Flying with Babies (0-12 months)

Parent Q&A

  • Traveling with an infant on an airplane

    (6 replies)


    Should I buy a travel car seat for traveling between an airport and a hotel? Any recommendations for what to get? 

    Any tips for traveling with a 10 month old on an airplane (1.5 hour trip). 

    Thanks so much! 

    My wife and I have taken our 2-1/2 year old daughter on numerous trips including 3 trips to visit family in Europe (11 hour flights). When our daughter was 2 months we brought our own car seat when we went to Europe (usually you can check it in for free) but after that we were able to find private taxi services that provided car seats for us for the rides to/from the airport. I would recommend searching for a taxi service that offers car seats or just bring yours with you. As far as the plane ride you have nothing to worry about with a 1.5 hour trip. You can bring a small arsenal of books/toys as extra stuff but I find that kids are super excited and interested in the whole experience that it takes all of their attention. Walking down the aisles and hanging out in the back of the plane always did the trick for us. I would recommends bringing a change of clothes and plenty of diapers/wipes. Kids love to find the most inconvenient time to have a mini 'disaster' in their pants.

    Car seat is definitely a Must for safety. Some brand cars like Mercedes sell some in their shops which are lighter to carry. For the flight just make sure to make him drink a baby bottle when the plane leaves and when it lands as the pressure in the ears will hurt and he may cry or scream for that reason. And of course get the seat facing the wall if you can ;-) 

    We found the Go-Go Kidz Travelmate useful as you can attach it to the carseat and then carry your child in the carseat around the airport.  If your little one still fits into their bucket carseat and you have a Snap and Go, even better.  We used the Go-Go Kidz Travelmate along with a Corocco car seat because the Corocco carseats are much lighter (14.3 lbs vs 25 lbs for our regular car seat).  You can use that carseat until your child is 40 lbs.  

    Tips: You have quite a short flight so make sure you bring a bottle or breastfeed during take-off and landing so their ears acclimate.  At that age they're interested in taking things in and out of things so a ziplock with a bunch of toys inside for them to take in and out will keep them busy.  Make sure you bring extra clothes and lots of snacks.  Also bring extra clothes for you and your husband if possible (you never know what may happen and we have used this enough that we always pack extra clothes for us).  

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Traveling to the Dominican Republic with 11 month old

May 2010

I'm a huge traveler, or I was, before we had our daughter. I'm thinking of going to the Dominican Republic and my daughter will be 11 months when we would go. My husband has made it clear that he's okay with me either leaving her behind for a maximum of 9 days or just taking her along for however long I want. I can't imagine leaving her behind.

I have a friend we'd stay with who lives there, and I have another friend who is currently trying to have a child who wants to join. And to make it even more perfect, the three of us traveled together when we finished college for about a month. We were a great traveling group (10+ years ago). My questions are as follows:

1- each direction is basically two 4 hours flights with a layover in between. Should I only do one leg per day so that we're not stepping off of one flight and onto another four hour one? or should we just do it and get it over with?

2- what kind of gear would you bring? I'm thinking pack n play, stroller and car seat besides the normal stuff. I'll have her start sleeping in the pack n play weeks before we leave so that it'll be something she's used to. Anything else? or other tips?

3- does anybody in this community have any comments/suggestions regarding traveling with a baby/child in that country/culture? We'll also probably do a weekend at one of the all inclusive resorts.

I'll mostly be in one place, but I'm sure we'll rent a car or something for some of the time (thus car seat). -need to travel

We took our daughter on a 3 week trip to Japan when she was 10 months old, definitely go on your trip! We had tons of fun and it wasn't as hard as I'd feared. I think it depends on your child's personality whether or not you break up the flight, but splitting it up over days seems like you're prolonging the agony. I'd say rip the bandaid off, you'll be happier that you're at your destination and it is all over with. If your daughter loves the stroller, bring it, but if she often wants to get out and be held, don't bother and bring a carrier instead (like an Ergo). Get whatever you can at your destination, lugging gear when we went on our trips was the worst. If there's a good chance that your daughter won't get used to a packnplay or you can get one there, don't bring it. We brought way too many toys, which we thought we would need to entertain her, but our girl ended up bored with them and just played with whatever was around (utensils, napkins, whatever we found on the beach, etc...) Bring food for the plane trip, get in the bulkhead so your daughter can play on the floor in front of you. Have a great time! jisun

un mosquitero! (mosquito net) If I were you, I'd be pretty worried about the possibility that the baby will get eaten by mosquitoes. When I was in the DR I slept in my clothes AND the bed was enclosed with a mosq. net, and I still ended up getting eaten alive. (I had over 300 bites on my body.) So if I were you, I'd go to REI and buy at least two nets, plus all of the little mosq. repellent gadgets you can get your hands on. Then talk to the pediatrician about what mosq repellent (if any) - Skin So Soft? - you can safely apply to the baby's skin. Also, bring your own sunblock for the baby - you may not be able to buy the baby sunblock down there. The heat there can be *really* intense, so I would bring a lot of water bottles so that you can bring a lot of extra fluid with you at all times. I think it sounds like a pretty intense trip to do with a baby. As for equipment, I would probably even pack a Jump N Go (the doorway swing) so that you can have her suspended off the floor, but happy and entertained, when you need to. Also, I'd bring one of those little spray bottles with the mini fan attached. As for the question about the flights - definitely definitely do the flying in one day. There are so many reasons for this, I won't even take the time to start to write them out. But really, do not think it would be easier to split the flights over two days. You (and the baby) will actually be grateful for the layover. During the layover, have her run around as much as poss. Some airports (DFW, for ex) have indoor playgrounds. Good luck! Mari

We traveled extensively with our daughter during her first two years.

1- Flights. I recommend just getting the flights over with, but also recommend buying a seat for your daughter. Flights are so much more comfortable when your child is not constantly on your lap.

2- Gear. Go light. Car seat - Yes. PackNPlay - No. It seems excessive. Hotels often have PackNPlays available. Maybe there's a place to rent one for the time you're staying at your friend's place (bring your own sheets). Or rather than pay the extra baggage fees to bring a PackNPlay with you, you might be able to pick one up in the D.R. for the same cost as baggage fees. MacLaren's collapsible stroller was very sturdy for travels. (We also had a car seat that converted into a stroller, but the stroller part wasn't good on all terrains.) One of our best investments was in the Bugaboo Frog stroller w/ carrying case (our ultimate ATV for snow, sand, and cobblestone streets) but it's much easier to gate check a collapsible MacLaren. Especially if you're traveling without another adult to help.

3- I haven't been to the D.R., but have found that just about every culture outside the USA loves babies and is much more accommodating than the US culture. The difference in people's helpfulness was striking.

4- I recommend packing at least 2-days worth of food your daughter is accustomed to eating so you don't have to run to the grocery store immediately upon your arrival. Also, in your carry-on bag, make sure you pack a couple of extra diapers more than you would normally use in the same amount of time as the flights, plastic bags to dispose them in, a change of clothes for you, and a couple of changes of clothes for your daughter. Also, a lightweight blanket or shawl that can also act as a blanket was always in my carry-on bag. (Those pashmina-type shawls were great multi-purpose accessories.)

Flying to Europe with a 4 month old

March 2010

I'd love if anyone has tips for best enduring a 10 hour flight with a baby of 4 months. I've reserved a bassinet, and my husband and I will be seated with it. Your ideas and/or experiences would be greatly appreciated! annette

Hello I have done that flight 4 times since my 4 year old was born. The first time he was 3 months old and it was BY FAR the EASIEST time! So just pack a good diaper bag with plenty of extras in case there is a delay and ENJOY!

At that age, our son was given a little bassinet to put into the well in front of us, which also meant we had the first row we more leg room. He slept 6 out of the 11 hours in we ate comfortably and enjoyed a movie (that a was a huge treat then!. When he was awake he was happy and people love babies.

I worried so much beforehand at the time and wish i hadn't. I can tell you it get significantly more difficult as they become toddler and preschoolers. at age 3.5 he started to say he wanted to get off 5 hours into the flight. He wanted to move all the time and was getting restless. So please enjoy it will be fun.

On the practical side our pediatrician recommended we do not push him around in a stroller in the airport. He said airports are full of sick people and that he would be (at that age) much safer in the baby bjorn. It also made it really easy for us to navigate around. so i recommend that.

have a good trip magaliusa

Funny you should ask. We flew to France when our daughter (now a teenager) was 4 months old. If your baby's ears hurt during take off or landing, nursing is a cure. Our daughter slept for a lot of the flight- it was in the evening. I remember standing up, with her in my arms near the bathrooms for a while. However that wasn't because she was fussy, but to talk to the other mom on the flight with a baby. It is much easier traveling with a four month old than with a toddler. Have a great trip! cfs

Trip to Germany wiith 4-month-old

May 2009

We're about to take our first big trip with our baby girl (4 mos. old) to Germany and we'd appreciate any advice on traveling with an infant on an airplane. Specifically, is there anything we can do in the next couple of weeks to prepare her (and us) for this journey? Also, are there any good tricks for keeping her calm and relaxed during the 11 hour flight? Any insights are greatly appreciated! Aaron

A month ago I flew alone with my (just under) four month old son to Holland. I was quite nervous beforehand and packed many toys and books to keep him occupied. As it turned out, he slept solidly for 9 of the 10 hours (though he nursed every hour or so without really waking up). He is not usually a great napper, so I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. For the shortish period he was awake, he seemed happy to lie in his bassinet, look at books and play with a crackly toy. So in short, I don't think you need to worry about preparing your baby for the trip. If you plan on bottle feeding, I would make sure you overestimate how much you will need, as I think the dry air makes them very thirsty on long flights. And make sure you have a carrier that's easy to get them in and out of for trips to the bathroom to be changed (I used a baby bjorn). I hope your flights are as relaxed and fun as mine turned out to be. Alice

We flew to France and Italy with our 4-1/2 month old last year and it was actually waaaay easier than we'd anticipated. You will be fine! I recommend the book, Travels With Baby, and there are some good blogs and websites on traveling with baby that have useful tips. But the key thing to remember is that though it'll feel overwhelming and scary, it only gets worse! Once you have a crawler or a walker, and even worse, a scheduled napper, yikes! Much harder. At this age they sleep when they need to, so hopefully you'll be able to get your daughter to sleep a fair amount on the flight and during the trip itself.

Let's see. Random things from our experience: 1) The bassinets on United are terrible. They're like gym bags that you put on the floor at your feet. But our kid still slept in them! And she wasn't a particularly good sleeper at that point. 2) Take advantage of the kindness of strangers and flight attendants if they want to hold your baby! 3) Once we arrived in Paris the jet lag kicked in and that was bad bad bad. Several hours of middle-of-the-night crying/screaming where I just had to rock and walk. I don't know what could have helped that - maybe trying to change the sleep schedule (if you have one) in the few weeks before the trip to more closely mimic German time? 4) We forgot our stroller and it was absolutely fine. Just used the Bjorn the whole time. 5) Nurse, nurse, nurse. That's the only thing I can think of that calmed ours down on the flight. Do anything you can to get through it! Have fun, and good luck! Alexandra

Nursing your baby on take-off & landing will prevent ear pressure from building up. Wearing her in a sling will keep her tucked in nice & close to your bodies, w/a soothing heartbeat to keep her relaxed. Works like a charm & she will sleep ''like a baby''! DS

That's great that you're traveling w/ baby! Now is a good time to travel a long distance as it'll get much more difficult as your child gets older. We've taken several trips over the years w/ our now 2 1/2 yr old daughter. We've found that frequent nursing (or bottle feeding) during the flight kept her content, well hydrated, and able to nap. A carrier such as the Bjorn or Ergo can help keep you both comfortable. Absolutely change baby's diaper before boarding the plane as airplane changing tables are very small, if they exist at all. If possible, book a seat for the baby or ask the gate agent to seat you in a row w/ an open seat. I've tried giving our daughter Tylenol/Motrin to help her rest during flights, but it's never seemed to be very effective and often makes her hyper instead of sleepy. Just be warned that this approach isn't fool-proof. Good luck on your flight...even if it's a disaster (which it probably won't be!) it's only a limited amount of time and you have a nice vacation to look forward to at the end of the trip! anon

When our daughter was an infant, her doctor gave her ear drops to put in just before landing. They worked beautifully. She never had an ear problem during landing, which is the hardest part. She also slept well on flights--may yours do the same. (We never went as far as Europe, but did have cross-country flights.) Frankly, the travel was easier at that age than a few years later when she was old enough to want to move around but too young to understand why she couldn't. Have a great trip! Pam

Flying to Hawaii with 10-month-old on lap

April 2008

My husband & I are going to Kauai with our 10 month old daughter. She will be on our lap during the flight. This is our first time flying with a baby. We don't want to be those parents whose baby is crying or screaming on the plane. Any advice for flying? Traveling Parents

When our son was born we were living in Colorado and our entire family was here in the Bay Area and in NW WA state. So we flew A LOT. Seriously, like once a month the first two years of his life. We went to Hawaii as well during that time. From Denver it was a 10 or 11 hour flight but hours was delayed--while we were ON the plane--so it ended up being 14!

Anyway! Flying requires prep work. I would always bring some favorite toys & books on the plane, things I new he loved to play with and read. And I always brought along a few new books & small toys to ''reveal'' at staged intervals. Also yummy snacks to bring out. LOTS of food. I breastfed until very recently (til he was 2 & 1/2) so there was always HOURS of nursing involved in any flight.

At Target they have several Kumon type books that are ''color in the ____ shape with a _____ crayon'' and that kind of thing. Or ''paint'' booklet with water filled ''brushes''. Not sure if your tot is too little for those yet. Your best bet though is little toys/books/diversions that you can bring out a bit at a time. We walked with him all over the plane for some of the time--your little one will be so curious to see all the things going on and that can fill up lots of time. If you're flying at night, the flight attendants will dim the cabin etc automatically so it will be a sleep-inducive atmosphere for your little one. Take Motrin/Tylenol/Hyland's Teething Tabs etc on the plane. Just in case, even if your totling isn't teething/feverish etc. Better to have 'em than not.

Good luck, you guys will be fine! and have a good time. julie

We took our 8-1/2 month old daughter to Italy once, and since then have made several other shorter (5-6 hour) flights when she was 14 mos and 19 mos. I'm sure you've read many of the tips, but the things that helped us most were having books to read, crayons to scribble with, and snacks/liquids to drink. Beyond that peek-a- boo type games came in handy.

Also, even though we brought a stroller, we ended up more often using an Ergo- carrier going through the airports and getting on/off the plane, and this was incredibly useful--much easier to manage luggage if you have your hands free (duffles and soft bags went in the stroller instead). I was very worried about her ears clearing on landing so we made sure to have her drink during the descent (so time things that your child might be ready for a drink near descent) and never needed to use the baby tylenol.

On the whole I think things went great on all our flights. You won't get much sleep probably, but who knows. We did get a seat each time for our daughter, and I think that really helped us, but I think that's more and more important when they are walking, because at that point it might be harder to get them to stay still in their seat if it isn't the car seat they're familiar with, but if you trade off with your partner and the baby sleeps, things could go well just the same.

I hope that helps some. Feel free to email if you have other questions. steph

Chances are very good that you aren't going to be those parents with screaming or crying infants. If you are still nursing then keep your boob handy (works miracles). If not, keep a bottle or pacifier handy for take-off and landing (if they are asleep, then leave them that way). I travel oodles with my children (at least once a month) and used to hop on trips with my husband when I only had one. He is an airline pilot. From my observation, most kids on flights are GREAT! I don't remember thinking that way prior to having children, so obviously some sort of empathy for other parents has developed...and from my conversations with fellow passengers who have long since moved beyond diapering young'uns, that empathy remains intact forever. Toddlers with uninvolved parents (um, actually cannot put your headphones on and tune out when there is an 18-month old next to you) are most likely to have problems, but that is a parent issue, not a kid issues. If kids are crying, then so be it. They usually aren't doing it to be annoying, they are doing it because the plane is descending or they are really tired or they are scared witless. So don't worry about being that parent who has the crying kid. Worry about being that parent who changes diapers on the seats...that is just plain old unacceptable... -frequent flyer...

Hello, You asked, hope you don't take it to harsh......... first is a huge mistake to fly with the baby on your lap, baby needs carseat and own seat. Will be safe and easier on everyone. Second do not think what could happen, if other people get bother by it, so be it, this world is for everyone on it, don't you think? the more tense or worry you and your husband are the worse it is, baby senses everything, on the other hand take binky, favorite blanket, bottles ready with water and/or milk. If baby is crawling let him/her crawl, as much as you can, do not tight baby up on the carseat or stroller while you wait for the flight, even in the airplane...... once I play in the bathroom with one of the kids I use to take care, I wash her hands, face, play with the water, made faces in the mirror, we laugh, hug, etc. Enjoy the trip, don't worry what people think, walk up and down the isles, and if everything goes well you are lucky and your baby sleeps all the way in the airplane, be sure to use the bottle everytime the planes arrives, or departs, helps their ears when they suck the bottle or zippy cup. Good luck. The Nanny

We just returned from a trip to Hawaii with our very spirited 10 month old daughter. The most challenging aspect of the trip was getting her to take a nap on the plane, because otherwise, she was the ''dreaded screaming baby''. On the way there it was really difficult because she could not sleep, and at one point you just have to stop worrying about everybody else. We did the very best that we could to keep her happy. On the way back we got her to sleep a little bit in the stroller in the airport, which made a big difference. Our last resort was a little disc player with some old Sesame Street videos. It's not something that we do at home so it did engage her. Make sure you bring plenty of snacks and things that interest her, and make sure that she is eating or drinking during takeoff & landing. Just remember, it is 5 hours out of your life (and everybody else's on the plane). Enjoy your trip! Anon

Flying with an infant is generally pretty easy. You'll be suprised.

