Any Advice on Flying with a Baby?

Updated on November 20, 2012
O.Y. asks from New York, NY
18 answers

Hi, ladies. My son will be 4 1/2 months when we will be taking a 2 1/2 hrs flight for my father-in-law 70th birthday. Any advice on how to handle a flight with the baby? He doesn't take a bottle or pacifier (but we still have a little over a month before the flight to work on it), so I am a bit anxious. Thank you!

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answers from New York on

Buy him a seat. Much safer. Traveling at this age is much easier than when they become mobile. Hopefully by then you can get him to take a pacifier or bottle.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Mum4ever♫: I did introduce a bottle or pacifier at the beginning because I was worried it would interfere with breastfeeding. Later we tried a few various pacifiers and he did not like any. I started to introduce the bottle a week ago and he does not like it either.

Thank you for everyone's advice!

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answers from Columbia on

Before you go, take him for a check up. Be 100% sure he doesn't have an ear infection.

Trust me. I learned the hard way.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Do you have a seat for him, or will he be on your lap?
Check with the airline before bringing a car seat on board, most car seats are not approved for air travel, they will probably make you check it at the gate.
And if you are breastfeeding it will be SO easy, no bottles or paci's to clean, keep track of and warm up!
Make sure you are nursing during take off, and landing, the sucking helps with the pressure in his ears.
Enjoy :-)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Make sure he is in a carseat (installed on the seat) on the plane for his safety. Rear-facing for sure. We buy the Scenera ($35) for travel and our 3-year-old fit RF even. So your baby should be fine in that. Enjoy the trip!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Buy a seat for him. Everyone will be more comfortable.

He'll be just fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Don't know if you are flying Southwest, but I flew with my son a lot between the ages of 4 months and 1 year and they were great. Buy a seat for him - it'll be easier for everyone, especially if he travels well in the car. He'll feel comfy in his car seat. There is something called Go-baby that you can attach to your car seat to pull it - - they're kinda pricy, but maybe you can get a luggage carrier that will work as well. I would pile my backpack on this and wheel it through the airport. I also used the ERGO baby carrier - SO comfy and easy - gave me hands free to get through security, which was great. I nursed on the plane - with a cover up, it's pretty private, actually, and if you are sitting with family, no strangers will be sitting next to you so no big deal. Take a few favorite toys and you're set.

I did all this traveling ALONE - me, luggage, baby, with no help. So if family is there, you just need to carry your little guy. Let everyone else deal with the luggage and stuff.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

By way of warning, if you choose to dose your baby on Benadryl, or some other anti histamine, be sure to give it a trial run in advance. In some children, it can make them more active.

BTW we survived a 4 hour flight with a 7 month old, and a 22 hour flight, with a 4 hour delay with our 22 month old.

My advice, pack patience and plenty of wipes.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.


answers from Grand Forks on

I wouldn't try to introduce a bottle or a pacifier. If you have made it this far without them, no point in starting now! I found that nursing during take off and landing helped with any discomfort for the babies ears, and try to time it so baby will nap on the flight.



answers from Anchorage on

Just encourage him to nurse during landing and take off. That is a short flight, I don't think you will have any issues.



answers from Los Angeles on

This is the easy age for traveling - as others have noted, once their mobile, it gets more difficult.
Anticipate that, at a minimum, a 2.5 flight will require at least 6 or more hours travel time (going to the airport, going through security, waiting at the gate, getting your baggage, traveling to your destination) and plan accordingly. Then bring in your carry-on additional diapers and changes of clothes for the baby, keeping in mind that flight delays can add more travel time. Also bring an additional change of clothes for you - if the baby spits up or has a diaper blow out, you'll want something to change in to. Also, since airports and airplanes tend to be pretty dry places, make sure you keep yourself well-hydrated to make breastfeeding easier. Finally, as others have noted, if you can afford it, get your son his own seat. When we flew cross country with four month old, he slept practically the entire time in his seat. Awesome!


answers from San Francisco on

A few things I've learned flying with the under-1 crowd over the years:

1) ask your pediatrician about Benadryl. This will help your baby's ears handle the altitude change without pain. You may have the added benefit of him falling asleep. :)
2) nurse for takeoff and landing (this will help his ears)
3) bring WAY more diapers and wipes than you think you need
4) bring a few changes of clothes for baby, and ONE FOR YOURSELF! I have a girlfriend whose baby projectile vomited all over her on takeoff of a 6-hour flight. She had a change of clothes for the baby, but not for herself... so basically she smelled like puke for 6 hours. Yum. :)
5) if you're able to afford a seat for the baby, bring his car seat with you. You can strap him into his seat (forward-facing), so he will be comfy, and you will have your hands free. Even if you don't buy him his own seat, maybe you will get lucky and have an empty seat next to you.
6) Bring his favorite toy, and a new toy he's never seen.

