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JFK-TLV for a week with 8mo experiences & recap

JFK-TLV for a week with 8mo experiences & recap

Old Feb 17, 16, 1:13 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Dreamland
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JFK-TLV for a week with 8mo experiences & recap

Figured I'd recap some experiences and lessons I learned from our recent trip - most of the things we prepped for were directly from various threads in this forum, so TIA, and figured I'd pay forward to summarize.

We'd flown 2 RTs with our daughter but all <3 hour segments. JFK-TLV is 10.5 hrs outbound and 11.5 inbound, non stop. A whole different beast, adding in 7 hour time change.

Also, we are near DCA, and couldn't get appropriate connections that worked for us to JFK (believe it or not), so we took Amtrak from WAS-NYP. We did this over driving b/c it allowed her to be a little less "couped up" for those 3 hours, as opposed to stuck in her car seat and then stuck in the plane.

Travel gear:
- Me, my wife and 8mo daughter to Israel for 9 days on the ground. - I strapped carseat carrier on back, "our" backpack on front and rolled large checked suitcase; wife strapped baby in Ergo rear facing [on her front], "diaper backpack" on her back and rolled the small checked suitcase (this was how we moved from car to Amtrak, Amtrak to LIRR, LIRR to Airtrain, through JFK to check in, and on arrival in TLV to car rental). We must have been a site to see -- but this mainly kept our hands free, which was the key to maneuvering and accessing travel docs, credit cards, phones, tend to baby, etc.
- Post trip thoughts on gear: I thought the carseat carrier was ridiculous looking and way to "big" - but man, that made it so much easier to strap on, plus as other suggested you can throw other stuff in there (like my wife's winter coat.. below freezing when we left US, not as cold in IS). We probably carried on too much for the baby - but to each their own.. she wasn't interested much in toys, more the inflight magazine, empty water bottles, etc. Also, lucky for us, no blowouts, so change of clothes not necessary.

Carseat on board
- Mentioned above, we specifically bought the Cosco SCenera Next for this trip. I read forums, reviews, etc about bringing baby on board and how to do it. We had bought her a seat, so had row of 3 - planned to but her on the window.
- we flew DL Y on their 777 LR (3x3x3). We were in the first Y row, just behind C+ (couldnt get 3 C+ in a row).
- plan was to install rear facing (she's <20 lbs)... pre boarded, got there, tightened seat... C+ seatback was literally touching the back of the car seat in full upright... this wasn't going to work... i mean even if the passenger didnt recline, every movement would impact the car seat.
- plus, the seatbelt buckle ended up right at the base of where my daughters back would be... not really comfortable...
- turned seat to forward facing in a panic as general boarding was now happening... even then not a lot of clearance... i dont know what people are thinking saying there is plenty of room... maybe because we were first row behind C+ (extra recline?)... and this is int'l configuration... even in forward facing, the seatbelt buckle juts into the side a bit... put a blanket between buckle and fabric of seat to cushion a bit. [sorry, i should have taken pictures, but was a little panicky/nervous about the whole thing]
- person in seat in front on both legs fully reclined without even acklowledging the car seat... i know its his right, and see below, baby wasnt in the seat, but come on.. he saw the car seat when boarding and didnt even look before reclining... what if baby was in there? or a baby's legs got hit?
- Post trip thoughts on car seat on board: Long story short, on both flights, my daughter spent a total of 10 seconds in the car seat... she was having none of it. Should have checked it and enjoyed the 3 seats just to spread out and allow her to play a bit. every baby is different, but ours at this age on this trip wasn't using the car seat and we didn't want to let her cry /protest on the plane. should have checked.

