J.H. asks from Missoula, MT on October 10, 2008
Airplane Travel with a Baby
My baby and I are going to be taking a trip to visit the grandparents in a couple of months. I was wondering if anyone had advice on airplane traveling, such as where to sit on a plane, how to change a diaper on a plane, layovers, etc. My son will be about 3.5 months by then and it will be our first trip like this. Thanks!
2 moms found this helpful
E.S. answers from Great Falls on October 11, 2008
C.M. answers from Denver on October 11, 2008
Nurse/bottle feed on take-off and landing. When I flew with my infant, she slept a lot of the flight, once sort of nursing for 3 1/2 hours - but she was happy and quiet, so I didn't mess with it. Lots of planes have changing tables that pull out over the toilet - I didn't know about this until a ticked-off flight attendant informed me after changing my baby on my lap. Hey, how was I supposed to know. But, I've been on several flights with out a changing table - so just do what you have to do. Ya know we we're all babies once. Just relax. Flying with an infant is really quite easy. Now toddlers...that's a different story ;-)
T.P. answers from Denver on October 18, 2008
I recently traveled with my then 6 month old daughter, and it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. She's formula fed, so I filled her bottles ahead of time with powder formula only. Then I got a couple bottles of water after I passed through security to add to the bottles when necessary. Take the stroller because it allows for carrying some of your bags and carrying baby easily. Also, security at the airports were visited opened a special line for us as soon as they saw the stroller. Make sure that you can easily slip you feet in and out of your shoes, and don't wear anything that can set off the security sensor. You will need to put the stroller and car seat (if taken) through the security screen, so ask for help if needed. You do need to take baby out of the stroller/car seat for the screaning. Make sure that all liquids are stored in the zip lock bag and is easy to access (get travel size versions of stuff if needed). I bought a separate seat for my daughter which came in very handy since she's an active baby. Her car seat served as a familiar object for her, so she remained pretty calm and content riding in it. If you by the seat, put the seat in the windo seat. Per flight attendant - It would be easier to get off the plane in an emergency if car seat is in the window seat. Don't forget the rest of the advice regarding the sucking during take off and landing, ziploc bags, extra clothes (for you and baby), and extra diapers and food.
Most importantly - If your baby cries or yells during the flight, don't get anxious, nervous, or even embarrased. Babies aren't adults that you can ask politely if they can quiet down.
L.Y. answers from Fort Collins on October 11, 2008
All of my kids traveled as infants (17, 4 & 8 months).
1. He's 3.5 months you don't need to bring a bunch of extra stuff. Being on your lap for that long will be a treat for him if he's not sleeping. A normal diaper bag, with 1 rattle, a few diapers, and an extra change of clothes is fine. Lugging a bunch of extras on a flight is stressful. If the airline loses your luggage, and you're not traveling to Nepal you'll probably be able to buy a pkg of diapers at a store on the way to your parents' home and you can pick up some temp clothes at a Goodwill for <10 bucks. There is a limit to how much you can carry on anyway. (lost luggage is usually found and delivered to you within 24 hours).
2. Cabin pressure change only occurs during take off and landing, BF during these times. If he's hungry right before take off, let him cry until take off, sometimes its hard to get them to suck their thumb or a pacifier when they're busy crying. It's easier to get them to nurse because BF is nurturing, comforting and they are hungry where as pacifiers and thumbs are self soothers and he's too young to be good at that. If he's asleep gently wake him to nurse for landing.
3. I liked the bulkhead seat (the first row in coach) there was more room between the seat and the little wall and I could lay my oldest on his lammie at my feet while he slept. With my youngest I have a Moby Wrap... it was wonderful because I slept and didn't have to worry about her falling off my lap. If you haven't already requested a specific seat you may not have a choice now - flights are usually packed.
4. As far as picking a window seat --- its hard enough to climb over people to get out by yourself... even more impossible with your hands full of baby even in a wrap or snugli because the space between the seats is so cramped. If you're shy about BFing in public, there's not a whole lot of people who can see you, the two people on either side of you maybe if they lean forward and rubberneck and the people walking by are walking by... not going to get a good long look.
C.E. answers from Denver on October 11, 2008
You've gotten great advice already. We've traveled with both of our children since they were babies and the best advice I can give, is relax. The baby feels what you are feeling and if you are anxious, so he will be also!
Feed on take offs and landings - get him sucking on something- then his ears won't hurt and he won't cry.
Don't worry about anyone else. Concentrate on him - sing to him or whatever comforts him.
I was on a plane with my infant daughter and she was getting a bit fussy, so I stood (when the fasten seatbelt signs were off) and sang softly to her. Or so I though! I'm not the best singer, but it helped her and when we landed, the gentlemen behind us commented on how he enjoyed the songs he hadn't heard in years!! LOL It was a bit embarassing, but he also commented on what a good baby I had! :)
If you need to change him, and don't have an extra seat to do it in - go to the galley, or by the bathroom and lay down a blanket on the floor and change him. It doesn't take long, you won't bug anyone, and the flt attendants will be fine with it!
