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Traveling by Plane with a 6 Month Old

hi. i have had a illness in the family causing me to fly up to chicago. my husband is not able to go with me at this time so it will just be me and my 6 month old son. does anyone have any suggestions/tips to make my trip easier. my son is breastfed, never has had a bottle and never has taken a pacifer. i will be holding him on my lap, planning on bringing my stroller. please any help/ideas to keep him good. oh and should i get a window or isle seat? i will be flying american airlines. does anyone know if they have changing tables in the bathrooms on the plane. thanks!

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HI C.,
I'm sorry your flight is because of family illness, it sounds stressful.
1.At LEAST 24 hours before you leave, CALL AA and tell them you are traveling with a lap infant. They will want his name and age.
2.I recommend that you take a copy of birth cert or shot record in case someone asks for it.
3.Weight your bag at home, it hits 50 lbs quick with baby stuff. All baby items are checked for free- stroller, car seat, pack n play, etc. Check EVERYTHING but your stroller and carry on, it can be a long walk.
4. Curbside checkin is best if possible (have some cash for the skycap).
5. Check your boarding pass, it MUST say "WITH INFANT" on your pass, or you will not get through security and must go back to the ticket counter.
6. Make sure your tylenol, benadryl (which I don't recommend to get to sleep, it may backfire and cause fussiness), hand gel, lip gloss, hand lotion, eye drops, etc are all in a single quart size ziplock.

How to take off/land:
What helped for me traveling with my baby was to sit in the window seat and latch him onto the breast nearest the wall while turning my back towards the cabin.I would also put "something" like an airplane pillow in the space between the seat and wall. We had a bit of privacy that way, of course, use your wrap/blankie to cover up and LOWER THE SHADE so that your breast isn't reflected in the glass. I got that last tip from a male flight attendant.
As the plane would start actually picking up speed on the runway I would latch him on. Don't do it as you pull away from the gate, because you may be on the tarmac for a while.

FOR YOU:
Pack plenty of healthy, easy snacks: granola bar, bags of nuts, etc that are flyable. Or purchase them once you go through security when you purchase the MOST important thing- at LEAST one big bottle of water. You don't know how long you may sit in the plane and you cannot get hungry and thirsty. Bring several anti-bac hand wipes, the gel is not enough. You don't know what you may get into.
Read, music, etc. There is a good chance that the muffin will sleep quite a bit and you can prop up a book on him.
Bring a sweater/jacket, snuggie,etc on the plane (yes, your going to Chicago, but the plane may truly be cold).

For BABY:
several diapers, wipes and 2 quart size ziplock bags for anything stinky. Yay! No bottles!!!! Binky, favorite blanket (or 2), animal, etc. Also several burp rags. Definitely bring extra clothes- I would take a footie sleeper- easy, small, cute if there's a mess. Bring toys that will distract with bight lights/ small squeaks, etc. Don't worry that it will be loud- remember how loud the plane is, you can't hear anyone else's stuff.
Also, at this age, the flight attendant will possible love to carry him around for a bit- that happened with me and was one of my best flights ever!
Changing tables: There is one in the lavatory, right over the toilet. It is tiny and cramped. Not great. Definitely change him right before you board- even if he doesn't feel icky. Wipe those tables down with the earlier mentioned anti-bac wipes!

I'm not a germ freak, but airports are truly nasty. I see people lay down the softy blanky and lay the baby on it, then use the same blanky to wrap up the baby after it has been on the floor with 1000's of shoes. ick. I used to carry a thin cotton receiving blanket rolled up tight that I could always lay down (wrong side down) on the floor if I had to. Of course, once they crawl, it's all over anyway.

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It's going to be much easier than you think, for sure. Now that my kids are older, I look back on the days when they dozed in my lap during a flight wishing for those days again as my kids bounce off the chairs and run down the aisles!

Suggestion: hold off on nursing until you are starting to zoom down the runway. Make sure you are really going to zoom down the runway, as I have often jumped the gun thinking we were taking off and then we didn't. This helps keep baby's ears clear, as I'm sure you know. Then hold off again until you know for sure you are landing and again try not to jump the gun. Also, there are little drops you can bring along in case babies ears are really hurting and this helps alot and is all natural and available at Walmart or anywhere I am sure.
If you have a smaller stroller, bring that one - easier to get through the security. Make the people in security help you by looking very pitiful. If you try to carry on bottles or liquids of any kind for baby, rememeber the new screening rules for liquids.

I like window seats as the people with the beverage carts have hit my baby's head before when I sit on the aisle and stray over a bit.

