Travelling with baby – Part 1: uncontrollable, irrational, ridiculous worry

in the air to Japan

Flying over Canadian land en route to Japan. Yay!

Taking our baby to Japan was a must! Hitoshi’s mom wanted us to wait until baby was one year old though and I was happy to oblige. Keeping the peace and going with the flow is better for everyone.

Then a fantastic seat sale came along that could have us in Japan before the magical one year mark! We got blessings from Hitoshi’s mom, my parents surprised us by announcing they would come too, and we slapped down the credit card to make the trip a go.

Japan is my second home. I barely thought about what the experience post-arrival would be like because I didn’t care! Whatever we did in Japan would be A-okay.

playing a really big drum in Japan

Japan is my other home! Do I look authentic? Do I? Do I? – Big Drum Museum, Akita

What occupied my mind, almost to the point of breaking, was getting to Japan.

It all started with a car seat

We bought baby a seat on the plane so we could take the car seat. I read on several forums that babies flying in car seats were safest, especially during unexpected turbulence. We also needed a car seat in Japan.

Babies do not fly free internationally on Air Canada and for $200 above flying on my lap, baby could have a seat in economy. Air Canada does not accept car seats in business because of the seat configurations.

The car seat idea was great until I compared baby’s car seat to Air Canada’s seat widths. While the car seat would fit on the domestic flight, it was not going to fit on the international one, or so I thought.

infant car seat

THE car seat

I started looking to buy another car seat that was smaller and therefore guaranteed to fit. The one car seat I found that could apparently fit anywhere on any plane was not available in Canada.

I then imagined different scenarios including flying with the arm rests up to fit the car seat, trying to remember if arm rests had to be up or down in flight.

Then I thought we should take a pre-trip trip to try the car seat.

Hmmm… is there a demonstration plane at the airport? I could try the car seat out there! When I get desperate, I focus on solutions.

Common sense somehow found its way home to my skull and I realized that these options were silly. I bought a bag that was big enough to fit the car seat. If we had to gate check it, I was covered. Plus I had an extra bag for souvenirs, like a haul of plastic folders from the Y100 store!

A week before the trip and with the bag in view, I finally gave this potential disaster a rest and moved to other imagined issues.

Maybe we’ll be the only ones!

My next fears had to do with the flight itself. Would we have a confrontation with an irate passenger who got the seat in front of baby and couldn’t recline because of the car seat? I eventually reasoned that the irate passenger could sit elsewhere.

I then checked in online at exactly the earliest point I could and examined the seat map. Hurray! There were exactly three seats together with an empty seat in front of the middle one where baby was going to sit! Issue solved.

eating a giant puffed rice cake

A picture break is needed here so let’s talk about my ears. I have strangely tiny ears. I wonder if baby will inherit my ears?? It’s unlikely since baby’s ears are already *bigger* than mine.

Under Pressure

I worried about baby’s ears while taking off and landing since I couldn’t breastfeed. I played out a drama in my mind.

With wild eyes and shrill, crescendo voice directed at flight attendants: “I don’t care if the seatbelt sign is on. My kid is screaming!! I’m breastfeeding or else!!!”

Despite the increased blood pressure that this announcement gave me, I sort of let it go.


The last worry is one that probably all parents have for the first airplane trip with a child or going anywhere in public. It is unlike the previous ones, which are likely only shared with a few other over-conscientious, detail-oriented, social-pleasing mothers.

Would baby scream for the entire 11 hour international flight, only letting up when eating? Would I scream for the entire 11 hour international flight?

I imagined both of us screaming the entire flight and thought this wouldn’t be entirely off point.

Air Travel ===> Anxiety

Air travel is best when I’m alone. It worsened when my love, Hitoshi, and I started travelling together. Add offspring and I was a mess, and we hadn’t even left the ground!

YVR international lounge

Hanging out in Vancouver’s airport, waiting for our flight to Japan – pre-pre baby! I am actively engaging my mind to be anxious.

To find out what actually happened, head over to part 2!

Are you a parent who will be travelling for the first time with your baby-chan? Have you travelled with one or more babies and lived to tell about it? No cheating! Your kids must have completed the trip, too. 😀

10 thoughts on “Travelling with baby – Part 1: uncontrollable, irrational, ridiculous worry

  1. I feel the anxiety rising inside of me just reading this, and I’m not even traveling! I was surprised to hear that babies don’t fly free though. An Australian friend of mine is jet setting all over the place with her young’un now, as apparently fees don’t come until the child is 2 years old over thereーeven for international flights. Different systems I guess. 😦 Looking forward to part 2!

  2. Oh my goodness… that kind of sounds terrifying. This is exactly the reason Ryosuke and I want to wait (like 5 years + travelling) before having kids.

    There are so many other things to think of…

    • Ha ha ha! Yes, I suppose it can seem pretty crazy. But then you do it and realize it’s possible and then you get ready to try something else ridiculous. 😀

      Anyone who says you can prepare for kids doesn’t have kids. Despite all the books and myths and research, raising kids simply has to be done to get an idea of kind of sort of maybe how, and we are still very much at the starting gates. 😀

  3. Whaaaaat?? You didn’t have sheets even though you bought Green Car tickets??? I though that all sheets were to be reserved… Moms who were attacked by other “strangers” also chose Green Car with the same reason with yours. But others commented they chose Green Car because they prefer the silence… What an egoism… I think who prefer the perfect silence without anybody else should have traveled in his vehicle or should have bought all the tickets in the car for himself.

    • Yup! We bought seats in the Green Car but you couldn’t buy a specific seat. Like everyone else who bought seats, we had to wander until we either found one or gave up and stood in the aisles or just outside the stairwell. It was completely unexpected and I was almost shattered. The ticket collector told us that there wouldn’t be free seats until at least the next major stop. 😦 I was mad for paying extra and then not being able to get what I expected.

      I agree with your ideas about travel for those that want silence. Harump!

  4. Omg.. How difficult it would be to fly to Japan with a baby!! As I have no babies I cannot share your problems, but I can imagine your difficulties at least, having seen many mothers with crying babies in a plane… In Japan, recently, there was an argument on if it is right to travel with babies in “green car” on Shinkansen… It was a terrible argument, I hated so much. Selfish people who want to have a quiet and peaceful travel + jealousy towards who can afford green-car tickets for babies… These kinds of mean people would be everywhere!!

    • 😀 I’ll be posted allll about it soon. 😀
      Oh goodness. I didn’t know about the green car debate. Taking the green car is something I’ve been planning to write about. We took the green car *because* we had a baby and wanted a break and the car was absolutely packed. It was sweltering hot and a very kind mom and her son gave up their seats so we could sit down. It was ridiculous to pay extra and then not be able to use what we paid extra for without someone else helping us out. We weren’t the only ones in this situation. I found out later that on that particular line, people take the green car instead of the shink since it costs less so it’s usually packed. It was hilarious because the regular cars seemed to have more room!

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