16 answers

First Flight with Infant

Next week, my husband and I will be flying for the first time with our 6-month old son. It's a direct flight, but it's not short. Do you have any tips or recommendations for making the trip as pleasant as possible?

Also, do you have advice on how to transport the stroller, car seat, and the base for the car seat?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Our flights went extremely well! Thanks so much for all of the helpful advice!
We gate-checked our car seat, base, and stroller. I was amazed that it didn't count against us. The flight attendants were very helpful and our fellow passengers were very patient and friendly. Breastfeeding on the take-off and landing worked well to keep Benjamin comfortable. Although, I think I started a little too early on the first take-off (at the gate). The second time I waited until we were moving and I wasn't as stressed about Ben stopping too soon.
One of my neighbors had suggested investing in a portable dvd player and I'm glad we did because it really helped to have Benjamin's favorite baby einstein video as a back up for when he got really fussy.
On the flight back we were stuck at Seattle airport for about 5 hours! I was so glad I had packed some extra snacks and pampers.
Thanks again for all of the helpful advice and resources! I'm passing all of your advice on to another friend who will be traveling with her 5 month old daughter next month! :)

Featured Answers

Hi E. -

One of my readers recently did a guest post on traveling with baby on my blog that you might find helpful: http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2008/02/10/15-ti...

Good luck!

A.

More Answers

Have fun on your trip! We took a family vacation when my daughter was 10 months in Sept. We were nervous, but it went well. The roar of the engine was wonderful in getting her to sleep most of the time. The trick for us was (and this will be pretty easy for you since your little boy is 6 months old), never let them get out of your lap. If they think that your lap is the extent of their area they are allowed to be in, they'll do just fine.

You will check the car seat and base. We taped those together. And, it's much easier to bring an umbrella stroller if your son is big enough to use one. They will have an area as you board the plane where you can stow the stroller. I'm not sure if they will for the larger strollers that the infant car seats fit into or not. You might want to check with the airline beforehand. If not, and you're more comfortable with that stroller, you can check it also.

I'd call the airline in advance to let them know you are flying with an infant. They will give you preferential treatment in boarding you at the few seats with plenty of leg room, any empty seats so it can be just you and your husband and baby on a row, and even first class. We found the airlines to be very baby friendly! Good luck!

A little about me:

I'm 33 years old, the mother of a cute spunky 17 month old girl. I do a job share and work part time.

Hi E.,
I have traveled with my kiddos - here is what I do:
Buy a seat for your kiddo and put them their car seat - you are going to need it anyway when you get to where you are going. Your baby will feel safer and more confident in his own chair.
Get a good umbrella stroller (chico) and the flight crew will take it right before you enter the plane. When you get to your destination - it will be waiting for you right outside.
When you check in at the airport - they will let you board first because you are traveling with your kiddo.
During takeoff and landing, there will be pressure on the ears - have a bottle or something ready - the sucking motion helps equalize the ears.
Thats about all Ive got -
Have a great trip!
T. S.

Thank goodness you have a direct flight! It makes it SO much easier.

You check the car seat and base at the ticket counter. It is great your husband will be with you to help you carry everything. Chances are good that your car seat and base click into your stroller at this age. The car seat and base do not count as a 'luggage' piece, so don't worry about being over the 2 bags per person limit.

They cover it with plastic and put it on the plane for you so it turns up on the carousel at your destination with everything else. Sometimes it shows up in special luggage, like where they keep skis and golf clubs.

Your stroller stays with you and you do a gate check, where you leave the stroller by the plane's door and they store it for you. You get a special tag with the agent there to put on the stroller.

I am not sure if you are nursing or using a bottle, but have plenty of formula if you are using a bottle. Make a bottle of water or formula BEFORE the plane takes off and give him a bottle OR nurse him as the plane is rising up into the air and when the plane is descending. This helps his little ears stay open.

I am not sure of where you are flying to, but be sure to keep an extra blanket with you as the plane can get really cold.

I would advise keeping a bottle of Infants Tylenol with you in case his ears act up. When my girl was little, I went ahead and gave her a dose of Infants Tylenol right before we boarded because I did not know how she would handle the flight. Maybe keep a bottle of Mylecon with you as well if he has been gassy and fussy. Make sure they are in sizes accepted for air travel!

When a baby is freaking out on a plane, you are willing to try anything to make them happy again...

Remember if you are carrying formula that you will not be able to carry water with you as well. You will have to buy it after security check. Wear slip off shoes and make sure your baby's shoes are easy on/off as well. You will have to run the stroller through security, so try to not to load it up with stuff! Try to condense most of your stuff into the diaper bag so you have less to keep track of.

Chances are great that he will sleep the entire flight. My girl always did! One time my husband brought his lap top so she could watch Baby Einstein during the flight. It is a tight fit, but worth it for long flights.

