Flying with 4.5 Month Old...

Updated on March 23, 2011
A.B. asks from Kapolei, HI
15 answers

Hi Everyone,
So I am flying next week from Hawaii to Texas (8 hour flight!!!) with my 4.5 month old boy. Of course I am reaaaalllly nervous...what I do about his ears, how do I keep him entertained, and what I can do in case he starts crying. Our flight over to TX is overnight so I hope he sleeps most of the way, but the way back is a day flight. I have panic/anxiety problems and I am not on meds because I am breastfeeding, so I am really having a hard time since I have always had a fear of flying as it is!! So now throwing my baby in the mix is bringing on a whole new set of anxieties:( So any advice would be much appreciated...thanks!!

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So What Happened?

Just eanted to thank everyone for your responses. My son did great...slept the entire way to TX and slept some of the way back. His ears were fine...i nursed him and gave him his paci. I already want to book my next flight back to TX :)

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

For work arrangements, we flew with our son every other week until he was about 1 year old. We travel a lot as a family, and it's been relatively stress free - we just make sure we're prepared for most things that can happen.
Mentally preparing for what you'll need to do, and logistics will help you prepare - You'll need to pack, go through security, navigate the airport, board the plane, and keep you & baby happy in a pretty confined space.
Here are our tips:
Packing: I recommend packing light for the plane ride itself. Take a snack, a bottle of water for yourself, and a magazine in case you're lucky & baby sleeps. Everything else should be your essentials: your wallet, phone, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, food for baby, a small blanket. In case you have a gate change, you'll be glad you have only a few things to carry. And getting through security & boarding will be easier. Check everything else that you won't need while you're in the airport or on the flight. If you haven't bought a seat, then check your carseat, and take a very simple stroller or carrier. Be really organized, and keep it simple - keep your liquids that have to be inspected by security to a minimum (breastmilk, hand sanitizer is about all you really need to carry on). Use ziplocks to pre-package a small diaper change kit to grab & go to the airplane lavatory.
Going through security: Give yourself a lot of time. Use the family lane if there is one. Being organized and packing light will help. One thing to note is that you'll have to carry your baby through the checkpoint, without a sling or carseat or stroller. So you need to unpack/repack your liquids, get your shoes off/on, get baby out/back into carseat/stroller/carrier all handsfree. It sounds silly, but practice it - I like to unpack my bag, get my shoes off with baby in the carseat, then put the carseat into the xray first, so it's the first thing to come out on the other side. Otherwise, you don't have anywhere to put baby down while you repack your stuff.
Navigating the airport: Don't waste a bunch of time shopping at the airport. Go to your gate early and camp out, preparing for your flight. Pay attention to gate change warnings or delays. Be ready to board ahead of time. When traveling with an infant, I like to board as early as possible, so you can set up your space with bottles, etc. Once he's a toddler, try to be the last to board, so you have extra time to run around near the gate before he has to be contained in his seat on the plane.
How to contain your child in flight: If you've purchased a seat for your son (preferable), bring your carseat with you onto the plane, and keep your son in the carseat as much as possible on the flight. If he's going as a free lap baby, be sure to have some kind of carrier so you can have both hands free, like a baby bjorn or an ergo or sling. You'll need this in case you need to get bottles out, get a snack, or go to the restroom yourself! Personally, I hate traveling with a stroller, unless I have lots of time in between flights, or I absolutely need it at my destination. Strollers get broken by baggage handlers, and it is always a pain to claim if you've gate checked it. Only bring it if you absolutely need it. It does make sense to bring it if you are using an infant carseat on the plane and you need it to help carry your carseat & stuff. If that's the case, be sure you can collapse it easily to check it at the gate. For your night flight, try to get a window seat, where you and your son can be cozy and just sleep. For your day flight, try to get an aisle seat so you can get up for diaper changes, and to walk around if you need to.
Feeding: Feed your baby during take off and landing so he can clear his ears. Get comfortable feeding your baby quickly. If you're breastfeeding, make sure you are comfortable using your blanket or a nursing cover, and whatever nursing top/bra you wear. If you're bottle feeding, be ready with lots of bottles for feeding. This is the easiest soother, so make sure you are comfortable to get set up without all of the extras you have at home (example: a boppy is pretty bulky to take on the plane, you won't be able to set baby down while you're getting out of your top, etc).
Diaper changing: Change your son right before boarding, so you are less likely to need to change multiple times on board. For changes on the plane, check ahead of time to see if your airplane has a changing table in the lavatory. Example, airbus 319 planes have them, but boeing 757s don't. This way, you'll be able to mentally prepare for diaper changing logistics. If you're plane doesn't have a changing table, bring a changing pad or blanket that you can put down on the seat in your row, or over the seat cover in the bathroom, or on the floor. (I've used all of these - airplanes are gross, so be sure to bring some hand sanitizer for your hands & baby's hands if they touch anything) In a small plastic bag, have a diaper, wipes, an extra set of jammies, and a changing pad. Since lavatories are so small, you won't want to take your whole diaper bag. Just take this small kit. Keep a kit ready in your seatback pocket. Carry 2 extra sets of clothes for your son (1 piece outfits are easiest) in case of messy diaper blowouts. Also, carry an extra shirt for yourself in case of bad spit up accidents.
Staying happy in flight: When you board the plane, spend a few minutes getting set up. Fill your seatback pocket with all of your emergency essentials: a set of pre-made bottles (breastmilk or formula), pacifier, diaper changing kit, and any toys your baby likes already. These things should be easy to grab in an instant, so you don't have to fumble around in your diaper bag while your baby is crying.
Overall, keep things in perspective: Your #1 responsibility is to you and your baby, NOT to the other people on your flight. Focusing on keeping you & baby safe, happy, fed, clean, calm is what you need to worry about. And 8 hours seems like a lot, but it will pass. Take a deep breath when things get tough, ask for help from flight attendants if you need it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Breastfeed on the way up (if possible with your feeding times). BFeed on the way down. That'll help with the ears. (Pack a nursing cover. Also, you ARE allowed to pack a bottle and take it thru security. See TSA's website for more rules). Like you said, hopefuly he'll sleep thru most of it. So have his favorite lovey, blanket, stuffed animal. Make sure you pack a couple of teething rings and tylenol/motrin in your carry-on. ( has good rings (bracelets and necklaces) that you can wear on yourself so you have less to carry in a bag). Other than that, what else does your son like? If Baby Mozart calms him down, pack a dvd player (fully charged battery) and a few dvds. If he likes classical music, pack your ipod or cd player and a set of headphones that could rest on his shoulders.