I would bring your car seat (you're probably going to bring it anyway) and ask when you check in if there are any empty seats. If there are, they will often let you use it for your carseat. Then your baby should be comfortable and sleep well and you'll have more space. If not, you just check it. You can also check your stroller at the gate.

the other tricks are to bring a new toy you can introduce to the baby on the plane, and whatever food you want. Flight attendants can offer hot water if you have formula, or want a water bath for milk.

Most bathrooms have a diaper changing table, which should actually fit a 10 month old. Bring everything you need including bags for dirty diapers and wipes. Bryan

Take a deep breath and realize that even if you have all the perfect toys and your child's favorite toys and books, you could still be the parents with the screaming crying baby on the plane AND that's okay! You know what to do to prepare to make your 10th month old comfortable but there are things you may not be able to prepare for so let go of the guilt and enjoy the flight. If you get evil stares from other passengers just smile brightly back at them and realize that the kind doctor who will care for that person when they are 80 is your child and your child will be a caring adult because of your parenting now. So, no more guilt about our children. They are who they are. They have good days and not so good days and the world can cut them some slack. Have a wonderful trip! -seasoned traveler

Dear Flying,

I just read all of the initial posts in response to your question

- and I note that mostly folks have given you input on what to do once you're actually on the flight (to entertain the child). I just traveled to San Diego (on Southwest) and to Costa Rica (on American) with my infant - he was 4 and 5 mo.s during those trips. I'd love to tell you more details about my experience, so please feel free to contact me. In any case, please take time to learn about the following:

- your carrier's preboard policy (on Southwest, families no longer board first, they board after group A and before group B, which means you can be stuck in a middle seat... not what you want to do...)

- the amount your carrier will CHARGE for the child. When I flew to Costa Rica on American, I was charged over 50% of my adult ticket just to have my 5 month old baby sit on my LAP. Unbelievable ripoff, for a baby that weighed less than some people's backpacks. I understand that foreign carriers can be much more economical.

- one of the hassles is packing the liquid items so that you can access them during the flight, and also so that you can have them handy during the security check. something to keep in mind.

- during the security check, you will have to take your child out of the car seat or stroller, so don't think you'll just let them stay asleep in there until you have to board the flight. They make you take them out.

- speaking of security, the fluids you need for your baby (ie formula, if you are bringing it, or baby food) are exempt from the 4.3 fluid ounce limit imposed on other toiletries - you are supposed to be allowed to bring whatever you require for your baby.

- also speaking of security, you are supposed to be allowed to go through the first class lane for the security check. Do it.

- and re security, you will be asked to take off your shoes even if you are traveling alone with your baby (so ridiculous) so consider asking them to wand you instead. They did this for me when I requested it, and it made things much simpler.

- remember to bring extra changes of clothes in your carry-on

a couple more things: - the FAA has a safety rule that says that your baby cannot be physically attached to you during takeoff and landing. This means that the baby has to be extracted from the Bjorn, for example, and simply held in your lap at these times. This also means no breastfeeding during these times. Not every flight attendant is going to check to make sure that you are following this rule, but this rule is apparently to prevent physical injury to you and/or the child. Due to this rule, I chose to give my baby a bottle during takeoff, and for me it worked wonders. Even if the baby was crying a little bit while we were sitting on the tarmac, I withheld the bottle until we were actually on takeoff, to make sure that his ear pressure was okay during that time.

- when you check in at the ticket counter, try to ask them if the flight is full, and then segue into the fact that you are traveling with the infant and would it be possible to get a seat with an open seat next to you. Each time I did this, they accommodated me, and that was great. You want that open seat next to you.

- Remember to drink lots of fluid yourself, so that you won't get dehydrated.

- the layover is actually a good thing - I found that it was a great break from being cooped up on the flight, and it gave us a chance to walk around (baby in the Bjorn) and look at things, stretch legs, etc. My baby loved looking at himself in the mirror in the airport bathroom.

- some airports have an indoor playground - a good place to hang out if you are traveling with a little one and you have a layover. You can do what you want and not feel like folks are staring at you for traveling with a small child.

- my travel experiences were NOT stress-free, but in the end I was glad that I had done both trips with the baby. It was worth it having him meet friends and family in both places I traveled to. GOOD LUCK!!! PS if your child uses a binky, don't forget the binky leash! Mari

Flying with a 6-month-old - logistics?

Oct 2007

I will be flying for the first time with my baby on her 6 month birthday. I've gotten advice about certain aspects of flying but here are some questions as of now (I'm sure I'll have more closer to the day). Any and all tips greatly appreciated especially:
1-How/where can you change a diaper on a plane?
2-How can you go to the bathroom yourself with a baby - possible to do wearing baby in a Bjorn?!
3-Does airline let you bring on a bottle of drinking water if unopened, as nursing moms more than anyone need lots to drink, especially on a cross country flight. If water not allowed on, I will just be asking flight attendants for water all the time! ''flying mommy''

We travelled this summer with our 3 weeks old son from Switzerland to the US.

1- there is a changing table in the bathroom above the toilet (small, but functional)

2- I would never leave the baby alone or with others, so use a snuggly (Baby Bjorn)

3- You are not allowed to have a bottle for yourself. But you can buy (expensive!) water before boarding. I asked the flight attendant for water and explained why. I got a whole bottle in the plane! I wish you a very good trip! daniela

I've flown cross country with my one-year old more times than I can count. You definitely can ease up on your worries - it's not that bad particularly at that age when there should be a decent nap or two.

Your answers:

- 95% of planes have changing tables right above toilet in the bathrooms. Small but plenty big for a 6-mo old. Any plane used for a cross-country flight will have changing tables.

- Yes, you can pee w/ the Bjorn. Try it before you go. You have to hold the kid's legs up and my daughter used to be startled by the sound, but no big deal. I also somehow end up next to great family-friendly people who miss their own kids/grandkids who have offered to take her if I need a break. I've never taken them up on it, but if it would make your less worried about peeing w/ Bjorn, go for it.

- Of course you can bring your own bottle of water on the plane. You just have to buy it after you get through security.

Other suggestions:

- Get an aisle seat. If there's not turbulance, they are perfectly happy to let you walk back and forth as much as you want. Only downside is if you do get little one to sleep and the person next to you wants to get up, you need to move out of the way carefully. Worthy trade-off.

- pick up a few new tiny toys for entertainment. Frequent Flier

In terms of water, I believe you can take 1 or 2 empty water bottles with you through security. Then, once at your gate, fill them in the water fountain while you're waiting to board. Likes Water On Board Too

I have flown a lot with our now 27 month old and we started when she was 5 months old. Some planes have a changing table in the restrooms that pulls down sort of like in public restrooms. If not the attendents suggest you lay down a blanket on the floor and do it there. Another idea is just to do it on the seat as long as it is not a messy diaper and no one would be offended! I have gone to the bathroom wearing the Bjorn so that should be fine if you don't have anyone to hold the baby. Sometimes an attendent will offer to hold them for you if the baby is ok with that. Nurse the baby as much as she wants while on the plane. Taking DVD's has also been a great thing for us to occupy some time. Beth

With a 6 mo, it is actually a lot easier in some ways. You don't need to bring a bunch of toys or snacks, for one thing, and you don't have to keep them from kicking the seat in front of them - they can't reach it. And even if they scream, it's really not that loud.

You can bring bottled water on the plane, but you have to buy it in the terminal after you go thru security (and it's not cheap!). I would buy one bottle and get more (free) from the flight attendant. They will give you as much as you want. When they offer you a bottle, just ask for three. They'll give it to you.

For your own bathroom needs, use the facilities in the terminal right before boarding. Use the big handicapped stall and you can wheel your stroller in. (Check your stroller at the gate)

Wear a skirt or pants with an elastic waistband, and you will be able to use the toilet while holding your baby --even without a Baby Bjorn! Try it at home if you don't believe me!

Please don't change your baby's diaper at your seat. This is unsanitary and not fair to the other passengers. You can change the diaper in the airplane bathroom, either on the changing table if there is one (if you're on JetBlue, you're cool, and probably Southwest too), or the toilet lid, or even while holding the baby. Again, you can practice at home.

Put the baby into an overnight diaper and you won't need to change it at all on the plane unless it's poopy. Those things can hold 6-8 hours of pee, easy.

Last tip: if you're flying Southwest, you'll get to pre-board and pick your seat. Look for a family with two parents and kids a little older than yours. Sit near them so your baby can see the kids. Even a 6 mo. old enjoys watching other kids, you won't feel so self-conscious if you are seated near a family, and the parents will be able to help you if you need it. Don't worry - it will be fine!

-- Dear Flying Mommy, I have flown solo with my nursling back to the East Coast on business every quarter for two years.

1 -- at least some of the bathrooms on a plane have baby changing stations -- a hard flat board that can be unfolded to a horizontal position above the toilet seat, providing a sufficiently large surface area for a diaper change.

2 -- I used to go to the bathroom on a plane with my baby in the Ergo carrier, without even waking him up. I do not see a reason why Bjorn would not work.

3 -- you can buy a bottle of water past the security checkpoint and bring it with you on a plane. Later on you can ask a flight attendant to refill it. Rasa

Having traveled several times cross-country with my now 11 month old I've discovered a few things that make travel easy.

-Some airlines have changing tables in the bathroom but most don't. You'll have to use your seat so ask for an aisle seat and hope that your neighbor is understanding.

-Definitely use your Bjorn for trips to the bathroom. Also, you can walk through the metal detector wearing it so you don't have to worry about taking you baby out of it at security.

-Don't bring a stroller as carry-on and pack your carry-on as lightly as possible, leaving yourself with one hand free.

-For water, I always bring an empty bottle of water through security and fill it at a water fountain in the terminal. You could also buy water in the terminal now and bring it on the plane.

-Wear pull-on pants and slip-on shoes. Makes bathroom trips and security lines easier.

I was terribly anxious about my first trip but it ended up being just fine. What I found is that most other people traveling have kids and grandkids and are very understanding and willing to offer a helping hand if needed. Best of luck and have a great trip! Melissa

Some airplanes have changing tables in the bathrooms and some do not. If it's just a pee diaper, you can probably do it quickly in the seat without going to the bathroom at all -- especially if you have an empty seat next to you. For poop diapers, you have to use the bathroom, and if there is no table, you can put your changing pad on the closed toilet lid. If you normally use cloth diapers (as I did), you should buy disposibles for the flight (and even for the whole trip).

The Bjorn bathroom trick can work. I've done it myself. So that's one option.

I assume your baby is flying as a lap infant without his or her own seat. If you are bringing a car seat for your trip on the other end, the airline has to let you use it if the flight isn't full. You can gate-check it if the flight does fill, so it's worth a try (if the baby's in the Bjorn, you can put the seat in an umbrella stroller, which you can also gate-check). If it does work out, you can ask someone to keep an eye on your baby (who will probably nap) while you pee. Someone could also hold your baby, of course, but with your baby at that age where atranger anxiety often shows up, I can understand why you'd want to avoid that.

Finally, you can purchase bottled water within the paid area and bring it on. This was a reform to the initial policy.

Not on your list, but if at all possible, have your partner or parent or whoever is dropping you off at the airport park and come in with you to see you through the bag-check phase. When flying alone with my baby, I have found the airport part of the trip to be way more stressful than the plane ride itself. anon

I flew with my baby daughter this year when she was 2, 3, 5 and 10 months old so we have some experience with flying! To answer your questions - 1. planes have at least one lavatory equipped with a changing table. Have a flight attendant tell you which one it is on your flight. 2. Yes, I have gone to the bathroom with my baby in the bjorn! It's a little tricky but can be done. It's easier if you are not wearing a belt!! 3. You cannot bring any water thru security, opened or not but you are allowed to bring water on the plane. Either bring an empty water bottle and fill it at a water fountain or buy bottled water once past security. Happy flying! Cindy

1) you change the diaper in the bathroom or ask the flight attendant. I have sometimes been allowed to change a diaper on the floor of the back area if they are not busy.

2) you ask the flight attendant to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom. You could try the Bjorn but it is pretty small in those bathrooms.

3)You can purchase a bottle of water in the gate area and bring it on the plane. You cannot bring a bottle of water through the security area so you have to buy it after you pass security. and make sure you gate check your stroller if you are bringing one. You can also gate check your car seat - then if there is an extra seat on the plane the airline will let you use your car seat for your baby in the extra seat. This way you can put your baby in the seat while they sleep and you don't have to be holding them the whole time. Also you should know that most airlines sell 1/2 price tickets for children under 2 years old. If you would like to have a seat for your child, you could purchase one for 1/2 price. For longer flights this is really nice.

And make very sure you have a copy of their birth certificate or immunization record as proof of age, some airlines can be really picky about this and force you to buy a seat for your child if you cannot prove their age (even if they are clearly under two). Good luck and believe me it won't be as bad as you think and no matter what you will survive the flight. flown alot

There are changing tables in the bathrooms over the toilets that you pull down. I have gone to the bathroom with my kid in an ergo. He was over 30lbs, but I did it, so a bjorn should work fine Wearing a skirt or dress might help when you have to go. You can't bring water through security, but you can buy bottled water in the shops near the gates after you go through security. Also, the flight attendants should be able to provide you with lots of water. Flyer is easier with babies before they are mobile so you will be fine. Have fun on your trip!

I hope you have a nice trip! A lot of your worries may be due to the fact you are doing something new. It will be fine. Hundreds of parents fly with babies everyday.

1. The bathrooms have a little changing table over the toilet. It may not be very sanitary, but none of my kids ever caught anything from them either, so just use it and don't worry about it. It's really a tight squeeze, so you might be happier just bringing in what you need-a diaper, wipes, etc. than the whole diaper bag.

2. Yes, you can pee with the Bjorn on, but if you wear elastic waist pants, it might be easier. It's opening and closing the fly on your pants that's hard. The baby is not in the way of anything unsanitary.

3. We bring empty water bottles through security then fill them up at a drinking fountain on the gate side before getting on the plane. You can have as big of one as you want. bon voyage

I've flown lots with my daughter to visit family, including twice to Australia, and every time it has gone more smoothly than I expected - for me, it's better to expect the worst, be over-prepared and pleasantly surprised when it's over!

1. Larger planes will have a toilet with a changing table - big enough for a six-month old though we found it quite challenging when she was two! Ask the flight attendant when you board - there will be a sign on the door that has the table. If not, I have changed her on the floor in the back of the plane (on top of a blanket and a pad). I also have laid her out across two or three seats and changed her there, but I don't think fellow passengers would appreciate you doing this if she's poopy.

2. Bjorn is a good idea for this - I used a sling, same thing. It's easier when she can stand by herself, although you need to be a contortionist to fit in sometimes, even with a baby.

3. You cannot take bottles of water through security (even unopened), but there are almost always places to buy water once you are at the gates. Don't depend upon getting it once you are on the plane. During a flight to Australia the attandant would not give me a full bottle of water for mixing baby formula since there ''wouldn't be enough for everyone''. Having said that, that was the only flight where getting water was an issue, but you never know. Just buy a few bottles before you get on. Since you're nursing you won't have to worry about her, just having enough for yourself. Enjoy your flight! Been there and still there

I'm sure you'll get lots of responses to this one, but I figured I'd write in my my experience since I've flown a LOT with my 2 kids.

1) some airplane bathrooms (very few) have diaper changing stations in them. If they don't, I have changed diapers in the flight attendant galley and, for one memorable poop explosion during the mandatory seatbelt time for take-off, I changed the diaper on the seat next to me. The flight attendant was kind enough to bring me a bunch of plastic bags that I used to cover the seat.

2)Going to the bathroom yourself: I make it a point to ONLY wear elastic waisted pants or skirts on planes. That way, I can hold the baby with one hand and still get my pants down/up with the other. A bjorn or sling would work too, but might be a pain to get them in/out if they were already sleeping on your lap.

3)Water: I always bring an empty drink bottle (a large one) on the plane and ask the flight attendants to fill it with water first thing. I've never had them tell me no - they are happy to do it since you will be sparing them a lot of hassle later on. Sometimes they will just give me a huge stack of little water bottles instead, but that's ok too. Been There...

