Turbulence or Vomit :: Which is Worse? (Flying with a 6 month old)

Sometimes I wonder why I make the decisions I do when it comes to kids and traveling.  I’ve flown solo with an incredibly active 18 month old while 6+ months pregnant and shared a seat with her; I’ve traveled with a sick 2 month old and really sick 2 year old, simultaneously; and most recently, I traveled solo with an almost 6 month old who had an obviously painful ear infection.

And while I could sit here questioning my judgement over and over and over again, I’m convinced there are certain times my kids know I blog about the trials and tribulations of parenting. It’s almost like there are certain things they do on purpose. It’s their way of saying, “there Mom…go write about THAT! haha!”

My most recent example comes from my 5 hour flight from SFO to ATL early Thursday morning with my beautifully spirited Mackenzie.


Since I’ve traveled my fair share with the kids, I was confident it would go smoothly. She’s my “easy baby,” after all. And I must say, it all started out that way. I nursed her to sleep right when we got on the plane and she slept like a peaceful little (BIG) baby for 45 minutes or so.  After that, she got up and smiled at everyone around us and every single person who walked by. One Mom next to me even went as far to say that, “she’s doing SO well…what a great traveler!”  I responded with a quick, “yep, so far, so good!” and I followed up with a quick (and slightly cheesy) fingers crossed gesture.

And while my crossed fingers may have been cheesy, I was being sincere in that gesture. Let’s just say I’ve traveled enough cross country to know that something could always go wrong (Travis and I learned the hard way on our first flight with Abby back when she was 3 months old). Basically, if your kids are great for 4 hours out of 5, they’ll be a terror for the last hour when you’re forced to sit in your seat thanks to turbulence and the fasten seat belt sign.  It’s either that or something else (someone’s hungry, tired, cranky, teething, bored, or really anything other than perfectly content – because anything other than perfectly content annoys the single, kid-less people next to you).

Flying with babies is stressful. Even when they’re being “perfect.”

About 30 minutes after that lovely Mom’s comment about my “great traveler,” my little Mackenzie became fussy. The fussiness wasn’t solved by hunger. It wasn’t fixed when I walked her around. It only subsided after an extremely intense projectile vomiting session that never ended.

Yes, you read that correctly. An extremely intense projectile vomiting session that never ended.

Okay, so I guess it ended, but I’m still reliving that moment as I write this post.

I’m not even being dramatic (which most of you know I admit to when I’m trying to tell a story). She was literally puking EVERYWHERE.

On herself. On me. On the seat. In the aisle. On the little boy’s bag who was sitting behind me. Everywhere.

Didn’t she know that she should have been aiming for the little paper puke bag???

Thankfully, it ended.

But then it began again.

And it wasn’t just harmful baby spit-up.

It was stinky, stinky, baby vomit spewing from an uncontrollable body. I honestly wasn’t sure which direction or in what quantity she was going to vomit next. Or if she’d even do it again at all.

All I can say is that it was traumatic. That, and I’m SO glad she happened to be facing me/the aisle and not the poor fellow next to me (the poor fellow who I was too embarrassed and petrified to even speak to the last hour of the flight ).  Why couldn’t I have been sitting next to an empty seat? Or a Mom!? Or a nurse?! Or anyone other than an obviously single dude who wanted nothing to do with a baby and just so happened to check in late on Southwest and got stuck next to us because it was the last seat on board!!!

Deep breath (as my Mom would say).

Thank goodness I had packed her another outfit.

Thank goodness I had layers on.

Thank goodness the Mom who complimented us earlier had a roll of paper towels with her.

And thank goodness we weren’t stuck up in the air forever.

My sweet, happy, beautiful Mackenzie and I made it.  She stopped vomiting after a gallon of puke came out and once it was all out, she was the happiest baby on the plane yet again.

She may have also been the stinkiest, but she was by far the happiest.

I think it’s safe to say Mommy was much more traumatized by the experience than Mac (I can say that since I was the one with a few honest to goodness tears in the tiny airplane bathroom while awkwardly changing her into a new outfit – I’m pretty sure I could have been sobbing but I had to hold myself together for the sake of Mac and everyone else on the plane – they didn’t need two babies out of control).

The best news is that we landed. And the better news is that Kiki & Gappy were there to pick us up. And then to top it off, we went straight for pizza and beer (yes, before showers), and had a great time laughing about the entire experience.

Most importantly, our trip to visit family was worth every ounce of vomit (at least to us…probably not to my neighbors on the plane), every second of stress, and every minute of turbulence on the way home.

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Would I do it again?

In a second.

Will I always hope for the best?


But will I always prepare for the worst?

I’d be an idiot not to.

Until next time (with more pictures of our visit),


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6 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Awww, nothing like family that makes it ALL worth while…and LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a great visit it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. M says:

    I had this happen to me when my daughter was a a month old while we were on a plane to the UK. My husband and I were seated separately and we were asked to maintain our seating until everyone was seated then we would be put together. My daughter ( she’s 6 now) was a very good baby but I don’t know what happened that day. She cried and cried and as soon as she through up the whole contents of her bowels, she was off to sleep. I felt sorry for the man I was seated with, luckily for him he escaped the vomit shower. By some stroke of luck I had packed an extra shirt for myself which I normally don’t do while travelling….thank God I did!
    Looking back now, I can laugh about it but then it was the most traumatising experience I had.

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