27 answers

Flying with 6 Month Old - Lyons,IL

Hi Mommy's
My fiance and i plan on taking a trip to Boston with our 6 month old boy. We plan on flying and had Q's on how to go about this. Do we need to purchase a ticket for him? Baby seat needed? Taking powdered formula/nursery water? Please help me find some answers.

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Find out how long the flight is gonna be first. If at all possible make IT so that it is around the time the baby needs to take a nap or sleep. Most babies if they are sleep when they board are sleep till the flight is over. What i have noticed is that if they are woke is it almost like a car ride so they are pretty content. You just have to worry when they are walking age.

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I just flew with an 8month old over Xmas. It was fine. I held her in my lap the whole time. I brought those individual packets of formula and bought bottled water once we got through security. We had a great trip and she was a great traveler. I know people want to tell you their horror stories, but it doesn't have to go that way.

I've flown with my son, now 4, a few times to Pennsylvania. While expensive to purchase another ticket, you can't put a price tag on the life and safety of your child. $300 or whatever is a small price to pay to ensure he'll be secure in turbulence, etc. I'd bring along the car seat and get him his own seat. (Bring a few binkies too, if he's into that). Have a nice trip.

Hi A.,

Each airline is different, so you'll definitely want to check the websites and/or call the airline directly. Most domestic airlines let kids under age two sit on a parent's lap in lieu of buying another seat. But, if you book online, you do need to call the airline ahead of time and let them know you're bringing a baby, because at least one airline actually issues a boarding pass, even though there's no seat for the baby.

I've flown twice with my 5-month old so far, and he sat on my lap both times. Therefore, no special baby seat was needed. You can, of course, check whatever formula you need, but they are also supposed to also let you take as much liquid formula as you need in your carry on, as long as you have your baby with you. I did take some back-up formula in my carry-on, and they were fine with it. And both times, they let us go through a much shorter line for the security check, which was nice. You can typically check your stroller and car seat at the gate.

Have fun and have a safe trip!

It may be too late but I highly recommend flying Southwest with young children. You can delay buying a seat until up to the day before. I call the day before and find out if the flight is full or dangerously close to it. If so, I buy a seat (they also offer infant fares, although they are about the same price as the internet specials so it's rarely a discount). But if they AREN'T full, you can have your infant take the "extra" seat in your row at no cost. The car seat and the stroller (which you can check at the gate) count as one checked item, but Southwest allows each ticketed passenger 2 checked items so if you can get away with one suitcase for you, your fiance and your son, you're set!! This was much easier for me than trying the whole "lap baby" thing...my daughter has a hard time sitting through a story let alone hours on a plane. Good luck!

Hi there. You don't need to purchase tickets until they are over 2. Most airlines will let you take the seat if they have room. If you are on a large plane, at the gate ask if they can change your seat assignments. When I flew with my little one last year, they gave us a window and an aisle and the baby sat in the middle. You can take the nursery water as long as it in the bottle. I wouldn't mix the formula until needed. I would call the airline and make sure they know you have an infant because they will need to account for him on their passenger manifest. They should then be able to tell you if you need to gate check the car seat or not.

A flight attendant suggested that I not feed him until we were in flight because of the engine noise and ear popping, they may not take the pacifier (if you use one).

Hope this helps!

At 6 months, he doesn't need a seat purchased. He can be a lap baby. In fact, he is at a pretty easy age to travel with. Baby bottles are allowed. You can either use the premade ones or put the formula in the bottle and then add water. You can use nursery water if you want or bottled water. Unless he is immune compromised, most water is fine. If you do buy a seat, then you can bring the car seat on board and he can sit in it. Also even if you don't buy a seat, there is often extra seats and so you can ask whether there is an extra seat and then could bring the car seat in and pop him in it. Make sure he drinks at take off and landing or sucks a pacifier. Have fun.

Each airline is different but they mostly follow the same steps - if the child is under 2 you do not need a ticket but then you must hold the child on your lap for the flight - you can buy a ticket which will give your child a seat that you can then strap the car seat into. They will let you take the stroller all the way up to the door of the plane they then put it in the cargo hull and it will be at the door of the plane when you get off to help get through the airport. They allow a small amount of dry formula to go through screening then just ask the stewart for some water to mix it with. Always try to give the baby the bottle on take off and landing as the sucking helps with their ears during those... best bet check with the airlines you plan to fly

We flew with my daughter when she was 13 mos. old & I would suggest once you check in, ask for bulkhead seating. It is a little noisy, but well worth it for the leg room you'll have! Being that my daughter was older, we also brought a portable dvd player (we had a 4 1/2 hr. flight), and she watched Elmo dvd's. She also slept for a good portion of the flight, airplanes work as well as riding in the car for some children, to lull them to sleep. Taking a lightweight stroller is also a good idea & you can check it at the gate, its right there when you land. Have a great trip!

