Advice for Traveling with Infant Needed

Updated on February 22, 2008
M.C. asks from Cleveland, OH
8 answers

I'm planning a trip to visit family in the Twin Cities with my infant. She'll be 10 weeks when we go. I'm trying to figure out what I can bring on the plane with me, what I can check, can I bring breast milk or formula through security etc. We'll be flying Continental. The customer service rep on the phone wasn't very helpful when I called.

I was hoping to bring her travel system with us (minus the base, my parents have one already). Can The plane we'll be on has a gate check option -- can I gate check her infant seat and stroller? I was thinking of checking a suitcase at the tickeet counter

Any experience travelers out there who can share tips, experiences, info?


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your advice! Our trip was smooth. She cried for a minute on take off and slept the entire way. On our way home she never woke up!

More Answers



answers from Cleveland on

I traveled with my daughter when she was six weeks old then again when she was 18 months old. You need to make sure you have something for her to suck on so that they can pop their ears. If this does not happen they will get very fussy. You can bring formula or breast milk they will just have to check it. I breast fed her the first time we traveled and she slept the hole way. The second time we just made sure she had her favorite toys and food and we also bought her one new toy so that if it got to bad we had something new for her to figure out. Most planes work with you and will understand. Good luck and just have fun.

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answers from Columbus on

i traveled with my infant on 8 different occasions (2 -3 legs with each trip...visiting family cross country), all before one year...i was breastfeeding, so i can't vouch for the bringing the liquids & formula as i really don't know (but we have been asked to dump water from a sippy cup before).

we always brought a diaper bag & another carry on each, plus a stroller (i was with my husband) one carry on was for adult things & the other for the baby, then the diaper bag. we kept the (smaller size) diaper bag stocked lightly with one outfit, 3 diapers & creams & such. i recommend bringing in your carry on plenty of diapers (enough for one day) just in case your flight is delayed (happened to us & apparently most airports only sell size 3 diapers) as well as enough clothes, wipes, etc for an entire day (we brought 4 outfits in the carry on & one in the diaper bag). we also brought along a wonderful toy: baby tad. it sings songs & lights up; it was priceless on all the flights & you can turn the volume down.

we found it okay to check the car seat...they wrap it in thick plastic & we never had a problem with it getting lost (but that is a concern). as far as i know, you are able to check the car seat at the gate. we always checked the stroller at the gate. i highly recommend not using a baby carrier/bjorn style exclusively b/c there may be times in between flights when you or whoever you're flying with don't want to hold the baby constantly (i.e. eating, in the bathroom, running for a flight)...

in general, it seems security are more understanding & lenient for folks with babies...then there was the time they had to search down the stroller, & my husband & i for some reason (they said it was b/c of the diaper rash cream!)...

i also suggest waking your baby up after you land & trying to coordinate naps on the plane. but if you have a no napper like we had, bring a toy that is mesmerizing for their age group! nursing or sucking on something while taking off & landing also seemed to help ease the ear pain...

another interesting fact: the food trays (two seats' pulled down at same height) work amazingly wonderful for a changing table. unless you know that the plane bathroom has a changing table, i wouldn't even attempt to change a diaper in that small room (been there, done that, doesn't work). it was always much easier on the food trays. we changed many poopy diapers on it & no one seemed to mind (thank goodness for hand sanitizer...). that way your not lugging you & baby & diaper bag through the aisle & then waiting for the bathroom, then discovering that it's too small to change it anyway...

another thought: when you are at the gate, go to the desk & ask if you can have a seat with an open middle seat & that especially works if you are flying with another person...that way you have all 3 seats (granted that they have a row of 3). most of the time that we requested this, they were able to help us out. it helps to have the baby in arms while asking!
if you must sit by another, it's always okay ask other passengers when you first get on the plane to trade seats so you can sit by your spouse or whoever...usually people are very happy to trade when a baby is involved.

as a sidenote: older men (say age 45-60?) seem to really enjoy sitting near babies for some reason! no kidding. all the women who were forced to sit by us seemed irritated the entire time, but the older men, all of them played with our baby & seemed to really enjoy it. just our experience!

dress your baby in very cute clothes & that also seems to really aid in the flight crews' adoration & help...seriously.

BTW: flying with an infant is really much easier than flying with a toddler!!! so i say go for it!

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answers from Cleveland on

I went to Florida with my son who was just 12 weeks old. It is fine to gate check the infant seat and stroller. It is also fine to carry breastmilk and/or formula they allow for that as the only liquids to pass through security. The suitcase is fine to check at the counter. We had checked 3 suitcases. (1 for each of us). Check with the airline to be sure but my husband made sure that the breastmilk would be ok. I brought my pump as well as all the stuff that goes with it. I also was able to bring my ice pack (they only allow if you are traveling with milk). I fed my baby on the plane each way by bottle (containing breastmilk). To be honest that part is the easiest when traveling. Have fun!

