M.D. asks from Belmont, CA on December 19, 2007
Advice for Air Travel with Infant
I have a question regarding air travel and sleep on vacation for other mom's out there. I am planning to take my 8 month old on two vacations in February. We will be in Mexico for one week, then back for a week, and then are going to Hawaii for a week for a family event. Sounds crazy, I know. I guess I have two questions:
1) Does anyone have any advice regarding taking a baby (for the first time) onto a plane? Have people taken their carseats onto the plane for a child this age? Or do you just put the baby on your lap? How do you get him to sleep on the plane?
2) Any advice for getting your baby to sleep in another time zone, and on vacation. He is used to sleeping in his crib in his own room, and while on vacation he will have to share a bed/room with my husband and me.
Any advice people have would be great! Thanks in advance for your help.
S.S. answers from San Francisco on December 20, 2007
If you can afford another plane ticket, I would bring the car seat on the plane. Babies are used to their car seats. When I traveled with my daughter on my lap, she wiggled around and climbed all over me. I couldn't eat my dinner, there was nowhere to put the tray table. When we took another plane trip with her in the car seat she napped most of the way.
W.W. answers from Sacramento on December 20, 2007
I have taken both of my children on planes. My oldest rode several home from Russia. Every take off and landing we gave him a cup (they didn't have sippy cups or bottles in the orphanage) to drink from and I sang the same lullaby to him to keep him calm. My youngest, when we took him, I nursed him during take off and landings. My oldest was content to look out the window (he's 4 now). I did not take a carseat on either plane. We bought a seat for the 4 year old and we held the baby (me nursing mostly). He just fell asleep while nursing and I didn't stop him. He stayed asleep until we landed. Since your time zone is behind ours, you may want to just keep our time schedule if you can - it'll be easier when you return. Otherwise, just go through your normal bedtime routines, take some familiar items such as blankie, lovey, pillow case that you've used, etc. I would take the pack n play if you use one, or get a crib from the hotel; otherwise he should be fine sleeping with you then back to normal when you return home. My son sleeps with us and stays in a crib when we travel and he doesn't have an issue when we come home. Of course every baby is different. I do pack the carseats as luggage (just wrap them in garbage bags so they don't get dirty and gross). Good luck and have fun on your trip!
M.W. answers from San Francisco on December 20, 2007
I have a 10 year old daughter and when she has been traveling since she was 8months old. I wouldnt bring the car seat on the plane, an extra ticket and its a hassle. Put the baby on your lap. You can bring the stroller up to the gate and once you get on the plane the airlines will stow for you. I gave my daughter benadryl, that helped the baby sleep or relax on the plane and while take off or landing, bottle feed or breast feed the baby.
I always had a baby Bjorn carrier to carry the baby in to have my hands free. Good luck, you will be fine, its a wonderful experience to travel with your child. and it makes it much easier when your partner is there to help you.
C.F. answers from Sacramento on December 21, 2007
I took my son on a couple of trips across country. I bought a seat for him each time and I'm very glad I did. He is a very active boy and I would not have been able to have him in my lap the entire 8 hour flight. I gave him tylenol each take off that was separated by about 6 hours, so that he wouldn't have his ears hurt so much. As well, I gave him either a bottle or a sippy cup as well as his pacifier to suck on. I put all of his diaper bag stuff into a back pack so that I could have it on my shoulders and more hands free. As well, when he was younger I carried him in a baby sling/carrier so that I didn't have to have the stroller. Remember to watch what liquids you take, however a thing of baby tylenol is ok. Also take things that are comforting to him, like a blankie or stuffed animal. Take any special toys on the plane with you. Other than that enjoy.
K.P. answers from Sacramento on December 20, 2007
I took my 8 mo. to IL last summer, I was pleasantly surprised on how it all went. If you are traveling by yourself, I recommend a carseat. If you will have someone to pass the baby to when you need to, then you can get away with him being a lap baby. It really all depends on how much you value your comfort / convenience. We actually took a red eye east and he was awake the entire time in the airport, but once we took off, he had an extra bottle and slept the whole way, even when being passed back and forth. On the way back, our flight was at his dinner time, so we fed him, entertained him, another bottle and he slept the last two hours. I have to admit, I was nervous because my son is not a pacifier baby, so there was no FOR SURE quiet if he started to cry, fortunately, we didn't have to deal with it. Also, you can take the stroller all the way to the gate, so take advantage of that. As for sleeping, bring something that he has in his crib at home and have that in the portable crib in the hotel....and cross your fingers.