Most airlines do not require a paid ticket for him until he turns 2. You have to say he is riding on your lap when getting the tickets and bring his birthcertificate with your ID for proof. If you do formula you have to look up the regulations on the airline website for the security regulations,, I just remember they made me throw out juice because it was not sealed and it was not a baby brand. So it was something like I had to buy those tiny gerber brand juice. I breastfed so I do not know the regulations for formula. I know you can bring it just not sure how it has to be packed. I would recommend calling your dr for ear numbing drops to use to help with the pressure in his ears. It seemed to help my boys a lot when we flew with them as babies. Hope this helps...

Hello A.,

With both sets of grandparents living in different states, we have done quite a bit of flying with our son (now 2 yrs old). Before he turned 2 we did not purchase extra seats for him. Most airlines allow you to hold your child in your lap until age 2.

If you envision doing a lot of traveling with your baby, I VERY HIGHLY recommend buying the $250 Sit-n-Stroll which is both a carseat (acceptable for the airlines) AND a stroller!! The wheels pop out of bottom and the telescoping handle collapses so that it's extremely easy to convert it. That way, you can have your baby in the stroller while you go thru the airport, and then check it at the gate for no charge....AND you will have a carseat with you at destination! We hesitated before buying it, but it has really paid for itself, especially since the airlines now charge extra to check every little thing. I have even flown by myself with my son and it is the only way I could have done it without having a meltdown (me, not my son). Finally, it's also proven to come in handy to have an extra car seat that can accomodate both an infant and a toddler. It's become the carseat that we use in my husband's car.

As for the food--my son was on Enfamil formula and they have very convenient packets of powdered formula that make 4 oz bottes. I'd pack them in a plastic bag to keep in your carry-on, and then just grab a bottled water from one of the in-terminal convenience stores.

Hope you have a nice trip!

Hi A.!

From my experience with our children, you do not have to purchase a ticket for them UNLESS they are over 2 OR you plan to put them in a carseat. It's all about taking the seat with when they are younger. Some parents feel safer if the child is strapped in. We thought that way. So the first time, we did that, and he ended up in my arms asleep the whole time! Save the money. Powerdered formula is a must. Fill extra bottles with water and have the powerdered formula on had. This way the bottles aren't sitting. You never know with airport delays. They will check your carseat, stroller, etc. in these big bags and tag them for you. Not sure though these days if there's an extra charge. Best to have them try to drink on the way up and down if they are awake cause they may flip out when their ears pop.
Have a good time!
Good luck!

Hi A.!
We fly Southwest a lot. If the flight isn't full, they will allow you to take your carseat on the plane since seats aren't assigned. They won't usually tell you over the phone if the flight is full; we usually just found out at the airport. You must strap the carseat into the window seat so that it doesn't take up any of the aisle space. Southwest did change their boarding procedures, though. They used to allow families with young children to pre-board, but now pre-boarding is only for kids travelling alone and handicapped individuals. Now families board after the "A" group. (If your boarding pass is in the A group, just board as you normally would.) The major downside is that nearly all of the seats in the front of the plane are taken by the A group, so you'll end up farther back, esp since you'll need a window seat. Even if you're not checking bags, you always have to go to the counter to get a boarding pass for the baby/lap child. Now that we fly with kids and must go to the counter, we always arrive at the airport 2hrs before departure. Good luck and happy travels!

You do not need to purchase ticket for you child until they are 2 years of age. We traveled a lot with our 2 boys and until we had to purchase a ticket, then we used a car seat. You can just hold your baby in your lap. Make sure you have layering outfit for him since the temp in cabin could be cold or warm.

Bring unopened formula water and powder so you can easily mix it. Try and bring a few bottles so that you don't have to wash in the plane (water could be yucky). Try to be seated close to the back and where there is less people so maybe your hubby can take a different seat and you can lay your child to sleep next to you while on air.

Oh and don't worry about other people in flight. Trust me...YOUR BABIES WHINE BOTHERS YOU MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE...THEY ALL UNDERSTAND...IF NOT, THEY WILL ONE DAY.

