Monday, September 20, 2010

Airplanes, babywearing, boobies, oh my....

I just read a tweet linking a story of a Mom who was recently harassed about wearing her baby in a carrier while on a airplane.

As I read her tale, it brought back memories of a similar situation that happened to me with my oldest daughter four years ago. We were on a flight from Portland to Chicago to attend the wedding of my oldest sister. My babe was just a little thing, all of three months old at the time. I had her in a pouch sling and was focused on making her comfortable (Read:quiet) so as not to disturb the other passengers. She was very content in her sling and I was holding off on nursing her until takeoff, so as to avoid any discomfort in her tiny ears.

I was approached by one of the flight attendants, who demanded that I take my daughter out of the sling, so that "in case of an accident she would be protected" in my arms.My first thought was what?...that doesn't seem very logical. If she was out of the sling, her safety would depend on me holding her. My mind raced thinking of possible scenarios. What if I was jolted and instinctively tried to grab for something to hold?  I told the attendant that I didn't think it was safer. She then insisted that I needed to take her out anyway so that she would be facing forward. Before I had a chance to respond, she walked away to help another passenger.

I was at a loss of what to do. Should I follow my gut instinct or listen to the flight attendant? The woman sitting next to me (perfect stranger), leaned over and whispered "just ignore her, do what you think is right". So I did. I kept my babe in the pouch sling and just made a point to not look at the flight attendant. On our return flight home, I did the same thing I did on the first flight. Not a single flight attendant said anything to me in regards to my babe being in her sling.

That's where my story is different from Jen Starks. In her situation, she was harassed further by a Delta flight attendant, who called the police on Jen. Yes, I am serious. Read her story here.

For the record, this is from Delta's website in regards to their official policy on Infant & Child Seating;
"An adult (12 years or older) may hold an infant or place the infant in a FAA-approved child restraint during take-off and landing." That's it. Nothing stating what position the child must be held in or which direction the child must face.

What do you think? Was the flight attendant in the right? Should all children be forced to have their own seat and in turn, plane ticket?

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