Q. My husband's twin sister is getting married four months after I'm due to have our first child and she expects us to be there. The wedding is all the way across the country, which means we'll have to take our very new baby on a germ-filled airplane. Am I being paranoid -- or is she asking just a little too much of us?
A. Did you ever notice that paranoia and parent both start with p? Of course, it's your job to be a little obsessive. After all, who's going to watch out for the health and well-being of your little one, if not you? Considering this is your first child we're talking about, it makes complete sense that you'd err on the conservative side. We do understand, really.
Still, we've got to agree with your sister-in-law. Four months old may seem virtually newborn to you, but there's a world of difference between a 3-day-old and even a 3-week-old, let alone a babe who's got a few months under his belt. The age of your child is simply not a reason to miss a big family event. In fact, you should look at it as the perfect opportunity to show off the new addition to all the relatives who are gathering at the wedding.
A little tip before your trip, though: There are subtleties to flying with a baby that undoubtedly escaped your attention when you were childless; doing some research before you leave will ease your journey immensely. Check out a book on traveling with kids, or try an Internet search on airplanes and babies, and you will assuredly find great advice on small details -- the best places to sit, how to handle diaper changes, takeoffs, and landings -- that can make or break a flight with an infant.
Kathy Bishop and Julia Whitehead are the authors of The City Parent Handbook: The Complete Guide to the Ups and Downs and Ins and Outs of Raising Young Kids in the City (Rodale).
Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2005.
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