Onya, the best baby carrier company in the entire world, sponsored part of our trip to the fabulous BlissDom conference in Dallas, TX. I knew I loved the Onya; I didn’t know that the Onya is the best carrier for air travel. I have so much to say about the Onya during our trip that I’m grouping my stories into topics, starting with the traveling. Our little family flew to visit my mom’s house, but solo parenting on an airplane is an entirely different experience.
Here’s why you should choose Onya next time you need to fly with one of your littles:
- Your hands are free to deal with checking luggage, getting through security quickly, purchasing a magazine or pain killers or water.
- You don’t have to take it all the way off–just sit down, unbuckle the top and let it double as a lap pad.
- If you don’t take it all the way off, it’s easy to put it back on when it’s time to change a diaper. In the tiny airport bathroom, it won’t take up valuable space, but it will leave your hands free to help you up and down the aisle on your way there and back.
- The top zipper pocket is the perfect size for ID.
- The side zipper pocket (yes, there are two zipper pockets) is exactly the right size to hold a boarding pass.
- The whole thing rolls up to about the size of a shoe box when you’re not using it.
- The entire carrier weighs a mere 2.2 lbs.
- The Outback, with its sporty design and mesh lining, will help keep you and your baby cool through all the exercise and overcrowding that is air travel these days. Its waterproof fabric will make cleaning up after an inevitable mess very easy.
A sponsor helping pay for a trip might make you think I’m biased in their favor; I definitely am. I am biased in Onya’s favor because when the carrier came out, I could tell that it had fixed most of the problems I had encountered with other soft-structured carriers when I was a nanny: uncomfortable straps, an uncomfortable waistband, too much of the baby’s weight on the top of my shoulders. I contacted Onya first, ages ago. I was a cheerleader for them on Twitter before I even owned one. I reached out to them about BlissDom sponsorship, because I knew I’d rather wear Walt than push him in a stroller. The babe likes to be held. I couldn’t picture a stroller working very well, and out of all my five baby carriers, the Onya is my clear favorite for long-term babywearing. I am so excited that they helped me go, in part because I have so much great information to pass on to you about the carrier. We’ll start with why it’s the best baby carrier for air travel.
First: security. I needed the carseat for the trip from Dallas/Fort Worth airport to the hotel and back, so I needed the stroller to carry the carseat. I could have checked both with my luggage for free (on American) but had heard from more experienced mamas that if there was an open seat, I might be able to put Walt in his carseat on the plane. So I decided to take it through security. I found out from these same experienced mamas that I would need to hold Walt while the carseat and stroller went through the XRay box along with my purse, shoes, etc. My solution? Put everything in the stroller except the Outback and put the baby in the Outback. It worked like a charm! My hands were free to get everything arranged and on its way through TSA. My baby was happy. We were ready to check everything at the gate in case there was no extra seat (there wasn’t). This happened on the way to Dallas and on the way home. Both flights were packed.
I sat down in my window seat, where I prefer to nurse during takeoffs and landings to help Walt’s ears pop, and discovered that I could keep the Onya buckled around my waist and let the front fall across my lap. It made a cushion for the baby. It prevented his little toy from falling to the floor. It even stopped spit up from soaking my jeans! Because I was using the Outback, which has an easy-to-clean mesh lining, I could clean the spit up with a napkin and not worry that it would soak my baby when I buckled him back in.
Walt didn’t fuss when we were standing, because he was in the carrier and could see. He loves to see new faces! Someone found us at BlissDom because she recognized him from the flight–she had been sitting behind us when I lifted him up to see all the people. His smile really made an impression! On the way to Dallas, he was a dream. He played with the toddler sitting next to us. Smiled at the people around us. Fell asleep after I changed his diaper. Stayed safe in his carrier in the aisle while I used my hands to make sure I could catch us in the event of sudden turbulence. The flight home was a different story.
On our way back to New York, his stomach hurt from gas pain, his gripe water remedy was in the checked luggage because the bottle was a 4 oz, not a 3 oz, bottle, and he just screamed. He screamed himself to sleep. Then, the pain woke him up, and he screamed again. I put the carrier on, took it off, put it on and nursed him in it, then took it off and used it as a lap pad while I tried everything I could think of to calm him. In the end, all I could do was put the front back on, pat his back and sing our favorite songs into his ear while he cried.
A lovely man I don’t know approached us while we were waiting for our luggage. I was so afraid he would say something about how I should have handled the flight differently. Instead, he said it was nice to hear my singing voice. I was the perfect way to respond to a young mom and a young baby who had had a very long day. Having two hands while solo parenting in airports and airplanes while holding my baby? The only way we made it through that day at all.