Flight experience
- again, all babies different.. i was terrified of this long haul.. for days leading up... i'm just that self conscious about bringing our baby with us and potential disturbances. my wife was same way.. we didn't want to be "that" family/baby/parents.
- outbound was 7:45pm departure - thats around her bedtime... so we thought... train ride from DC to NY allowed her to get wiggles out during the day, not be so couped up. Transfer from NYP to Jamaica to Airtrain to JFK Terminal 4 was fine (see our travel gear set up).
- PRE CHECK IS A MUST FOR TRAVEL WITH BABIES.. can not say this enough.
- of course on TLV flights, added security pre boarding, but b/c we pre boarded as infant family, was not stressful at all.. it was us and 2 other baby-families in the extra security area, no rush, no one else waiting.
- baby slept in 30-45 minute stretches, no real crying ( a bit as we were taxiing, and here and there in 5-10 second spurts before we fed or changed her. this meant me or my wife spent the majority of the flight carrying her around the aircraft. baby was content smiling and reacting to anyone who would engage with her as i did this.. and we hung by the rear galley (out of the way of attendants unless they engaged with her, which many did) a lot.
- tough times were turbulence, not the turbulence itself, but fasten seatbelt sign wehre baby was awake and wanted to be walking around.. here was where a little crabbiness manifested, but no full blown meltdowns thank god. again, passengers around us seemed to know how to react to a crying baby... smile at her.. and ours stopped cryign and smiled back.
- return flight she magically slept (in our laps, again, no interest in car seat) for 6.5 hours straight. this allowed us to sleep and have energy to engage her the rest of the flight.
- POST TRIP FLIGH TTHOUGHTS: as mentioned above, less toys needed - a lot of non toy interesting thigns for her.. empty water bottles, crinkly bag wrappers, seat back flight map, etc. car seat was a waste for us. would NOT have selected first row behind C+. might even have preferred a row in rear of the plane (louder engine noise... drowns out baby and also helps her sleep). woudl have organized stuff in our backpacks better... we didn't do baggies and labels... i rolled my eyes when reading those tips... hahaha... now i apologize... that is ABSOLUTELY what should be done

JET LAG
- was an issue on arrival for a couple days (+7 hours to east coast US), that manifested in her being up playing 12-2am, and sleeping a little late in the morning...
- we set zero expectations of a schedule -- we had ideas of what we wanted to do each day, but let the baby dictate sleeping, etc.. this ended up workign out well
- car seat in rental car - fine.. we brought along sun shades from amazon (cheap[er, sticky to window, portable) (
Amazon.com: Car Window Shade | (3 PACK) Window shades for car to blocks 97% of UV Rays | Car window shades reduce heat and help provide Calm Rides on Sunny Days | A Must Car Seat Accessory.: Baby Amazon.com: Car Window Shade | (3 PACK) Window shades for car to blocks 97% of UV Rays | Car window shades reduce heat and help provide Calm Rides on Sunny Days | A Must Car Seat Accessory.: Baby
)
- after 2-3 days she seemed to be more on Israel than US time... but never fully adjusted in the week+

Bringing supplies vs buying on the ground
- this is country specific of course, but IS isn't 3rd world and they have babies - so in hindsight, we should have brought less diapers and wipes etc... as you can buy them there, although they arent the exact product we were used it, thats OK for us.
- we planned to buy a cheap umbrella stroller upon arrival (as others here suggested). we found out on arrival that cheap and stroller dont exist in israel... we borrowed one from a family member... more planning in advance was probably needed here, but we had family as a fall back so were lucky.

US Customs
- wife and i have global entry. baby does not. i made the choice not to get her GE, after reading here that many just goto kiosk and the customs officer will then take your GE receipt and walk you to the front of the line for the baby to manually clear immigration. in theory this would have worked except officer didn't give us a form for the baby so when we got to exit , we had to start over. maybe GE for baby would have been smoother.