N.M. answers from Chico on December 20, 2007
One thing I wish I had known the first time I travelled to France with my son (then 4 mos. old) was that many airlines have bassinets that you can request. If you ask, they will ofen put you in front of the bulkhead. I don't know if your son is too big for the bassinet by now. If so, for the long flight to Hawaii, I recommend brining the car seat. It's not for safety, but he will probably be more likely to sleep in it because he's used to it. It's a giant pain in the neck, but is a life-saver for me. The first trip, I held my son the whole time and my arms and legs were cramped and asleep half the time. I got no sleep and was barely able to eat. It was the longest flight of my life. My son hardly slept at all and was miserable.
My son is also used to his own room/crib. We usually put him in the guest room alone in a pack-n-play and sleep on the couch/floor of the livingroom where we stay. It's worth it for us because it's so much better when he's well rested and happy!
J.H. answers from Visalia on December 20, 2007
I traveled alone about 3 different times with my son before he was 3 months. Since you will have help, what I did may not be necessary for you. I didn't take a car seat or a stroller. I carried him in my Bjorn and used a backpack as a carry on so my hands were free. I didn't have to do anything to get him to sleep on the plane actually, I think the loud noise from the engine lulled him to sleep. All the flights he pretty much slept the entire time (though none were more than 2 hours).
If you do take your carseat make sure the airline has approved the kind you have. Wish I could give you more advice. Good luck!
D.V. answers from San Francisco on December 20, 2007
My son is now 12 and a healthy, happy kid (for a pre-teen!)and I traveled A lOT with him as an infant, toddler and young child...in the U.S. and abroad. Here's what I learnerd:
1) babies need to be held all of the time so I held him in the sling and in my lap on the plane. the flight attendants are very nice about helping and getting up and walking towards the back of the plane always helped.
2) on lift off and landing NURSING!!! is the ONLY thing that kept him from crying and fussing (the inner ear stuff HURTS and sucking is one the of the few ways to release the pressure). I nursed him as much as he wanted on the plane and basically stopped caring if anyone was looking--they weren't!
3) i made sure he also had things to look at and play with that were easy to carry and i didn't care if they got lost
4) i travel a lot, and often to Mexico and Latin America. I believe people make too much of the time zone thing...make sure you get sunshine in the day time and go to sleep when it is dark...set your watch for the new time zone in the plane and don't talk about it or think about it (unless you have to make a call and want to be nice to who you are calling!).
5) Focus on what your regular rituals around bathing and sleeping are and just do them the best that you can on your trip. In the same room make sure you make a quiet space with your child that he knows is sleep time space (like at home) and don't play there...
6) Relax and have fun and don't stress about funny sleeping habits or bedtimes until you get back. make sure your child gets to sleep when they want to, eats lots of yummy things, nurses a lot...DON'T DRINK the WATER or even brush your teeth with the water, even in the big cities and make sure you peel everything! don't eat lettuce! if you or your child does get sick make sure you get purified and sterilized water and drink it with with a bit of sugar and salt (or get gatorade or pedilite)
I hope this is helpful. Traveling with a young child and infant were some of my best trips! People outside of the US are very baby focused and will make special accomodations for you and the baby. It is a great way to see the world. Have fun!
J.T. answers from San Francisco on December 20, 2007
First off, Have a great trip!! Sounds like you deserve some time off.
I've traveled with both my kids when they were infants, and here's what I did.
1) Take the carseat. Some of them are hard to get buckled in, but your child will feel comfortable in it. Holding a child for that long will drive you both nuts. If you sit right next to her, and she's facing backwards, you'll be able to play with her the whole trip. Of course, you can take her out when she gets fussy.
2) Benedryl! If you give your baby the proper dosage of Bendryl before the trip, you'll all have a happier trip. It is probably the safest drug on the market -- even more so than Tylenol -- and does two things for most kids: one, as an antihistime it helps keep nasal and ear passages open and clear, which helps with equalizing the pressure in her ears for take off and landing. (Also, if she uses a bottle or is still breastfeeding or uses a pacifier, make sure she is sucking during these times which also helps). Benedryl also makes most kids a bit sleepy.
3) Try to keep your baby on her regular schedule. Just keep her up longer or put her down earlier -- the 'regular' times in the new time zone. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, just cuddle her in bed. Don't turn on the lights, don't play with her, don't give her any reason to 'be awake'. Most babies get bored after about 20 minutes and will settle in.
Most importantly -- have a great time, and don't forget the baby sunscreen!