I flew by myself with my daughter when she was about 5 months old. Most planes do NOT have a diaper changing area in the bathroom (some do but most don't). If they have one, use it to strap your baby in while you use the bathroom. If they don't, change the baby on the tray in front of you (just make sure to use something to cover it for sanitary reasons) or you can change in a empty seat if you're lucky to have one. When I had to use the bathroom, I just took my daughter and held her in my arms while I used the restroom - wasn't that difficult. Also, one of the flight attendants also offered to hold my baby while I used the restroom. Unfortunately, they don't let any liquids other than formula or milk on board. So no bottled water, even if unopened. Anon

I am assuming you are traveling alone with your child. I have traveled extensively with my three kids since they were born, and the best advice I can give you is to remain flexible and relaxed above all else. Do not anticipate that everything will be perfect and then when all goes well you will be pleasantly surprised!

Here are my answers to your specific questions: 1) where to change the baby? wherever it works for you. Often there is at least one bathroom that has a fold-down change table, but a change pad on the floor or your lap can work just as well. Don't hand a soiled diaper to the flight attendants...they cannot and don't want to take it (they handle food, among other things). Bring a bunch of plastic bags, or stick it in the airsick bag in the pocket of the seatback in front of you. You can dispose of the diaper in the wastebin in the bathroom (if wrapped in plastic, the stinky ones won't offend the rest of the passengers). 2) going to the bathroom? yes, the bjorn or a sling works great. 3) bringing water? I would contact the airlines and find out their specific water policy. And if you are not allowed, do not be intimidated...ask the attendants as often as you want. You could even tell them that you don't want to be a bother and could you please have a whole bottle to last you the flight, thank you very much. Be nice to the attendants, act very capable and earnest yet slightly overwhelmed ...make them your allies! Same with the passengers around you. I have always connected with at least one person, and it really helps.

And if your baby cries...don't just do what you can and that is sometimes how it goes. Remember, you will never deal with the people who are bothered by it again. Best wishes, and have fun! Been There x3

You don't mention how long your flight is; hopefully it's short enough that you won't have to do more than one diaper change on board. Make sure she's got a fresh clean diaper right before you go on. Depending on the plane, there may be a ''changing table'' in the bathroom, but they are very difficult to navigate. If it's just a wet diaper, change in your seat/on your lap. I have a friend who would put 2 diapers on her baby, and then essentially slide off the wet interior one, and refasten the dry outer one.

I have gone to the bathroom with the baby in a bjorn before; not on a plane but in confined quarters. It's not ideal ,but it works.

We have found most flight attendants to be very helpful w/ infantts and kids. If you can wait to go to the bathroom until there is a downtime in flight service, I would bet you could ask an attendant to hold our daughter for a minute while you peed, if you are comfortable doing so.

Not sure about the water, but again, the attendants are usually very accommodating. Also, perhaps you could bring on an empty container? Not sure what the rules are about that, but you could just fill it up in the bathroom. Good luck anon

I will try to answer your questions in the order you asked.

1) You can change diapers in the bathrooms, they are equiped with changing tables. Depending on the type of plane you'll be flying on, the bulkhead seats have a spot where they can attach a bassinet. So you can also change there. Or raise the armrest between seats and use the plane seat.

2) I have gone to bathrooms at malls etc with my baby in the baby bjorn. If you are traveling alone that may be the best way. If you feel comfortable the flight attendants will be able to assist by holding your baby while you go.

3) The airline will allow you to bring food and water aboard. It's the security check point at the airport that will not allow water to go through the check point. Once you've gone through security, you can buy water in the shops and take those aboard.

We took our then 16 months old to Singapore, Malaysia, India, and Hong Kong, flying mostly Singapore airlines. Due to the long flights, we asked for bulkhead seats and requested a bassinet for her. We also requested post nursing meal for her as well. The airline also provided us with some diapers. So call up your airline and see what they have to offer. Domestic flights may have more limited offerings than international flights. And services vary between airlines as well.

I began nursing my daughter based on approximate time to landing rather than waiting for the pilot's announcement. She had no problem with the pressure change once she began nursing. Her fussed during her first landing, but from then on she latched on when I offered for all the following take-offs and landings. Good luck. Crystal

I've traveled quite a lot with our now 21 month old daughter, so feel qualified to give some advice about airline travel. Six months is a great time for planes-- you don't have to worry yet about always having things to eat, babies aren't mobile but are interested in toys and looking at things, and will probably sleep for at least some of the trip.

Changing diapers on plane: Some planes have changing tables in the bathroom (pull down from wall above the toilet), and others don't. I think Boeing planes don't and Airbus planes do, but am not sure. Southwest Airlines planes have no changing tables. I would just ask a flight attendant where the best place to change your baby is. It might be your seat! If your flight isn't too long, maybe you can wait until you're off the plane. As for you, you can hold a baby and go to the bathroom at the same time. Just don't wear anything complicated and its not too tricky. A Bjorn or carrier might help, I guess.

Liquids on plane: You can bring some liquids for the baby, but water isn't one of them. You can bring milk or juice for a baby, but nothing for you. I've even been told that ''cottage cheese is a liquid'' and have not been able to bring that on board. What they will actually allow you to bring on a plane seems somewhat inconsistent from airport to airport. Why not just bring an empty container and fill it up after you clear security?

Other things:

I've found its easiest to let your baby nurse as much as he or she wants to on the plane. Try to get a window seat and you'll have more privacy.

Bring an extra set of clothes for baby, and some for yourself also, especially if your trip is long or you'll have a connection. There is nothing like a plane trip for unexpected messy accidents of all types. Planes are loud. Especially if you sit in the rear or over the wing. If you're worried about your baby screaming, maybe sit in one of these spots.

Try to relax, and not worry too much about your baby disturbing others. Six months is such an unpredictable age. Your baby might sleep the whole time, or could get really upset. Of course you will comfort him or her when upset, but there is only so much you can do. Most people have been there, and will have some sympathy. Those that don't-- well you'll probably never see them again, and the flight will eventually end! Good luck with your trip! Joanna Joanna

1-How/where can you change a diaper on a plane? Anywhere you can lie down a small blanket.

2-How can you go to the bathroom yourself with a baby. Ask the cabin attendant to hold your baby. possible to do wearing baby in a Bjorn?! Yes, but ask the cabin attendant to hold your baby, instead.

3-Does airline let you bring on a bottle of drinking water if unopened?

The airline might let you bring an empty bottle which the cabin attendant can fill for you on the flight. Or you can buy a bottle of water once you are through security. Otherwise, GO AHEAD AND ASK THE CABIN ATTENDANTS FOR WHAT YOU NEED! They like to help you, especially if you remember to say thank you. Sometimes other passengers are nice, too... and its not like they can abduct your baby while in the air... Been there many times.

You have nothing to worry about.

1-How/where can you change a diaper on a plane? in the bathroom there is a little tray that comes down over the toilet for changing babies. The flight attendants can show you how to work it, it is easy, but a bit precarious.

2-How can you go to the bathroom yourself with a baby - possible to do wearing baby in a Bjorn?! Can't go to the bathroom solo unless you buy your baby their own seat and they are sleeping... a sling or Bjorn should work just fine.

3-Does airline let you bring on a bottle of drinking water if ... You can not bring water through security... however you can buy some once you are cleared on the other side... you can bring pumped milk, regular cow milk or already mixed formula.

I hope this helps.

I have been flying with my baby since he was 4 months old. He is now 18 months old and such a trooper! If you have to bring your babies car seat and it is not an infant carrier, I recommend buying the GoGoKidz adapter... easy and uncumbersome!

Happy Flying! Keri

My son is 6 months old and next week will be his 7th flight!!!

Hopefully the following will help you plan for your trip:

*Once you have cleared security you can purchase as many bottles of water as you like and take them on board.

*Some planes have a changing table in the bathroom, otherwise you will have to use your seat and just stand over the baby

*If you need the bathroom, some flight attendants are more than happy to hold the baby or otherwise keep the baby in the bjorn; it is possible!

*Make sure you feed during take off and landing or give a pacifier to prevent sore ears - landing seems to be more of an issue than taking off.

Feel free to email me if you have more questions. Have fun! Kim

First off...DO NOT STRESS! THIS IS GOING TO BE EASY! Hubby is a pilot, so my elder daughter has more than 100 flights under her belt at 4 1/2 and the younger is 2 1/2 and is has more than 50 take-offs and landings. I always stress and then marvel at how easy each flight was...

1-How/where can you change a diaper on a plane? If you are flying JetBlue, there is a changing table in each bathroom. Other airlines...well, put the lid down on the potty or figure out how to change a diaper while you hold them hanging. Don't change them in the seat (ick). Pampers has a line of diapers that are pull-on types that your child may be heavy enough for. If you have a poopy diaper, ask the flight attendant what they want done with it -- trash in the bathroom or elsewhere.

2-How can you go to the bathroom yourself with a baby - possible to do wearing baby in a Bjorn?!: There are a couple of possibilities here...I always wear nice looking pull on pants (velvet yoga pants, etc) That way I could hold the baby in one hand and pull my pants on and off without problem. IF a nice person in the boarding area offers to help at some point, then you are golden. Give the old 'you know, if you would hold her while I use the bathroom during the flight, that would be great!' You can tell from their reaction whether you want to follow up on that one. Also, sometimes a flight attendant will offer to hold your child. I never have asked, though some have offered.

3-Does airline let you bring on a bottle of drinking water if unopened, as nursing moms more than anyone need lots to drink, especially on a cross country flight. If water not allowed on, I will just be asking flight attendants for water all the time! ''flying mommy'': You can bring it on, but you can't take it through security. You can buy plenty on the other side of security to bring on to the plane. If you don't want to lug a bunch onto the plane, then buy a big bottle. When you board the flight, find a friendly, older female flight attendant and explain your situation. If you are flying JetBlue, then they have an 'open snackbar' policy...after they serve the first round, you are welcome to come up and get whatever you want.

Other unsolicited: try to schedule your flight during a nap for the baby...check a book out of the library from the 'large type' collection. I always find those easier to read when I have a sleeping or playing child in mhy lap or next to me. Or pick up US or People (bad I know, but, you don't have to worry if you are interrupted every three minutes). Toys...I brought along a toybar that I clipped to a stroller. Unopened bags of chips are wonderful. textured things... Write to me if you have questions... jan m

My daughter is also 6 months old and we just returned from Europe, i.e. a long flight home. Several things that worked really well were to breastfeed for take off and landing. I heard it helps them adjust to the change in cabin pressure. For the long flights, I also gave her water in a bottle because it's easy to get dehydrated on an airplane.

As for changing her, the bathrooms have a changing table, which works really well because the baby was distracted by all the new things to look at. When I finished changing her, I usually asked the flight attendant to hold her for me so that I could use the bathroom. (By the way, bring several changes of clothes, for some reason my kid pooped a lot more than she usually does). Finally, flying wasn't so bad because my daughter slept through most of the flight -- somehow the sound of the engines put her to sleep. A

1. I've always had the best luck changing diapers just sitting in my seat. I bring plastic grocery bags to put the soiled ones into, and people rarely even notice; no one ever complained.

2. Yes! It is possible to go to the bathroom wearing your baby in a Bjorn. Practice at home. Of course, if there is a nice person sitting next to you, like another mom or a grandma, you could ask them to hold the baby, or even a flight attendant, but I always took the baby with me.

3. The last couple times I flew, they let us buy water inside the airport (after you go through security), and let us take that on board. Don't worry, and ask for help if you need it. heidilee

You can change your baby in the airplane bathroom. They all have at least one with a changing table that folds down over the toilet. You can bring baby with you to restroom wearing a bjorn or any similar front hugging carrier. You can not bring water through the security screening. However, you can buy water once you cross the screening at one of the kiosk. Airlines can give you a can or bottle of water when you get refreshments. You can explain your situation to the airline attendant and they will give you extra glass of water. You can go online and figure out the configuration of the plane and get a seat near the galley if you are concerned about getting enough water. well travelled momma & baby

I just did an 11-hour flight with my 11 month old.

1. You can change a diaper in one of the bathrooms on the plane. Not every bathroom has a flip-down diaper changing table, but they've got one somewhere.

2. Going to the bathroom yourself -- it's tough, but you can figure it out. If you're going to try the Bjorn, be sure to wear easy-off and on pants for yourself! (Like pants that don't need a belt...)

3. Water is a tricky issue. In one direction, we could bring as much water as we wanted, and in the other direction, all water was forbidden. Be prepared for this question: ''Is this water for you or the baby?'' Or ''Is this for you or for the baby formula?'' Your answer needs to be ''For the baby,'' or ''For the baby formula.'' ''It's for me,'' doesn't cut it, nor does, ''Well, it's for me, but only because nursing mothers require more water than normal.'' Just say it's for the baby. (And even then they might not allow it.) Bring money to buy water on the other side of security just in case.

When one flight attendant saw my wife breastfeeding, she gave us a full 1.5 liter bottle without our even asking. But I'm sure they'll hook you up if you ask. And, btw, if you have any choice, I would take a night flight -- worked great for us. kevin

Answers to your questions:

1. There is a drop down shelf in some of the bathrooms on the plane where you can do diaper changes. On one recent flight (on Southwest) they didn't have that shelf so I justed changed on the floor (at the very front of the plane).

2. For bathroom breaks I either held the baby or asked a flight attendant to watch my baby for minute - they are happy to do so for the most part.

3. Once you get through security you can buy water to take on the plane.

I would suggest a bjorn (or some kind of carrier) on the plane. On several flights, I would go in the back of the plane and bounce/rock my baby to sleep, which was a good rest for me (despite her being on me the whole flight).

Happy Travels! Moma with baby flying experience

I recently flew cross-country by myself with my 3 mo. old. I sympathize with you. It is very stressful to travel with a baby, even harder when you are on your own. If you're lucky, you'll get a seat near a sympathetic mom who can lend an extra set of hands when you need it. To answer your questions,

1-The airplane bathroom has a pull-down changing table over the toilet where you can change diapers.

2-You can go to the bathroom yourself while wearing baby in the Bjorn. Not comfortable, but do-able.

3-No, you can't bring your own bottled water through security (they will confiscate it, although formula/breastmilk in bottle is OK) but you CAN buy bottled water at the airport stores near the gates.

Other tips - if you are travelling on your own (and it sounds like you are) and will be bfing on flight, consider buying a very good nursing apron (you can get a stylish one from which will give good coverage and won't slip, but allow you to see baby while nursing. I ended up sitting next to businessmen on both sides and the nursing apron allowed me to bf modestly and comfortably without worrying about exposure. If you can afford it, buy a seat for the baby to give you more room. Don't forget to bring an extra set of clothes for you and baby just in case there. Have a great trip! Flying mama

1-Changing diaper - carefully on closed toilet seat.

2-Bathroom with a baby in a Bjorn?! Depends on the size of your baby... have vague recollections of managing somehow when out alone with baby in Bjorn. And he was a big baby!

3-You can't bring water through security, BUT you can buy it on the other side and bring bottles on the plane. In addition, I that Jet Blue passes out bottles of water for longer flights. Ask your airline. Mom of Two

1. These days, most (all?) airplane restrooms have a fold-down platform where you can change the baby. I don't think it would be a problem to hold baby in a bjorn while you use the toilet - try it at home first, if you're not sure. If you have a car-seat for the baby (I hope you will), you could also go while baby is sleeping.

2. No, I believe that being a nursing mom doesn't exempt you from the liquid limits at security. However, you can definitely bring an empty bottle through security and fill it at a drinking fountain (or ask the flight attendant to fill it on board). I do that all the time, and I'm not lactating!

3. One more tip - check the archives. There is loads of info. R.K.

you will probably get a lot of responses, but here's one more- I travel regularly with my 2 small ones (under 3). You can change a diaper for a small child in the lavatory on the airplane- at least one stall on every airplane has a diaper table that unfolds from the wall. The flight attendants can tell you which one it is. The tables are very small, so be forewarned! You can go to the bathroom in the terminal with a baby in a Bjorn, it's tricky but I've done it. On the airplane, I've always just asked a flight attendant, and they've been more than happy to hold the baby for a few minutes while I pee, provided that they're not in the middle of a meal or drink service. I'm pretty sure you can't take a bottle of water through security. However, you can take one on the airplane. I always buy water for myself and the children in the airport and take it on the plane with me. That way it's available for the children at takeoff if they are thirsty. My one piece of advice for all airplane mamas is to take an extra set of clothes for baby and an extra T-shirt for you in the event of spills. you want to be comfortable too! Another Airplane Mama

1. Airplane bathrooms do have changing tables. But as it's a tight fit, unless my kid has a poopy diaper, I wait until we land to change it in the airport. (Hey, it's not bad parenting ... I think of it like not changing a wet diaper overnight!)

2. Haven't you ever had to go to the bathroom at home or in a public restroom holding the baby? You can practice with the Bjorn or sling, which work perfectly well, but she's pretty little, so you could also just hold her.

3. The only liquids you can carry through security are those intended for the baby (in a bottle, sippy cup, etc.). If you want, you can buy a bottle of water at a restaurant or shop once you've passed through security. Myself, I always fly with an empty Nalgene bottle to fill up at the drinking fountain once I pass security. When I finish drinking it mid-flight, I ask the flight attendants to fill the bottle with water for me. Flying Isn't That Bad

I flew with my son a few times before his first birthday and it was actually easier than when he got older. First, he slept through most of the flight. The hum of the engine was like a lullaby.

