I really don't know much about baby wearing; but, I am planning on flying at Christmas with LO (due in August 2012) and I'm assuming that wearing the baby during the roughly 12 hour travel will be the best option for the both of us. For those experienced in baby wearing, what are your thoughts on the best options for this specific need? I'd like to wear the baby at other times, of course; but, I really need something useful and comfortable for flying.
Others will have better advice than I do on the subject, since I'm still a novice, but I'd be sure to have a ring sling on hand. It's adjustable, compact and quick and easy for getting on and off the plane. I plan on making good use of the ring sling with my newbie due any day now. It would likely help to make sure you do plenty of baby-wearing ahead of time. I say that because my DD is not a fan of being worn at this point, but she isn't used to it since I never wore her very much.
The best carrier for flying, IMO, is one that's easy to get baby in and out of and that doubles as a nursing cover (if you plan to BF). Some jerk TSA agents will insist you take baby out of a carrier to go through the metal detector. Freaking annoying! If your carrier has metal parts they'll most certainly make you take it off or they might threaten to pat you and your baby down and do you really want to subject your baby to a pat down? I flew alone with DD when she was 5 weeks old and had to take her out of my ring sling to run it through the metal detector. Figuring out how to do that with a NB by myself just a week after I'd bought my sling was NOT easy. However, the ring sling was a life saver. It kept DD close, freed up both my arms, and allowed me to nurse wherever and whenever I wanted because you can use the tail as a nursing cover. I flew alone with DD again when she was 15 months and I chose to use my Ergo. Since DD hit about 20-22 lbs, its the only carrier I've found comfortable for long periods of time. I have some back issues though and lots of moms use other carriers past 20 lbs. The TSA agents didn't make me take her out to go through the metal detector (there's no metal on the Ergo).
If your baby will be around 4 months, I'd say your best bet is a ring sling. They're great NB carriers (most moms on this board will tell you they're the best for NBs) and are wonderful for older babies too. You'll have plenty of time to get the hang of it so I doubt you'll have the same juggling problems I did at the metal detector .
Yep, I have traveled a lot with my DD, and I agree on the ring sling. My DD was almost 4 mos when we flew from the States to Africa (the longest flight was 16 hours, more like 24 hours total travel), and she was basically in the ring sling the whole time. I even used the sling to hold my own arms- as in, I put my arms inside the sling, holding DD, and then tightened the sling around us...this way I was able to sleep, while holding on to her (which felt more secure, like I was just more in touch with her), but didn't have to worry about my arms relaxing and dropping her. I don't find ring slings to be 100% hands-free, but I do get the one arm free which helps a lot for being able to drag carry-ons around or whatever.
Mara & Joel, 2009
I tried a mei tai and a ring sling when I flew with Aiden. While the mei tai was nice for the two shoulder support (I had a good long hike with luggage to make from long term parking to the terminal), I did not like it once in the airport. I found the ring sling to be quicker for getting though airport security with taking Aiden in and out. You can't wear a baby for take offs and landings (well, technically), but I found it super easy to get Aiden back in the ring sling once up in the air. Very nice for staying hands free! I was also able to BF in the RS during the flight, using the tail as a cover. Things that I couldn't do with the mei tai, so it got packed up. I have to say that BWing made flying so much easier and I even had a couple of compliments including one that told me that I made traveling alone with a baby look easy. It wasn't but it was certainly easier than juggling a stroller and a crying baby on the plane.
Do note they have changed the rules recently where you don't always have to take the baby out of the carrier for airport security, but it's still not unusual for you to be asked to do that. Up until recently you didn't have a choice about it. If you do have to take the baby out, you can do that last after everything is on the conveyer belt and then on the other side put the baby back in first. Everyone else can wait.
agree that ring sling prob best bet, i have never owned one but flew with jade a 7months with a moby and it was a bit of a pain (thankfully i had lots of practice getting her in and out without much adjusting!) whatever you decide on ITA get it early, practice lots! not only does it make it easier if you are a pro with it and baby is good in it, but you get the tons of snuggles in the meantime!!
I have no advice, but wanted to say "HI!" to my fellow August Cuddle Bug momma! Meghan, I plan to do lots of baby wearing, and I'm going with a ring sling... if you're unsure about buying one, I'll let you know what I think about how it's going once my LO gets here...
My personal favorite is Sleeping Baby Productions - http://www.sleepingbaby.net/
It's a gathered shoulder and she has lots of fabric choices.
There is also the Maya Wrap, Comfy Joey, Sekura Bloom, Taylor Made, and about 15 others.
I agree with the ring sling Wore DD twice to fly when she was 2 months old, and it was a lifesaver. She slept in it through almost all of the flying, and it made getting around with my luggage super easy. I even ran through the airport to make a connection WHILE NURSING in that thing. They did make me take it off for takeoff on one flight (jerk attendant) but none of the others. I also had to get pat down/wanded at security the times I didn't want to take it off, but I didn't really care--it was better than disturbing a sleeping baby! Mine was a Maya Wrap.