Mommy’s Diary 15 – Traveling with an Infant

Baby in Korean Air bassinet

So today, I wanted to share my experience of traveling with an infant. Andy and I took Kiko to Korea, and honestly, it was a bad idea! I was deciding between leaving her with my mother, taking her or not going to Korea at all, but I decided to go and take Kiko with us because I just felt like I needed a vacation. Being pregnant for the past year limited my travel, and I wanted to go somewhere! Kiko had been a pretty good baby and easy to deal with, so I assumed everything would be fine. I was so wrong.

First of all, the plane ride was challenging – more challenging than I thought! Thank God it was only 1 hour and 40 minutes to Korea from Japan. Right before boarding, Kiko decided to go to bathroom so I had to run to the nearest bathroom to change her. Then I found out that her poop leaked all over her clothes. While changing her diaper and clothes, it got on to my clothes somehow, and I found myself wearing clothes with her poop all over the place. Of course, I was wearing a white pair of shorts that day! 🙁 So after cleaning her and myself, we finally boarded the plane, as we sat Kiko vomited all over the place. Ha.  She has amazing timing!?

During flights, especially international flights, I usually enjoy a drink or two. Of course that did not happen, because Kiko started to cry upon takeoff. Perhaps her ears hurt because of the altitude change. Or  maybe (far more likely)she was just having a temper tantrum. Either way, I was so embarrassed and felt sorry for the other passengers. Prior to having a baby, I was always annoyed by travelers with kids, and I would get mad, thinking “why can these parents manage their own children?!” But now, I’m the annoying parent I once despised…

Also, during the Korea trip, Kiko decided that she would no longer take her bottle. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve read on that this kind of thing happens around 2-3 months old. At this age babies start becoming selective. It did not matter whether the contents of the bottle were pumped breast milk or formula. As soon as the bottle touched her mouth, she would scream!Why she chose the week of our trip for this I will never know.

I was so mad at her. I feel like having a child has given me all kinds of emotions that I had never experienced. I was mad at her for not taking the bottle, but at the same time, felt terrible and guilty for forcing her the drink from a bottle which she did not want. I was on the verge of giving up, but after some thought, Andy and I decided that Kiko must take the bottle because with my work and Andy’s role in caring for the baby, I cannot be available her for breastfeeding 24/7. So… we started the war – We decided on the last night of the trip that the following day upon her waking up, we would not give Kiko the breast until she drank from the bottle. It took nearly 8 hours until Kiko started drinking from the bottle again, and when I saw her drinking from the bottle, I cried…

I almost went crazy listening to her temper tantrum screams during the day, and I was beyond angry. But during all of my anger, I felt so sad, guilty and embarrassed for having that kind of emotion toward my child. I just wished the war did not have to happen away from home during our trip!

Because of that, I could not really enjoy the trip and was relieved to be back home. It was nice to see the family, who were visiting from the U.S. for the Summer, which was the reason why we went there in the first place. Now I’m reconsidering taking Kiko to the U.S., because how can I manage a 15 hour plane ride with Kiko if I could not manage 2 hour plane ride!? Does anyone have any tips? Also what happens to a baby with jet lag?

I’ll share some pictures of Korea in another post, and I promise it will be a more positive one!

And last but not least, I am so thankful that the baby seems to forget things so easily. She smiles at me as if she’s forgotten that the war ever happened.



  1. You’re a Mommy now…your life will never be the same as it was before Kiko. Take her with you whenever and where ever you can. The experience will be good for both of you even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. She is one of the greatest blessings of your life and many times those blessings are packaged in great challenges. Much Love and prayers to your family.

  2. That’s too sad about your trip, but it’s really nice that you are so honest about motherhood.

    By the way, once a baby on an airplane vomited all over my shoe (she was on her mother’s shoulder in the aisle seat in front of me). I felt a little sorry and embarrassed her mom!

  3. I’m sorry it was a difficult trip for you but I have to be honest and say it is really hard for me to read that you refused to offer your breast to make her take the bottle for eight hours and let her cry. I don’t believe babies throw temper tantrums this young, I believe they aren’t trying to control their parents but communicaing a need the only way they know how. To each their own though…

    I’m about to take my first flight with baby this weekend so we’ll see how it goes for me!

  4. The first plane ride with a baby is always difficult. My son was about the same age when I first flew with him and I had a similar experience. The altitude does put pressure on their ears which is obviously very uncomfortable for them. Being a first time mum is such a life changing event and how you are feeling is normal so dont feel bad, work out what works for you and your baby.