THINGS THAT GOT US THROUGH THE TRIP
- this forum, just reading is, enoucragement that many before us have done this well and learning from your tips
- ergo baby carrier - thank god she slept in that while we walked around , explored, etc
- PRE CHECK AND GLOBAL ENTRY
- zero expectations... i read a post somewhere here about trying to cram too much in... that was how my wife and i travelled w/o a baby. thank god we adjusted our plans down... way down.. to the point that we'd be happy seeing some family and taking walks... that way, anything more than that we were happy with... and guess what? she responded well and we were able to do a lot more.. still less that "pre-baby" but that was fien with us.
- bamba - I'm not kidding. baby is starting solids and we are trying to just keep it pure, but we bought bamba in Israel and gave her a strategic times to pacify
- lightweight car seat - if i had to lug those 100+lbs riondo or whatever seats around, no way we would have been able to get to JFK or back or thorugh JFK or TLV.
- practice install of car seat in advance - helped to know how to improvise a little bit on the plane w/o sacrificing safety (agian, moot b/c we didnt even use on the plane)
- devote fully attention to the baby during transit. this was all me. i owned it. i was totally nervous about he melting down on a 10+ hour flight the whole time. so i just watched her. constantly. the second i saw her start down a spiral.. if seatbelt light was off, we got up and walked. granted i was exhausted, and a couple times i had to wake up my wife to do it bc i just couldnt, but its what allowed me to be comfortable in a weird way. i think that really helped her not melt down. i read in these threads about parents just putting on headphones and ignoring.. granted thats for older kids, not infants... but still... 100% attention to anticipate next moves.
- luck -- sure, you need this, some babies get sick, tired, moods, inconsolable, etc.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
- me; at times i was a jerk to my wife during the trip (shes not on FT as far as I know.. hahah) bc (if you cant tell already) i was so nervous and wrapped up in trying to keep our daughter in a pleasant state i would just snap orders almost. we made it through still married , but better communication would have saved some tense moments between us and maybe even allowed for a laugh or 2 .

If i can think of other experiences good/bad with regard to baby on this trip, will follow up. I figured one long post as opposed to posting individually in threads made sense here... but sorry for the run on long post, if you're even still reading by now
levilevi is offline  
Old Feb 17, 16, 1:14 pm
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Oh yeah, almost forgot - now that we have this long haul under our belts... I'm thinking Europe in the summer
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Old Feb 17, 16, 2:35 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Awesome report, thanks so much for doing this!

I think I'd agree about bringing less toys. Heck, I've got a 3.5-year-old, and she's still plenty entertained by the safety card, in-flight magazine, and barf bag!
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Old Feb 17, 16, 2:40 pm
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Gear I forgot to add: our daughter sleeps at home with white noise in the room - on the plane obviously not an issue. as opposed to lugging along noise machine, downloaded in advance a white noise track on Amazon Music to my iPad, which we were bringing anyway, and used that on the ground when she slept.

One other note: the most helpful thing that happened throughout this trip/airport/flight, and others with our baby have been those around us simply similing, or offering a very low key "don't worry
""/"dont rush" / "youre fine" from fellow passengers. it takes the edge off me at least and is reassuring that there are people out there that understand (seems to me at least that the majority "understand" and know what you're dealing with).

Last edited by levilevi; Feb 17, 16 at 2:45 pm
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Old Feb 17, 16, 3:02 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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One other note: the most helpful thing that happened throughout this trip/airport/flight, and others with our baby have been those around us simply similing, or offering a very low key "don't worry
""/"dont rush" / "youre fine" from fellow passengers. it takes the edge off me at least and is reassuring that there are people out there that understand (seems to me at least that the majority "understand" and know what you're dealing with).
Again, agreed -- I think for most people (those flying *without* kids), the thing that keeps everyone's blood pressure down is seeing parents that really appear to care about handling a situation, regardless of whether their efforts at, say, calming a crying baby are actually working.

Not too long ago, I was on a flight with what I suspect was a child with ASD, probably about 4-5 years old, sitting a few rows behind us. As we started to taxi, the kid started to have an epic meltdown. The parents did the best they could from what I could hear. I was seriously concerned that we'd have to turn the plane around and go back to the gate (we didn't), but I wasn't upset with either the parents or the kid....
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