Flying with Baby

Parents share some advice about traveling and flying with a little baby. In this article:

General advice

Long-haul advice

Wondering how to deal with Jet Lag? Read the PSP article HERE that deals specifically with how to help babies/kids adjust to a new time zone.

baby-airplane

I'm very grateful for all the excellent advice I've received in this forum for the flight itself, and I'm thinking that I might wait till we return from our flight to report back on it and how it went, for other parents planning flights with their babies (by the way, I stumbled on a website called something like justgotback.com where people who've returned from flights with children post advice...mainly I learned from it to take tons of wipes!)

 

General tips:

A parent shares the crucual tips they've learned so far. Here are their tips:

- You can detach your medela p.in style advanced pump from its case and pack it in your suitcase;

- To take extra clothing for yourself as well as baby (see PSP's list of what to pack for the plane here!);

- To get a bassinet, get to airport really early and make a fuss about it.

- A stroller may be taken as far as the gate and then should be packed in some kind of bag because it will get dirty (see PSP's advice about strollers and car seats on the plane);

- I found out that amazon.com is the place to get a somewhat flimsy but better-than-nothing orange bag marked 'gate check' for umbrella strollers to be checked in, at gate; Sasha's Kiddie products sells the same thing at a higher price.

- Something I'm trying (our baby is breastfed but we supplement with Similac): bringing a load of pre-prepared, disposable Similac bottles for the flights there and back (16 2-oz bottles each way! she sometimes does short feedings..) to avoid the hassle of obtaining water & then mixing formula on the plane & solve problem of washing up bottles. Delta say we may take as many as we actually need for the flight, so I'm hoping they won't be puzzled by the sheer number of bottles. We're taking 18 or so non-disposable nipples (I had some headaches obtaining ones that actually fit but have them now) to use with these, planning to sterilize at other end for return journey (while there, we'll revert to Breastflow bottles & nipples). This may turn out to have been an extravagant way of doing things. We're also having to take 6 cans of Similac powder (buy through amazon.com if you have amazon prime, and not through diapers.com)in our luggage because no way to buy it there, and I didn't want to try her on a new brand once over there (see PSP's advice about traveling with breastmilk). 

 

Long-haul flight advice:

 

Original poster asks:

"My husband and I will be flying to Italy to visit my family with our 1 year old baby. In our lap... I flew with him by myself when he was still fitting in the bassinet that the airline provides, but now he is too big for that, unfortunately, so we have to keep him in our lap for 9 hours. And I am terrified! He doesn't like to stay in our laps usually, and he doesn't stay still not even for a minute. Also, he will definitely need some sleep (we are flying overnight), but I am afraid he won't get any because he will be uncomfortable.
Does any of you have some good advice to give me before this veeeeery long journey?
I am also willing to give him a light medicine, like Tylenol or similar, but I have never done it before, so i would like to hear if anybody else tried that and if it worked in order to help the baby to sleep."

 

Replies (includes advice from other, very similar threads on our groups):

 

Book a red-eye:

We did our first transatlantic to London when [my son]s was 3 months and just did it again this weekend now he is 9 months. Both times we have taken a night flight. James is a pretty great sleeper so aside from him being a bit ratchety during boarding because it was past his bedtime we felt like it was better than the day flight. We’ve flown BA both times and both times he had slept pretty much from taxiing down the runway to starting to land. Only difference this time is that James was not happy sleeping the entire time in the bassinet because he wants to sleep on his front. In the end he slept on me which means no sleep for me. Otherwise we prepped like baby Armageddon for the flight. Multiple outfits, all the favorite toys/soothing things/ extra bottles and food."

"When we flew to the UK with a one year old, we had a night flight going and a day flight coming back. The night flight was better as the baby slept (fitfully) and the day flight was absolutely miserable with lots of screaming (mostly baby.)"

"We flew to Melbourne with our twins at 5 months and it was actually fine (just beware the jet lag!) The flight over was a night flight and they did a lot of sleeping, so it really was quite a breeze. The flight back was a daytime flight and it was definitely more challenging because they were wide awake for most of it and squirming. So I’d say night flights are a better bet at that age."

"I would also recommend the red eye - did it at around 6 months and our baby slept most of it in the bassinet. However the bassinet seat only fits a tiny baby so make the most of it. At 15 months when we next went back she didn’t fit... I just remember the biggest logistics headache at 6 months was timing vaccinations before flying."

I fly a few times a year to London with my two kids, normally alone (starting from age 3 months onwards) I always get the night flight out and accept I will get zero sleep, but they sleep the whole way. I prefer not to use the bassinet personally as they are small and uncomfortable and on the front row of the plane the arm rests don't lift up, so was tricky for my older one as he couldn't lie down. I don't care too much that I don't sleep as I can hand the kids over to my parents as soon as I land :-) 

"I normally get a very early day flight back, they are normally so tired from the early start and hectic trip that they sleep most of the way back too, but definately harder to entertain a 6 month old when they are awake. I just hate that the flight is so short to UK and longer on way back as I normally have to wake the kids up! Good luck!"

"Don’t be shy about asking the gate agent about the seat situation on the plane.  They might have a random free row they can move you too where you have an extra seat between you two for the squirmy little one.    And do the same when you get on board if there’s no luck. Ask if once everyone’s boarded, if there’s any no shows and possible extra seats, you might be able to move.  The flight attendant might do some finagling for you, like ask if the third in your row might want to move to another available seat (more for his or her comfort but also to your benefit!)  I make sure we say “hi” to all the attendants as we board so we’re on all their radar and the cuteness factor helps