  5. sorry to hear your trip didn’t go as well as you expected:(
    yes, kids test your patience, but at the same time they love you unconditionally. I don’t think kiko forgot what happened about the bottle, but she just loves you regardless.
    my little one’s first flight was to Japan when she was 4/5months. she did quite well. prior to the trip, I had read that they should be drinking milk(or sucking on something) to adjust the ear pressure when taking off and landing(unless they’re sleeping). so that may help with the ear pain next time. hope you won’t give up on taking kiko on vacation as it would be sad if you can’t have a ‘ whole’ experience as a family. it will get easier and you just have to learn to be flexible.

  6. Hi there,
    I really enjoy reading your posts, so thank you. This is the first time I have made I comment.
    I wanted to say, in response to a couple of the comments above, please don’t feel guilty about how you reacted to the events with Kiko on your trip. If you need to bottle feed to accommodate your own work, then your baby needs to learn to take the bottle. I have a 2 and 4 year old and I agree with the comment above that babies of Kiko’s age probably don’t have ‘temper tantrums’, but they can respond to ‘conditioning’ or ‘training’ from about the age of 4 months. If you need to have her take the bottle, then you need to be persistent in your approach, which it sounds like you have been. Good on you. It can be hard to listen to a crying baby, but as long as you take a reasonable approach to training her to take the bottle, it’s not going to do her any harm.
    As for the comment above recommending you take Kiko with you whenever or wherever you go, that’s completely ridiculous! Personally, I would have been driven mad if I hadn’t had plenty of child-free time in raising my two. So don’t feel guilty about that either!
    I think it’s great that you have been so honest about how difficult it can be to care for a young baby. It’s tempting for parents to ‘sugar coat’ what they say about their children in public, for fear of being made to feel guilty or like bad parents. It’s refreshing to read a real account – and one that I can completely identify with! I have found that dealing with my own negative emotions in response to my children’s difficult behaviour has been one of the hardest things in parenting.

  7. When my baby Nilah was that age, she refused to take my breast. She only wanted my milk pumped into a bottle. I had to force her to take the breast as you did the bottle so my milk wouldn’t keep declining. It does hurt to hear the cries, but we push through it for a reason.

    My first plane trip with her was at 9 days old! I traveled 16 hours, including layovers – from California to Vermont to spend my maternity leave with my family. While it was very successful, I am a bit nervous about my upcoming plane trip now that she is older.

  8. As a mum we do what we think is right for our little family, what works for one person doesnt necessarily work for others, some families like routine and a certain way of doing things, others thrive on demand feeding and playing it by ear. What ever you decide has to be right for you Chie, and you shouldn’t feel or be made to feel guilty about that! I have always been in the latter group but thats because it worked for us, and as a stay at home mum it was the easiest option for us. As a working mother you need more of a routine to be able to function in all spheres of your life.
    As for flying and Kiko being unsettled, well really its not surprising, she is in a foreign environment and out of her routine, and her parents are probably feeling a little nervous about the adventure too and this rubs off on the little bubbies. I have always found breastfeeding helps on a plane, just for the comfort if not for the actual milk…they are close and they have something to suck on when their ears hurt.
    I travelled from Australia to the Uk with three children under three on my own a little while ago and you know, i survived! I am sure the more you travel the easier it will become (this happened with me), and it would be a shame if you all missed out on a wonderful trip.

  9. Charlotte says:

    Hi. I just wanted to say thank you for your post and for your honesty in sharing all the ups and downs of parenting. I’m afraid I’ve no travelling advice (we’re doing our first plane trip with a 4 month old in a couple of weeks – eek!) – but from my very limited experience, the situations that we’ve found tricky at first have always got much better as we and the little one get more used to them (and as he’s always just that little bit older, which seems to make such a big difference at the moment).

  10. hi hi
    dun feel bad about being angry with ur baby at times. Sometimes, I get real real annoyed by my son too. I took an 7 hour flight with my son of 9 mths old then. It was an horrifying experience on flight. Refusal to sleep on bassinet, being extra cranky (he was usu a very contented baby at home) and yelling out loud when his head bang onto the metal arm rest as he was struggling in our arms while throwing tantrums. big bump on the head afterwhich. 🙁 lucky my hubby was the patient type with kids and gave me some short breaktime away from my son during the flight.
    having said that, I never regret bringing him along. and I sill bring him along for all subsequent vocations.
    it will get easier when they get older. it’s a phase we all need go through. 🙂

  11. Dear, you are a mother now!!

    So sad to read you dont want to offer your breast… because work and beauty are not an excuse!
    Many mothers around the world work and do that, you could manage it since you work at home.
    It’s NOT a choice, its your obligation as a mother, she did not ask to born! Think about it, please.
    It’s not a crime to feel angry, sad, tired… if there is LOVE. It seems you still don’t feel it about your “infant”.

