How to travel with a six month old?

I have to travel alone with my six month old daughter from South America back to the US.  The last time I traveled back alone was very difficult- and now she tends to wiggle around in my arms- any suggestions as to how to hold her on the plane?


Re: How to travel with a six month old?

I've been flying internationally and domestically with my children since they were each 2 months (now 8&6, and 5 months). At least three trips a year are the children and I traveling internationally (14+ hours each way) alone. In addition to that, we do another 8-10 international and domestic flights a year as a family. I have never had any problems with my children on any of the flights. Here are a few tips and suggestions:

1.) You will need to have all your baby's documents in order. It is a good idea to keep a copy of her notarized birth certificate with you. Keep your doctors name and number with you. Also get the name and number of a doctor where you are visiting in case an emergency should come up. Another thing you should consider bringing with you is your childs immunization book. That way if any emergency should arise while you are on vacation (no matter where you are) the treating physician will at least have some verifiable information to go on. This book also usually includes what your child is allergic to, and some small but very helpful notes from your doctor. Since it is an international trip, you will need a passport and possibly a visa for your child as well. Verify what travel documents you will need in advance to make sure you have everything.

2.) Since your child is under two, you are allowed to hold her as a lap child. Try to book a bulkhead (front) seat where you will have more room, and a bassinet. Bassinets are limited, and not available on every flight. If the bassinet is available (they can only be used in bulkhead seats) it will attach to the front wall for you to put your child in (however you can not use this during taxi, take-offs, landings, or turbulence).

This is not the safest way for a child to fly and the airlines recommend children under 40lbs have their own seat with a child safety device - a CRS (Child Restraint System) - because it is safe for the child (especially during turbulence), makes them feel secure, is more comfortable for both parent and child, will help your child sleep, and gives both of you the opportunity to relax a bit. A CRS is a hard-backed child or infant or child safety seat that is approved by the government for use in both motor vehicles and aircraft.

In order to be certified for use on an airplane, the car seat has to met the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Check the labels on the side of your car restraint for a sticker (words will be printed in red) for verification that your seat is safe for airplane use. Almost all car seats pass this requirement.

Many airlines offer half-price tickets so parents can be guaranteed that their child can travel in a CRS device. You should call your airline to ask for a discount and/or ask what the airline's policy is for using empty seats.

If you haven't booked a separate seat for your child, be nice on check-in and see if they can "block" the seat next to you. They will then only use it if they absolutely need it - giving you a free seat!

3.) You can take a stroller and gate check it (you can also do this with a care seat). It will not count towards your checked luggage. This means that you will be able to use it all the way up until the time that you board, and one of the handlers will take it from you at your departure gate, tag it, and put it in a special compartment for you. When you exit the plane, it will be waiting for you at the door as well.

4.) Not all children have a problem with the pressure changes in their ears. If yours does however you'll want to know how to help. For take-offs and landings (the WHOLE way up, and starting from the BEGINNING, or TOP of descent), the best ways to alleviate ear pressure are to:

*If your child is nursing, nurse her
*Give her something to drink (formula, water)
*Give her a pacifier to suck on
*Place hot damp towels (usually like the ones distributed to first and business class before take-off and landing to freshen up with - just ask a flight attendant for them) or paper towels that have been soaked in hot water and wrung out, at the bottom of two paper or styrofoam cups, then hold the cups over the ears
*Gently but with some pressure, rub her neck repeatedly from the chin to the base of the neck. This will cause a swallowing motion that will relieve pressure build-up in the ears.

5.) As long as your child is with you, you are able to take as much formula, breast milk, regular milk, juice and/or baby food that you will need for you child for the duration of the time you will spend in the airport and on the flight (as long as it is within reason).And no, you will NOT have to taste it - no matter what form you bring it in.

All that you must do is:

1. Separate the milk from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size (1 liter) zip-top bag.
2. Declare you have the items to one of the Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening

New regulations also allow you to take beverages (including water) from home as long as they are less than 3oz (100ml), -OR- beverages (including water) of any size that you have purchased from inside the security area onto planes. You can also bring a limited amount of yogurt, cheese, puddings, etc. with you also as long as they are in containers less than 3oz (100ml)

Save your money when it comes to buying water though because the Flight Attendants will provide you with hot or cold water (or any other drink) free at any time that you request, no matter how many times you request it.

6.) Keep your diaper bag well stocked with plenty of diapers, wipes, ointments and other essential things. Just remember the new law regulating liquids, gels, and such and pack accordingly. You can usually find travel size baby products in stores and they are wonderful for plane use. One thing I always like to carry with me is hand sanitizer! I always wipe the trays down with that (followed by a baby wipe) and use it for my kids after taking them to the bathroom (even though they wash their hands). I know that airplane bathrooms are not the cleanest, so that is why I try to be vigilant.

