Traveling with 4-Month Old

Updated on July 22, 2008
M.K. asks from San Francisco, CA
16 answers

We are flying across the country at the end of this month with our 4-month old daughter and are looking for any advice or tips you may have. Any must-haves for the carry-on? We don't have to bring a car seat or stroller because our relatives can provide. But we wonder if we should bring the co-sleeper. Our daughter has slept in a mini co-sleeper since she was born, and is very comfortable there. It folds up well, and has a bag for travel. But we're worried it might get trashed in transit. Does anyone have experience with this? Generally, she's pretty mellow, but we wonder how she'll react to traveling.

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answers from San Francisco on

Congrats on your new little one.

Travelling with a little baby is so much easier than when they get bigger so enjoy.

The best tip anyone ever gave me was to take four big ziplock freezer bags and pack each one with a diaper a few wipes in a a mini-ziplock, a bib, a diaper cloth, change of clothes (a Onesie or sleeper suit) and a clean bottle and formula or skip that part if breast feeding. Then each hour or two you just have pull out a bag from the big bag and grab what you need. I found this so much easier when I need to change my sons diaper or feed him. Do pack more than you think you will need as you might get stuck or delayed and have a hard time without things you need.

Also, don't be afraid to ask for help with boarding and getting off the plane. If your husband is travelling with you it will be much easier. He can be the sherpa and carry everything and then you just have to look after your little one.

Also, check out a website called They rent all sorts of baby supplies and are near every major city. Their prices are reasonable and you can probably get the same co-sleeper you have at home and not have to drag yours across the country. I would bring your own sheet and an extra waterproof pad though in your suitcase just to be extra safe.

Also, VERY IMPORTANT, wash your hands constantly and bring handiwipes in the red pack that say kills 99T% of germs for the plane. So many people get sick from being on planes and you do not want to get sick or have your little one sick on a trip. I would ever consider wiping down the arms of your seats and the tray tables. I am not a germ phobe but having a sick baby is hard when you are home in your own house it is terrible when you are travelling. Think clean, clean clean!
Hope this is helpful and happy travels,


2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Depending on where you are traveling to, I found a great site that offers parents an option to rent items you will need on a trip for at very low cost.
They do not service every city, but most of the major ones. When I traveled with my son, I gave him a bit of Tylenol before the flight to help with his ears during take off, and gave him a bottle when we started to land so that it helped with the pressure due to the altitude. If she takes a pacifier, that should also help. Just make sure you have plenty of formula if you are not breast feeding, and change her diaper right before you get on the plane. Good luck!

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answers from Sacramento on

Hi, we traveled to Japan with our little one and we took a little snugli front pack to be hands free and a small travel stroller. He slept in his carseat instead of the hotel crib. I would make sure to nurse(or bottlefeed)and have a pacifier handy to help with the pressure in the ears. I was told to nurse during take off and landing. It seemed to help. Your pediatrician can advise you. Since your baby is so mellow, she will "roll with it " :-) Have a great trip! :-) S. (Mother of 9yr, 4yr, and 3.5 month)



answers from San Francisco on

When my first son was 5 months old, we took him on a 6 hour flight. All I can say is, the less stuff you have to pack, the better. They're so easy at that age! If people are providing a car seat, that's great! Don't take the co-sleeper! Just let your baby sleep with you both in the bed. Make sure she is feeding during take-off and landing (the sucking/drinking will help pop her ears) The only thing that was essential to have with us was the stroller. You don't want to carry her all through the airport, do you? You can wheel right up past the boarding area, all the way up until you step on the plane, and a flight attendant will stash it for you in a special place, and you can get it as soon as you step off the plane. That was fantastic! It was such a nice service! There are so many delays, etc. You want to have a place for her to sit/sleep. Our stroller doubled as a luggage carrier, too. There is a changing table that folds down in every bathroom. I guess some people don't know this, or maybe they fly some other airlines that I've never been on. It's a little cramped, but it works. Have a nice trip!

