Traveling First Time by Air with a 6 Mo

Updated on October 27, 2008
A.S. asks from Somerset, NJ
19 answers

Hi Moms,
I am back again with a new query..
Next weekend I will be traveling alone with my 6 mo daughter on a 17hr non-stop International flight. This is her first journey by air, and I am very anxious as to what all I need to take care of..
The reason we chose a non-stop flight is with the hope that the air hostesses will be helpful when we are on board, since I will be traveling alone.
I have sooo many question, and I would greatly appreciate all your advices.
1. What all do I need to carry in the carry on baggage other that clothes? She does not get a separate carry on bag, but she gets a 20lbs check in bag
2. I checked with the airline, and was informed that I cannot carry baby water on board but I can carry some amount of prepared formula. Is it ok to use bottled water to prepare formula for her? I generally use a little warm water to prepare formula. Also, is there any kind of restriction as to how much powdered formula and baby food I can carry on board?
3. We have requested for a Bassinet seat on board, but that request cannot be confirmed till we actually show up at the check in counter. In case (knock on wood) I don't get the bassinet seat, how can I manage her?
4. My ped said that "IF I WANT" I can give her some tylenol, which will make her sleepy throughout the journey. Is that absolutely necessary?
5. We will be going to a different country. So any suggestions on how to cope with the new environment and jet lag?

I know I have asked many questions in just one request, but I am really anxious.
Any advice from all of you is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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answers from Houston on

Ugh, been there and done that several times. Bring extra clothes for you as well. My youngest son cried til he vomited on me. I brought an extra shirt but not a bra, nothing like traveling smelling like baby spit up. Bleck... New toys help keep them interested. The plane itself is so excitng for them and people will be thrilled (once they realize they are not sitting near you) to see a baby and will play and talk with her. Don't over do anything. Less is more. Have healthy snacks for her. A few toys. Some books and her food. We traveled Lufthansa and they were always great when my kids were little. Oh, the bathrooms will have a changing table. It is over the toilet seat usually in one bathroom. Beware, they are TINY!! Most folks never even notice that they are there. At 6 months old, it should not be too difficult. I had never heard of tylenol being given, we used benedryl once and it did not help at all and made my kid more hyper. Best of luck.

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answers from Houston on

Hi A.. The first time we traveled with our son, he was 7 months old and here are a few answers to your questions that might help.

1. Carry on for your daughter: take enough bottles for the trip that you don't have to wash. I used to measure out powder formula in each bottle and have it ready so all I had to do was mix in water and shake it up and it was ready to go. Make sure you take some toys to entertain your daughter and a teether toy as well. We took my son's favorite stuffed toy and some others that he enjoyed and it helped distract him during the flight. Maybe even pack a book or two that your daughter enjoys hearing. Definitely make sure you have diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream that will last during the flight and even a little longer. My son got diarrhea during one flight and I was so glad I had extra diapers and rash cream because it really helped. If your daughter is eating some foods right now, make sure to take some of those Gerber 1st food plastic containers and those Puffs (snacks). This is all in addition to a couple of changes of clothes.

2. I used bottled water for my son's formula when we traveled and it was fine. I stuck with name brand stuff. Don't worry about taking bottles of water to the airport because once you get past security, you can buy as many bottles as you want at the stores near the gates before you board the flight. You just are not allowed to have it at the security check point. Just buy room temperature water from the gift shops instead of the cold water and you shouldn't have any problems making the formula. I had about 4 bottles of water that I bought right before boarding and then had about 6 or 7 containers of single serve Gerber baby foods. I had a mix of fruits and vegetables. I had no trouble at the security point. Also, I premeasured rice cereal and baby oatmeal into small single serve plastic containers and made them on the plane by just mixing a small amount of water in them.

3. If you do not get the bassinett, just be prepared to hold your daughter during the trip and pray it is not a full flight. We did not even know that was an option so when we traveled with our son, we just took turns holding him. Our flight was very full and it did make it a little harder because we had no elbow room at all. That's when the premeasured stuff came in handy because it made it much easier to just pour water in and mix.

4. I personally would not give my child any type of medicine just to make them sleepy. I try to avoid giving him any medicines and definitely would avoid it if they are not sick. Just my personal opinion. I made sure I gave my son his bottle during takeoff and during landing because it helped his ears not hurt. If they are sucking on the bottle then it really helps with the ears not hurting. After eating, my son fell asleep and slept about 2 hours straight. When he woke up, I had those puffs ready for him and some toys.