Regarding water, you can bring your own bottled water but you can't purchase it until after security, so go early enough so you have enough time to do so.

Bathroom: I ended up asking one of the flight attendents to hold him when I went.

Changing baby: Jet Blue planes had a changing table in the bathroom which worked pretty well. But, many planes have nothing. We changed him on the floor a couple of times when the flight was too crowded. I also changed him on my seat. I stood up and laid him down and the neighbors had to just deal with poopy smells. flying high

I think you can go through the security checkpoint with the empty bottle and then fill it in the water fountains inside the airport (or buy--very expensive--bottled water). EP

Some airplanes are fitted with pull-down changing tables in the bathrooms; otherwise, I have just changed a kid on the toilet lid. It's not easy, but it can be done. I don't really understand why all airplanes don't have the changing tables-- I think JetBlue might have them as a standard feature, but otherwise it's hit or miss.

As for the water question, I don't think they let anyone bring water through security anymore. My solution is to bring a Nalgene bottle and fill it from the water fountain near the gate, or to buy one or two big bottles of water once I'm through security. Again, it's a complete drag, but you MUST stay hydrated.

While I'm thinking of it, don't forget to bring food for yourself, too, especially given all the nightmare stories lately about being stuck for hours on the tarmac... traveling mama

We have already dragged our 8 month-old to Boston and back and Italy and back so I feel like I have some tips to share. First you absolutely MUST read Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children by Shelly Rivoli. We are lucky enough to know the author and got an advance copy before our travels and the book is filled with extremely practical advice like what benefits the various airlines offer if you are traveling with kids, is bulkhead really the best row for kids, how do you deal with infants and ear pressure etc. The book is available on Amazon and you can also buy a copy at Waddle & Swaddle on Shattuck in Berkeley. You might also check out her website at: . Most large planes have a changing table in one of the bathrooms. There will be little space so don't bring your diaper bag in there. It'll be unwieldy and you'll end up putting it down on a dirty surface. In her book Rivoli suggests a ziplock bag with one diaper, wipes (lots-it can get yucky in there towards the end of a long flight), butt cream and your changing pad and that worked well for us. You are not allowed to bring water through security, but you can bring an empty water bottle and fill it up at the water fountain once you are past security or buy bottled water to bring on board with you from one of the vendors inside. Good luck!! Traveler with baby

I see you got tons of advice already (some of it possibly conflicting!), but like the masses I couldn't help replying too... I'll try to be brief but helpful! The details can vary so much just based on the airline.

-- Changing tables are available fleetwide on some airlines, only on some aircraft on others, and not at all on certain airlines (terrible, but true!). As a general rule of thumb, if there are 3 or more lavatories on an aircraft, at least one will have a changing table. may have information for the plane you'll be on.

-- If you're flying a U.S.-based airline, don't be surprised if the flight attendants act crotchety if/when they see you using a Bjorn or other carrier on your way to the lav-there is an FAA regulation against wearing babies in carriers in your seat while flying, but there actually isn't a regulation against wearing your child while pacing the aircraft or sitting on the toilet. ;-)

-- Also, liquids are allowed onboard for children in certain situations. I just covered that in a recent blog post if you still need info: tip-4-bring-boxed.html

And if you'll forgive the brazen self-promotion, I'm actually doing a free workshop on flying with babies and toddlers on Sunday, November 11th, at Waddle and Swaddle (on Shattuck), 11:15 a.m. to 12: 30-if you still have concerns. I can send you more info if you're interested, or call the store: (510) 540 - 7210 (Though you may still be trying to read through all of your responses at that time!) Good luck and safe journey. shelly

Any length first time flight with a 6-mo. old can seem daunting but there's a fabulous new book on the baby travel topic that might be just the ticket for you :)

It's called ''Travels with Baby'' by Shelly Rivoli, a local mom of two little ones, author and frequent traveler. It focuses on infant through preschool-age traveling companions and likely has the answers to all your questions and can help quell any anxiety about how to get your crew there and back in one piece, what to expect on your journey and how to keep your sanity in the process! It would be an ideal resource for your upcoming trip and future travels. Good luck! mcalavita

Flying cross country with 5 month old in arms

Oct 2006

We will be traveling for the first time with our then 5 month old son to Florida in a few weeks. As we're preparing, I'm having trouble envisioning how this is going to go. We have so much ''gear'' that he uses day to day that I can't imagine what we'll do. We didn't purchase a ticket for him so he'll be on our laps during the long flight. I realize that having his own seat would be better but that isn't economically feasible for this trip. How is this typically done? Any products/tips that worked well for anyone? How does the carseat situation work? We'll be staying with family. I'm getting increasingly nervous as the date approaches, I want this to go as smoothly as possible for my little guy! Thanks so much for advice! Leaving on a jetplane \n

Our daughter is now 2 and just took her 6th and final (free) cross country flight last month. Each time we did not buy her a seat. You may get lucky and get an empty seat for your son, you may not. Check with the gate when you check in and ask. If there's a seat open, they may let you carry the car seat onto the plane for him. I was able to do that twice. If not, just check the car seat and stroller/snap n go at the gate right before you board the plane. It will then be there for you when you get off the plane. With two of you, this should be very manageable. I did it twice without my husband. In our case, it was our daughter's dream to just sit in our laps all day. Not sure about the temperment of your child, but I'm sure it will be fine. However, if you are totally stressed about it, he will probably pick up on that and think there's something to be stressed about. So relax and know that it will be fine. People do it all the time. In terms of products, I did find that a cloth book with lots of things to play with worked well for her at that age. I had one where each page had something to pull on or zip up or ''beep'' - something that was interactive but that would stay in one peice so I didn't have to worry about any little things falling on the floor. My daughter was also a pacifier user and I kept that strapped to her as well. At that age, I would also nurse her more than usual during the flight..anything to keep her happy...but it was not bad at all. Hope this helps...Good luck! jenny

Hi, we did a lot of this with our boys. They were great travelers! Bring a variety of different drinks and snacks, and a variety of small toys. Let him stand up in your lap and look around, dont force him to sit. Be sure to have a bottle or breast for him to suck during take off and landing; the pressure changes cause intense ear paiin if they are not swallowing during this time. Good luck! anon

Ditch the gear, dear. In Florida, your child will need a car seat and a stroller. Use an umbrella stroller to get your child to the plane. Put the car seat in a car seat bag with wheels (can get at babies r us and other places for about $30). Hook the bag over the umbrellas stroller and walk. Check both at the gate to the plane, unless there is a seat for your little one (which there probably will be). Book a window and middle for your two paid tickets. Put the baby seat in the window seat (required by law), take the middle seat and then send your husband out in search of another free seat. Trade off baby responsibility during the flight.

You can check the Pack and Play in with your luggage if you really want to carry it. I am usually traveling alone during my trips, so I usually ask a friend/family member at my destination to rustle one up for me to borrow or go buy one at Walmart for $40 (they do have a basic model for that). Ask the same family member to track you down an exersaucer (the only other piece of gear that comes to mind that would be very helpful with a 5-month-old).

If you want more specifics, drop me a line. Certainly, don't stress about this! jan m

I have flown many times with my child in the last 2 years, at various ages, and have never bought him a seat. Long flights can be very trying, but you will be fine.

I actually think the extra seat isn't that important because what 5 month old or 15 month old is going to sit still for that long. It does help to have the extra room though, so ask the airline to leave an empty seat next to you if possible (if the flight is not completely full). If someone is sitting in the seat next to you, they may choose to move to an empty seat if there is another one available on the plane. I have often gotten extra seats without having to buy one.

In terms of ''gear'', take only the ''necessary'' items on your trip. More luggage just makes things more difficult and you will be surprised at how well you can get by without all the ''stuff''. Check your carseat at the checkin counter so that you will have it at your destination. There is no need to take it to the gate or on the plane. You might not have a seat to put it in anyway and it will just be more to carry. Take only a small carryon and your diaper bag on the plane. If you are travelling with a stroller, gate check it at the plane and you will get it back at arrival gate when you land.

During the flight, be ready to get up and walk up and down the aisle if needed. Try to get an aisle seat and not be too far from a bathroom with a changing table. Keep your baby happy however you do at home. At 5 months, they are generally happy to be held a lot, which they are guaranteed in this situation.

Have a great trip. chris

I've flown a lot with my 5 mo old. All were to the east coast. She hates her carseat so that was not an option on the plane - so we held her. If your child sleeps through the night, I highly recommend taking a red eye. Shortly before I got on the plane, I put her in the Bjorn and bounced her to sleep [note that Northwest now requires them OUT of a Bjorn during take off and landing, but you can pop it off a sleeping baby pretty easily]. She slept the entire way when I did this. Coming back you can't really get a red-eye. You can still get a flight towards the end of the day so you'll get at least some sleeping hours on the flight. If it's not a red- eye, I actually recommend a lay-over. My daughter is incredibly active so I put some blankets on the floor in a quiet gate area (many airports also have nurseries!) and she rolls around which tires her for a nap on the next leg. When she was awake on the plane I did a lot to entertain her. The flight attendants were helpful and let me walk around when possible back by the kitchen area. Let the baby eat on landing/take-off if you think the ears are popping -my daughter was never phased by it.

Carseat: Once I brought mine and just checked it. This is easy - they'll put it in a bag for you. With a Graco you don't need to bring your base. I've also rented one at a rental car place - about $5-9/day. Those seats were a bit big, but no safety issues.

Gear: I actually thought this is an easy time to travel with her because she doesn't need that much: clothes; when I was staying for more than 4 days, I bought diapers when I got there (my relatives were happy to do this ahead of time when I asked!); a few small favorite toys; her swaddling blankets; I'm the milk supply so I purchased a small Avent hand pump. If you use formula, buy it there. Stroller: she was small enough that I was happy with her in the Bjorn during all of the trips. If you absolutely must bring a stroller, you can check it in the airport - but you'll be happiest with just a lightweight umbrella stroller. A new place will be more entertaining so likely just rolling on the floor and crafty toy ideas (e.g., pots, pans, and paper) will be plenty during the trip Frequent Flier

I flew to Israel from NY annually, starting when my son was 2 mos. old - I made SURE to researve a bulkhead seat, and aside from takeoff/landing in my arms, he was in his carrier/carseat on the floor in front of me. I continued this method when my daughter was born 4 yrs later, with her 4 yr. old brother in his own seat next to me. That flight is about 10 hrs long! This method worked GREAT for all of us! (both kids love to travel to this day - they're 21& 25!) -relaxed frequent flyer

Here is my advice:

Check any bags you don't need in flight AND the car seat. If you did not buy a seat you will most likely not get a seat. If you have a snap-n-go or travel system, you can keep the car seat up to the gate and gate check it with the stroller. In any case, take your stroller up to the gate and check it there. (Or, if you use a bjorn or sling, that is probably even better).

Take on the plane diapers, wipes, a spare outfit for everyone, water for you if nursing or formula if not.

Nurse or give a bottle during take off and landing and whenever else. Between that and the movement of the plane, baby might sleep a lot.

If your baby is fussy, don't worry. It is pretty loud on a plane anyway and not as many people can hear you as you think.

As for day to day gear, be minimal. I am of the opinion that no one should actually have to pack their pack-n-play as there are people around the world with one you can borrow. Ask your family if they know anyone with a baby who can lend you what you need. They will probably have a bouncy seat, a swing, whatever...but if not, your baby does not really need all that stuff.

It will be fine. We have traveled at 6 months, 1 year, and 1.5 and our child always seems to enjoy it since it means constant mommy and daddy time for the whole voyage anon

Hello! I just traveled across country with my 3 1/2 month old (did not purchase a seat for her either) and wanted to let you know that it wasn't bad at all!! A couple of tips: I would bring a Baby Bjorn or other carrier--I found that it helped to keep her stable and comfortable while we were sitting in the plane, without being quite so taxing on my arms/shoulders. As for the carseat, I brought it and the carseat carrier stroller ( I have a Kolcraft universal) but checked them at the gate of each flight. It helped considerably getting the baby and all our gear thru each airport quickly. Finally, if you are breastfeeding---feed baby on the way up and down to minimize the possibility for ear discomfort due to the altitude shift. Good luck and have fun! Traveling mama

Surprisingly traveling with a 5-month old is actually pretty easy. Here's what we do (especially now that we have two babies): we get to the airport via the town car service. A bit pricier than a cab but reliable and the car is nice and every time we've done it the driver knew how to put the seat in so he helped and we were able to schedule pickup. When we go see family, we enlist their help in borrowing as much stuff as possible. We take our stroller and our car seat. The babies can play with tupperware from grandma's kitchen, cosleep with us or in a borrowed crib or pack n play. You do not have to recreate home for hte baby. Babies really don't care about all that gear! Plus, baby will be getting a LOT of attention from family. The plane trip is very easy with a 5 month old. They sleep. the drone of the plane is a great white noise machine. Enjoy it. Because once they're walking, flying is a whole new adventure. the airlines are very accommodating. You drive your stroller to the gate and they check it there and then it's waiting for you when you come out (well, sometimes you have to wait for them to bring it but it isn't too bad). You get special boarding so you can go early and get settled. Just make sure you have an extra big and burp rags for spit up and an extra outfit. But, DON'T OVERDO it. We had an overstuffed diaper bag and it was a pain to get the stuff out and we really only needed a bottle. OH, and try and get them to nurse during take off and landing anon

The flight will be a breeze. He'll be fine. If you nurse him, do so on the ascent and descent to help prevent ears popping. Bring a few little books and toys he hasn't seen for awhile - put them away for a bit before you go.

You only need to take a stroller and car seat. I've had my family go to resale shops before we visit and buy a pack-n-play, swing, high chair or booster - whatever. I reimburse them if they let me. My mom typically doesn't. Then have them keep what you'll need for the next visit or resell it to the resale shop. It's way cheaper than buying new and they'll get some of their $$ back.

Check the car-seat. Gate check the stroller. Done -Have a great trip!

We just flew cross country with our infant in arms and it went well! Our ped was completely for 'in arms' on the plane, by the way. More to your point, however, I definitely suggest getting the Eddie Bauer Car Seat Bag for your carseat (can get it at babiesrus for $20). It made transporting the carseat manageable and you can fit other stuff in the bag, too! Fits all carseats, even the Marathon happy traveler

I hope it's a relief to you that this is probably the EASIEST time to fly with your little one (until he/she turns 4 and is more self-sufficient). We flew a LOT with our little guy during the first six months, so I'm speaking from experience.

You DEFINITELY do NOT need a separate seat for your little one at this point. If you are breast feeding, it is ideal, because you can feed on the way up and on the way down - keeping the little one hydrated and his/her ears clear from the pressure of altitude change.

Don't worry about taking too much gear. Your baby will be so glad to have you and Daddy for the entire flight. Take a couple of good books or toys and you can always walk around and show your baby people and intersting things on the flight.

Since your little one is so young, I assume he/she will sleep for part of the flight too - so you can relax a bit and read or zone out or watch the in-flight movie.

Enjoy yourself and try not to worry so much about the upcoming flight. Just make sure baby gets enough liquids going up and especially on the way down to keep ears clear Have a great flight!

We flew to Florida when my little one was 9 months and it was FINE. 5 months should be even easier. Some advice: LEAVE THE GEAR AT HOME! We brought only the Ergo Baby carrier, and then rented a car seat along with a car when we got to Florida. It cost about 5 dollars extra per day for the car seat.

If you're not going to rent a car, I would suggest going on Craig's List for the area you'll be going and see if you can find some one selling an appropriate car-seat used. Then, have a relative go pick it up for you. You can find them pretty cheap and will certainly cost less than renting a car for the duration of the trip. This is what we are doing for our trip to Michigan this Christmas holiday.

I did not bring a stroller, and I didn't miss it much, but you could do the same thing, and buy a cheap umbrella stroller once you're there.

Your options, if you buy these things, are to ship them back home and sell them once you return, or try to sell them while you're still there, or leave them with the relatives for future visits (or for them to sell)!

What I ended up bringing with me on the plane was a carry-on with food (for both of us), toys, an extra blanket and water, diapers and a change of clothes (for the baby). For my check-in luggage, I packed only one bag (we stayed about 10 days) and really limited myself. I just washed clothes as needed.

Finally, we took later evening flights, and the baby slept almost the entire time.

Good luck on your trip, and don't stress, this is the EASIEST age to travel, before they become MOBILE! Alesia

You'll be fine--if there are two of you and the baby is only 5 months. I have 3 kids, 6, 4 & 1, and all the grandparents are in NY state, so we travel cross country a lot. Once my first daughter reached 12 months, we swore we'd ALWAYS buy her a seat from then on (she was squirming & crawling all over the place), but this young, you can take turns holding the baby.

If your relatives are the helpful type, give them a list ahead of time of what you'll need--brand and size of diapers, wipes, baby food, extra bottles, a bottle brush, etc. If you have a pack-n-play crib, you can bring it, or if you'll be staying with these relatives often, have them buy one and keep it there.

You'll need a carseat if you'll be in cars--we always brought ours--it's free, and the baby's used to it. Otherwise you may be able to rent one, or buy one when you get there. Durable, fabric carseat bags are very helpful for travel--Rockridge Kids has them. You can just check the seat through with your luggage.

