A.S. asks from Minneapolis, MN on July 06, 2008
Flying with 5 Month Old
My husband and I will be taking a 6 hour flight soon with our 5 month old son. We did not purchase an extra seat (baby wasn't born when we booked flight, so they wouldn't sell us a seat) so he will be riding on our laps. I am still nursing, but am going to give him bottles of breastmilk so I don't have to nurse next to a stranger in tight quarters and am assuming there is nowhere to go to breastfeed on a plane. Any tips/advice on flying with a 5 month old infant? Entertainment, toys, diaper changing, etc.?
So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone for the tips & advice on flying with my little guy. He was absolutely wonderful and we had no problems at all!
I was able to get a window seat with my husband next to me so it felt private enough that I could nurse instead of bottle-feed. We only had a couple wet diapers to change, and the stranger in the 3rd seat offered up their seat for changing--obviously experienced with trying to change diapers in an airplane bathroom. My son slept most of the time and was happy to just look around at all the faces around him & watch my husband's dvd player. We honestly could have gotten by with no toys at all, but they were nice to have as back-up. I've flown many long trips, and this one by far went the fastest and was actually quite enjoyable. Thanks again everyone!
J.A. answers from Omaha on July 07, 2008
I would encourage you to nurse if at all possible. Have your husband sit between you and the other passenger. We had to travel when my baby was 2 months old and it worked great to nurse on take off and landing. Matter of fact, on the way home, we were delayed by hours and she traveled better than any of the adults!
Also, ask for the bulkhead, the row just behind first class. There is more room and that is always nice to have especially when traveling.
Don't be self conscious about nursing, it is actually very private on a plane. Just think about how little you can see when you are on a plane. With the exception of sideways, no one in front or behind you can see anything. Your husband can help keep it private by holding a blanket or newspaper up when you are getting baby situated.
We are big fans of the Maya wrap, as it keeps baby close, especially in crowded airports, and acts as a blanket for nursing privacy. Get one and have someone show you how to use it. It takes another person to show you where to adjust the fabric. Once you get it, you will never want to be without it!
It seems crazy in our country, that people will pay money to see lots of skin in movies etc, but talk about using our bodies for what they were intended, some people can have really distorted views about it.
Hope you have a great trip!
Let us all know how it goes.
L.M. answers from Minneapolis on July 07, 2008
Take your car seat with you to the gate to check it plane side - especially if you have the kind of system where it clicks into your stroller. It will make getting through the airport much easier.
Then, when you get to the gate, ask the gate agent nicely if there is an empty seat on the flight so you could bring the baby on and strap him in. I've flown 4x in the last month with my 8-month-old and on three of 4 flights we've gotten an empty seat. She rides more securely and comfortably and she'll sleep for hours if she's in her seat. Good Luck!
A.S. answers from Davenport on July 07, 2008
There will be a changing table in the bathroom of the plane. Take a pacifier and have him suck it during take off and landing. It will help with the pressure change and popping ears.
V.G. answers from Minneapolis on July 07, 2008
The bulkhead seats do not have underseat storage, so if you want to be able to get to your diaper bag (which you will!), I wouldn't recommend it. If you turn sideways in your seat while you are nursing, it is a lot more comfortable - you don't have to worry about bumping the other passenger. If you don't have a Bebe Au Lait/Hooter Hider, it's a good investment. It is a nursing cover to keep baby's mealtimes private. It doesn't matter if you nurse or bottle feed during take off and landing - as long as he's sucking on something to prevent his ears from popping. Even a pacifier would work. If he's asleep, don't wake him, he'll sleep right through it and will be fine. My baby has slept through several takes off/landings with no problems.
Here's my very best tip: when you arrive at the gate, ask the attendant if there are any rows with an empty seat. If there are, they will gladly move you. If you are flying NWA, and you manage to get a window seat, they will actually let you bring your carseat on board without paying extra. Even if you can't bring your carseat on, having that extra room is so nice.
There are changing tables in the coach bathrooms, but if you're traveling with your husband, just have him get up, and change the diaper on the seat - it's much much easier.