5. When we traveled, my son's sleep times did get a thrown a little off track but we just went with what worked for him. We let him tell us when he was sleepy / tired instead of following our usual routine at home.

Don't worry too much and try to have fun with it. FYI- when we travel with our son, I only have a book or something for me and my entire carry on is usually filled with stuff to entertain my son. He is now 2 years old and we've taken 4 trips already and I found that the smoothest ones were with the direct flights (thank god for those) and those where we had enough stuff to entertain him. As he gets old, I find that I cannot take his usual toys because they don't hold his attention as long so I always either buy a new toy or get some of his old forgotten ones and then that keeps him busy for a while.

Good luck and have a great trip.




answers from Houston on

You don't say what country you are flying to or what airline you are using. Airlines vary GREATLY in what you can bring for baby. We flew often with our (now 15 mo) twins - beginning at 2 months. It's not too bad, really. Here are the things we learned:

1. Don't have more than 3 or 4 prepared bottles when you go through security or there will be a HUGE delay as some jerk decides to test each one for bomb materials. The local TSA people do not care that you are going on a long flight;

2. Even though it is more expensive, buy some of those 8 oz premixed formulas that you slap a nipple on for the flight. It is less hassle with security, less mess to prepare, and you don't have to deal with refrigeration;

3. If you are going to be on an extended trip and your usual formula is not readily available in the country you are visiting, order a case of the formula on and have it shipped to the location you will be staying;

4. Juggle your daughter's feeding schedule so that she will take a bottle upon takeoff and landing. Take-off isn't so bad if you can't get her to take a bottle if delays or whatnot messes things up, but we found a bottle upon landing was imperative for our guys;

5. Smile at the attendants, your seat companions, etc. It will put you in a better frame of mind, they will feel badly for their snarky flying with a baby thoughts, and you will get a lot more offers of help if she gets a little fussy;

6. We used diaper bags as our carry-ons. For the boys, we packed an emergency kit (benadryl, tylenol, etc. in a small ziploc), a small blanket, a couple of snap-on onesies or pjs, 1 diaper for every 2 hours of flight, disposable burp cloths, clean nipples for their formula, a couple of favorite small toys and their favorite stuffed toy. At 6 to 8 months we didn't pack cereal or other food because it saved space and they didn't need it for nutrition at that age. Packed right, it leaves room for your own carry-on items;

7. Do everything in your power to get an aisle seat. You will need it for walking if she fusses and to go do diaper changes;

8. Relax and enjoy your time with her on the flight. It will be good for both of you. We found traveling was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be when the boys were young.



answers from College Station on

Hi A.,
First thing I would do is try to relax. Infants feel and respond to our emotional states. This is a long flight, but pack for it as if you were going on a 24 hour road trip.

I nursed, so I dont know how to help you about your formula question, but whatever you would need to feed her on her hungriest days, prepare for her for the on flight. She may need to suckle on a pacifier to help the pressure in her ears during the flight, so bring a few of those since there really wont be any cleaning facilities on flight. Remember plenty of diapers and plastic bags to seal in any odor. bring two or three blankies, for both of you. Bring some noise free toys for her- soft books, anything that if accidently thrown, wont hurt anyone- please make them noise free, if possible.

Oh, at six months they could be so mobile, but try to follow her cue, if she is happy looking around at all the new things and people, then let her be. Overstimulation would probably be a risk, so dont talk too much to her or carry her when she doesnt seem to want to be carried. Of course if she is looking at you with those 'conversation eyes', by all means- she could be your best travel buddy, yet (no second guessing your plans or arrangements).

Have Fun,



answers from San Angelo on

OK, first of all the takeoff and landing should be your primary concern. My kids took a pacifyer so it was ok, but expect your child to cry as the cabin pressurizes and de-pressurizes. Try to schedule a feeding from the bottle at these times too. I would ask the doctor or pharmacist about the safety of benedryl in a very small dose a day before and the day of the flight to help reduce the amount of fluid in the eustacian tubes.

Another really important note...If your child fits in a portable infant seat, you can take it to the plane with you. If there are open seats available, people are usually pretty good about moving, or letting you move next to an empty one and then you can keep her in the car seat for a long time! (if the flight is full, you can simply check the stroller and car carrier at the gate for no extra cost. Usually the hum of the plane engines lulls them to sleep. Also, take some snacks and baby food...again there are restrictions so check with the airline. I wouldn't expect too much from the flight hostess about actually taking the baby, but they did every so often for me...they actually walked her back to the back and oohhed and aaahhed about her....I was happy and felt weird about it at the same time...they asked me though!