Are you traveling alone? Are you planning on buying your son his own seat? Is he a light sleeper? Consider this when deciding whether or not to bring his car seat. Alone -- you'll have to handle a kiddo and a carry on and taking off your shoes at security and a carseat/stroller. Big pain. Alone on the flight your arms will likely get tired of holding him. Also, you will not be able to go to the bathroom unless you enlist the help of a flight attendant or stranger. Easier to do with a carseat "watch my baby please?" than without a carseat "hold my baby please?" I've never traveled such a long flight, but have flown a few times with my now 3 yr old. I never brought his carseat, as I was travelig alone every time and didn't want the extra hassle.

Try your best to stay calm. And pack extra diapers. Better to have a couple extra than not enough. Wipes too. Dont forget to keep yourself hydrated so that your milk production will be sufficient. Good luck. You will be fine. Just take it all one step at a time when the day finally comes. Others around you will probably be very willing to help if they have a little heart.

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answers from Detroit on

We flew with my DD as a baby and it helped to have her sucking on a pacifier or taking a bottle to minimize the ear "popping" with pressure changes. Otherwise, if she started fussing, we just did what we would normally do at home - cradling her while doing some bouncy motion with my arms usually helped her to calm down and fall asleep. Whatever works for you at home should work on the plane as well. If it comforts him to nurse, then let him nurse. Keeping a 4.5 month old baby entertained is way easier than a 4.5 year old child!