Happy travels!


answers from Kansas City on

If you breast feed you don't need a bottle and one of mine didn't take a pacifier either, that's good until they need to be quiet. But I think for a short time like this a baby that age would be fine if you get the seat for him. We took long car trips with our kids and they did fine with a toy, something small with lots of things on it to look at, or listen to, etc. Maybe a short nap.



answers from Charlotte on

Breastfeed him during takeoff and landing. If you don't, his ears will hurt and he'll cry his head off. You can do this discreetly - just plan for it. I would not try to get your baby to take a pacifier at 4 1/2 months old - if you ARE successful at it, first of all, you have no idea that he'll suck on it just when you want him to. Second, then you have to wean him off of it later. Babies have a sucking instinct when they are born, and it starts to wane between 4 and 6 months. After that, sucking on a paci is just a habit and not needed. So don't go there at this point...

As far as a bottle is concerned, there are lots of good reasons to get baby used to taking a bottle. However, considering how strange the security people are about bottles and formula and all that, breastfeeding is so much easier.

If you can get your baby to sleep on your chest during the flight, it will be so much better. I would recommend that you make sure you have already eaten and gone to the bathroom before getting on the plane so that you don't have to put the tray table down. If you have a wrap that holds baby to your chest so that your arms are free, that will help your arms not be so tired.

Be very organized with your bags and consider an umbrella stroller to get you through the airport. They'll take it at the door of the airplane for you and give it back as soon as you get off the plane at your destination.

Someone mentioned Benedryl - I do believe your baby is far too young for that. ONLY do that when the doctor clears you to do it. I would think that this would be for over a year old, but it is something you should do with your pediatrician's guidance, and yes, with a trial run beforehand.

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Why does he not take a bottle or pacifier? That's rather young.

At least take a sippy cup, the kind he has to suck on to extract liquid. He'll need something to suck on to assist his ears with the pressure changes.

The individual seat is a family and personal preference. I see lots of lap kids on that short of a flight. If you can manage entertaining him for that length of time, go for him being on your lap. Also, bring tactile, but silent toys for him to hold and drool on. Honestly, I recommend a baby dose of Benadryl. It will avoid any ear problems and make him sleepy or at least quiet.



answers from Pittsburgh on

No problem. Make sure you get a window seat and put your husband in the middle so you have some privacy, and nurse on demand. As others have said, it keeps the baby's ears in good shape if you nurse during takeoff and landing.

If you use a baby wrap or sling, you should wear it on the plane - if you haven't tried this kind of carrier yet, try the ring sling before you go. I found it so convenient to let the baby fall asleep in the sling when sitting on the plane because my arms didn't get tired from holding him for his entire nap. And I could use it as a light blanket to cover up when nursing.

As for the pacifier - that is actually a bad idea and doesn't help with the pressure in their ears. With pacifiers, babys suck but they don't swallow, and it's the swallowing that makes their ears pop.

Finally, I have travelled a lot with my kids and have never drugged them to do it. Your baby won't even be mobile yet, there is absolutely no reason to think about benedryl. What if the baby has a bad reaction to it on the plane? That would be a nightmare. Your baby will be happy to one-on-one time with mom and you'll be fine.



answers from Chicago on


Having a sling/wrap/other baby carrier is really helpful when traveling with a baby. (Although you will have to take him out when you go through security.) Gate check your stroller and car seat (so that they are less likely to be lost/damaged) and put them in gate check bags. Nurse your baby at take off and especially landing to help with the pressure in his ears. Make sure to take plenty of snacks for you, and fill a water bottle (or buy one) after you get through security. And be sure to bring plenty of diapers, wipes, and changes of clothes for both you and the baby.

In my experience, the flight is much easier with a baby than a toddler. But traveling can be challenging for a baby's sleep. Try to keep bedtime and nap times as close to your regular schedule as possible. And be prepared for the possibility of more night-wakings than usual. If you can borrow/rent a play yard or portable crib, you won't have to bring as much stuff with you.

Oh, and get up extra early on the day you travel, and plan to arrive earlier than usual at the airport. Many airports have family security lines, but it can still take a while to get through security with all of your gear.

Good luck!



answers from Peoria on

If you nurse, keep the boob close at all times!!!! :)

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