As for the bottle issue, if you child is picky, the bottled water thing won't work. You can ask the flight attendant if they have a microwave and to put the bottle in for only 20 seconds. Also they usually have warm/hot water for tea, so you can mix it early and let it cool that way. I think there is a restriction on how much formula you can take but I am sure that the airline or another MOM will have that info.

I would plan on taking everything you would need on an overnight trip. Lots of diaperwipes for spit-up or dirty diapers and for you too to clean-up when you feel gross. On most international flights, you can get up and walk around. My kids LOVED baby mozart videos and would watch them all the time..if you have a laptop or portable dvd player, you can use it when absolutely necessary. I didn't find that the kids ever really played with rattles or toys so I wouldn't really take too much like that...I would pick up a new toy and save it to break out during the ride and if you do bring some toys, consider taking the plastic interlocking links that you can get at walmart...if you make a string of them, they hold toys, and pacifiers and prevent things from dropping down on the floor or between seats.

Anyway, I feel your pain, I have kids 3.5.7.and I am headed for Japan in two weeks from Arkansas! You have inspired me to ask for help too! Good luck.



answers from Houston on

I have flown internationally several times with my 5 month old daughter. You are allowed to bring as much prepared formula as you want. I really recommend (if your formula comes in it) getting a bunch of those 8 ounce bottles as it isnt always easy to get good quality bottled wated on the plane to mix powdered. As well as I have trouble with lots of air bubbles at altitude when mixing powdered formula. Also handy is a front carrier or sling for walking the baby in the plane. However to answer your question bottled wated pass 3 months is okay per the AAP.

I usually dress my duaghter in footsie pj's and bring a couple of spare as well. Make sure you bring the scented plastic bags for the dirty diapers and some ziploc bags are good to put dirty clothes.

The basinet is not that great other than as a changing table as they will make you get her out any time the seatbelt sign is on.

My daughter just sat on my lap. I fed her on the way up and then walked her as soon as we were allowed up to sleep. It is a very boring flight for you and eating is almost impossible unless she has a seat! Bring energy bars for you.

Try to get a seat awau from the fitchen / lavatories or the noise / light will keep waking her up. If you have an iPhone or iTouch they are great to load with "white noise" waves, rain, etc because it is louder with other noise than you would expect.

What time are you flying? I usually take the 4pm to London which puts us at her bed time by the time they get the lights off. I also found she adjusted going east better than coming west. She just had a "short" night sleep. had a few naps and was ready for bed the next night. Coming back was much harder and it took me about a month to get her back to her normal sleep time !!

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

I traveled with my 6 month old daughter from Indonesia to Texas (26 hour total traveling time) and it was not too difficult. You will need to check with the airline on what the restrictions are on bringing baby food, etc. Depending on the airline, they could possibly have baby food, but probably not what your baby is eating at this stage. Take plenty of diapers and wipes and an extra change of clothes for you too, in case the baby's tummy gets upset and she gets sick all over you! You should also know that the baby can not remain in the bassinet hanging on the wall when there is any turbulance and then you will have to hold her and that might be kind of scary when you are bouncing all over the place. We always purchased a seat for our baby and then we didn't have to worry about the turbulance issue and she was safely buckled up in her baby seat. Also, where you are traveling might not have the same variety of baby food, so you need to be prepared for that.
Have a great flight and enjoy your baby.



answers from Houston on

Hi there. We traveled abroad with our 8 month old and it was a lot easier than I expected. Firstly, you can carry as much powdered formula and baby food as you want. Also, when you get through security, you can then buy bottled water or the airplane will have bottled water also. I have always made our baby's formula with bottled water and it has never been a problem. We did not have to giver her Tylenol as we took am overnight flight, but we did bring it just in case. Do feed her formula, juice, or give her her binky during take off and landing in case it bothers her ears, and a couple toys or whatever entertains her best. I am not sure about the bassinet, because I just held our daughter and we both sleep.

I hope I answered as many questions as I could, but one thing I want to tell you is that I made myself a nervous wreck before hand thinking of all the "What If's" and then as it turned out, everything was easy, breezy, so relax Mommy and enjoy your trip!



answers from Killeen on

Hi A.,,
i have 1 suggestion for you it came from my dad who flew world wide .It is to make sure the baby is sucking on bottle or pacifer when you take off and land ,,,the reason being is your ears pop a baby can not unpop there ears and will cry the whole flight so please let her be sucking until you can pop your ears



answers from Houston on

Hi Anita,

Ok so here goes, I did an 18 hour flight to south africa total trip time was 24 hours, when my son was 5months old.