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answers from Los Angeles on

for the ears nurse during take off and landing. Or ask your ped for drops to numb the ears. Use them about 1/2 hour before takeoff/landing. For your anxiety work on relaxation techniques. Ask your doc for some alternatives to meds for that. Good luck and relax. Enjoy your trip!



answers from Minneapolis on

Use a pacifier when taking off and landing. Or you can massage the outside of his ears.



answers from Phoenix on

Don't forget to bring your front pack/baby bjorn. While the baby cannot be harnessed in it for take off and landing, it is a NECESSITY to be able to 'hold' your child hands free for a portion of the flight. I figure a sling would work too, but have never used it.

I would also check flight loads to see if there will be extra seats on the flight and possibly bring the car seat on. That would be great.

My strategy when flying alone with my 4 kids is plan and expect for the worst....and it is always better than that. Don't expect your baby not to cry. But they usually do fall asleep. Any binky or breastfeeding will be great during take off and landing.

I personally think 4.5 months is too young to give benadryl for this. And, fyi, it doesn't make all kids sleepy. It does the complete opposite to my 5 year old. And finding that out on a flight is not fun at all.

Try buying a few new toys, but at that age toys are really not a big thing.

Maybe your anxiety will be better this time, as kids can be quite a good distraction for that. If all else fails, start crying along with your baby and it should keep peoples mouths shut. I hope all goes well!!


answers from Tulsa on

Ask the airline if their bulkhead seats have bassinet attachments. I know the international flights do, but I'm not sure about a long domestic flight. If they do, ask to be assigned a bulkhead seat with a bassinet. This saved me when I flew to India with my then 2.5 month old. They might not assign you that seat until you check in, but call and ask for it ahead of time. If you can't get it until you check in, ask the second you check in. With a child, it's good to have that extra room even if they don't have a bassinet.

My son flew very easily when he was younger. I really didn't have much of a problem until he started getting mobile. Then he didn't want to be confined and I had to entertain him. I'm sure you and your son will be fine!



answers from Las Vegas on

If you can, pump before hand and bottle up and bottle down to take care of any ear issues. That way if your anxiety affects your milk production, you don't have to worry about it. Don't worry about bringing the breastmilk on the plane. They will just ask you to open the bottle so that they can use some sort of machine that sniffs (for lack of a better term) the contents. They do not take a sample or anything. Let the TSA people know before your belongings go through the scanner that you have bottled breastmilk for the baby. Bring the bottles in a small cooler with an ice pack. The flight attendant can always help you warm things up. Don't be shy about asking for help and either try to sit yourself near other parents or even better, a friendly looking grandparent! I always sat next to grandparents and they were super helpful. If the baby has his own seat, enlist the help of a flight attendant to get the car seat on the plane. The baby needs to be closest to the window.
Good luck, deep breaths and focus on the baby. You will get through this:) Flying at your baby's age is pretty easy. One and a half - 2 stinks, but by the age of 2 and a half, they can be easily entertained on a plane with books, coloring, movies (ipad's rock!)



answers from Los Angeles on

My first flight with my son was at 6 months. Up until he was about 4 years old he would fall asleep as soon as the flight took off and sleep for 2 - 3 hours. Hopefully you'll have the same luck!

Take off and landing is the most important as far as ear problems. Make sure the baby is sucking on something to keep ears clear. The good news is that you can wheel the baby to the gate and sometimes the door of the plane and they will check the stroller there and you can take baby items (diaper bag/car seat) on the plane and they are not considered extra carry on. I always changed the diaper prior to getting on the plane so that I would hopefully only have to change it once during the flight.

Bring lots of wipes to clean up the area you'll be sitting in. I recommend buying a seat for the baby if you can but if you can't see if they have a row with an empty seat because you'll want/need to put the baby down at some point. Bring some little toys that he can play with and books to read to him. The best thing I bought was a portable CD player. It was worth every penny! If my son was really restless or upset, I'd put on a Disney video and that kept him focused for an hour or so.