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answers from Cleveland on

It's been a few years since i traveled w/ an infant so I don't know the updated info re: the airline. However, I do know traveling w/ children, I have 5! For me, the key has always been simplicity! The less you travel w/ the better! If your parents have the things you need that is ideal to use (afterall the little ones could care less ;) ) It's easy to get used to using our own stuff. If you breast feed don't bother taking any extra w/ you. Just a blanket to cover up the "food source" ha ha. Hope this has been somewhat helpful...Good luck and be safe. Enjoy the infant years...I would sooooo have more if I could afford it...
Lorain, Ohio

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answers from Columbus on

I checked out the Continental website, and here's some info on infant car seats in the plane:
"Children unable to sit upright with the seat belt fastened must be carried in an FAA approved infant seat if not being held by an adult. Continental does not provide infant seats.The infant seat must be secured in an aircraft seat and cannot be held in an adult's lap. The infant seat must remain properly secured to the aircraft seat at all times. An infant seat cannot be used in an exit row or in the row immediately before or after an exit row. Passengers traveling with infants may not be seated in exit rows."

I'd recommend traveling with an infant car seat. It's good to have a safe place to put them.

Here's info on diaper bags, strollers and other baby articles:

Info on formula in carry-ons:
"Items greater than 3.4 ounces and/or not contained in a zip-top bag may be allowed on board but must be declared to the TSA at the security checkpoint for screening. These items include baby formula, milk (to include breast milk), baby food, juice, medications and liquids/gels that are needed for diabetic or other medical conditions."

Also see the TSA's website about breast milk/formula:

hope that helps.

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answers from Cleveland on

I flew on Continental in December with my then 4 month old. You can bring your stroller to the gate with you. The continental person at the gate will give you a pink tag to put on the stroller, and all you do is wheel it down to the end of the ramp and fold it up for them. It is the last ting to go into the cargo area, so it will be waiting for you right when you exit the plane. I'm not sure about bringing pre-mixed formula, I am breastfeeding. My suggestion to you is to try and get her to sleep right before you board the plane. I was able to get my son to sleep right before we got on the plane and he slept most of the 2 hour flight. If your daughter is awake, have something for her to suck on to prevent her ears from hurting. Good Luck!

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answers from Indianapolis on

My family just got back from Florida, we flew NorthWest, and we had no problems with secruity or checking the stroller at the gate. We had sippy cups for both of the kids and they didn't even question it, they just asked that we remove them from our bag and place them in the bin, so I wouldn't forsee any problems with a bottle of milk they also had no problems with us carrying the kids through the metal detector, it actually went a lot smoother than what I had expected. Northwest also allowed us to check the car seat at no additional charge. We pushed the stroller through the airport which I found to be way less stressful than trying to carry the little ones and they had no problem checking it. Good luck, pray that she sleeps while in transit!! It makes for a much nicer trip for you!

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answers from Cleveland on

My son is now 10 months old and has been on plane trips 4 times, with each flight lasting at least 3 hours. Here's what my husband and I have learned about flying with an infant:

1. Call the airline the day of the flight and remind them you're travelling with an infant. Your ticket will say "infant in arms" when you get to the airport.
2. Feel free to bring along your car seat or Baby Bjorn carrier. As our son got bigger, we switched to the car seat, but started out with the BB. You'll need a way to carry her through the airport. Once you get to the gate, go to the counter and gate check the car seat. You'll get it back as you walk off the plane. You may want to take off the winter cover and use it as a blanket in the plane. The car seat will be COLD especially if you're going to the Twin Cities.
3. In your carry on, only take along what you'll need to feed her and care for her enroute. This includes breast milk, formula, diapers and a change of clothes. PACK LIGHT! They've relaxed some of the crazy rules about liquids, etc,especially for moms. I would recommend using a backpack as your carryon so you'll have your hands free.
4. When ascending and descending, feed her. This could be breast milk or formula. She'll appreciate the sucking to equalize the pressure in her ears. This really helped my son when he was so young and then he would fall asleep in my lap.

The biggest pain is going through security. Not only do you have to unload all your personal gear(shoes, coat, purse, etc) you have to be able to give the attendant your ticket and driver's license, then take your infant out of the carrier, have the carrier sent through the reader, walk through holding the baby, then put it all back together again after getting through security. This, surrounded by other people!

Once you go through it, you'll find little tricks to help you out. We never brought along our stroller (too bulky) but I have seen it done. When we rented a car, the car seat would do well with just the seat belt restraint. GOOD LUCK and remember, less is more when going through the airport. If you really need it, buy it after getting to your destination.

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