Firstly there are no restrictions on the amounts of baby food and formula you can carry. You should also be allowed to carry a diaper bag as well as your carry on allowance. The bottled water on the plane is ok for giving to baby. You could ask the air hostess to bring you boiled water and then wait for it to cool if you feel you need to be more careful. You MUST make sure that your baby is either sucking on the bottle or on a pacifier when you take off, this helps them unblock their ers when you take off and land.. otherwize you could end up with a baby in lots of pain while you are flying because they do not know how to unblock their ears.

The bassinet is a good idea as long as your flight is not too bumpy... as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign comes on you have to take the baby out the bassinet and hold them. I did not have a bassinet and held my son all the way. One of the passengers held him while I ate.

The sound of the engines lulls them to sleep. tylenol is not necessary but take some with incase your baby gets sore ears. Baby should be old enough to have motrin which does a better job of knocking them out if that is your aim.

my son is 2 now and he has been on 2 trips to south africa and 1 trip to England as well as some domestic flights.

Pack an extra set of clothes for yourself as welll as 2 or 3 sets for the baby. Sometimes accidents happen an dou don't want to be stuck in soiled clothes coz baby burped on you.

I hope this helps a bit.



answers from Austin on

I've been traveling with my son on airplanes since he was four months old. We go a lot a places that it inspired me to open my own children's travel gear site

That said, I found the most important thing to bring is enough diapers. We had gotten delayed between flights by three days and I was running out of diapers. Clothes can be washed and dried in the hotel, but I was using disposable diapers and was running out. The airport stores didn't have his size and I was fortunate to find some that fit at a convenience store.

It is okay to use bottled water to prepare formula. Depending where you are going, that may be the safest option for the whole trip. Also, because I couldn't guarantee a bassinet either when I traveled, those seats usually are already booked, I wouldn't have survived without having my sling with me. I could be hands free and the baby could sleep, cuddle, nurse or generally be in a type of restraint while I could sleep. The sling was also handy when I was not in a position to return to my room to put him down for a nap. He slept in there at all stages of the trip.

As for jet lag, it is recommended that everyone try to get as much time in the daylight before falling asleep, even for a nap. It will help reset your bodies' internal clock.

As for tylenol or even benedryl, it really depends on your baby's prior experience with it. Benedryl didn't work for my son. It made him more fussy, but not sleepy, so we don't use it. On other kids it does work, so I would leave that judgement to your baby's own experience with the medicine. I had walked the aisles to rock the baby to sleep on some of the longer flights across the Pacific.

For the descent, it is helpful to have the baby nursing or drinking from a bottle. The sucking movement will help relieve pressure in their ears.

I don't know what type of restrictions on the amount of baby food or formula that can be brought on board. It really is subjective to the airport security screener. I've had my child's juice boxes and boxed chocolate milk taken away from me repeatedly. Other's said, but you're not on an international flight, but I was, so I was allowed some of them back.

Depending on where you are going, check out They will ship baby formula, diapers and food to your location most places around the world.

Good luck and email anytime if you have any questions about specific travel gear.



answers from Austin on

My boys were babies before security was so tight so I don't know about forumula and water. I breastfeed but waited until we were up in the air for a minute or so as it takes a little time before the pressure starts. Several pacifiers would be a good idea if she takes one. Also, I agree with the noise free, quiet toys.

I second bringing lots of changes of clothes (for both of you) and blankets. Also bring many large gallon size plastic bags. These can help store things easier (like one outfit change per bag) and then can be used for any dirty clothes. My youngest had a diaper blowout becuase we had to run to our gate when we changed planes and I didn't have time to change. Luckily, I had a blanket around him so my clothes were spared. I didn't have a change for me so I highly recommend that. I also used to have scented bags that I could put a dirty diaper in. They did help with the smell.

I didn't ever give the kids benedry but it does make some kids hyper! I would not try that on the plane for the first time.