~L. (mother of two)



answers from San Francisco on

We travelled quite a bit with our daughter when she was an infant and did bring the mini-cosleeper with us. We went to 3 islands in Hawaii, 2 cities in Australia, LA, & Tahoe all before she was 1, and the cosleeper withstood all the flights and long car trips. I know for our Hawaii trip we kept the cosleeper in the box and taped it with duct tape; don't remember if we did that for Australia, but it had to help deter damage. My son was born when my daughter was 2 and he also slept in the cosleeper until he was almost 1. They are 4 and 2 now and we still have it for possible #3 or to hand down to my sister when she has her kids. Bring it; I think it's worth it since it keeps the baby comfortable in the bed they're used to.

Also, for the plane flights, nurse or give the bottle at take off and landing so her ears don't pop. I nursed my babies during that time and they ended up also sleeping for a good portion of the flights. The hum of the engine, I think, also helps them sleep.

Good luck and relax. In my experience, this is the best time to fly with your baby. She will sleep and can't walk yet! My kids now run all over the airplane and I'm always afraid we'll get kicked off the flight!



answers from San Francisco on

We've traveled with our son since he was 4 months old. He's been on a plane 5 times now and he's 16 months old. It's a lot easier when they are smaller and don't move all around. On the first few flights during take off and landing we always made sure he was either breast feeding (or bottle) or had his pacifier. You want to make sure they are sucking on something. I never had to use tylenol while flying, but my doctor did say to bring it just in case. The last few times I've checked in our pack n play which has a cover and it's been fine. Another thing you might want to bring is a bjorn. If your not bringing your stroller it will be nice to put your baby in the soft carrier while walking through the airport. If your baby has a favorite blanket or toy bring that too. Good luck and I'm sure you'll all do fine.



answers from San Francisco on

Hello there the other mothers seemed to offer great advise. My lifesaver/arm saver was my boppy. They are still close to you that they sleep (especially if you are nursing). It's a little bulky but well worth it. Good luck.



answers from Sacramento on

We've travelled a lot to see my in-laws in North Carolina. We've never had our pack-n-play trashed although we have had luggage lost for a week.

The most important advice I can give you is to be sure to entice your child to swallow on the descent. This will relieve pressure on her ears. If she is sound asleep, don't bother, but otherwise, a few sips at least will make a huge difference.

Be prepared to change a diaper in your lap. There is no good place to change a diaper on a plane. Be sure you have a waterproof changing pad, wipes, a ziplock for stinking diapers, hand sanitizer and spare clothes. If she's not poopy, wait until you land if at all possible.

It's also worthwhile to bring a couple of amusements for her that you can easily keep clean if they are dropped on the floor.

Don't use the tap water on the plane to fill a bottle or wash a pacifier. Ask for a bottle of water.

Remember, your liquid baby formula and breastmilk doesn't have to be in a a 3 oz bottle but it needs to be in a qt. ziplock. Medicine is also not required to be under 3 oz so bring that desitin in a qt. ziploc.

If she takes formula, this might be a good time to get the ready made version.

The plane can be very cold or hot, so layers or a blanket are wise.

Most airlines allow you to gate check the stroller. This is very helpful but remember you have to get her out of it and collapse it to have it x-rayed. They also usually insist on baby shoes being x-rayed and baby coats being removed, so don't bother with those things if you can avoid it. Wear slip on shoes yourself.

Have a great trip!



answers from Sacramento on


We traveled with my son at that age. If you are able to, I'd definitely bring the cosleeper if that's what she's used to. You might consider boxing it to help ensure it arrives undamaged. The hotel provided a pack 'n play, but my son was up every couple hours during the night when he was sleeping through the night at home.

You might also consider taking a stroller--even a small umbrella stroller. It will be helpful in the airport, especially if you're carrying carry-on luggage, too. A Baby Bjorn (or something similiar) might work well also.

On our baby's first flight, he was very fussy and I pretty much bounced in my seat the whole way there and back. We're taking a 5 hour flight this afternoon, and I'm hoping he'll sleep this time!

