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The FlyeBaby "Infant Travel Hammock" as I'm calling it came out with perfect timing for me to test it out with our Travel Baby #3. The FlyeBaby (sometimes misspelled as "FlyBaby") was featured in the SkyMall Inventor's Corner, and as you know by the fact that you're seeing it featured here--our results were positive.
In fact, that's my little guy you'll see below, using one of the first models of the FlyeBaby hammock available on one of our flights. The FlyeBaby has since been updated with a new and improved model, which includes some of my original suggestions(!), including a new, more travel-friendly fabric and enhanced harness, as shown above.
The FlyeBaby is a multi-purpose sling-like seat, with an adjustable 5-point harness and straps that help create an extra seating space for your lap-held baby on aircraft. Be aware that it is NOT approved as a safety device, but can be used during cruising portions of your flight to help free your hands and give your infant a cozy spot to relax. As a bonus, It may also work on some other chairs for use as you travel as well (more below). Here are a couple of pictures of me installing it on a 737:
First, lower your airplane tray and secure the straps with loops and Velcro around i as shown (two vertical, one horizontal).
Now, here is the FlyeBaby with the tray table closed.
At first I had two Velcroed closures overlapping each other, and I couldn't close the tray table. A simple adjustment fixed this, however.
1) What I like most about the FlyeBaby is how it provides a great solution to an age-old dilemma for overseas travelers with infants, which is whether or not to book bulkhead seats with an airline bassinet, or to forego those busier and more public seats for quieter seats with more privacy toward the rear of the aircraft.
2) With a FlyeBaby, you can sit anywhere you want in the aircraft with your lap-held baby (excluding emergency rows, of course), and still give your arms and back a rest, and your baby a comfy place to lounge with full eye-contact from you. Your best position will be beside a window, however, where you won't have to disturb your baby if someone else needs to exit your row--which will also give you the fewest disturbances from passing passengers and reading lights during flight, not to mention the most privacy for breastfeeding.
3) The FlyeBaby, as you can see, also positions your baby for much easier spoon feeding than you would be able to do with your "lap child" sitting directly on your lap (though the "RetroMod" fabric was so pretty, I admit I was a little hesitant to "bless it" with pureed sweet potatoes--the new model is more forgiving).
4) The FlyeBaby is ultra-compact, lightweight, washable, and easy to bring along in its own small travel pouch.
5) The FlyeBaby may also help convert some adult chairs you encounter in your travels into baby and toddler-friendly seats, adding value and giving longevity to the product beyond your infant flying days. With some lounge chairs that have long arm rests and seats, you can actually follow the FlyeBaby instructions to create a reclined baby seat (more details here). When your baby and young toddler are able to sit upright, you can also use it to create a 3-point harness seat for them on most kitchen or restaurant-style chairs. The usefulness of this last point will vary greatly depending on when you travel with your child and what chairs you happen upon, so I don't recommend it as the primary reason to buy. If that's your primary concern, the Leachco Sit 'N Secure (baby seat wrap) will do the same job for babies sitting upright for less money. However, I like that this feature gives a good product for flying with babies more longevity and extra usefulness.
1) Note that my "big boy" was 8.5 months old in the photos above, and at 28.5" he was already above the recommended height level for airplane use as shown on the FlyeBaby itself. Nevertheless, we still liked it and, as you can see, he had a great time playing with me while "hanging out" in his hammock. Face-to-face contact can be such a help when flying with a baby!
2) Since he was so tall, however, when our forward neighbor decided to fully recline his seat, it did cramp his space. I could tell that with a smaller baby, say 6 months or younger or equivalent length, it didn't look like it would have been a problem with the seat reclined. Be aware that aircraft can vary widely in how much leg room is available between rows, even between two models of a 737, for example. Your results on one airplane may be quite different from the next. For this reason, I recommend buying FlyeBaby for infants through 6 months on average, and consider any additional use you get beyond that as gravy.
3) Keep in mind that the FlyeBaby is a travel solution for flying with a lap-held infant, but it does not provide the equivalent safety of a car seat (CRS). It's also not considered a safety device or child restraint. Though with that said, I was impressed by how, with the three straps affixed to the tray in front of me, combined with the strap fastened around my waist and the harness over my child, I felt like my baby was more secure in the FlyeBaby than he would have been riding on my lap alone and in my arms. I did have to take him out of it for breastfeeding, however.
4) Like the Baby B'Air flight safety vest, which protects against turbulence during the cruise portion of flights (more in Car Seat Alternatives), the FlyeBaby is not FAA-approved for use during take-off, landing, or taxiing segments of your flight. In other words, you'll have to take that snoozing (we'll hope) baby back out before you land.
5) Final point: Even with the FlyeBaby, you will still have your child at least partly on your lap. For short flights this may be irrelevant. For long-haul international flights with meal service, this may pose the usual problem of where to set your meal tray while you dine. For more considerations about flying overseas with a baby, using airline bassinets (and not), flying with a lap child, and using a car seat on air craft, don't miss the nuggets of wisdom on all of the above in Part 5 of Travels with Baby.
Where to buy a FlyeBaby for your family? Amazon.com
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