Oh, and the liquids thing - they allow you to carry on as much as you need for the trip. They don't ask questions. I'm sure if you showed up with a gallon, they would question it. But if it's a matter of 4 bottles vs. 6 bottles, I doubt there is any problem. I have flown with my 10 month old 3 times alone, and 3 times with my husband. The airline employees are very helpful, and the other passengers are going to be more understanding than you expect. Don't feel bad or apologize if your baby cries or gets upset - it's to be expected. And everyone knows it.
I would suggest bringing any favorite toys and books that are small. Pack lots of extra diapers. If you have a sling or carrier, it's nice to have - helps baby calm down or sleep even. Hopefully he'll nap for a good part of the trip! Relax, and know that it is what it is. You can only be so prepared!
M.T. answers from Des Moines on July 07, 2008
You may want to check with the airlines...you know they have all those new regulations concerning the amount of liquid you can carry on in a container...i think it's only a few ounces per bottle. Also did you think about requesting a window seat? If you sat next to the window and your hubby sat in the middle, he could always shield you by turning sideways while you are feeding. It's my experience that most people do not mind you breastfeeding...they know it is just a natural thing to do, and don't pay any attention at all. So if your hubby could block you, it might alleviate some of your concerns about being next to a stranger. This would probably be a whole lot easier than dealing with all the new regulations about liquid carry ons.
L.D. answers from Minneapolis on July 07, 2008
If your flight is not full try to get a window and isle seat and hope no one takes the middle seat. If the middle seat is open the airline will let you put your carseat in the empty seat. If the above is not an option take the isle seat because it will be easier to get up for diaper changes and to walk him around. Take the seats in the back part of the plane (the last row is best). The noise will calm baby and drown out his crying for other passengers.
Have one parent board early with the luggage. The other parent can wait with baby till the end so you aren't sitting so long.
Try feeding him during take off and landing so his ears will adjust or a pacifier will work too. You can give tylenol about 30min before the flight to help with ear pain (ask your doctor about dosage for his wt).
The 3 planes (NWA flights) we have been on have had changing tables in the bathroom. Dress him in easy comfy cloths like pj's and bring extra clothes. Pack an extra shirt for you in case of spit up. Sometime airplanes are cold so bring a thin blanket for him.
Bring his favorite somewhat quiet toy like a rattle. The noisy battery opperated toys will be really annoying to those around you.
E.B. answers from Duluth on July 07, 2008
Although it's pretty rare these days, you might consider pleading your case--you would have bought an extra seat, but baby wasn't born and the airline wouldn't let you--while asking them if they happen to have a row with a vacant third seat. Sometimes it happens! In my honest opinion, 5 months is a hard time to travel. Babies aren't really old enough to be entertained for any length of time, but they also aren't in that "I sleep all the time" stage. Anyway--see if you can "make friends" with the people around you--my dad flies frequently for business, and he's actually switched to be close to a family (the person they were seated with was NOT happy about being near a baby, and my dad missed his grandsons!), and those kinds of people can be godsends as far as entertaining a baby. Walking up and down the aisles, very, very slowly...and anything at all you can think of to entertain baby. We sometimes even found that boarding last, rather than first, helped--less time on a crowded plane. Ultimately, the best travel advice I have is from a family I observed flying with three kids under 4...they simply devoted themselves to their children during the flight, and those were some of the most well behaved, competent fliers I've seen.
Oh--and if you can leave him in a diaper for the whole flight, I'd do it!!! We had our oldest completely blow out on an airplane and it was awful (funny, too!). We just put more clothes on and waited until we arrived. It's definitely possible to change them in the bathrooms, but of course, most diaper changes on the go are harder than ones at home. I nurse on the plane all the time, and I've never had a problem with anyone--of course, if this makes you uncomfortable, you certainly don't have to, but nobody's ever said anything to me, or even given me dirty looks. :) Good luck.
A.B. answers from Minneapolis on July 07, 2008
The other advice is good. The only thing I would add is don't bring too much. Overpacking is the worst. You have to just worry about your son and not all his stuff. Just the basics is plenty.