Seeking Tips on Plane Travel with Infant

Updated on May 13, 2010
M. asks from Minneapolis, MN
11 answers

I'll be taking my first plane ride with my new daughter in September. I'm an experienced plane traveler, but I'm a little nervous about traveling with a baby. I'm looking for helpful hints from air travelers experienced with bringing baby along. Specific questions I have:
1. how does baby react to the cabin pressure changes on ascent/descent?
2. does your baby get more thirsty as a result of dry plane air?
3. what gear do you suggest to bring and to leave home?
4. any hints about going through security with baby?
5. any other insights or suggestions?


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answers from Minneapolis on

When I used to travel with my daughter a few years ago, her doctor told me that if the baby likes a pacifier great other wise make good use of the bottle. The pressure is greatest on take off and landing. He recommended that, since babies cant chew gum, they should suck on something to help their ears. My daughter only got sick one time. She is 9 now and she gets car sick so that what it was, the motion. That is all I would recommend. I had great experiences with her.



answers from Minneapolis on

I have traveled twice with my now 13 month old. The first time was at 7 months when I was still nursing, but it was a bit cramped in the plane seat for comfortable nursing, so I also had a diluted-juice bottle on hand for take off and landing since I knew she would drink the juice mixture. She had no problems with the pressure/dry air and only drank during take off and landing.

I would definitely get an aisle seat so you have more room on one side.

I took her in the stroller and checked it right at the plane door. This was great since I didn't have to carry her through the airport. We also used the stroller as a high chair for feeding.

At security they make you take her out of the stroller/sling and you have to carry her through in your arms. They are helpful once you get through and have to pack back up while also holding a baby.

I purchased a good sling (Kelty Kids from REI) so I would have a measure of protection on the plane in case of turbulence. I also used the sling to carry her out of the plane when I didn't have the stroller. This left my hand free to put my backpack on, etc. If you have a backpack to use for a carry on it is better to have your hands free.

Hopefully she will sleep for you. My duaghter did not sleep at all on a 3 hour flight, and she did great. There will be so many new faces smiling at her and action to look at.

I changed her diaper once in the bathroom. It is cramped, but that leaves little room for the baby to try to roll away. The having the kelty sling also helped in the bathroom so I could use the facilities while she was in the sling. Since the baby rests on your bladder, expect to use the b-room at least once.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi M. -

I haven't traveled with my son, yet, on a plane, but here is advice I have heard about -

Cabin pressure - if your baby is sleeping during takeoff or landing, she might just continue to sleep through it. If not, try to nurse her or give her a bottle. The sucking and swallowing will keep her ears open. In this respect, a 4-month old might be a little easier to travel with than an older baby or a toddler. : )

If you are thirstier from the dry air, chances are your baby is, too. But if you feed her during take-off and landing, that should help. Maybe also bring some water in a bottle to keep her hydrated and in case she's not in the mood for breastmilk or formula.

What to bring - as little as possible. You know how crowded planes are! However, do bring the basics. Bottle(s), diapers, extra clothes, a blankie, and a couple of her favorite toys to keep her entertained. If she's a good sleeper, she might sleep through it all, so don't forget a book or magazine for yourself, too. Or just try to catch a nap! Tip - I once saw the flight attendants reheat a bottle using the hot water from the coffee machine. They put hot water in a clean air-sick bag with the bottle. Worked well, and then they didn't have to worry about the water being purified to mix in the bottle.

Security - Hopefully you're not traveling alone, and someone can help you carry everything through security. You can usually bring a stroller right up to the door of the plane and check it there, but you'll have to carry your daughter through security, so have the stroller ready to collapse and put on the belt. Again, travel as lightly as you can, but bring all the essentials.

Hope that's helpful and not too much of a repeat of things you've already heard! Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

M.- I work at the airport and see lots of new babies all the time. It's the best time to travel before she's walking and has a mind of her own. Hints- you might want to have a pacifier during takeoff and landing (for her ears) or a bottle would also help with that.
I'd also recommending checking in the carseat and just gate checking the stroller. Just bring the essentials, always have whatever you need in your carryon. Also most airlines will only allow you to check 2 bags per person, unless you bought the baby a seat. (But they will allow you to check the car seat in without buying a seat.)
Getting through security should be easy-if you are traveling alone- the screeners at checkpoint usually help getting your stuff onto the belt to go through x-ray.
Another hint- arrive 2 and a half hours early to allow time to check in, get through security and to your gate.
And one last thing- it's difficult to get up during the flight. When I traveled with my daughter last year I made sure I changed her before we got on the plane. If you have any another questions- feel free to ask again- Good luck! K.



