Airline’s new flight map lets you avoid sitting near babies—and parents are having mixed reactions

Their new baby seat map may provide the illusion of control, but it's not fool-proof.

Airline’s new flight map lets you avoid sitting near babies—and parents are having mixed reactions

"Sorry not sorry" has always been my philosophy when it comes to my kid's outbursts in public places—yes, even on airplanes. I'll do my best to keep him quiet and happy, but he is a child, just like everyone else around us once was. Sometimes children and babies cry, and parents should not be shamed when this happens. Finding yourself in a public place with a crying child doesn't make you a bad parent, it just makes you a parent.

That's why I was curious about the news that Japan Airlines has created a warning system so that people can see where children two and under might be sitting. You may have seen the headlines about this development in the past few days" "Airline introduces baby seat map to allow passengers to avoid infants" or "Japan Airlines unveils tool to tackle horror of screaming infants."


The basic idea is that when you select your seat, the plane's seat map will have a little baby-face icon if there is a child two or under sitting there. The reactions to this idea vary. Some parents are irate, others are simply perplexed. Some frequent business travelers are rejoicing and wondering why other airlines haven't thought of this yet. There are even moms who are looking forward to having the chance to fly away from their children, free from others' tots.

But you really have to read the fine print here—on the airline policy and regarding small children, too.

The airline states, "Child icons are not displayed in the following situations: Seats booked as part of a tour or using award tickets. Seats selected through means other than the JAL website. Child icons may not be displayed correctly if there is a change in aircraft." Also, parents of small children have a lot on their plates and might be booking their flights after you.

The map isn't a guarantee that a baby won't get the seat next to yours.

Plus, babies' lungs are calibrated to reach long distances. Choosing a seat four rows back from a baby doesn't mean you're not going to hear them. And finally, the map is ignoring the fact that 3-year-olds—who aren't going to show up on the map—can be difficult when it comes to listening, sitting still or being quiet. So, many people might prefer to sit next to a 3-month-old rather than a preschooler.

While many headlines suggest Japan Airlines is doing a disservice to parents with this policy, that is not the intent. The airline is trying to come up with a solution that helps parents and people who don't have kids. Some people don't want to sit next to a baby, and parents often worry that they may be sitting by one of those people. Japan Airlines was trying to come up with a solution to the stress on both sides. Japan Airlines is actually pretty helpful for parents traveling with kids. It offers strollers to borrow in the airport for anyone who decides to check theirs or leave them at home. Baby blankets and picture books are also on hand to lend to little ones on the flight.

Sometimes, babies are going to cry in public. That's just a fact of life. Most parents do their best to calm their little ones, especially on planes. And, as Twitter users frequently remind us, sometimes babies are actually the least disruptive passengers on a flight.

Maybe airlines should invent an icon to alert us to the location of barefoot, headphone adverse adults. Babies don't have the cognitive ability to control their volume, but we can all control the volume of our smartphones. In no way am I suggesting parents flying with children are more important than any other passenger, only that babies are humans, too.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

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If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

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Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

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Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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