Take care and enjoy your trip!! :)
E.C. answers from Boise on October 11, 2008
I have a 7 month old boy who I have taken to California 6 times since he was born. The first trip was at 3 months and I too was a little concerned at first. I have found that flying with him is almost as easy as going by myself. I fly Southwest so I can pick my own seat. They let you bring on the carrier if there are available seats on the plane so you don't have to buy baby his own ticket. I make sure that My son is partially fed before boarding but still a little hungry. I give him a little Motrin or Tylenol about 30 minutes prior to taking off to help with any ear pain. When I get on the plane I take an empty row and put my son next to the window so that I can sit in the center and hope that no one tries to sit next to me.....No one has yet tried in 6 flights! As soon as we start to take off I make sure that he has either the binky to suck on or the bottle and I keep him occupied wdith funny faces. I do the same thing on the last part of the flight when the plane descends. I think as long as you make sure he is sucking on something his little ears will stay popped and he will be fine. Do not fly if baby seems congested. As for changing...if you take the whole row up it is easy and if you don't then just put him on your lap....there is no room in the bathroom!!! I hope you have a nice trip with your son...I enjoy my little trips alone with my baby. Also..check as much of your stuff as possible to make it easy on yourself getting around the airport.
M.S. answers from Denver on October 10, 2008
ditto on the nursing/bottle/paci on take off/landing... though crying also helps their ears regulate to the change in altitude... so if he does cry it is usually brief.
though stressful for you, it is actually much easier to travel the smaller they are... plus the vibrations usually make them sleepy.
most airplanes have a flip down lid/changing table in the bathroom (behind toilet). it is awkward & small, and hard... but better than trying to do it on your lap. if you do need to change a diaper in your seat, just make sure you have lots of wipes... and pack a few extra gallon sized ziplocs to store the dirty ones. (and clothes if you have a blow out). you and your fellow passengers will be thankful for the nearly odor free storage.
also, bring a change of clothes (or at least a shirt for you) for you and your baby. my daughter is not a barfer, but she has puked on me or my husband every time we've flown somewhere. a few extra burp cloths and some of those receiving blankets are good for wiping up messes too or puttinh down when surfaces aren't so clean.
bring a sack full of toys, rattles, etc... pick up a few new ones that your son hasn't played with before. trust me anyone who is sitting near you would rather hear a toy (as long as it isn't battery powered and noisy) than a fussy kid.
i will also admit to not being above bringing along some liquid tylenol... i am not sure if the altitude gave my daughter a headache or what... but if your baby gets super fuusy... you might want to have some on hand.
as for seating, since most airlines seem to have done away with assigned seating, i try to sit next to an older woman who looks like she is a grandma or any woman who has that "mom" vibe... wrong to stereo-type, but i sat next to a lady who played peek-a-boo with my (at the time) 6 mo for nearly 2 hrs straight. i don't know who had a better time... my daughter or that kind lady.
remember to pre-board... and you can gate-check your stroller/car-seat, it doesn't count as a carry-on item and you can use it again as soon as you land.
flight attendants are usually unbelievably helpful, esp if you are traveling alone... just ask for help if you need it. (one held my daughter when i had to go to the bathroom... i could have kissed her).
traveling with small children is a lot of work... but you won't believe the kindness of strangers... kind of restores your faith in humanity. perfect strangers will hold open doors, lift your carseat on to the security conveyor belt, etc...
whew! sorry to write a novel about this.
p.s. make sure to wear slip on shoes for security... and no belt or other items you need to remove, etc. anything to make it easy to get through security. Also make sure to bag up (again in ziplocs) any formula you have. though expensive i liked those single serving travel packs of formula. they are easier to get through security than baggies of formula.
S.M. answers from Salt Lake City on October 11, 2008
Rochelle and the other moms covered the air pressure issue and diaper changes. Make sure if you are using formula to bring powder formula, you can get bottled water on the airplane to mix it with but the laws on bringing your own liquid on the flight are still pretty strict.
Have fun, great that you are already traveling with your son, sets him up for a lifetime of loving travel.
M.B. answers from Great Falls on October 13, 2008
I traveled with my then 3 month old daughter to visit family in England. We had very short layovers so I can't advise there but as for being on the plane, I would say that using the tray table helped us a lot. It was a good spot for changing the baby (try to have a window seat or aisle seat so that you can keep some room between stinky diapers and other passengers, and is a good seat for a little privacy if you are breastfeeding), and also for her to lie on and kick around, just make sure you watch baby closely. Don't forget to take dirty diapers to the bathroom with you so that you can throw them in the trash. We had some nice extra room as they gave us a free up grade to Economy Plus on one leg of the trip, you have enough to juggle as it is so any extra space is a luxury. You may want to ask if the airline has bassinet seats. The one we were given was a glorified box that we could put on the tray table and lay Baby in, but it did mean that we could all take a nap and not worry about her rolling off. These do make eating a little tricky, you may have to wait to eat and then swap with your other half or vice versa. Request these early as the only seats they can be used in are behind the bulkheads. If you are not breastfeeding or won't be doing it on the journey, I would suggest buying some formula that is already measured out and divided into small packages so that you don't have to mess with measuring on the plane. If the baby is awake don't forget there are lots of new people for him to look at so go for a walk down the aisle. The one thing that my Baby didn't like was the final descent. You really want your little one to be sucking ( on a pacifier, bottle, breast) on take off and landing to ease the crying and the changes for him. Don't forget, most airlines don't count your stroller/travel system as luggage and you can take the car seat and stroller up to the gate before you need to check it. It can help you carry the bags full of diapers and other baby necessities and it makes it easier to move if you're running to make a tight connection. Please don't take my word for it though, check with your airline. I hope this helps, please feel free to ask me any other questions!