    You will have to learn many things, it aint easy but its worthwhile!!
    Sorry for the hard words, sometimes they’re necessary!!! Really hope little Kiko is fine!

    • Hi there,
      If you feel this way about your own parenting, then that’s fine. But do not assume that it is your right to make other parents feel guilty about their own parenting choices. That is not your right. Each parent makes their own decisions about their own parenting and for you to criticise another’s is the height of rudeness.

  12. Hi, I too am a first time commenter. I don’t have any children so I would like to point that out right away, I don’t understand all there is to know about motherhood. With that being said, I am so grateful that you share your feelings honestly. As for the negative comment, I really hope this doesn’t cause you to sensor your feelings. Once again, non-mother here, but I don’t think refusing your baby milk until she took it from the bottle sounds unreasonable at all. We all had to learn. It sounds like you are a wonderful mother! Please continue to share with us!!!

  13. Hi Chie

    I follow your blog from time to time and adore your creations and congratulate you on becoming a mother for the first time. I too started my Mummy journey this year.

    I think it’s been particularly harsh that some mothers pass judgement on your choices. I may or may not agree with it but you’ve explained why you’ve chosen to do what you do. And it’s obvious that you & Andy love your daughter.

    We love our children and it’s distressing to hear them cry. But the experienced mothers in my church (some are doctors and one is a paediatric nurse) tell me that it is fine for children to cry. The paediatric nurse friend told me that she has not met a baby that intentionally starves him/herself.

    As first time parents, we make a lot of well-intentioned mistakes. But praise God, babies are very resilient. If you can, talk to friends who’ve had children already. You’ll see that there are different styles and different methods because parents are different and kids are different. Ultimately, the best is to know your child and let her know you and then both of you can respond to what is best.

    God bless!

  14. hello everyone! thank you so much for all your comments! i enjoyed reading all of them, and really appreciate your input in regards to traveling with a baby 🙂 please keep them coming! xo

  15. I am sure you remember what the flight attendants announce prior to each departure. “Put the oxygen mask on yourself. Then you may aid others around you, including minors”. There is wisdom in the announcement and it is one that you might benefit.

    Mothers do a lot and give up a lot. As much as no child asked to be born, no mother signed up for the deal understanding the amount of sacrifices that motherhood requires of a woman. I certainly didn’t and there are times when I feel that I have let myself and my baby down. However that isn’t true at all as Kiko had pointed to you. She has an ever flowing reservoir of love and faith in you… and even when you feel you can’t love yourself or her more, she will be all loving and forgiving. Just as you will when the times require to love her more.

    I tried to bring my son everywhere I go and it sounds so good to the ears. It is difficult in practice and very unfair for a young infant to be dragged everywhere for your errands and appointments. I remember once taking my son in his infant carrier to a bank, so I could do my banking errands and felt so remorseful for dragging him around town while I did my work. When you are out of the house, just think how safe and comfortable she is at home with Andy. It would be terrible to drag a baby or even a child everywhere with you as you worked.

    No one should berate you for the choices you made for you and your family. Each family has its own dynamics and each child will grow up unique. You are doing great as a mother and Andy seems so sweet and observant as a father. While there are no rainbows for every morning, I am certain that you will learn the ropes along the way. Mothers are what they are – mothers – and not super beings.

    Be happy with your family, Chie.

  16. Hi Chie,
    The first time I flew with my little one she was 9 months old, it was a 4 hour flight than a 1 hour drive to get to our destination. I was exhausted! What helped was that I flew at night so she was more apt to sleep. I had plenty of pacifiers, chew toys when she was teething and snacks. What you have to keep in mind is that it is ok to be mad, annoyed and frustrated! You have permission to have those feelings. I would always feel guilty when I ever I was annoyed or frustrated with my daughter but then I realize that I love her and I try my best and really that is all that matters.

  17. hi, thank you for sharing your story. i know it’s hard to travel with a little baby.
    i went on to Arizona from japan with my daughter when she was 2months old. (then she turned 3months old there.) she also hated to take bottles… i had a nursing cover, whatever called, i could breastfeed her in the plane. then we survived a 14hrs-flight.
    she cried a bit and might have annoyed people around, but i tried to be strong and not to forget to smile….
    i thought people might not be annoyed by babies and children crying but parents screaming and yelling at them. of course, when kids running around during the flight, i would be annoyed;))
    anyway i was so tired when i got home, but i could feel proud of myself.
    i think you two are sweet parents. it is ok to feel mad sometimes, as long as you love your baby.
    we are not that perfect.


  1. […] racking event since our first flight with Kiko didn’t go all that well. I wrote more about it here, if you are interested, check it out 🙂 Here is a list of things we packed for our flight: 1. Two […]