If your relatives are NOT so helpful, take what you'll need for 24 hours (a dozen or so diapers (with plastic grocery bags for the plane), changes of clothes for the baby, extra wipes), and go shopping when you get there. As far a stroller, you can take one, with baby in it, right up to the door of the plane. You'll be given a Stroller Tag at the gate desk, and then after your flight(s) they'll bring the stroller back to the door of the plane, so you'll have it at all times in the airports. Best of luck, and have fun! heidilee

We were crazy enough to fly to Paris with our then 5 month old. The experience was not as bad as I had imagined.

Okay, some tips:

you might know about nursing or giving a bottle/pacifier at take off and landing. don't panic if you are unable to latch on or unable to do so because the baby is asleep. if the pain wakes him/her up, latch him/her on at that time. my daughter was unaffected by air pressure.

request bulk head seats. the extra space is great for all that gear. i put down one of those airline blankets and my daughter loved being on her belly for a while. they say those are first come first served. we got to the airport hours early just for this. it worked.

if you are able, bring the car seat on just incase there is an empty seat next to you (a lone passenger might be more than happy to move and avoid any screaming)

bring a carrier backpack. my husband and i must have walked 4 hours each to keep our daughter quiet. now that i think about it, a backpack would have been so great. just in case you don't already have enough gear. i brought a baby bjorn which is so hard on the back, but ended up being invaluable when we all took a nap. she was on our lap and the baby bjorn kept me from dropping her while i snoozed.

a little back pack of new toys. this was invaluable. i can't tell you how tired of all her old toys she was at that point. each new toy bought about 5 minutes.

teething biscuits. more quiet time. a little early, but the fascination will get you some quiet time.

i nursed at anytime she wanted - even if it meant a short nap. she ended up sleeping quite a bit.

looking back i should have been less nervous about the other passengers being pissed off at me. i think some of this stress was passed on to my daughter who cried inconsolably for what seemed like an hour. (btw, i went into a bathroom and stayed there for a while. it kept me from being overly worried about waking everyone on the plane) so relax. babies need to travel and part of living in society is dealing with things like this. the baby will be fine.

good luck........ it will be over very quickly and you will laugh about your anxiety when you look back. a parent who can relate

I think 5 months old is probably ''easier'' than walking toddlers, at least that has been my experience. Try to pack the least you can. If you have family there, try to have them borrow baby stuff from other locals, or they may even buy some used essential items (and you are the only one who knows what's essential to you and your baby).

If the flight is not very busy and your baby still uses an infant carseat, you will want to take it with you into the plane, and you may be able to use an extra sit for your baby, plus that'll be one less thing to have to deal with at the other end.

Bring some favorite and some new toys, and an extra t-shirt for you... and the baby!

If possible have your baby nurse or use the pacifier during take off and landing. EP

Solo Air Travel with 3 month old

Nov 2005

I am planning on traveling out to Ohio in early December when my son will be three months old. It will be just the two of us, and am truthfully quite daunted by schlepping him and all his baby gear solo. (As he is only one month old right now, I can't even imagine taking him to the grocery store, but that's another post altogether.)

Can anyone offer tips for how to fly alone--on a four hour flight-- with an infant? I searched the archives, and most of the advice there was for toddlers. Specifically: What gear should I bring, which should I leave? How can I keep him happy on such a long flight? I saw some posts about people getting grief for breastfeeding--not like it would stop me, but has anyone else experienced this? lisa

You can easily travel with a 3 mo old! I did it with my now 6mo old, solo from SF to Newark NJ. Here's what worked: Travel on the red-eye - he slept through it all. Have baby in a sling - hands free for bags, etc Pack or mail everything you need on the other side. My baby was 18lbs at 3 months! Bring a mini-pillow so you can prop your arms up while holding him (necessary for the 6 hour flight to NJ). Sit near the front if possible. The back was too noisy and crowded with people going to the bathroom. Plus you can get out faster.

Sit in the aisle - you can hang out into the aisle when necessary. Watch out for the carts, though. Let it all hang out - i breastfed frequently throughout the flights. At some point (10 minutes into the flight), i gave up on modesty - not enough space to move. But mr. baby covered up most everything. Wear a front zip sweatshirt over your nursing bra or a nursing tank top. Works great! Good luck! baby traveler

The reason all the posts are about toddlers is that flying with a 3 month old is comparatively easy. Most of my plane trips are whole day affairs with 2 flights to the east coast, and I've done that alone with my son as a baby, and as a toddler - it's definitely easier with an infant. Nurse as much as possible, especially during landing, and maybe he'll sleep the whole time. If not, bring a couple of toys to keep his interest.

Specific advice - you'll have to go through security with him, so make sure to dress both of you in clothes that won't set off the alarm and easy to slip off shoes. Sometimes I traveled with a stroller, but often just used a sling. A stroller may make it easier for you, because then you can put the diaper bag and your purse in the basket, and you just have a carseat to lug. If your carseat doesn't have a carrying bag with a comfortable strap, you may want to get one, because carseats are the bulkiest, most problematic part of traveling with a little one. Or, you could check it as luggage and take your chances (if the baby is going to be on your lap). I wouldn't bring much else with you - he doesn't need a whole lot of toys yet, and anything else can go in your checked luggage. Just pack your diaper bag like you would for any other day-long outing. (If you use cloth diapers, I suggest going with disposable just for travel - it makes it easier).

I never got any grief for breastfeeding on planes. If anyone gives you grief, you could ask if they would rather the baby cried the whole time. jen

3 months, in my experience, was an easy time to travel with baby.
1. Take your car seat with you to the gate even if you didn't buy the extra seat - if there's room they will let you take it on, if not they will check it at the gate.
2. Snap-N-Go Stroller -you can check this at the gate too and they will return it with the car seat at the gate when you land.
3. Sling - nurse in it, let the baby sleep in it, its a blanket, a changing pad, a peek- a-boo maker, you name it.
4. That's pretty much it. Of course diapers, a change of outfit, a pacifier, one baby toy.
Don't worry too much, the vibrations and white noise put nearly any baby to sleep. If your little one is anything like mine, he'll be awake for just a tiny bit of the flight, and nursing most of that. Travel safe! Katie

Hi - congrats on your new baby! Travel will be a breeze, you'll see. I did it with my 3 month-old and 4 year-old alone earlier in the year and it was mostly easy. You don't need much with such a little baby, but here's my short list: car seat in universal carrier (like a snap n go); diaper bag (with enough diapers for the flight and one night - buy the rest there) & purse. That's it for in-flight. Also, a flight attendant friend has suggested to always bring a change of clothes for yourself in case baby has a blow out on you! For when you are there, do you NEED a portable crib? Can baby sleep with you? Then, don't bring one. If you need one, check it with your suitcase. You'll have the car seat and diaper bag and that should be all you need. Nurse taking off and landing to help keep baby's ears from popping. The airlines are usually great helping solo parents on and off the plane. Board when they call those needing assistance. And, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I've had businessmen offer to hold my little one so I could go to the bathroom! -Good Luck! You'll be fine.

I found the flights to be pretty easy, but the airport experience is rough. Going through security you'll need to take your baby out of the stroller, collapse it and put it through the screener. You'll also need to take off your shoes, jacket, and belt while holding your baby. Dress as simply as you can. The security people are usually not helpful, so you'll need to enlist the help of another passenger. Try to carry your stuff in a back pack to free your hands. Use a baby bjorn or something similar - it will keep your hands free when you need to push a luggage cart or suitcase. It also helps when boarding the plane, since you'll need your hands for collapsing the stroller on the jetway, carrying bags, etc. (You'll need to take the baby out of the bjorn to go through security.) Attach your pacifier to some links so that it doesn't fall on the ground. Bring just one or two toys, but make sure they have lots of fun things on them. And bring more diapers and food (if you supplement) than you think you'll need. I've had no problem nursing on flights. You'll want to nurse or give a pacifier on take off and landing if your baby is awake, to help their ears. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Passengers and most staff on board were incredibly helpful. You really don't need that much gear, just a stroller and car seat. I also brought a collapsible bouncy seat, which saved me from having to hold my daughter in my arms all the time. Your baby can sleep in the bouncy seat or you can rent or buy a used crib at your destination. Good luck! Tamar

I traveled with my infant to Chicago with my husband and stepson. My husband was busy with my stepson, so in essence, I was on my own. I carried my baby in a Baby Bjorn sling which made life very easy. That way I could carry a bag/backpack as well. I had my son in my arms at all times which was fine. Since the flight was only 3-4 hours, having my son with me was cool. A friend of mine suggested that you breastfeed or bottlefeed your baby at take-off and landing to avoid the ear situation. Don't worry about breastfeeding in public, people need to get over it and accept what is natural. Good Luck. Judy

I flew with my daughter last year at the same time, and she was only 8 weeks old. We flew to Baltimore from Oakland. It was a great flight. She slept most of the time. I nursed her on demand. Everyone at the airport from check-in to boarding treated us very well. I bought her a seat, and took her car seat that easily strapped into the seat. You can check your stroller at the gate. They'll hand check the stroller at the security if it's too big. I packed a diaper bag (backpack - easier to handle), and change of outfits for both of us, water and snacks for me, and a sling. Get to the airport early to give yourself time to adjust. You will need to hold the baby when you go through security, as they check the car seat. If you need to go to the bathroom, you can ask a flight attendant to watch the baby. You can change the baby's diaper on the seat. I took large ziploc bags just in case of a poopy diaper. Good luck! Becky

I was in your same boat a couple of months ago when I traveled to D.C. alone with my two-month old son. I spent many days fearing the trip, and although there were a few rough moments, I'm happy to report that it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. On the way there, we had a lay over and on the way back, it was a direct flight. I thought the direct flight would be the best, but it turned out that the lay over was the best scenario since it give my son a chance to get a change of scenery and ''move'' around for awhile. We have a bulky stroller, so I decided not to bring that and just carry my son in a Baby Bjorn. I brought his car seat and checked that with the luggage (the airline has a big plastic bag that they put it in, but I've seen that you can buy car seat protectors). To keep him quiet, I breast fed more frequently than I usually do, and used a pacifier (which I don't usually do, but thought it would be fine for this situation). I had not breast fed in public before that and had anxiety about it, but I found that it was fine. I chose a window seat, and it made me feel less exposed. I was also lucky that one of the flights wasn't full, so I asked the airline to put me in a row with no other passengers. I would just be prepared that your baby will cry, and people may get annoyed, but for the most part, everyone understands and most of them have been through the exact same situation. Good luck! anon

I took my daughter abroad (to visit my family for the first time) when she was 3 months old. The flight lasted about 5 hours total. With that trip -as well as with subsequent ones- what has helped is to keep it as simple as possible. The less gear, the better. For that trip, I only brought a baby carrier (baby bjorn) and a small backpack with diapers and changes of clothing. She slept most of the way, so there was no need to ''entrain'' her. I hadn't bought a seat for her, so there was no need to bring a carseat in the plane. I didn't bring stroller to the trip at all and had her car seat checked as checked luggage. Finally, at 3 months they don't need any entrainment, anyway. Susana

In my opinion, this is probably the easiest age to fly. The baby still nurses exclusively, and it's pretty easy to entertain a 3 mo old - just nurse! (or have a few rattles, or just talk to him) I flew alone with my daughter from Oakland to Flagstaff, AZ, about 4+ hours of travel time total, when she was about 10 mos old. My husband and I first flew with her when she was 2 mos old (5 hrs to Florida), again when she was 4 mos old (to NY), and we also flew internationally with her to Argentina when she was 9 mos old. No one ever said anything about my nursing, and if they had, I simply would have asked if they preferred to listen to my child scream and cry (it would have been a rhetorical question, but I think it gets the point across). When I flew alone, I didn't bring a stroller and instead exclusively used a carrier (I have a Sutemi pack, My only other carry-on was a backpack (which was my diaper bag), and I checked everything else. I did not purchase a separate seat for her, so I checked the car seat as well. In short, I tried to travel as light as possible with regard to anything that I had to carry onto the plane. If you are comfortable using some type of baby carrier, you may want to think about using that exclusively and not using a stroller. (I often find it much easier to use a carrier instead of a stroller - I have a lot more maneuverability.) If you want to bring your stroller with you to use at your destination, you could just check it. If you are purchasing a seat for your baby and will bring the car seat with you on the plane, then you probably will want to have a stroller to help you carry the carseat and baby. I also recommend bringing at least one (if not two) changes of clothes for him on the plane. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Kara

Don't be worried about traveling with your infant--it most likely will be easier than you think and every time you do it, it will get easier. At that age you don't need to bring anything to amuse them--if you're lucky, they will sleep most of the time. If you are buying a seat, then I think it works best to use a Snap and Go type stroller that you can gate check--that way you can wheel the baby right to the gate of the plane, board and strap them into the plane seat without ever taking them out of the car seat. I would, however, also bring a backup sling or Bjorn that you tuck in your diaper bag in case 1) you need to walk around a lot during the flight or 2) the airline loses your stroller. Other things in your diaper bag that are handy (besides the obvious)--several extra outfits for baby, plastic bags, and maybe an extra t-shirt for you (I was on a flight where baby and I both slept through a feeding and I leaked profusely! Oops!). As far as breastfeeding on the plane, I have only gotten comments once, on a flight to London, where the British Air attendant kept coming over and tucking a blanket around me so I ''wouldn't feel exposed''. I think most people would much rather see a nursing infant than hear a screaming one! (And don't forget to nurse during take-off and landing to help with the pressure.) Frequent Flyer

Check your stroller at the gate of the plane, NOT at the ticket counter. the attendants will bring it back to you right as you get off the plane so you will have it to get through the airport.

I always scheduled my flights for wee hours of the morning or night, so we would be tired and could sleep on the plane.

Also, it is soooo essential to nurse during take-off AND landing--I would give light feedings before traveling if my daughter was really hungry, but I really tried to wait to nurse until the plane was taking off. The sucking helps equalize ear pressure, and my daughter never (ever!) screamed during travel. Bring a sheet-like blanket so if you get too hot, you both can have the sheet over you while you blast the little Air conditioner toward yourselves but don't have to deal with the air-blowy feeling it gives you. We used one to cover us for comfort (not for privacy, but hey-maybe it made those with outdated nursing-in-public ''issues'' more comfortable too).

Be sure you have a complete change of clothes for your baby with you, and clothing for yourself, too, in case you have a spit-up or poop accident on the plane and need to change. Extra baby wipes. Huge bottle of water for you to drink so you don't get dehydrated, and some non-dehydrating (i.e., low sodium) snacks for yourself.

People will avoid you when they see that you have an infant with you, because they assume your child will cry the whole time. With the nursing thing going though, we always got comments from those around us about how happy and quiet my baby was.

My daughter now loves to travel on planes, and almost always sleeps (she is almost 7 now)! Maybe the take-off and landing nursings have good subconscious memories for her. Best of luck. -mom of a happy traveler

Trip to East Coast with 9-month-old

Nov 2005

We have a 9 month old we will be travelling to Boston and NYC with. We will be checking his carseat, and have a car to use in Boston, but in NYC no car. We will mostly be doing subway and walking in NYC, but for getting to/from airport, we were going to do a cab, but don't know -- can you put a carseat into the cab? Anyone done that? Better alternative? Any other travel tips would be appreciated as well -- esp re: (1) should we bring pak-n-play? (2) if we get an xtra seat on the flight, should we try to bring the carseat ON the plane? (3) we're bringing bjorn, which he likes, but should we also bring a stroller? (4) should we pack babyfood, or just buy while we're there (he eats mostly jars)? Thanks! Jamie

I have travelled quite a bit on airplanes with my now 18 month old son. My advice to your questions would be:

If you BOOK a seat for your child, bring the car seat on the plane. If you DON'T book a seat, check your carseat as you would a bag - if you wind up trying to bring it on the plane ''in case'' there is an empty seat and there isn't, they'll need to gate check your carseat - uncovered - and it will get manhandled. To check it as luggage, we bought one of those embarassing but lifesaving ''backpack cases'' that you can place a carseat in and then wear it on your back. Goofy looking, yes. But have you ever tried to lug around a carseat? Plus, you can jam clothes into it.

If we take a cab to the airport here in Oakland, we attach the carseat in the cab, un-attach at the airport, put carseat in bag, shove clothes in (already in plastic shopping bags for easy shoving), check it with luggage. Reverse on the other end, attach carseat in cab/my mom's car/friend's car in NY.

Do you know anyone who can lend you a pack-n-play (or are you staying in a hotel who should have a crib for your room?)? If so, borrow that instead of lugging around carseat AND PnP AND luggage AND baby. Blech. That said, if I couldn't borrow one in NY, I'd (reluctantly) bring one along.

Bring the stroller - you can check it at the gate (wheeling it to door of plane, doesn't count as luggage), and rolling baby around while carrying bags is infinitely easier than carrying baby while carrying bags.

As for food - BRING SOME. Bring extra. Bring something like a cookie that you'd ordinarily not let him/her eat. I make sure I have more than enough food in case of delays, etc.