Have a safe flight!
S.

We traveled alot with our son when he was small. 5 round trips before he was a year old. We used the umbrella stroller because you can easily store it on the plane. We also took the car seat with us. If an empty seat is available you can use the car seat. It is amazing how people will give up their seat and move for you. If there are no empty seats the flight attendants stored the car seat for us. We took car seats until our children were two years old. The best trick though was the box for the travel crib we cut a hole in the box for the handle and always checked it. It was like new when we sold it. Good Luck

Hi E. -

One of my readers recently did a guest post on traveling with baby on my blog that you might find helpful: http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2008/02/10/15-ti...

Good luck!

A.

If possible time his feedings with your departure time. My daughter had no problems with her ears or flying as long as she was eating. So if you're breast feeding get comfy and prepared or if he does a bottle just keep it handy. Hopefully he'll sleep for much of the flight.
As for all the gear most airlines let you check the stroller and car seat at the gate. So wheel him through the airport, down the jetway and they'll take it just before you get on the plane. Then you pick it up after the flight. I would check the base with your luggage. Good luck!

Hi:

It's good you are traveling with your husband so you can both entertain your son. Make sure you have a bottle or sippy for take offs and landings. It helps with ear popping. I would bring finger foods (dried cherries, raisins, cherrios, etc) and small books, and toys. Once we exhausted all those options, and I couldn't entertain her any longer (she's VERY rambunctious), I would actually let her watch my iPod with video...I download cartoons. It really has helped.

But the real reason I wanted to respond, is because we bought this wheeled attachment called GoGoBabyz. It is awesome!!! We use her car seat and attach the gogobabyz to the back. It allows us to wheel her through the airport and to the gate in her seat. It keeps her from running all over the place and she is comfy. Plus we have her seat for our destination. We check the seat, with gogobabyz attached, at the gate. Also the wheels pop off to get through the xray at security. Check it out. They also have one for smaller babies still in infant seats. Happymothers.com had the best price and free shipping.

http://www.gogobabyz.com/products/gogo_kids.html

good luck. Most babies do well on planes, so don't psych yourself out.

J.

We flew nonstop to CA when my now 8 year old son was 6 months. I was told to nurse (or bottle if you don't) during takeoff and landing. I had some little toys for him to hold and put in his mouth.

We ended up just buying an umbrella stroller when we got there. As far as carseat, we brought his infant carrier on board for him, and didn't bother with the base. We figured for one week we could live without it.

I don't know if you are staying with people who have hight chair, etc. we had a completely foldup booster seat that had a tray, that fit nicely in a large suitcase and straps to the chair. We normally took that with us for restaraunts, but it was nice to have for my aunt's house since all her grandkids were all grown up. We also checked a fold up pack and play, and packed his blankets in that.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

congrats on your new baby! if you're not going to use the car seat for the plane trip itself, put it in your checked baggage. that way it will arrive with you & the baby. the stroller (hope it's an umbrella type) they should be able to accommodate that on the plane. remember there are limitations to the fluids you can carry on. the airlines do make exceptions for formula. it would be easiest if you're not breastfeeding to bring powdered and ask the flight attendant for the water. last but not least, check directly with your airline, via the web or call ABIA ###-###-#### (or 530 I forget)for the # to contact your airline - find out exactly what their restrictions are. and oh yeah, relax and have fun...how exciting!

Hi E.,
We took our first flight when our son was six months old as well (he's now 3 yrs old and we have a 9 month old) and found that traveling with an infant is actually easier than with a toddler. My son slept a lot and I was able to easily nurse him when he got fussy. I also recommend feeding him, whether you nurse or bottle feed, when you take off and land so the pressure won't hurt his ears. My husband and I were also able to change his diaper once (it was wet only) in our laps while we were flying.

If you plan on flying with a car seat I highly recommend this nifty little device that allows you to attach your carseat to a rolling carry-on suitcase. This way you don't need a stroller and you don't have to carry the car seat and it's very inexpensive. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Toddler-Attach-Rolling-Ca...
It's a tiny little strap that looks very unimpressive but it works great. When I first got it in the mail I was surprised but it allows you to use the latch system on your carseat and just strap it to your suitcase. As a side note, when we have purchased a seat and flown with a carseat I actually found the flight attendents to not be very helpful at all. I think for little ones it's much easier if they sit on your lap.

If you don't fly with a carseat, but need one at your destination, I recommend renting a car and just having the car rental company providing one for you. There is no additional fee. Also, you may want to keep in mind that once you reach your destination there are rental places where you can rent cribs, and other baby items.

Good luck and don't worry about the other passengers. Most people are extremely understanding and helpful. Especially people that have been through it before! We've flown several times now with our little ones and you just have to be flexible and patient.