Best of luck and happy travels!

make sure you book early you seat, maybe an ile seat as you could get up easily, check with your ped. Dr., maybe he has suggestion. I think your stroller will be consider a carry on. Check with you airline. Louisiana

Until they're crawling, it's usually not too hard to fly with a baby, so don't stress too much. One thing we usually do if we can, is to wait to check the carseat at the plane instead of the ticket counter. You have to drag it to the gate with you, but at least you know it should not get lost in transit. You can bring baby food, but make sure it's in original, unopened containers and in that plastic ziplock bag. If you have a long lay-over in an airport, you might want to pack a small quilt or blanket to put down on the floor so baby can wiggle around a little. I have found that people are usually very helpful to mothers travelling with infants and small toddlers. They'll often offer to help you pick up luggage or make faces at the baby to keep them happy. You might want to pack a thin (won't take up too much space) shirt for you in case of spit-up or diaper accident that soils you too. One thing I like to do with my carry-on is to group things in small bags inside my big diaper bag. That way if you need books, grab the bag with books out, or food, grab that bag. It saves you searching though the whole bag for something small. I've never had a problem changing diapers on the plane, but I haven't been on a full plane. I often can find an empty row where I can lay out my changing pad to protect the seats. I can't imagine using the airplane bathroom. I can barely fit ME in the bathroom, let alone a baby and gear. You'll be fine, I'm sure. I'm sorry about the illness.

Hi! I have traveled with my daughter when she was 6 months old and most recently when she was 15 months old. I traveled both times just me and my daughter, each time with her as a "lap child". Both times flying American Airlines. They were great! I'm not sure about the changing tables though. I hate using airplane bathrooms so I changed my daughter before boarding then after we got off the plane. Luckily there was never an "emergency" diaper change needed.

I was fortunate to be on flights that weren't full. The flight attendants moved us to seats where my daughter could have her own. That really helped a lot. To help with ear pain due to the change in pressure, let him breastfeed. You can also look into this product: EarPlanes. I found them at http://www.onestepahead.com. They are soft, hypoallergenic filters that regulate changing air pressure, eliminating discomfort while reducing noise. I think you might can get them at drug stores too.
I ordered some but didn't get them in time to use. My daughter seemed to be alright with her ears.

I would recommend getting some new toys and books for the flight. Dollar stores are great to get a few cheap ones. Don't bring them out until needed though. It helped my daughter to have something new and different to play with. Be sure to bring anything that normally comforts him, like a special blanket or toy.

You can check his carseat for free because it is necessary equipment. I didn't know this the first time so I was lugging a carseat, diaper bag, purse and lovely but cranky 6 month old through the airport, NOT fun.
On that note, only pack what you need. A stroller would be good and you can check that at the gate. If you use a sling or wrap keep in mind that babies can't be in them during take off or landing. Also, be prepared to have baby items that are liquid (motrin, tylenol, etc.) you have in your carry on checked. That's a simple process; they'll have you open the containers, then they will hold a strip of paper over each container.

Bring hand sanitizer wipes. Those airports and airplanes are nasty and it's hard to keep little ones from touching (sometimes even licking...) everything.

*Edited to add this: You can call the airline and they will be able to look up what type of plane you will be on for the flight and if it will have a changing table in the bathroom. I've called American Airlines a lot to ask questions about traveling with my daughter. They were always very nice and extremely helpful. :)

gosh, it has been several years...

My first suggestion is to bring him in his car seat in the stroller all the way up to the plane before they check the car seat and stroller. (not sure if you have the combo system, but if you do, definitely don't check carseat with your luggage.) Now, I flew Southwest alot, and their rules are more relaxed, but if your flight isn't full, you could ask the attendants if you could keep him in his carseat in the seat next to you. Might be a long shot, but if it works - it really helps!!!

Second, don't be afraid to breastfeed in your seat. With no bottle on descent, it might hurt his ears. Any type of sucking motion will relieve the pressure, and if no paci, then definitely wait till descent to nurse him if you can.

third, if he is old enough to be entertained by ANYTHING (sorry this where I can't remember what entertains a 6 month old) BRING IT!!

And finally, can't remember the changing situation in the bathrooms. I had a bad experience with a full diaper on a plane once, so hope that goes better for you!!

EDIT: I read through some of the other posts, and I want to note that although take-off does cause pressure, descent usually causes more severe pain. (flew with my kids ALOT...) So, if you nurse on take-off, be prepared to nurse again on descent...

my son and I traveled when he was 1 month and he did great. he fell asleep after take off when I fed him and stayed asleep til we landed. just make sure if you are holding him that u dont have him strapped into a carrier, like a sling. they told me he had to be unrestrained if he was on my lap.

Hi C.,
I flew last year with my youngest in my lap who was 7 months at the time. Nursing was the biggest help during the trip. I think his ears hurt, but when I nursed him I was able to get him to drop off to sleep. Overall the plane rides were not easy, as he wouldn't sleep well unless I kept him nursing.
I'm not sure about American Airlines specifically, but whatever airline we were on did have a changing table in one of the bathrooms. It folds down over the toilet. Just ask when you get on the plane so you know which bathroom has it. I did both the window and the aisle seat on different flights and I don't remember that either was easier than the other.

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