And some unsolicited advice: I often offer to buy my immediate seatmates (front/back/next) a glass of wine as soon as we're all seated - I pre-apologize about their sitting next to a baby and offer the glass of wine. It's a great ice-breaker and disarms most of the people we've flown with.

Good luck! CK

We took our then 9-m.o. cross country over summer. The airline (United) lost our bags---and with it all his clothes, food, diapers. So I'd recommend packing a couple of days worth of clothes, diapers, PJs, jars, etc. in case something like that happens to you (not that I'd wish it on you!) Do take food with you. There's nothing worse than arriving after a long plane trip and having to scurry around looking for somewhere to get basic supplies. Or do a web search for supermarkets near where you're staying that will have eeverything you want. We found everything we needed at Shaw's in Boston and we're Wholefoods junkies.

As for the carseat on the plane, I'd bring it. We had a seat for our son and he was able to nap in the carseat. Set it in the plane seat facing you if you can--that way your son can't kick the seat in front of him :)

All the hotels we've stayed in (four) had some sort of pack'n'play/crib that was fine. But bring a familiar light blanket or sheet. And none of the hotel cribs have bumpers so if you're worried about your son seeing you in the room and getting distracted and not sleeping, bring a bumper or something to secure a hotel towel or similar to the crib.

And do bring a stroller, a light one if you have it. Even if you're Bjorning the baby, a stroller is good for loading up with a bag or two in airports! Some strollers also carry some carseats (w/o baby), which makes getting around a bit easier.

Have a great trip! Anon traveler

Editor Note: also see additional advice about Car Seats and Cabs in NYC

8-hour flight with a 5 month old

July 2005

I'd like advice on air travel with my five month old. It's our first plane ride 8 hours with a lay-over. That means up and down twice. . . I'm concerned about equilibrium/ear pressure issues and his fussy times. I'll be sure to nurse upon take off and landing, but is there anything else I can do to make the flight any easier. Thank you! jean

We traveled about four times in my sons first year. We went to Louisiana three times and once to New York from Oakland. I say, enjoy it while ya can. Our baby would pretty much sleep most of the time or coo and we'd cuddle, etc. Now that he can walk, he ain't into sitting in a seat for 8 hours! So, to those of you with infants, I say FLY, TRAVEL, enjoy that time when you can just carry them around because your life does not end when you have a ends when they start to walk.

I'm kidding of course, but I think you'll survive. I found that other passengers are much more understanding than I gave them credit for.

I recommend trying to pack smart and as lightly as possible. Be prepared to have to change a poopy diaper on the floor of the flight attendent cubby. If you're traveling alone, be prepared to ask others for help because you pretty much can't get out of a seat without having someone hold your baby.

It'll be fine. anon

Don't stress too much re: this flight. Your baby probably won't cry. The engines are very soothing (I always try to sit a row or two behind the wing). If your baby is awake during take-off and landing then try to convince him/her to nurse. If he/she is asleep then leave him/her that way. My 27-month old has 50 plus take-offs and landings under her belt and my five- month old has four (though we are adding two more next week).

I haven't had any problems yet. Otherwise, have everything you will need in the seat pocket in front of you. Be prepared to change a diaper on a bathroom floor (unless you are flying jetblue which has changing tables in every bathroom). Bring one or two toys (though in a pinch, a bag of chips at altitude can hold their attention for most of the flight). If you are flying with someone, designate one leg as theirs and one leg as yours to be responsible for the baby. Grab a few pillows (though keep in mind that many air lines have elminated them though jetblue and I believe southwest still have them) or blankets to help the baby sleep more comfortably in your lap if you are not purchasing a seat (bring the car seat anyway, because you may get lucky and get a seat for free for the baby). You will be fine. I usually travel alone (and to make matters worse, it is usually standby, so I am the last person on the plane) People on the plane are going to help you out. When flying without my husband, there is always some nice woman who will identify herself to me as willing to watch my girls if I need to go to the bathroom (oh, wear pants with an elastic waist band on the plane if travelling alone) or just need a break. There is always someone who offers to wait with me until everyone else has unloaded to help me schlep my stuff.

Pilots set up my stroller and help me to my next connection. Someone may be a jerk if your baby cries the whole time, but don't worry. You will never see that person again. jan

8-month-old: Front vs. rear, Changing diapers on the plane

Nov 2004

My husband and I are traveling by plane with our 8 month old for the first time. I have read past postings about this topic, but was wondering if anyone else had any tips. I am very anxious about it. We have purchased a seat for her, but I have some questions. What is the best way to change a dirty diaper on the plane? Is it better to sit in the front or rear of the plane? We also have a layover at one airport before we reach our destination. Does anyone have any other suggestions? first time mom

I don't have a suggestion as to where to sit in the plane. We've sat with our growing baby in all different parts and none was more convenient or inconvenient.

As for changing diapers, most airplanes have a changing table in the bathroom. When our daughter was a baby, we changed her there. Now we change her on the seat (if it's just pee) 'cause it's more convenient (less crowded than the bathroom). Flying with babies is actually much easier than it sounds, just make sure they have something to suck when the plane takes off/lands (or breastfeed them), and give them plenty of liquids through the trip. anon

Hi - I can empathize with your fears. I was a wreck before our direct flight to NY this past summer (son was 20 mos), but as everyone had said, it worked out fine. Changed wet diapers there in the seats (got the 3 middle row seats). Didn't have to deal with a poopy diaper; I don't think he was ever 'relaxed' enough to poop. With a layover, you'll have the perfect opportunity to change diapers, etc.

I would recommend the back - I ended up walking my son to the back galley and the flight attendants were great about it. (One of them even got out some dry ice, then poured water over it, to entertain my son...eventually it lulled him to sleep!) Plus my general feeling is that if your baby is cranky, the less people around you the better - too much visibility in the front! But my main recommendation is to get the middle seats if that's an option on your flight. Good luck! anon

I also saw, on this last trip, small rooms in the airport, near the restrooms, labeled as ''Nursery''. These had a changing table, sink, chair, etc. in them. Could be worth looking for on your layover. Kim

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for buying a seat for your child. I cannot begin to describe how horriffic it is to fly seated next to someone attempting to restrain an 8 month old child on his/her lap for 6-12 hours.

Re: diaper changing, please use the bathroom. Your child's soiled diapers with excrement should be confined to an area with a door and where they cannot contaminate or disturb other paying travelers.

I once sat next to a woman who, immediately before the dinner service, proceeded to lay her daughter on her lap and change her diaper loaded with excrement, and, put the dirty diaper on her tray table. It was beyond disgusting. Changing diapers in public should be done in a restroom to prevent disease transmission and out of respect for others.

I fly a great deal and usually it is better for everyone if parents flying with young kids are in the back. The reason is that it usually takes longer for them to board and deplane and this can wind up holding everybody else back and creating an environment where the tension gets ratcheted up beyond what it is already on today's completely full flights. Alternately, use miles to upgrade your family to business or first.

Bring her favorite snacks, non-noise making toys, and, the things you know she likes to drink. Try having her suck during take off, descent and landing to help with the ear popping thing. There's always Benadryl if it's a long flight. Good luck and thank you for acting responsibly by purchasing a seat for your child. anon

We flew with our baby when he was 3 months and again just this Thanksgiving when he was 6 months. I recommend calling the airline and asking if the plane you will be on has a changing table in the lavatory. I assumed they all had them and then on this last trip, one of our planes didn't have any. I had to change him on the back of the toilet seat cover! I would also recommend changing your baby right before the flight so that if it isn't too long of a flight, you might not need to change him/her at all. I would also recommend the front of the plane. If you are lucky, you might get to use the first class lavatory which sometimes is a little bigger. Finally, the airlines no longer ask for families with small children to pre-board, but if you ask them, they usually will let you. This gives you some extra time to get to your seat and get settled. Good luck! Kim

I fly with my child often and generally head to the middle of the plane, just behind the wing/emergency exit rows. The noise/vibration from the engines helps her sleep.

Also, some airlines have changing tables in the bathrooms -- all JetBlue planes (in every bathroom...hey, the founder has 9 kids, he knows what Moms need) and many of the larger aircraft of other airlines (747, 767, 777) have changing tables in one of the restrooms. Carry a plastic bag for disposal in the aircraft bathroom. If a plane does not have a changing table (an issue that I hit on Southwest a lot), I just do the bizarre balancing act on the toilet seat lid. It isn't pretty, but it works. Even if the flight attendant tells you otherwise, please don't change the diaper at the seat. It grosses me out and I have a kid. Hand down, though, he absolute best method that I have found for changing diapers on planes, is to smile sweetly at my husband and say 'honey, I think that she needs changing' and off he goes. :-) anon

Hi, we went to Spain with our 6 month old. We sat in the front, where there is a fold-down bed for the baby. We didn't have to buy an extra ticket.

I recommend the front row because if your child gets antsy, she can climb up and down the seat, or crawl an play on the floor in front of you without disturbing anyone in front. Plus there's a little more room.. These seats are really popular with families, so I would reserve as soon as possible if you decide to go that route. GC

We flew a LOT with our kids when they were small (we still fly with them, but the oldest is now a kindergartener, so we have school vacations to consider). In no particular order, here are things I've found useful when flying:

1. You mentioned that you bought a seat for your 8 month old, and that should give you some peace of mind. If you don't purchase a seat, and the plane is not full, you can still bring your carseat on and buckle up the child. This is highly recommended, not just as a safety measure, but also because if your child falls asleep in his/her seat in the car, s/he may do so in the plane, which is a great releaf to all concerned. Also, keep your stroller with you till the last minute, and gate check it at the bottom of the ramp. It makes a good luggage rack and carseat transporter, even if the kids aren't in it.

2. Bring an EXTRA LARGE changing pad. Some airlines have changing tables in their bathrooms now (Jet Blue does), but not all of them. If you're in a bulkhead seat, the floor works well for changing, otherwise, with a big pad, you're ''covered'' in the isle, or on a row of seats, or whatever spot you can find.

3. Although we mosty use cloth diapers, we only bring disposables when travelling. Bring more than you think you'll need on the plane, as babies tend to have bowel movements on takeoffs and landings, due to (the flight attendent tells me) changes in cabin pressure. Also bring LOTS of plastic bags for disposal of same, and extra wipes. Note: Some flight attendants actually told me that moms have handed them dirty diapers to throw out. They don't appreciate it one bit.

4. Also, if you nurse, try nursing on takeoff and landing if the baby is experiencing ear discomfort.

5. Front Vs. Rear: We like the front, because of the bulkhead. But what's really important is that you be near a galley, for things you may need like trash disposal, juice, etc. If your baby drinks milk, be aware that some carriers do not have milk, (like Southwest), only juice.

6. Expect to be entertaining your child the entire trip. Forget reading, or visiting. If you get to do that, it's a bonus. Bring every amusement you can think of for the child--Books, toys, etc., including one or two new things. Keep a few out of the overhead compartment before takeoff---you may be on the runway longer than anticipated. Ditto for food. TRY NOT TO PICK LOUD OR OBNOXIOUSLY REPETITIVELY NOISY TOYS. You may need help from your fellow passengers at some point. It's easier if they don't hate you.

7. Label everything. We even put a tag on our toddlers overalls, just in case he wandered off.

8.Make sure your carryon has enough of everything that if you get stranded somewhere overnight, you can cope.

9. Welcome the kindness of strangers. If you are alone with the kids, and somebody offers to help you carry a stroller, or carseat, LET THEM! You can return the favor someday when you are not encumbered. T.L.

I've travelled 4 times cross-country already with my 7-month- old, and the best solution I've found to the diaper issue is to use an overnight diaper and not change it on the plane. If this seems too gross to you, some planes have changing tables in the bathroom; I've also done it in the bulkhead area. I don't think it matters much where you sit, unless you're on United and you can get Premier seats with more legroom. Also, if you're planning to nurse to help your baby's ears (this may not be necessary -- I only found the pressure to be a problem for my baby when he was getting over an ear infection), you might also want to bring a bottle with water in it, in case he wants a little now and then, and it's not really time to eat. And bring some toys and books. My baby also spent a lot of time playing with ''airplane toys'' (i.e., an unopened pack of snack pretzels, a plastic cup, an empty milk container after I drank the milk). And remember that even if it turns out to be hard, it only lasts so long. You'll be fine! lara

I like the rear because you are generally near more bathrooms. There may be a map of your airplane at Most airplane bathrooms have a changing table, but ask a flight attendant about it as you board. David

Airplane travel with an 8-month-old is relatively easy. (That is, harder than travelling by yourself but easier than travelling with a toddler.)

Most (though not all) airplanes have fold-down diaper changing stations in the restrooms.

As for the layover, the hard thing about that is that most airports don't have any quiet, dark areas in which to help your baby fall asleep if it's his or her naptime. I have heard that some airports DO have this -- Philadelphia and Houston, I think. Perhaps the airport you're stopping at has a website you can check to find out. You could try bringing a dark or opaque blanket and draping it over him or her either while you're breastfeeding or while she is in her stroller, and perhaps she'll fall asleep (though not likely with all of the noise and action going on).

I strongly recommend bringing your carseat on board to install in her seat -- we found our baby slept in it quite well (you can install it forward-facing). I also recommend bringing an umbrella stroller and checking it at the gate and requesting that it be available to you at the layover airport. This way, you can put her in the stroller and walk her around the airport so she can see all the lights and action.

If she likes looking at books, I recommend ''The Big Book of Everything.'' It's got pictures of everything under the sun. It kept our baby entertained for quite a long time.

As for front versus back, I don't think it makes much difference. Some people say that it's better to be towards the back because it's less crowded and closer to the restroom. Depends on how quick your connection is, I think. Happy traveller

Above all...don't stress! Flying can be stressful but I have found everyone to be accommodating and very helpful when we fly with our baby. We have taken about 10 flights since our daughter was born and have not had any problems at all. All airlines, I believe except Southwest, have changing tables in the restrooms. When we take Southwest we just lay her across the seats to change her. I find it best to take the bulkhead seats in the front (if you're allowed to preboard) as this is the roomiest section and easiest to get in and out. If your baby gets fussy or ansy a lot of times the flight attendants, being close by, will come and play with them too. Definitely be attentive to your baby - we all hate it when the parent is sitting there reading or watching the movie while the kid wails! But if you are trying, and you still have a fussy baby, people are very understanding. Advice for layover...check as much as you can so you're not hauling around all your stuff thru another airport. Once you get this one over with, you'll feel ready to do it more, and traveling to new places is a great gift to give your little one. Good luck!

I have traveled with small children quite frequently over long distances - it is never as nerve-wracking as you might expect beforehand. The airlines are well versed in people coming aboard with babies. Airplanes have restrooms equipped with fold- down changing stations. You can tell which ones are the right ones by the symbol on the door showing the parent with infant. Please don't change the child on the seat - it is not that safe and I would assume not that sanitary, and doesn't go over well with the other passengers around you. The trick of using the changing stations is being able to get up for an extended period, when you can be sure that you won't hit turbulence - speaking from experience bumby air makes it hard to balance in the bathroom while changing baby. The front of the plane is always better if you have a choice - the rear is much more susceptible to turbulence. If you can when you make your reservation, you should request a bulkhead seat - that is where most airlines prefer to seat parents with children. If it is a long flight/big plane, these seats are also the ones with attachable bassinets (provided by the airline) but I have to confess I haven't seen those used on domestic flights, just international ones. SM

I have taken the plane 6 times with my baby. In planes for long flights (overseas) you'll find changing tables in the restrooms. For national flights I ask the flight attendant where is best to change my baby. Sometimes it was OK to do it on our seats and once we did it on the floor covered by a blanket they gave me on the back of the plane. Have a nice trip barbara

We always try to get the front so that we can get off the plane as soon as possible after it lands. There are few things more frustrating than dealing with a cranky/poopy baby while you wait 10+ minutes for the plane to empty out. I always request a bulkhead ahead of time as it gives you more room-- they usually accomodate parents with babies.

Jet Blue is the best for diaper changes...all planes have a changing table in the lav. I bring a receiving blanket solely for the purpose of covering the changing table. I also carry sanitizer, which I never use at home, and I use it frequently. I'm normally one of those parents who figures exposure builds their immune systems, but on planes I get very germ wary-- there's too much nasty stuff coming in from all over the place on a plane.

Other airlines are hit and miss -- ask when you book if the plane has a changing table -- if not, nice airline attendants have let me change my daughter on their pull down seat in the back of the plane- and even closed the curtain for me! I've also had an attendant stop me from changing a wet diaper on the floor of the bulkhead (on a disposable changing pad). While I wouldn't subject other passengers to a poopy diaper, I personally don't think that changing a wet diaper on a pad is rude - although this is a personal judgment call. I've done it a number of times and only had an attendant ask me to stop once.