Have a safe trip!

p.s. don't forget to bring extra change of clothes and plenty of diapers.

it looks like you have alot of responses so sorry if i am repeating. you decide whether or not to purchase a seat for him at that age. if there are extra seats they will allow you to have the car seat otherwise you'll have to hold him. if you do hold him bringing a carrier like a bjorn might be helpful. re. the formula call the airline regarding the amount of liquids that can be brought on the plane. i think that formula is in a separate category but, they'll tell you. if you feed him or give him a paciifer on the way up and down the sucking will ease the pressure in his ears and make for an easier flight. have fun!

You do not need to purchase a ticket for a baby until they are 2 years old. And you do not need a baby seat for him, you can just hold him the entire time. If the flight is not completely sold, then ask them to seat you next to an empty seat and put the baby there - either in a car seat or to lay him down on for diapers changes, etc.

As far as formula and water, you will not have a problem with the powdered formula and for the water, get the little bottles of nursery water. This way you can keep them closed and most likely get them thru security without any problems. I have never had a problem and / or been questioned about the nursery water.

I've actually flown quite a bit with my son in his first year. Here are some things that made it easier for us.
--Whenever possible, fly Southwest. They do a number of things to make it easier for families including = not charging for bags under 50 lbs, allowing families with children to board no later than the middle of the flight, and encouraging their employees to be FRIENDLY to families. I was Premier or high on United for more than 10 years, and I've given them up to fly Southwest.
--We don't buy an extra seat for my son when we fly Southwest (they can always give you a seat if the flight isn't sold out because of their open seating) or when we fly shorter flights (1 hour or less). However, we just flew to CA on United and found it helpful to have the extra seat between us.
--If you can, choose a mid-day time to fly.
--Make sure you have a copy of your son's birth certificate with you at all times.
--We've never found having a car seat with us helpful.
--Check in everything and anything on line before you leave the house. Get your boarding pass, and if you are flying an airline that charges for baggage, pay those fees ahead of time. I don't know American's procedures, but if you do this with United, there's a special check in counter that takes seconds.
--Pack formula in pre-measured containers. Avent makes a bowl that holds three, and we get a lot of use out of Inno Baby Packin Smart containers. I pack empty bottles, take the formula powder, and buy bottles of water after I get through security. At that age, I would make sure you have two extra portions in case of delays.
--When I fly with breastmilk or food, I pack it in an insulated lunch bag and hand it to security before I fly through.
--If you need to carry on any ointments, medicines, etc. for your son, be sure to put them in a quart size ziploc bag and hand it to security as well.
--Be prepared to break down everything for security. Some agents even made me take off my son's hoodie and robeez on our last flight.
--Think about the flight time and your son's schedule. You may want to get to the airport early to make sure you aren't stuck in the security line during a nap or eating time.
--Pack as light as possible for your carry ons. You won't have time or hands to do anything anyway.
--When you get to the gate, ask for a gate check tag for your stroller or one each for your infant seat and snap and go. It's helpful to the check in staff if they don't have to stop the check in process to get these for you.
--When we go to the east coast, I do not change my son's schedule. It's actually kind of nice to have him sleep 8-8 instead of 7-7. However, when we just went to CA, we did adjust him to Pacific time. We aimed for a 30 minute change each day, and it worked out beautifully.

Most importantly, stay calm and take your time. It really isn't as hard as it seems as long as you accept that this won't be a speedy process.

Feel free to send me a private email if you have mroe specific questions.

Enjoy your trip!

You shouldn't need to purchase a ticket for him, most airlines will let you put a child on your lap up to 2 yrs. old. THey also let up the restrictions on formula etc. (you may have an easier time with a child - we did with our then 1 yr old son) YOu may want to have a pacifier or bottle ready when you are taking off, it can help with the pressure in his ears. I highly recommend gate checking a stroller. We didn't and wished we did when our gate was at the end of a terminal in O'hare. Good Luck!


You can purchase a separate ticket if you want to use the baby car seat (make sure it is certified for use on an airplane so it will fit first -- should be in the user manual) BUT, you do not need to purchase a ticket for him if you are comfortable with him sitting on your lap -- What you do is book a ticket for yourself (online is cheapest, most phone reservations for airlines now charge you a fee) and then call the airline reservations and say you have a "lap child under 2" you would like to add to your ticket. You will need an original of his birth certificate to travel with -- sometimes they ask to see it, sometimes they don't but you don't want to be without it.

