Flying After Bedtime

Updated on October 24, 2008
L.N. asks from Portland, OR
4 answers

Hi all!

We are flying down to the bay area this weekend with our 8-month-old son. We have made this trip several times before, but this time the flights are well past his bedtime (8:45 pm and 9:55 pm). He's a good sleeper, but he always has somewhere to sleep (pack n play, stroller, car, moby wrap while we walk), so I'm wondering if anyone has tips about how to help him sleep if he needs to while we are on the plane and he is in our arms. Thank you so much for your help!

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answers from Portland on

I flew a lot with both of my kids from the time that the oldest was 2 weeks old.

It sounds like you've flown with him before, so I'll assume that you're familiar with having him either nursing or taking a bottle during take-off/landing to make sure that he doesn't have pressurization issues.

If he sleeps well in the Moby wrap, put him in it in the airport and try to get him to sleep before you board, then just continue to "wear" him during the flight. You can also bring a full size pillow and small blanket, and lay him on the pillow on top of your lap. I always found that the steady hum of the engines and dim lights during night travel put my kids right to sleep, so I always tried to travel at night to make it easier. Bring his favorite stuffed animal, bedtime books, etc. so that he has something familiar to him at bedtime.

Another option would be to gate-check his car seat so that you have it handy, and then shortly before boarding, ask if there are any open seats. If there are, they might be willing to switch your seats next to an open seat and allow you to put his car seat in the open seat.

If you haven't had seats assigned yet, try to get the window and aisle seats in one row. A person traveling alone will be less likely to book a middle seat, and you have a better chance of getting the whole row than if you book a middle & window or a middle & aisle. If someone else does end up in the middle, they'll switch with one of you happily. Or, they might be willing to try to switch to another open seat if there is one.

Good Luck!



answers from Portland on

L., we had great luck with our kids and flying. Never were they unrestrained, but always strapped in their car seats. For them it was no different from riding in a car, and they would sleep very comfortably. Of course, we slipped them some Benadril (only with Pediatrician's guidance), whiched helped. I would never fly with a little one in my arms. If I'm buckled in, my baby is. I think the feeling of being bundled up in the car seat was comforting, especially with the plane's motion. Perhaps a pacifier would help to ease any discomfort. Unless you're just against the idea, though, I'd ask your doctor about the Benadril. It really did help. Those altitude adjustments are so hard on little ears. Happy flying!



answers from Portland on

We flew with our 6 mo old from Portland to NYC at midnight and I was SO worried about it affecting her sleep. But I just put her down at her regular bedtime of 8:30 and then just woke her up at 10:30 to go to the airport. She was up for the ride to the airport and security check but as soon as we were on the plane, she went right back to sleep! The noise of the plane just put her "out." I would just try to stick to your routine as much as possible and I'm sure he'll do great!



answers from Portland on

I second using the moby wrap since he is used to it. That time frame may also be less busy at security check points and should be easier to get through and settled. I would just make sure to pack things to make yourself comfortable on the flight as well.

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