to hold her off, singing to her and shaking her rattle because it was only going to be just a few more minutes but she was having none of it. She started crying and people started staring. I could feel them judging me for interrupting their morning coffee! Once I draped myself and started nursing, they returned to their regularly scheduled programming. She latched on like she'd never eaten in her life, her little noises making me smile and feel guilty. I saw her hunger signs and thought I could put her off for just a few minutes until we got settled on the plane – silly mommy! The baby eats when the baby is hungry and not a second later! Of course, when I had to pull her off so we could board she loudly protested, but soon we were in our seats and resumed nursing.
We had a window seat and no one was the wiser. I got no looks and save my immediate area, I doubt anyone even knew my baby was on the flight. I find that people are often caught up in their own world, focused on their own lives and only when something interrupts that focus will they take notice – like when a crying baby disrupts your nap on an airplane. If anything, I bet they were glad I was able to keep my daughter quiet and occupied.
Once we'd arrived at my parent's house, it was a whirlwind of visiting. My parents hadn't seen the baby since she was born and you won't meet prouder grandparents. I think they wanted our entire town to meet the baby! We went out to lunch and dinner with friends almost every night we were there, which meant lots of nursing in public. Not once did anyone say anything to me and if anyone stared I didn't notice because I was occupied with keeping my baby happy. They only time I got the side-eye was when we were out to dinner and it was past her bedtime and she let everyone know that she was ready for bed that instant! I got a couple of looks but we left soon after and no one actually said anything to us.
We're back home now and I already miss my family. It was so great to have the extra hands to help and we felt surrounded by love at all times. I also feel very fortunate to have had so much support in breastfeeding my daughter. I never had to explain what I was doing, I didn't have to apologize and it was a great feeling. The baby stayed happy, mommy stayed happy and Grandma and Grandpa were over the moon!