Make sure you bring all the baby supplies- tylenol, thermometer, diaper rash cream, etc. You just never know what you'll need and what you can get overseas. A plastic bag will help keep these all neat and handy.



answers from Houston on

Never traveled with my son, but came really close when he was an infant but I chickened out...anyways something I read from a doctor in a mag besides the pressure thing, was to put a few drops of breast milk or saline nose drops in their nose (I forget the intervals) but you can't over do it, maybe every hour or two, and this helps them sneeze and kills any viruses that come into their nose. It just helps prevent her from getting sick since its such a confined environment.



answers from Austin on

Be absolutely sure she's sucking on something for takeoff and landing to help "pop" her ears for pressure changes. Pacifier will work if she's not nursing. We used to go to France with babies a lot. They just zombied out, went to sleep when tired, and adjusted faster than adults to jet lag.
Make sure the airline knows she's coming; you used to be able to request "infant" meals. She'll be fine, you'll be exhausted.



answers from College Station on

H A.. I hope I can help. We are diplomats and my son has traveled more in his first two years that I did in my first 20. Good idea to go the non-stop route. When we came back from overseas with our 7 month old, we wer in transit for more than 20 hours. We had to change planes twice, and that was the hard part. It will seem like a never-ending flight, but it is much easier than juggling bags and baby - especially by yourself! If you can get someone to help you through check-in up to security, you will have a much easier time. They can hold baby while you handle logistics. As for your questions: 1) Lots of diapers and a change of clothes. Planes have been known to sit on runways for hours, and your kiddo can't use the potty. 2) Formula powder can be used with the water they bring you at your seat. You can combine a bit of hot water from the coffee maker with some of the bottled water they serve. The flight attendants are pretty helpful when it comes to babies. 3) I hope you are able to get the bassinet - it will really help. My son only slept for half an hour in his, but it gave my lap a rest. Hope for the bassinet, but plan on your lap as a bed. If your baby is a good sleeper, do your best to get her to nap on schedule. Remember that take-off and (especially) landing can be tough on little ears. Do whatever you can to give her a bottle or pacifier during that time to keep the pressure off her ears. 4)Our son has never needed medicine to travel, but it doesn't hurt to have Tylenol or Benedryl on hand if you little one shows signs of pain or discomfort. 5) It kind of depends on how different the time will be. Plan on one day per hour of time difference for you to adjust. As for baby, she is still at an age where she sleeps during the day as well as the night. Try to keep her to the same schedule as she has at home for sleep and food. If possible, give her plenty of natural signals - light during the day and dark at night.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

Hi! Wow, you are taking on a big adventure. When traveleing with my son as an infant, all I can say is bring 2x what you think you will need, clothes, diapers and food b/c there are accidents..and a new shirt for you as well! I usually brought a whole can of powder formula, and I mixed it with the bottled water on the plane. It worked fine, and the water is usually warm anyway. As far as sleeping, I brought a blanket for my son, and would put the arm rest up between us and make him a little bed, that I could lay him down in after he fell asleep.. worked okay, and the plane noise and vibration made him sleep ALOT! Good Luck! Safe trip!



answers from Austin on

Hi A.,
I know your concerns, as I had to travel with my then 13 month old internationally.
This is what I did:
Get an overnight flight!I will mess less with the baby's routine and yours.
My baby likes cold soy milk, so I brought a thermal bag and got ice at the airport.You could probably warm water and mix your formula right before you board.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!



answers from Houston on

Hi A.! I am surprised that you cannot carry on water. I have never had a problem but nevertheless, you can take as much formula as you need. I would plan for a little more than you need as a precaution. I have always had great luck with the attendants being helpful. They would wash out the bottom with steaming hot water and can provide you with hot water if you need to warm the bottle. Anytime I've flown, I've always leveraged the carry on for me, for the baby instead. You are going to want to have plenty of "food" diapers and wipes at a minimum and possibly even a change of clothes. My daughter didn't have ear trouble but something to plan for as well. Try to get an aisle seat so you can move about if you need to. I would not give Tylenol myself but that is a personal decision and only you need to know about it. I recommend trying to get ready for the time change by starting before you leave. Try to work toward the time change a day or two early so as not to have too much work when you get there. The key though is that you sleep whenever the baby sleeps regardless of day/night time. That way you can manage and stay on track with baby. The rest will take care of itself. Everything will be okay, just stay calm as the baby can feel your emotions and if you are okay, the baby will be okay! Good Luck and enjoy your trip!



answers from Houston on

You mentioned formula, do you breastfeed at all? It helped my son go to sleep and calm down on our flight to Europe when I breastfed him. We also bought our son a seat and took our carseat for him to sit in and sleep in. We ended up holding him a lot. I would take some books and toys also on the plane. We never gave my son anything to make him sleepy. It also helped that our flight over there was going to be mostly at night when he would sleep. As far as jet lag goes. The only thing we did was not let him take a nap until was time to go to bed that night.....the first evening was too much fun....but the next day he seemed to have his days and nights straightened out. Good Luck!

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