Buying a seat at that age is a wise move; we have done lap baby until now, and the last trip we took (she was 91/2 months) made us swear not to do it again.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me. We've traveled a number of times with our daughter via plane. brb

Hi I travelled to England with my 8 mo old son this summer. I was worried about the flight as I was flying alone with him but it was fine. There is a bathroom on the plane that has a changing table, ask the attendants where it is. I also advise you to take a bag of toys that baby hasn't seen before as well as some old favourites and books. I distracted my son with different toys, books, cheerios and walks around the plane. Hope this helps, good luck! Vanessa

Taking 3-month-old overseas, 10-hr time difference

July 2004

I am going to travel with my 3 months old son out of the country to a place with 10 hours time difference. So practically, we will be flipping day and night times. We will be away for 3 weeks. Do infants my son's age have a jet leg? And if so, do you have any advise about how we can best handle the jet leg? All advise will be greatly appreciated. Ruth

We have travelled a lot with our dauhter who is 11 months now. Several times to Europe and to Australia. She definitely keeps her 'regular' rythm for 3 days after which she is totally on the local schedule. It's actually easier on her than on us. I just let her sleep and eat whenever she feels like it and I adjust my schedule to hers. Going to Europe she often wakes up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours to play with us (2am - 4am) but we let her do it. Trying to force a schedume will definitely not make things any easier! Coming back to the US is very easy. Just remember to enjoy your trip and do not try to do too many things in one day! Lotte

When we've travelled to the East Coast with our daughter (now 2 y.o.), I've found that she actually adapts to the time change better than we do. She'll just sort of adjust her napping, skipping or adding naps to make up for the weirdness.

I imagine that, like so many things, kids really vary on this one. My daughter has always been semi-regular with sleeping, having patterns but not a real tight schedule. Her sleeping style has made her more adaptable to travel, I think. Hope this helps. -- Ilana

We are just back from a three weeks trip with our then three months old infant to Israel (which is ten hours difference). I was worried about his jet lag too, so I took some Homeopathic medicines with us for it, but ended up not using them. It turned out that he had jet lag for two days. The real problem was, however, that I tried to adjust myself first (staying up all day to get used to the different day time on the first day) and ended up spending the first two nights up, playing with him. That made me extremely tired for a week and a half, when my baby was already fine after two days!

Coming back, I tried a different approach. I slept when he did, and we both got back to normal schedules in two days.

I hope it helps... reutsh

We recently travelled to Europe with our (at that time almost) six month old son. Both directions it took him two days to adjust. We tried to have him sleep on the plane as much as possible. To make him sleep and not just nap we tried to recreate his bedtime ritual (reading a bedtime story, singing a lullaby and then winding up the music box from his mobile) as well as possible on the plane. Of course this requires that you have a seat for the baby. But he really slepped a several hours although at least on the way back it wasn't his bedtime.

Both directions the first night was difficult. Usually between midnight and 3am he couldn't understand why we wanted him to sleep. We managed to get him to sleep by taking him into our bed and one of us cuddling up with him. The first night he needed two nighttime feedings (usually sleeps 9 hours without feeding). The second night just once some comfort sucking. During the day we tried to keep him awake as much as possible.

The biggest recommendation is really to get an extra seat for the baby. It makes the flight more comfortable for everyone plus it's much safer for the baby (take the car seat along and put him in there). Ina

Flying on my own to Ireland with 6-month-old

March 2004

I am travelling with my son to Ireland in a few weeks time. He will be 6 months old when we take the 11-hour flight. I will be flying on my own as my husband can't get the time off so I am looking for the following advice: - How do I make the 11 hour flight as pleasant as possible for my baby and for my fellow passengers bearing in mind that I will be alone? Any advice on what to pack in carry on luggage would be really helpful. - How do I help my son deal with the jet lag? - How do I help him adjust to the eight hour time difference? Please help - I am nervous about this first flight with baby! Thanks! Grainne.

We flew to Germany with our then six month old baby. I too was nervous but it all went well. We flew with Lufthansa I believe and they can provide baby beds if you request it and are able to sit in the right place. Our very social baby was thrilled and excited to be around lots of people. He nursed at take-off but I had a bottle prepared in case he didn't want to. Despite my concerns, it went well. He slept a few hours but did OK with jet lag. There's not much one can do to help them adjust so you may have a few tiring days but it will work out. Be sure you have a light-weight fold-up stroller that is easy for you to carry if need be. Do find out about the possibility of baby beds if you're taking a European airlines. If it's an American airlines, they don't have them. Transnational Mama

Hi, I travelled with my 6 week old daughter, then when she was 4.5 months and again when she was 8.5 and 9 months to and from Europe. 11 hour flights and jetlag. At six months, if the sleep routine is not that set in for the child it does not really matter. You must continue the day as is when you land and follow what you would normally do back home until night time. Naps, feeds etc. The baby will wake up during the night confused and probably want to play, amuse him/her and then go back to sleep. It takes a few days to adjust, especially for the parent. You will be very tired. As to what to bring on the flight, bring her toys to play with, a blanket to sit on the floor so she can play, lots of diapers (you never know when the flight will be delayed). If nursing, food is not a issue, if he/she eats, some baby food and lots of patience and calmness. It really is not that bad. You will get a travel cot at the bulk head of the plane. Get to the airport early so that you get one, there are limited cots and once they are gone thats it, baby is on your lap. As it is a night flight it should be ok. Nurse baby on take off and landing so that the ears don't pop, and generally have a great trip. Travelling mama

My husband and I flew to France last summer with 11 month old twins. The flight over was an over-night flight and the flight back departed Europe at 10am (so it was a day flight, but when we landed in SFO it was 5pm west coast time but 1am France time). The overnight flight was a little easier as our girls slept for about five hours overnight. The day flight was harder on us and on them because no one in the plane seemed to want to calm down and sleep so there was a constant buzz of conversation, and other passengers moved about constantly which restulted in a lot of bumping into us while we walked around the plane with an over-tired but awake girl. Several times one of our girls was wakened by the meer jossle. I'd take an overnight flight again both ways in a heartbeat.

We used all of our carry on luggage for baby food, toys, books, diapers, and a change of clothes. We also bought the infant bassinet that hangs on a wall which we used for sleeping kids, but also for storage. It was most valuable when the girls were awake because we prepared food there, stored toys that would have been under our feet otherwise, and let a girl sit in it while we played with her. We also walked one baby around the plane very frequently which kept her less figity. I think the shuffle from parent, to bassinet, to walking resulted in very little fussiness. However, it was very tiring, as you can probably surmise, for us. The alternative seemed less desirable; we didn't want crying kids the entire flight, which we did see with other kids whose parents sat in their seats the entire flight.

On our flight over, there was a mom with baby, alone. I believe her son slept for only short periods which must have tired her more than normal because at one point she had a little cry. The passengers around her volunteered to watch her son while she departed for the bathroom. She as in there for half an hour at least. I assume she needed the break and her son was asleep while she was gone. Likewise, he was in no danger being watched by strangers on a plane. I wondered if travelling alone also meant she'd had to do all the pre-flight prep (like packing) alone before her flight which could have contributed to her on- flight fatigue. If so, the care of her son added to her travel fatigue. If my guess is right then make sure you get a ton of rest before you fly. It will help with any ''off-schedule'' baby surprises you have to deal with in transit.

One tip, see if your airline will let you check a stroller on the plane. This is invaluable when you exit the plane to collect your baggage. If you are carrying on an infant car set, you won't need the stroller though if you use a luggage cart to carry the car set through airports.

As for jet lag: our pediatrician wasn't terribly keen on the idea of bringing along baby Benedryl to use as a sleep aid for jet lag. We'd heard from other travelling parents who recommended this. His advice was to just go with a two-to-three day natural flow of letting our girls, and us, adjust to the time difference once there. For the most part we did this; giving lunch at 6pm, dinner and play time at 1am. However, we did bring along Triminic cough syrup (don't get a cough syrup with any other symptom relievers like an antihistimine) to give to them in desparation. We used it two or three times around 3 or 4 AM when our girls had been up for a few hours and we needed to go back to sleep. Our pediatrician advised that Benedryl hipes up some kids (about 10% who take it) and recommended Triminic instead. We let them sleep for as long as they liked otherwise through the morning.

The first few days after landing, and when you return home, are very tiring because you and your kids(s) are jet lagged. This is just normal. Don't plan much then and just adjust. Be prepared to take on a schedule set by your jet lagged child and wake and sleep ''off hours'' until he has adjusted. It was a little overwhelming but short lived. Our girls adjusted in about three days and were completely fine and happy afterward. Since adjusting to jet lag is a a time commitment for you both, I'd never recommend a short trip over because you need some tourist/family time in between the jet lag adjustment. Overall, we have no regrets going and had a memorable trip. You will too. Good luck! travelled with twins

I flew for the first time (also alone) with my 6 mth old last November. The best advise I got from the network was introduce yourself to your neighbor at the very beginning!! There was a 20ish man next to me (I was by the window). I asked if he had kids and he said he had neices/nephews. I joked that I hoped he brought his ear plugs and he did laugh. My son nursed/slept almost the whole flight but did cry when we were landing (around 15 minutes straight). The man tried to distract him, played peek-a-boo and ended up carrying our bags to the waiting stroller. By making the first move, it erased any stress and pressure that I was feeling and ended up being great. Good luck with your flight and have fun. DiAnn

Hi, I just have one comment about the flight. We flew to Europe on United when our daughter was 5 months old. We asked for a bassinet, having seen the hanging ones before (on United, no less!). We were told we would have one. When we got there, we were told the bassinet was on the floor by our seat. Looking down we found a sort of zip-up papoose-like thing, just laying on the floor, made of vinyl! We were supposed to insert our daughter into this floppy thing and zip it up, like a foot in a shoe, and then leave her on the floor, loose, for the duration of her sleep! She did not like the vinyl, she did not like the way the sides kept drooping onto her, and she did not like the sound of the engines coming through the floor. We didn't like the way the vinyl seemed like it might smother her, and it seemed consummately unsafe, the way it was completely unanchored. We ended up holding her the whole overnight flight, and wished we had been prepared for it. Just be careful to ask specifically what the airplane is providing. I also recommend working hard to get some bulkhead seats so that you have room to move around and put down toys, etc. If you have a baby bjorn, that can be extremely useful, not only for walking but for sleeping together with her securely attached to you. At that age, the jetlag shouldn't be too bad. More naps than usual, is all. Good luck!

Traveling to Europe with a 2-month-old

Feb 2004

We plan on taking a 4 week vacation to Western Europe when our baby is 2 months old (given that we will have regained some of our sanity by then). Is this too young? How young is too young? When are infants usually ''old enough'' to travel? Is there anything in particular we should be concerned about or aware of before we make plans? We plan on talking to the pediatrician but I'm quite interested in hearing what you have to say. Traveling as a family

Hi! I travelled to Pakistan and Thailand with my 4 month old. It was a really easy stage to travel with. I had his pediatrician accelerate some of his shots so he would have more protection. I breastfed him on take offs and landings to help his ears adjust to pressure. Make sure to take extra clothes for you and the baby on the plane. Some airlines have you sit in the center bulkhead seat and have a crib they can hang in front of you. He slept for most of the flight. I also took a few offers from other passengers who volunteered to cuddle him while I went to the bathroom or took a walk around the plane. Make sure you have a good comfy way to carry the baby. One of my friends got this cool stroller that converts into a car seat (the wheeled frame comes off and folds up). If you are renting a car in Europe, you will need a car seat and I don't know if I would trust what they provide. I used a baby back pack for walking around town but your baby could probably use a Baby Bjorn type carrier. Have fun! It was really pretty easy. kl

Hi, We travlled with our newborn daughter to the UK and France when she was 6 weeks old. It is ok to travel with newborns at 6 weeks, and they should also have their first batch of immunisations (that is our personal opinion). This is the easiest time to travel with infants because they eat, poop and sleep. Since you are going to Europe, depending on the airline, you get a sleep bassinet so that the baby can sleep. You also get the bulkhead of the plane because that is where the bassinet is placed. Please ask the airline in advance and get there early to get the bulk seats and the bassinets because there are usually many babies on board. We travelled with Virgin Atlantic one of the better airlines for long haul on economy. They do great deals on business and Upper. Once there, no worries. Babies at this age have no real routine so it is quite simple. When the plane takes off and lands, try and breastfeed if that is what you do, or give the baby a pacifier or bottle. It will help with the little ears and prevent them from popping. Personally, ours was fine with the ears at that stage. Hope this helps and relax and have a great holiday. It will be a breeze. anon

I can't think of an easier time to travel with a baby! We've been overseas a few times with our little ones, and we've found the younger they are, the easier it is. The baby nurses and sleeps, you travel. We never had any issues, no jet lag (the baby's schedule is wacky anyway), and nothing I can think of that we were concerned about. When the baby is older it's still totally doable, but it'll never be this easy again. Go for it, and have a great time! DL

I would recommend traveling when the baby is more like 4 months old, if possible. In the newborn (up to 3 months) period, the baby's immune system is still pretty fragile, so it pays to be more careful about germs and so on. Plus, at two months you may still be sleep deprived and struggling with, or just starting to recover from, feeding problems or colic.

Younger babies *are* pretty portable -- they fit in a bucket seat and can easily be carried around in a sling or frontpack, they don't require any special food or feeding paraphenalia (assuming they're breastfed), they can sleep pretty much anywhere, and they can't crawl away the moment you glance elsewhere! But all of those things are still true at about 3-5 months, when the immune system will be better developed, they'll usually have developed a more predictable daily routine (including, if you're lucky, a longer stretch of sleep at night), they're usually less fussy and more capable of play, and the parents will probably be coping a bit better.

We never did any major traveling when our son was an infant, but we did do a weekend ski trip (a group thing) when he was 5 or 6 weeks old. The weekend itself was fine, but of course I was not feeling up to any actual skiing; we did fine on the drive up but the drive home was miserable -- lots of traffic and an uncomfortable baby meant it took FOREVER, with many long stops to nurse in random parking lots. I don't think I'd've wanted to brave an airport at that point, if I had a choice, nor would I want to deal with jet lag on top of normal newborn night waking! And my son was a fairly good sleeper and not at all colicky -- something we could not have known until after he was born, of course, so I wouldn't have wanted to plan a trip ahead of time. anon

Hi -- We traveled in Italy for three weeks when our son was just over two months old. It was realy quite easy! We carried him all over in the Baby Bjorn and he slept most of the day (we took photos of him, asleep, so that he'd atleast know he'd once been to Venice, Florence, Amalfi Coast!) People treated us/him so nicely; a woman even voluntarily rocked him for us on a 3 hour train ride! The only problem was that he caught his first cold (on the airplane?), so I recommend you take baby cold remedies (thermometer, tylenol/motrin, nasal asperator, etc.) Have wonderful trip!! Christine

Flying solo to the UK with a 4 month old

May 2003

I'm thinking of taking our new daughter to England to visit my mum and dad. Unfortunately her dad can't come so I'll be on my own. Now, I've flown back and forth alone loads of times so I'm not worried about me. However, I've never done it with a 4 month old. I cringe as I think of all the times in my impatient 20s when I was unsympathetic to crying babies on those long flights and feel the karma gods preparing for payback! Does anyone have advice for air travel with such young ones? I'm mainly concerned about how she'll be for that length of a flight (10-14 hours depending on tail winds) as well as how it will affect her sleeping patterns. Thanks so much, any advice will be really welcome. Angela

We've flown across the Atlantic twice now, once when our son was 6 months, once when he was a year. Going there was no problem because each time we booked an overnight flight. In fact it was the longest he slept since he was born! Highly recommended! If you tell them when you book your flight you will be travelling with an infant they will make sure they give you the seat that has a bassinet in front so your baby can sleep in there (plus it means more space so when he/she is awake he/she can play in front of the seat etc. Coming back was another story. It meant A LOT of walking up and down the plane, entertaining with brand new toys, new books and trying to rest when the baby was sleeping! Good luck anon

Unless your four month old has colic, the trip should be a piece of cake. The baby will most likely sleep the whole way. His jet- lag will be harder on you, since he's likely to be awake when you're desperate to sleep, but that usually smoothes out in a day or two.

Enjoy it now. It gets really ugly when they hit toddlerhood. Avoiding Blighty until my boy is 4!

Relax it'll be fine. I've flown to and from the UK with a 5-month old. I've also flown long flights (at different times) when my kid or kids were 9 mos, 1 yr, 2yrs, 3 yrs, and 4yrs. Of all those ages, I can assure you that the 5mo was by the far the easiest. Your 4mo can't crawl or walk, and should be entertained as easily on the airplane as at home. With an infant, my key to comfort was flying Virgin, which provides a bassinet for babies under a year. (I'm sure some other airlines do, too.) My 4mo slept most of the night in the bassinet on the way out, which was a night-flight. On the way back, she sat happily in her bassinet (a sort of baby box) and chewed on toys, flirted with other passengers, and nursed from time to time. I don't think I had to walk her much, but I had a sling in case she needed some serious wandering around the plane.

As for jetlag, in California she would sleep from about 8pm until 6 or 7 am. In England, she would go to sleep with me at around midnight or so and then sleep in very late the next morning. It worked out fine. It turns out jetlag is a much bigger problem for grown-ups than for kids and babies, who (usually) adjust fairly rapidly to a new time zone.

Enjoy your trip. Judith

I flew solo with my son to England when he was 4 months old to visit my parents. When I was young, I remember getting bored and running out of things to do on the 10+ hour flight. This doesn't happen when you're flying with a baby. If I wasn't nursing, I was in the bathroom changing a diaper, or busy trying to entertain (bring lots of toys).