Be sure to pack 2-3 changes of clothes for your child. You will need this in case she gets sick, spills something on herself, or in case your luggage gets lost. Bring any medications that you might need for your child should she get sick or that she takes regularly. Remember that if they are not prescription medications, the 3oz (100ml) rule applies to them and they must be kept in a clear plastic bag.

Do NOT give your child medicine with the hopes of it making her sleep. This is not only cruel, but dangerous as well. I have also seen where it backfires; a parent gives their child a dose of Benedryl to make them sleep, but instead it gets the child more hyper and the parents get absolutely no rest on the flight (and neither does anyone else). Most young children will fall asleep on the plane due to the gentle vibrations.

You should be respectful of other passengers and always change your child's diaper in the restroom. They do have diaper bed changers in there, although they can be a little small. Usually the bathrooms with the diapers beds are the handicap ones (they usually tend to be toward the rear of the plane), so they tend to be a little bit bigger and it does help. I also know some people who say that instead of using the changing table, they say to put the toilet seat down, use the toilet as a seat for yourself, and lay the baby across your knee to change their diaper. To make it easier on yourself, make sure that you undress your baby so that she has just a diaper on while at your seat. Grab your diaper, wipes, and ointment or baby powder (whatever you use for changing your childs diaper) and head to the bathroom. This will help to make the procedure faster and easier. Try to change your childs diaper as close to boarding as possible. This will help to make you baby feel fresh and more comfortable for take-off (which could also mean less problems).

7.) Pack plenty of things to entertain your child. Books, small toys, a portable DVD player (be sure to bring extra batteries) or let her use your laptop (make sure it's fully charged) with a few movies is usually entertaining as well. Also be sure to pack one or two comfort things such as a favorite blankie or stuffed animal. I always bring a small pillow & blanket from home for my children (even now) because I know 100% that they are clean, and my children are accustomed to them.

My children bring along a Rose Art kit which is great! It has crayons, markers, coloring books, coloring sheets, & stickers that they can color. It definitely keeps them entertained!
I take the contents of the kit out of the box & place them in something a little travel pack. Here is what my sons looks like: - outside - inside

You can also play games like pat-a-cake, or I-spy, & tell stories to your child as well. If you tell a story, try to make it an interactive one where she has a part in it so she stays interested.

You might also consider going to the store & letting your child  pick out a few inexpensive toys or other things that interest her to be used only once you are on the plane. Be sure to pick out a few toys without her seeing so that she has an extra surprise.

8.) Don't worry about what the other passengers are going to think or say should your baby cry. This will only add stress, which your child can pick up on, and it could make her cry longer and harder. Instead, just relax, and handle the situation like you would if you were at home. Most times the other passengers are very understandin

Go Cubs Go

Re: How to travel with a six month old?

I travel constantly with mine. Carry her in the baby strap on your chest from the moment you arrive at the airport. Push your carry on bags in front of you in the stroller. This will make you much less exhausted and life easier when you go through customs. Request a row with an empty seat and the baby can lay down next to you when she sleeps, or sit there and play when she's awake. Give her Mylicon drops or chamomile drops to make her sleep for most of the flight. Make sure to have a bottle ready for take off and landing, so her ears don't pop. I travel internationally with my daughter quite often and I couldn't do it without the baby strap so make sure you have one! GOod luck!

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Re: How to travel with a six month old?

Nurse for lift offs and landings, or let the baby suck on something. It helps with the popping of their ears.

I just flew with my 6 months. I got a lot of sleep the night before to make sure my patience was at its best. I took food along for myself for the same reason, I'm a bear when hungry. And than I nursed during the take off and landing and anytime he got fussy. I had bottles of formula ready for feeding, if needed, and I took along big chunks of frozen bagels for him to chew on.

Basically, what worked for me was the realization that I had to pretty much entertain my guy during the whole flight. But it worked out because since he was being allowed to play, he would get tired out so we could nap.

Don't put on head phones thinking you can watch a movie because you can't. I started to do so, but it just got to be annoying with the constant interuptions or the baby tugging at your head phone wires. The woman a row behind us was listening to music and let her baby cry for, no exaggeration, an hour. Her little man was bored and strapped in a seat.

Also, during one flight the man next to me had older children and enjoyed holding my guy for a little bit, while I drank some coffee.

Emma B

Re: How to travel with a six month old?

If she is too wiggly, you can buy a separate seat for her and put her in a carseat ... as long as the carseat is FAA approved (you will find a sticker on the seat somewhere if it is).  Otherwise, make sure you have enough toys for her to play with if she is sitting on your lap, and try to get an overnight flight ... that way she will sleep most of the time.


Re: How to travel with a six month old?

can you use a baby carrier? not sure if it would work

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Re: How to travel with a six month old?

Keep her away as long as possible before you get on the plane and give her a bottle while on the plane so she goes to sleep after it.