When can I fly with a baby?
The time has come for your first family vacation with your new baby—but when is your baby allowed to fly? Most airlines welcome babies on board from 2 weeks of age. Whether or not you should bring your baby on a plane at 2 weeks depends entirely on your child. Some babies may fly very easily and peacefully, while others can become disoriented and upset in an unfamiliar (and often uncomfortable) environment.
In general, it is advisable to wait a few months before taking your first flight with your child. After about four to five months, an infant’s immune system will have strengthened to the point that the risk of getting sick is significantly reduced. If your child is vaccinated it may also ease your worries about bringing them on the plane.
What are the top tips for flying with a baby?
First of all, flying with a baby is in most cases significantly easier and less stressful than you would expect. But there are a few tips that can make it painless for everyone.
Your Child’s Passport
If you are going overseas, it is essential to secure a passport for your child. Information on how to apply for a passport for a child under 16 can be found here. It should be noted that you will need to apply for the passport in person, with your child, and that it can take up to 8 weeks to receive the passport.
Diapers, a Change of Clothes, and Toys
Before you even leave for the airport, you must prepare a diaper bag. The bag should not only have diapers but also a change of clothes and ideally a few toys. You never know when an accident might happen, and it’s better to have extra clothes on hand just in case. In addition, a few of your child’s favorite toys will keep them entertained throughout the flight and during changing times.
Drink Something During Takeoff and Landing
Adults will often eat a snack or chew gum while taking off and landing to relieve the pressure on their ears. However, babies don’t understand this trick and it can be impossible to get them to consciously swallow. Therefore, it is best to just give the baby something to drink during takeoff and landing. Not only will this relieve the pressure on the child’s ears, but it will also have a calming and distracting effect.
Bring a Blanket
Especially on longer flights, airlines will often give out blankets because of the cool temperatures on the plane. Just to be safe, you should bring your own blanket from home for your baby. This will keep your child warm and hopefully get them to nap. In addition to being cold, airplanes can also be quite dry. It may be a good idea to bring along nose drops or Vaseline to prevent your baby from getting a chapped nose.
Bring a Pillow
A neck pillow is not only comfortable for you, but also practical for your child. If you put the pillow on your lap, it offers a nice area where your little one can rest. This gives your child an opportunity to sleep and frees up your hands to eat, read, or use your cell phone.
Consider Your Child’s Schedule
If you need to take a long-haul flight, consider flying overnight. If possible, you should organize your long-haul flight to reflect the normal sleep cycle of the baby. An ideal schedule would be an eight-hour flight during their normal bedtime, then a two hour layover when they would be awake anyway, followed by a shorter flight when they would be going down for their first nap. See, long-haul flights don’t have to be scary anymore!
Here are all our tips in short form:/
What should you consider when flying with a baby?
- Pack diapers, wet wipes, and a change of clothes
- Bring toys to keep your child entertained
- Drink something during takeoff and landing for pressure equalization
- Bring a blanket to combat the cold air on the plane
- Pack nasal drops or Vaseline to prevent a dry nose
- Bring a pillow to allow your child to rest in your lap
- If possible, plan your travel schedule to match the baby’s natural sleep rhythm
- If required, obtain a child’s passport
When should you not fly with a baby?
The safest way to determine if your child is OK to fly is to have a check-up with their pediatrician shortly before the trip. The health and well-being of the baby should always be the primary consideration. If your child does not feel well or is recovering from an illness, you should probably think twice about flying with them. In the end, parents know their own child the best. If you and/or your doctor are confident that your child is fit to travel, you should feel relaxed about taking them on a flight.
Flying with a baby—without the stress
Flying with a child can be just as anxiety-inducing for the parent as it is for the little one. Try to get as comfortable as you can on the flight. Most likely, your plane journey will go much smoother than you think. Even if your child is a little fussy, try to stay calm. In most cases, the other passengers will be sympathetic. Additionally, your baby will usually be much calmer than you expect. Remember, when you are relaxed, your positive energy will be directly transferred to your child. Relaxed Parent = Relaxed Child.