Maybe your doctor has something she can give you to keep you calm for the flight that won't affect the baby when you breastfeed. Can't hurt to ask.

Good luck!!


answers from Los Angeles on

Flying with a 4.5 month old is MUCH easier than with a toddler or pre-schooler (I have done both, several times). My advice - have a well packed diaper bag, realize that most people on the plane have been there before and a smile goes a LONG way, and breastfeed on demand (works like a charm on a fussy baby (you can use one of those cover up things or a blanket and just setlle in). I traveled from Los Angeles to Columbus about a 5 hour flight - no problem - with my 4 month old (at the time). Also for diaper changes, just stand up and put him on your seat (assuming he is not going to have his own seat) - just have everything out and do it quickly.

You will be fine. Just breathe, relax and go with the flow - know that you are smart and will figure out how to do what you need to do. Make friends with the person next to you and they may even help you some. Worst case scenario - ask the flight attendants for help.



answers from Dallas on

Pacifier or bottle for the ears. Our baby was older when we flew from Texas to the UK (9 hour flight), but he didn't have any trouble with take off or landing. Bring his favorite small toys, blanket, but don't overpack. My best advice - remain calm, even if he cries. He will calm down and sleep eventually, and babies do what babies do. He, and you, will be fine.



answers from Denver on

Before I had children, I HATED flying- I wasn't afraid of flying, I hated the constant feeling of motion sickness. The anxiety of knowing I was going to fly would make me sick to my stomach. The smell of the airport would make my head spin. The thought of flying on an empty stomach made me want to eat everything in sight. I could go on and on...

My point is that there is something about being a mom, being the "primary caregiver" to someone who needs you, that helps take your mind off of your own "problems..." I have flown 3 times with my older daughter and not once did I have that nagging feeling of wanting to barf if I turned my head away from the recycled air vent above my head...

Just saying, maybe you will find that it works this way for you, too.

As for advice during the flight, you should definitely nurse during takeoff and landing. This will help with his ears. Also, I've found that people on flights are generally very friendly and can be good distractions when he starts getting antsy.

One more thing- I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the bathroom while holding a baby (if you are flying alone.) It wont be easy, but it can be done...

Good luck to you!


answers from Sacramento on

We flew from SFO to Hawaii (6 hour flight) when my youngest was 3 months old. (We also had an almost-3 year old.) On the advice of our pediatrician, we gave them both Benadryl to help with their ears/sinuses since the flight was kind of long. (Also a binky for the baby to help clear her ears during takeoff.) Luckily, in our case, both of my kids respond to Benadryl by falling asleep, so it was a very peaceful flight for all of us! The flight attendants were fantastic and helped us out - even moving some other people around so we could all sit together (my DH and DD were in another row to begin with).

All in all, I'd ask your pediatrician about Benadryl - it was a lifesaver for us. Nothing worse than a baby with stuffy ears for 8 hours!



answers from New York on

Have him suck on a pacifier or bottle during takeoff and landing. He is at
a great age to travel. They are easily entertained at this age and sleep a
lot. You should do fine. Try to relax.



answers from Las Vegas on

Since your breastfeeding, you already have the biggest baby flying pleaser :) Your son is at the perfect age for flying, just breastfeed him most of the time (during takeoff and landing should help his ears, although my son never had any issues, so he may not). A window seat is best for some privacy. He should sleep most of the time, even during the day. You can bring a toy or something, but he will probably be sleeping or happy looking around. I always took my boppy on the plane so my son could easily nurse and sleep, a pillow would work as well, help save your arms and back while you're holding him. I would attach the boppy to a rolling carry on, so it was easy to get around the airport. I also always carried my son in a baby carrier around the airport (still do when we fly, and he is 2.5 now). Just make sure it is comfortable and you can get him in and out yourself, you should even be able to wear him through security as long as it is pretty much all fabric (I used a mei tai or Ergo).

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