answers from Minneapolis on

I would suggest nursing during takeout and landing. If you bottle fed try wet washclothes from her to suck on. Going through security can be a pain, just allow for extra time. I have two daughters 3 and 10 months and have done a lot of plane travel with them. I would suggest bringing the stoller, you can check it at the gate, then you are able to have your hands free. You can always rent a car seat at your desitination or check it with your luggage, but I would not bring it on the plane, unless you are planning on buying her a seat. Email me back if you have any other questions!



answers from Minneapolis on

M. -

We traveled a lot with our infants. Here's what we did:

1. Nurse on the way up and on the way down ... it definitely helps their ears. Or, if bottle feeding, do that.

2. Didn't really notice, but I always brought a bottle of water as well.

3. We relied heavily on the Baby Bjorn and stroller for airport travel - bring the one that collapses easily.

4. Just know that you have to collapse the stroller, take the baby out, etc. so if you can be lucky to time naps and not interrupt the schedule, that is ideal.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Depending on how old your baby is when you travel, one thing that really helped me was to carry my daughter in our Baby Bjorn (or other type of carrier). I was traveling by myself so it left my hands free, and she slept almost the whole way on my lap in there. Be sure to bring a bottle or pacifier for take off and landing. Or a snack if the baby is older - just something that will get them to swallow. I remember I was so worried on our first flight, and things went great - no problems. In fact, they slept most of the way. As for gear to bring, you will need to fold the stroller to go through security, so make sure you have enough hands to do whatever you need to do. You can take it all the way to the gate and check it there - it's very easry to do. My girls are now 1 yr and 2.5, and a DVD player has been a lifesaver - I don't know if your daughter is old enough to care or not. Books are good too. I would bring extra diapers and extra clothes since you never know if you will need them. Also, if baby will be on your lap I would recommend the aisle seat so you can walk her around or get to the bathroom if you need. Anyway, I guess that's all I can think of - I bet things will go smoothly. And if people give you "looks" if the baby cries, don't feel bad - everyone goes through it at some point. Most people will be very understanding.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi M.,
I found this to be very helpful. If you're not going to purchase a ticket for your daughter you can increase the likelyhood that there will be an empty seat next to yours. Airline computers assign seats based on preference, aisle or window, first. The middle seats are always the last seats assigned. If two adults are travelling with an infant, choose an aisle and a window seat in the same row, A and C or D and F. If there are any empty seats on the plane it may be the one between you, then it is easy to bring the car seat on for your daughter. The gate attendant can sometimes move you to take advantage of an empty seat, but it's so much easier if that empty seat just happens to be between you to begin with. This only applies to coach, with all the upgrades and rewards programs there are never any empty seats in first class.

T. Saame



answers from Los Angeles on

I posted here but realized I would probably be better starting a new question rather than having it as an answer to someone else's question.

If anyone would have advice about travelling with triplets and the lap vs seat question, I would appreciate it!




answers from Minneapolis on

Four months.

My daughter was 10 months when we flew back from Russia after I adopted her. Since then, we have been on several flights. I know there are lots of mixed feelings on whether or not to get a seperate seat for baby. I think it is a life saver. I always brought my daughter in her car seat (she was only 12 pounds at adoption), and know it was easier for her to sleep on flights that way.

If you are going to take a car seat with you, travelling with a combination stroller/car seat would be nice. I never had one, but wish that I had.

Make your only "carry on" the diaper the form of a backpack if you know you are going to be strolling baby.

Keep in mind that you can leave strollers at the gate when you board and the flight attendants will have them waiting for you at your destination.

If you are flying coach know that the front row of coach is often requested by parents of babies. There is more leg room there, and you can actually change baby...and keep various necessities close at hand.

Flight attendants do a great job of offering any extra assistance needed. In my case, my daughter was on a bottle from day one, so having them warm up formula or put juice mixed with water in her bottle was never a problem.

As long as my daughter was drinking at take off and departure, air pressure was never an issue (and this is a girl who had chronic ear infections).

In terms of getting through security, I have always found the staff to be helpful. In hindsight, I wish I had been bolder to ask people to give me a hand at times when I'm trying to do three things at once (like going through security). People see you are with a baby and want to help.

Hope this helps



answers from Minneapolis on

We flew a lot with our first...his first trip was at 4 weeks old! When you get to the gate go to the ticket counter for a ticket for your stroller. The pressure thing varies baby to baby-but advice I got that works, feed on take off and landing. Also keeping him on a blanket on my lap or in a baby bjorn, the closer the better. A new toy is also helpful. Make sure you have a change of clothes and and enough stuff-like food and diapers in case-and this probably won't happen-but if the plane has to land somewhere else, or the luggage doesn't make it...etc. However remember you have to carry all this stuff.. People are actually over all helpful to people with children, it really is pretty easy, especially if you are an experienced traveler.
Good Luck and have fun!

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