Good luck and have a wonderful trip!



answers from San Francisco on

We traveled across country with our Pack N Play. It was fine on the plane.

Make sure you can let the child drink from bottle or nurse during take off and landing. Otherwise, you'll have a screamer the entire flight. Sucking during lift off and landing helps the pressure in the ears.




answers from Sacramento on

We tarveled with my son when he was three months old and he did really well. Try to have your baby sucking on something (bottle, pacifier, or nursing) while you are taking off because it helps to keep their ears unplugged. If your baby is used to sleeping in the co-sleeper I would take it. About it getting trashed on the flight. I was worried about that with the car seat so we checked it at the gate. This way it goes on the plane last and they take it off right when you land so there is less chance for something to happen to it. Our car seat always came back to us in the condition we sent it in. You might want to call your airline to make sure you can check the bed because I have only seen people check car seats and strollers, but I bet it would be fine.
Good luck,
S. R



answers from San Francisco on

Expect your daughter to have some difficulty adjusting to all the schedule and routine changes in her day. If she's nursing, you have an advantage because she won't have to adjust to different water for formula. If she has been sleeping with you since birth, now would be a undesirable time to change that practice because she'll need as much familiar routine as you can provide. I traveled with my children at this age and just made sure that they had as much of their regular routine as possible. The time zone change is the roughest. Best wishes.



answers from Sacramento on

Give her some Infant Tylenol about 30 minutes prior to take off. This will help her with her ears during the flying. I know that most people are worried it will mean they are drugging their child but this is a very good thing to do. Infant's ears do not pop like adults do and though the pacifier or the bottle can help the tylenol will really help with any pain that she might have. any times the reason a infant will cry during most of the flight is because they are in pain.

Have a good trip.



answers from San Francisco on

Congratulations on becoming a Mom! One thing I tell people in my Gymboree classes is to bring more on board that you could possibly think you'll need. So, be sure to bring lots of diapers, an extra pair or 2 of clothes, and extra formula is you're using that. (Possibly even an extra shirt for yourself in case you need the change of clothes!). The reason for all this is if you get stuck on the runway or in some other delay where you are on the plane rather than in the airport, you may run out of these items.

Also, one thing to know is that it's easier to travel at this age than when the baby is walking and wants to move around. I remember being very nervous when we travelled with our daughter at that age but it was much easier than I thought it would be.

Enjoy your trip.

J. F.



answers from San Francisco on

Go for IT!!!
My daughter and I traveled by ourselves from SF to Chicago and it was great.

#1 Nurse or bottle feed on take off and landing, it will help with pressure change!!
#2 Bring Swaddle on plane if you use one my daughter was able to sleep most of the way!!
#3 Let the stewardess play with her it will give you and her a brake and help with her not getting broad.
#4 Don't over pack, i know easier said than done!! but especially your carry on, it is so cumbersome, and you wont use half of it.

As for the co sleeper I would say go for it. it will be hard enough with the new environment and schedule change having as much familiarity as possible will be very important.

As for her schedule do your best to keep with her pattern.

I hope this helps!!



answers from San Francisco on

I statred traveling with our first when she was 10 weeks old. I found her to be quite good at travel for the most part. As long as I was ok, she was ok. So do whatever you need to do to stay relaxed. For me that meant packing up half my home to take with us. Having all the extras made it seem easier for me.
Sleeping is important for all of you so I would try to fly with her bed, unless they have something similar at your destintion that you can borrow. If the airline will allow you to check it without charging you a fee, I would pack it in a box to protect it. If not you may want to look into shipping some necessities to your destination ahead of time. WE did that once because we flew in a small plane where luggage weight had to be limited.
As far as the plane ride goes, bring a well-stocked diaper bag that includes diapers, wipes, pacifier, change of clothes, layers of clothing, books, toys, snacks or baby food, bottles, blankets, portable DVD player (if your baby likes baby einstein), and any other favorites. Don't forget any incidentals like baby motrin, gas drops, desitin etc. You may also want to pack some brand new items your little one has never seen before so they will be extra interesting to play with while on the plane.
Good luck!:)

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