Best of luck!

I agree with Tina. Having something to suck on helps during take off and landing. The first time I flew with my son I put watered down juice in a bottle. He had never had juice before so he sucked away and loved it! I preferred to have him in the bjorn than carrying around a stroller...that way I had both hands free. If you dont have a seat for him and plan on having him in your lap, I would check the car seat. If you are renting a car where you are going, you can rent a car seat (or a base if you prefer to have your own). But, if you want to bring your car seat, I would reccommend one of those snap n go strollers...the car seat snaps in to it and it is light weight...the flight attendants can stow it when you board. Good Luck!

Hi!

I know how stressful this can be! We're actually getting ready to fly with our now 2 yr old next week! When our daughter was younger we bought the extra ticket for the car seat - and it was totally worth it! She slept on both flights...we had 6hrs travel time with 1 connection.

We brought our graco metro-lite travel combo - the stroller worked out perfectly - you can fit the car seat base in the bottom basket. The flight attendants were helpful with getting the car seat strapped in and also with gate checking the stroller - they're used to seeing parents overwhelmed with baby stuff! :)

I had a bottle for my daughter during take-off and landing, we made sure that we had some little toys for her play with and her favorite "blankie" came onto the plane as well... :)

Good Luck!

We've already taken our second flight with our 8 month old. His first flight was also at 6 months. I have to say, we were either really lucky with him, or we did all the right things, because he was great. We were told to bring a new toy that he has never seen before on the plane, that would keep him occupied. Also anything that you normally use to soothe him. Breastfeeding does that for my son, so it worked well on the plane. As far as the car seat and stroller go.....I'm not sure what airlines you're flying on, but I think they all probably have the same policy.....you take the car seat/stroller right to the gate, they give you tags to put on them, and you roll him right to the end of the jet-way where they take it from you.....when you de-plane, whether for a connecting flight or it's your final destination, they have it waiting for you as soon as you come off the plane. It was very conventient. Hope the info helps and good luck!

You can get carrying cases for each of the items you mentioned about taking but a cheaper option is what my daughter learned when she flew with her 1 year old. She went to a resale shop in the town she was visiting and purchased what she needed and the day she was leaving she returned to the resale shop and sold them all back.

As far as the baby is concerned I'd asked your pediatrician what you can saving give the baby just in case it is needed for motion sickness and also for his ears.

I flew sveral times with my baby when she was younger. In fact two of the flights 4 & 6 months I was on my own and had to change planes. Crazy!

Here is what worked for me.

1) If you are nursing. Use the boob! Especially for take off or landing. If not nursing try to get him to suck on osmethign for take off and landing...helps the ears.

Bring a blankie to try and stay a litle under the radar BUT don't let anyone treat you bably. It was great on most flights but on one, with my husband next to me blocking, a flight attendant handed me a blanket. I own a "hooter hider" but let's be honest at 6 month they push it off there face when they want to! But don't fret. Everyone wants you to nurse if it means a happy baby. Plus yuo can brign pumped brest milk to have a bottle handy. It keeps for several hours..Check your pump or a book for exact time.

2) Bring enough diapers. I usually carry twice as many as I think I will need. 6 hour flight? 12-15 diapers! Just incasse. You never know what will happen with traveling. You have to think about the airport and if you get delayed...

3) If you are renting a car you can rent a car seat. We found that out at a wedding when they sent out deat to another location. I think all of the major car rentals have 5 point harness seats. VERY NICE. Much nicer then the loner from delta. But at least they had a loner to borrow since they mislocated ours.

4) use the stroller in the airport and check at gate. If you have a snap and go... connect the base and put in a garbage bag to check once you get ot hte airport. Then use the base to put your carryons and carry the baby to the gate. We also have a body carry we would use in the airport.

5) Make sure you bring enough formula if you aren't nursing.

6) Brings snacks for you and hubby. Happy mommy menas happyt baby.

7) Bring any medications he might need. Baby tylenol, teething stuff, benedryl. Make sure this is all in clear bag so when you go through security they can see it.

8) Bring toys to chew on and maybe a new one to play with. I got this little wooden mirror toy from Melissa and Doug. I couldn't believe i was pending $10 bucks on such a small toy. It was the best money I have spent. IT was new and she got to look at herself. SHE LOVED IT!

9) Relax. If he crys. He crys. Just do your best to comfort him and it will pass. Most people are pretty cool. And if they aren't..well I can't type what I think but karma will bite them in the ....

Good luck

Yep, I traveled quite a bit with my daughter. Make sure you have a bottle ready for take off and landing. Sometimes the difference in air pressure hurts their ears. If you need to change him, I always took a pillow and blanket into the rest room. Dry out the sink, put the pillow in it then put the blanket. Much easier to change baby that way. Enjoy your trip!

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