I didn't sleep a wink either flight- even when my son was sleeping. This resulted in a very tired mom.

OK, some thoughts...Try to get seated in the bulkhead row. That way you're close to the bathroom when you need to go- and you can leave your little one in the airline provided basinette for 30 seconds. You'll be able to hear her if she makes a peep. I was lucky enough to have 2 seats on my flights which gave me some breathing room and a little privacy. I played with my son in the extra seat and when he slept, I put him in the bassinet.

As you might expect, on the flight to the UK, he slept a lot. But on the flight back to SFO he was awake most of the time. Try to befriend the flight attendants who will sympathize with you and provide lots of assistance. I was not very successful here but hopefully you will be.

As for adjusting to the time difference, this was the most difficult part of our trip. I have always done well adjusting, especially when I'm able to sleep on the flight, so I thought my son would be the same. Wrong. My son slept about 8pm-6am without waking, consistently, before our trip to England. After spending 3 weeks in England, he never adjusted to the time change, nor slept through the night. After about 6 days of returning back to California, he was back to sleeping through the night. I hope your baby is able to adjust better than my son.

With all that said, it was wonderful for my family to see my son so it was worth it! Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss further. I'd be happy to. tina

So. Cal. trip with 1-month-old?

Aug 1998

I would like to get feedback on travel with newborns. How early have you traveled and did you go by plane or car? What kind of experiences have you had? I'm due 8/25 and have family getting married in Southern CA at the end of Sept. and am wondering if this is way too soon to take a trip? Obviously I will talk to my doctors and it will depend when the baby is actually born but I'd really like input from parents on this list. Thanks. Dylyn

Sounds as if your baby won't actually be strictly newborn. If he/she is a month old there should be no problem in taking her on a trip. We did overnight trips with our little one when she was one month old, and it worked just fine. The great advantage at this age is that the baby is not yet used to his/her familiar bed. They tend to sleep anywhere you put them.

What we found a bit difficult was having her sit in a car seat. Most car seats (the usual rear-facing infant thingies) are far too upright for a young baby who can't yet hold her head. The U-shaped support cushions don't help at all, because the head can still fall forward, and it will. So we ended up having one of us sitting in the back of the car holding our little daughter's head with our hands. In case you haven't bought a car seat yet, try to get one where the baby can actually lie down flat, possibly sideways rather than facing the back. (I don't know if they sell them in this country; I've seen them in Europe).

We haven't tried air travel with our daughter yet, but I've seen many babies on flights that I took before my daughter was born, and they usually did very well. It gets far more difficult later with a one-year-old who wants to move around the plane, but the tiny ones are just happy if Mommy is close. Angela

I didn't take a long trip with my 4 wk old...only a 2 hour car drive. We tried to drive when she slept because she didn't (and still doesn't) like to be in a car seat. But, there are merits to each method of travel. Mostly what I wanted to pass on was some advice that my midwife gave me about going to large gatherings with a very young baby. First of all she said stay far away from anyone who is coughing or smoking etc. Second she said that babies tend to pick up the excitement/tension inherent in a large gathering. They then fuss and cry a lot, maybe have trouble settling down to nurse. She suggested that the mom and baby have a refuge..maybe a room with a comfortable chair and a bed to snuggle up on and get away from the crowd and settle. People could visit quietly during the times that seemed right. I noticed that my daughter would have a good, alert time at our larger family gathering and then have a major crying fit to settle down to rest. Karen

We drove with our son to Oregon (about the same distance as to L.A.) when he was 5 weeks old. This was in September and our car doesn't have air conditioning. Our pediatrician told me to drink lots of fluids so I could nurse the baby often on the trip. We also used cold washcloths on the baby and dressed him only in diapers, to make sure he didn't overheat. We were also told to check out the water where we were going, to see whether or not we'd have to boil it before using it to make formula.

You can tell if the baby is keeping hydrated by the rate at which it wets its diapers. Your pediatrician could be more specific, but my guess is that it should be at the same rate as at home. My vague memory is that we stopped every hour-and-a-half for nursing and diaper changing.

My instinct is that driving would be better than flying. Airplanes are notorious for circulating germs through the recycled air. Fran

My daughter was a preemie(4lbs 14oz) and went on her first car trip just 2 weeks after she was born. My mom owned a van at that time and she travelled just fine, in a rear-facing car seat during that 3 hour drive. Two months later, my family travelled to Los Angeles, via van, and again she endured the trip. As a matter of fact, she was the perfect baby to take on a trip. She never cried, or became restless. I think she enjoyed all of our excursions. We would make periodic stops for a diaper change, feeding, a kiss and a cuddle and off we went again. To this day, Miss Ashley loves to travel. She's now 13yrs old. I think that if the infant has contact with someone during the trip, the baby will be preoccupied and will hardly notice the long trip. Just make sure that the car seat is well padded and that the car's temperature stays constant. Also, if you will be travelling by car, make sure that you protect the baby against sunburn from the sun shining through the car windows. Different stores sell sun visors that will block the sun but will not impair the driver's view. Kimberly

More advice about Travel by Plane

I have travelled extensively with my daughter since she was a small baby. Here are some tips you may find useful.

1. Make absolutely sure you can carry everything you need to carry on yourself. My system when travelling alone with her (which was often) was to take a stroller to put my child in (umbrella fold ups- you can usually carry on, if not they will gate check them which means you can pick it up at the door of the plane on your way out) I would strap the carry on bag to the handles of the stroller and carry her car seat in a carrier on my back. This left both hands free to wheel her and attend to her. If she was asleep or crying, I would put the car seat strapped in the stroller, hold her, and wheel with one arm. It may sound difficult but it works very well. The stroller is indispensable for going long distances through airports, on shuttles etc. The car seat is good bc apart from keeping her safe and being immediately available for taxis/cars on arrival (even if your luggage gets lost) its often more comfortable for the children when they are very small, and she was used to napping in it. She could sleep, be safe and I was free to read or rest.

2. EVEN if you don't have a purchased seat for your child ALWAYS ask the stewardesses if you can have an empty one. It doesn't always happen but usually does. I would always say very sweetly everyone on this plane will be much happier if my daughter isn't confined to my lap and grabbing the person next to her's things during the whole flight.

3. I also recommend sitting near the back of the plane-although the engine is much louder, it drowns out the sound of your child and also masks noises in the cabin that can wake them up. Also it puts you near the stewards station so you can get as much milk warmed up as you need , extra napkins for spills etc. Also they can easily keep an eye on the baby when you need to use the toilet. There are usually more free seats back there too.

4. Timing the flight around your children's sleep is good too. On flights to Europe I try to leave around 4 so that my daughter has a few hours of excitement on the plane, dinner, and then bed around her usual hour.

5. One last recommendation: Virgin atlantic is superb for children, the planes have child seats available on board (so you don't need to carry yours on) and give the kids special snacks, games, books etc. Also each seat has a tv and they have two or three channels for children. Even if you don't usually let your kids watch-you'll be happy to have them occupied for part of a very long flight! -- Christina (4/99)

Travel to Chicago with 6-month-old

March 1998

I will take my half-a-year-old daughter for a three day trip to Chicago in early April. Being a first-time mother, I would like to know more about the safety and TIPS to travel with an infant by air. For example, I assume we will need to bring car seat for taxi ride and rental car. Since the car seat is heavy, do I have other alternatives? Do I need the car seat for the plane? Any suggestion on infant-freindly places to go and things to do in Chicago is welcome too. Thanks. Lijing

I've traveled several times with small infants and toddlers. Here's my $.02:

Don't have the infant sitting on your lap. Buy a seat on the plane for your infant, take the car seat, and strap her in just as you would if she were riding in your car. It's against the law to have your child riding without a car seat in a car; why take any less care when flying with her in an airplane? Depend upon it; if there's trouble with the plane, you will not be able to keep her safe holding her in your lap. It will also be more pleasant for you to make the long ride with your hands free.

You may also want to get some prescription stuff (I forget what it's called) to numb her ears before takeoff and landing. Your pediatrician will know what this is. It will ease her discomfort with the change in pressure on her tiny ears. Alternatively, some bottles of milk, or, if you are breastfeeding, nurse her during takeoff and landing. The sucking will also help relieve the pressure in her ears. Kimberly

Been there, done that! Vicky Lasky wrote a very helpful book on travelling with children that can probably be found at any book store as well as any good childrens store. Regarding the car seat, United did not require a car seat the last time I travelled at car seat age, and they actually had concerns about the car seat not fitting and strapping in to the seats in the same way as in the car. If you don't want to pay for an extra seat, book the window and isle seats of a set of three seats and the chances are pretty good unless the plane is packed, that that middle seat won't get filled. Also ask for flights that don't tend to fill up (later in the morning, early afternoon departures) to increase your chances of success. If you bring the car seat, (ask the airline what their policy is), be warned that you may have to check it once you get on the plane, if you don't manage to get a free seat that you didn't pay for. Most car rental agencies have car seats they rent to you that meet federal requirements, but they may not be as comfortable as yours, so if you'll be doing a lot of driving, you have to consider that, as well.

As for Chicago, the Frommer travel guides do a series on different US cities (including San Francisco--I highly recommend it) on placese to go and things to do when travelling with children. Easy Going bookstore in Berkeley carries this series, or could advise you on other guides.

Also, call your hotel and find out if they have baby cribs and or playpens so you don't have to lug your travel one on the plane. They use up luggage allotments pretty fast. Beth

Here is some useful information from Southwest Airlines' web page on traveling with infants and toddlers. Kimberly

Our five months old has already traveled to the East Coast and back three times, and to Israel and back, so I consider myself a pro by now... We started traveling with him when he was just over two months. First, you have to check with you pediatrician. Assuming there's no problem on that front, here are some tips: *try to travel on a relatively empty flight (midweek/midday), and take the baby's car seat with you. If there's a free seat they'll usually try to accommodate you. Try to plan strategically: if there are two of you flying, ask for an aisle and a window seat; if only one parent is traveling with the baby, ask for the window seat, as far back on the plane as possible (those seats are for some reason less desirable). Even if the person at the check in counter tells you there's no chance for a free seat, don't despair, and try again at the gate. It's well worth the hassle of carrying the car seat that far, and if worse come to worse they'll check it in for you at the gate. *On international flights ask for a seat with a bassinet. *you can never have too many diapers, changes of clothes, etc. On the other hand, don't carry more than you can handle along with baby, car seat, etc. *young babies sleep on planes very well. *take a baby carrier with you in case you can't use the car seat. It's much safer and convenient than holding the baby, especially during takeoff and landing. *take the stroller with you to the gate. If you want to protect it, bring a big plastic bag and some tape with you and wrap it up. *unless you're going to a place where the weather is very stable, pack enough clothes for warmer and cooler days. *even on warm days babies need to be dressed warm for the plane ride. *allow plenty of time and arrive at the airport early. I've found United to be especially notorious about making parents stand in a 40 minute check-in line... *have some form of id for baby (birth certificate) *if traveling with baby alone out of the country, have a letter of consent signed by the other parent with you. Orit

Re: travel with a newborn. I travelled to Washington, DC with my son when he was 2 1/2 weeks old, back when he was 3 weeks old. This was a bit rough on both mother and child. He caught a cold, I was not quite over the surgery of the C-section I had to have him, and on the way back they put us in the smoking section of the plane. Fortunately, people can't smoke at all on planes now, so you will be spared that. As far as travelling with a small infant on a plane, it's a piece of cake in many ways since they hardly move around at all. It sounds like you will be on a very short plane ride, so should be okay. As far as exposing him to lots of people and their germs, well, any time you go out in the world this is bound to happen. At least Sept. is not flu or cold season. Dianna

I flew with my son to Washington DC and NYC when he was 2.3 months old. He was much happier traveling (so much stimulation!) then he was at home. I also traveled by plane with my second son to LA when he was 4 months but that was much easier because I had help. Below are some suggestions for traveling by plane: 1. Nurse/bottle/pacifier on ascent and descent -- it helps to open the baby's ears. 2. Arrive earlier than normal to check in. Let the gate agent know you will be traveling with a baby. The agent may be able to arrange an extra seat. (Except on Southwest.) 3. If you have some flexibility in schedule, try not to go with the weekday commuters (6am-8am). These flights are full of business people who are interested in sleeping or preparing for a meeting. You may feel more at ease (less worried about a crying baby) later in the morning. I would pick a time of the day that your baby is at his/her best (usually mid-morning). It may backfire if you try to travel at a time when your baby usually sleeps. He/she many not want to fall asleep because of all the excitement and get overly tired. 4. I find Southwest more family friendly then United Shuttle. Southwest has early boarding and I believe United (as well as Delta and others) have discontinued early boarding. 5. Travel light. I find it best to bring only what I can carry in one load. Also, you may be bringing purchased items or gifts back with you. You won't need many clothes for the baby. You won't need toys (any object you can find in your purse will captivate a young baby). 6. Bring a baby blanket. No matter where your newborn sleeps, the familiar scent of the blanket will provide some comfort in the new environment. It can also be used to pad a dresser drawer as a makeshift bassinet. Alternatively, most hotels will have cribs or you may have your child in bed with you. A portable crib is not necessary and is awkward for traveling. 7. Don't worry about a crying baby - especially a newborn. You (and maybe other sympathetic parents) will likely be the only ones who can hear your baby. 8. Take your time. Consider the airport is like a trip to the park. It can be as enjoyable! 9. The most important suggestion I have is to be very diligent in asking people to wash their hands with soap before touching your newborn. This is very tough, especially with family. Be sure that you have little kids just tickle the feet. A final, somewhat amusing, thought: The following happened on a trip back from Central Americal. We were on the third and last leg of our travel. My 17-month old was cranky the entire flight and refused to fall asleep until, of course, we touched down. We tried everything to calm him down and singing seemed to help the most. As we were exiting the plane we apologized to those around us and especially to the man in front of us. The gentlemen said with an amused smile, I was fine with my chair being bumped, and I was fine with the little hands on my neck, but damned if I can't get the song The ants go marching out of my head. Best wishes to your delivery and the first of your many travels. Cynthia

At least some airlines that may no longer formally set aside a pre-boarding period for those needing special assistance are still willing to accommodate such needs by request. You can call an airline in advance to see whether their gate attendants are willing to allow pre-boarding on request. Aron

Many years ago my mother traveled across country (SFO to JFK) with me and my little brother who was a toddler at the time. The airplane was rerouted several times due to storms and congestion. At one point we were grounded in Philadelphia. The plane had run out of food and milk at this point and I remember there was a mother who had a screaming hungry infant across the aisle from us. Fortunately my mother had packed plenty of dry formula mix for the trip so the other baby and my brother could be fed. If you are not breast feeding, I would definitely recommend that you pack extra supplies for the plane trip since you never know when there will be a similar complication.

By the time my daughter was 1 year and 5 months she had travelled across the country twice, to Hawaii and back, and had three round trips to India under her belt. Travel with Luftansa. If you're going West, travel with EVA air and pay the small extra fee for deluxe-- which puts you in the nose of the plane. United is the worst: they act like you've made their life miserable by having a child. Avoid them if possible. It's hard to do, but be quietly demanding, even with the infant-friendly airlines. So, for example, when the attendant casually tells you to leave your stroller in the waiting area as you are checking in, INSIST on taking it to the gate. Go to the front of the line and board first. Don't feel guilty. When we did the really long trips (10 hours Delhi to Frankfurt and 10 hours Frankfurt to SFO) I took along two changes of clothes, lots of books, one of those magnetic drawing things, crayons.

Babies travel just fine and they love the open spaces of airports and the new sights, sounds, smells of other places. They have no particular attachment to pickett fences and to the extent they love routine, it can be a modified one. Bon Voyage! Chaudry

I have been EXTREMELY lucky flying with my now 14 month old son. He made his first flight at 7 weeks and has flown nearly 10 times since. He's a lovely airplane rider, but the older he gets, the harder it gets. I have only ever flown with him in my lap, but always look enviously at the other parents whose children have their own seats. I simply can't afford it. If you CAN afford it, buy an extra seat, for your own sanity. If you can't, these tips might help ease your trip: 1) Be prepared for absolutely everything. Plan for the most uncomfortable situations imaginable...double up on everything in your diaper bag. Don't worry too much about having room for your carry-on items...with baby in your lap, you won't get to do anything else anyway. In my experience, airlines tend not to count your diaper bag as a carry-on, but I wouldn't count on that either. 2) Be prepared for rudeness. Airline personnel are often nice, but the last time I flew the stewardesses repeatedly whacked my son's sleeping head with the food carts as they raced down the aisles (and not a single sorry, either.) Fortunately I was sitting next to a lovely woman who allowed my son's feet to lie on her lap and even let us put our food on her tray. But most of the time, the people flying with you will be very unhappy about sharing their flight with your child. My thoughts on that are, tough luck. 3) Take-off and landing are often difficult because of ear-popping. I think bottles are the best way to ease this, but if you aren't doing bottles anymore, any eating or drinking will do. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I just try to remember that my labor was longer and more uncomfortable than any flight I'll ever take! (4/99)