by MW Cook

“You’re doing what!?”

When you plan on doing something really silly like moving to an Islamic Republic about a month after the birth of your first child, you seem to invite a lot of questions, concerns and criticisms from people. I suppose it should be expected. One of the most frequently asked questions has to do with our child. I plan on addressing the issue in this post.

It is not a bad idea to use air travel with a young infant. I intend to prove this by answering the different concerns people have addressed over the past few months (in no particular order).
Preliminary facts:
Our child is due May 20. Often the first child is upwards of a week to 10 days late, so let’s say the child will arrive May 30, for argument’s sake.
Our flight has been booked for June 30, we will assume that our child will be one month old.
We will assume that the child born will be healthy because if there are medical problems that will obviously change plans. This would be an unforseeable problem that no-one could really plan for.

Question 1: What if the airline you use doesn’t allow children of that age?
Answer: It does. This, of course, is a very important consideration. I have heard that airlines don’t allow infants to fly, but this either isn’t the case anymore, or is was never the case with the airlines we are using. In fact, we have reserved a special baby seat. When we asked our travel agent about this, she seemed to think it was a bit of a silly question and assured us that no airline would refuse an infant.

Question 2: I have heard that an infant will go deaf if on an airplane, aren’t you concerned about that?
Answer: Of course we are concerned about the health and safety of our baby. However, the pressure change in an airplane is rarely strong enough to actually cause damage, even to an infant. Most doctors seem to recommend that you feed the baby (or rub her cheek) while taking off / landing in order to stimulate swallowing. This clears the baby’s ears and takes away any discomfort there might be.

Question 3: Other parent’s have told me that it’s unsafe to do this!
Answer: I also have the testimony of parents in favor of it’s safety. One couple we know very well went on a trans-Atlantic flight with their 4-week-old. She didn’t cry, scream, have her ears fall off or anything like that. Five years later she is healthy, not deaf, and quite cheerful.

Other thoughts:

  • At one month, an infant mainly does two or three things. She eats, sleeps, and poops. There is no need to worry about her getting bored or silly and unless the child has colic, she will be reasonably quiet.
  • This is something that people do. There are special seats in airplanes for infants. If it were as dangerous as people make it out to be, there would be warnings from the airlines. They don’t want to get sued, do they?
  • We believe that God has called us to this country this summer. I’m not saying that as if to say “God told me to, therefore I am above reproach in what I do,” but I am saying that I have confidence that God is going to undertake on our behalf and lead us through the difficulty of traveling with a newborn.

Anyway, Ruth and I do appreciate the concern that so many people have about our plans, and it’s good to know that people care enough to think about these things. We have looked into these issues and checked with people who have experienced it and who are informed. We believe that we are making the right choice. Boo ya!

In other news, I started reading Thomas Watson’s The Beatitudes. Beautiful.

Cook out.