You cannot take water through security at O'Hare-- even unopened and with powdered formula -- they will make you dump it. So, I would just deal with the fact that you will have to use regular bottled water you can buy from a vendor after you get through security. If you ask, they often have them warm (not in the cooler) and will sell it to you that way. My now 19 month old daughter took room temp formula bottles so it worked well for us. You are allowed to take nursettes or the larger 8 oz ready made formula bottles through security unopened but my daughter would never take them. Plan to feed him a bottle on the way up (taking off until you feel the ear pressure in your own ears adjust) and way down (not the actual landing but at the point you feel pressure in your ears) to avoid having him uncomfortable and screaming. My daughter was an absolute angel and did 4 roundtrip flights before she was 11 months old. My 3 month old son will be taking his first flight when he is 5 months (for Easter).

If you have any other questions, please contact me directly. I would be happy to help! Good luck!

You do not need to purchase a ticket for children under 2 years old. Your little one will probably just sleep so holding him on your lap should be fine.

As for formula and nursery water check out the TSA website: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm

When traveling with your infant or toddler, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary, if you perform the following:

1. Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
2. Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.

Have a great time! Don't be nervous about flying with him, it will go more smoothy than you expect especially since your fiance will be there to help.

Yes check with the airline, but 8 yrs ago my 1yr old sat on our lap and we checked in a light stoller and we had rented a car when we landed and rented a carseat from the car rental place. Now if you need a carseat once you arrive I would check that in with you checked luggage. But check with airlines with that as well. I have heard now that some airlines are charging for more then 1 bag, which I think is insane if you ask me! Oh and try to get a window seat, your son will love watching out the window. Good Luck and have a great vacation and don't forget his snacks!

Find out how long the flight is gonna be first. If at all possible make IT so that it is around the time the baby needs to take a nap or sleep. Most babies if they are sleep when they board are sleep till the flight is over. What i have noticed is that if they are woke is it almost like a car ride so they are pretty content. You just have to worry when they are walking age.

Hi A.,

You can find all the answers for your airline on their website. The TSA site also has the rules about getting through security.

We have flown on Southwest with our daughter who is under 1 and did not need a ticket because she flew as a lap baby, but each airline is different.

The TSA will let you take made up bottles through security, but I don't know about taking the nursery water separately.

I'd recommend keeping him on your lap (it gets expensive once you have to pay for an extra seat when they hit 2 years old!). You can check your stroller/baby seat at the gate and have it ready if you are renting a car. There are no limits on formula or breast milk, as long as the security folks see you with a baby. If you're nervous, however, bring your powdered formula and mix it with water once you get through security. Also, once your baby turns one and is on regular milk, Starbucks lets you fill up your baby bottle free of charge - a very nice perk! As always, bring toys to entertain him and give him his bottle at takeoff and landing - if he's eating solids, like Cheerios, that's a good time to let him eat as well, as chewing can help his ears pop. Good luck!

Hi A.,
Flying with a baby for 1st time is a wonderful experience. Car seat is not required in flight.If you need it in Boston you can take it with you but still you wont be using it on flight. You can take formula, cereal and all kinds of baby foods including fruits and vegetables. During the take off and landing baby will feel stuffy ears so that time it is recommended to feed them milk or any kind of liquid. You can take stroller if you cannot carry the baby all the way. In the entrance itself they will collect the stroller and will tie a tag to identify. Don't forget to get the stroller back while you get down. Regarding the nursery water, sometimes they will allow and sometimes they wont. But you can give it a try. Tell them its only for baby. You don't have to buy tickets for baby until they are 1yr. Aisle seat will be more comfortable than middle and window seat.
Hope this will help you. Enjoy flying with baby.

When I flew with my daughter when she was only 2 months old I just held her in my lap in a snugglie. If you plan on taking a seat depending on the airline they will make you purchase a ticket for your son. I also had formula that I had my daughter drink during ascension and descending so her ears would "pop". I hope this helps.

I can't offer any tips on traveling by plane because I haven't yet done it with my son. But PLEASE do not hold him on your lap. Would you drive in your car with him on your lap? Of course not. So why on earth would you fly that way? I will be flying with my son in April and find that the peace of mind I find from spending a little extra money for his own seat definitely will be worth it.

I took my 7 month old to Las Vegas in January. You do not need a ticket, he can sit on your lap during the flight. You can check the stroller/car seat at the gate and it will be brought back up to the plane when you land. You can bring formula because it is for your baby. Security will allow you to bring liquids as long as it is for feeding your baby. Not all airplanes have a changing table in the bathroom, check when making your reservation. Make sure the baby drinks a bottle or sucks a pacifier during take off and landing to alleviate any pressure in his ears.
I hope this helps (My son is now 9 months old,and I work for an airline, so I have a little experience).
Good luck, have fun!!

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