Few things strike apprehension into the heart of a parent more than having your baby start to cry while on an airplane.
But while viral Facebook posts about the trials and tribulations of flying with a baby aren’t new, one young mother’s tale of taking to the sky with her infant is getting lots of attention thanks to the kindness of the stranger she was seated next to.
Rebekka Garvison’s husband, Nick, is currently serving in the Army. Rebekka showed her own brand of bravery by deciding to pack up all the baby gear and travel by herself with their infant daughter, Rylee, to surprise him. But as she learned the hard way, babies on flights can be wild cards.
Baby Rylee began to fuss as the plane started to taxi down the runway for takeoff, and Garvison noted that her two seatmates seemed none too pleased with her daughter’s cries. Garvison asked a flight attendant if she could switch places to a row with two empty seats and more room to spread out. But even with the new surroundings, Rylee was still fussing. That was when Nyfesha Miller stepped in and saved the day.
More: Do you really need a passport to fly domestically now?
Miller was the passenger who was assigned to the row where Garvison had moved, but rather than be annoyed over a crying infant coming into her previously quiet row, Miller offered to hold the baby for the stressed mom in an effort to help calm her down. Not only did Rylee settle down in Miller’s arms, but she fell asleep once the plane was in the air. Ever the awesome human, Miller held the sleeping baby in her lap for the entire flight, giving Mom a much needed break. Miller even carried the baby off the plane so Garvison could get the stroller situated. Garvison took some pictures of her daughter and the baby whisperer in action, which she shared on Facebook:
Miller’s act of kindness is a great example of the power of simply being nice. Had she reacted to Rylee’s cries like the other passengers and been annoyed and did nothing, it’s likely the entire flight would have been less enjoyable for all on board that plane. Garvison’s post has gathered a lot of attention on Facebook, and it’s great that in this era of social media the two women can stay connected and people can acknowledge what Miller did and give her the accolades she deserves.
It would be great if all parents could be so fortunate enough to encounter Miller or someone like her when flying with a fussy infant, but in the event that you find yourself flying with a baby in the future without a kind stranger nearby, there are some things you can do to try to prevent a midflight meltdown.
Check with the gate desk to see if your carrier permits preboarding for families traveling with young kids. This will allow you to get on the plane before it’s too crowded and give you time to settle your carry-on luggage and bags. Having a pacifier, bottle or breastfeeding your baby during takeoff and landing can help prevent ear pain due to changes in cabin pressure, and it’s a good idea to keep a small blanket or extra sweater for the baby in case the plane is chilly. If your child is a light sleeper, a pair of noise-canceling headphones can prevent in-flight announcements from interrupting a nap.
No matter how well you plan and prepare, a baby on a plane can still get fussy. But if more people were compassionate and understanding like Miller, perhaps there could be more to like about flying than just the free snacks.