In this article, we will give you some lifesaving tips and tell you what you need to know before you take your baby on a plane, plus some pretty sweet baby travel products for flying with your little one. Together with our tips, they can save you a lot of time and make your travel experience as pleasant as possible, for you AND your little rascal.
In our previous two articles of our ‘baby-flight-special’, we shared a lot of interesting pieces of information with you and answered your questions on flying pregnant.
Then we researched what happens when a baby is born on a plane and what this would mean for his citizenship.
So let’s dive into the 3rd article of our special. Let’s first answer some questions, that you might already have, or that at least came up for us when we researched this topic!
When Can Babies Travel By Plane?
First of all, you are probably wondering if you actually can take your new family member on a plane without any problems.
Maybe you don’t have time to wait. You need to get a flight as soon as possible and now you are wondering if it is even allowed to bring your baby on a plane.
So how old does a baby need to be to fly? Here is what we found out.
Airline Restrictions – At What Age Can A Baby Fly?
Just like with a lot of other things that we covered in our previous articles about flying pregnant or the crazy incident of giving birth on a plane, it really is up to the individual airline what their specific restrictions are.
While most of them will be happy to fly with you and your newborn as soon as 48 hours after being born, others will insist that the baby is at least 2 weeks old before boarding a flight.
What Documents Does Your Baby Need To Take A Flight?
If it is an international flight, airlines let you only board if you can show them a passport for your newborn. So depending on when this document is ready, you have to wait to take that flight.
However, in the US and Canada, domestic flights usually don’t require a passport for your newborn.
Apart from that, we would recommend to always take along a copy of your baby’s birth certificate.
Don’t hesitate to research quick what the airline of your choice says about newborns on their flights, or give the customer hotline a call. It’s definitely better to be 100% sure with this.
Some airlines would even like to see a written paper from your partner if you are traveling solo with your newborn. This is to show that your partner is aware of you traveling alone with the baby. I guess there were some crazy runaway-stories in the past!
Here is a great tool that can tell you which documents are required for your specific trip.
Health Risks For Newborn On Plane
Another thought that might come up before you would actually take a flight with your offspring.
Is it actually safe for them to fly? Are there any health risks?
Our research showed that you really should consider waiting for the right time to fly with your baby.
From a slightly hypochondriac perspective, planes are full of bacteria and viruses. As you might have heard before, studies found out, that there are more bacteria on a plane’s food table than on the passenger’s toilet seat. But furthermore, even the airport can be a risky place for weak immune systems.
Thousands of different people passing through each day, which makes it easy for bacteria to spread and find new victims. No wonder why people often catch a cold or have sore throats after long flights, huh?
So some experts really do suggest that you wait a little bit until your newborn had a chance to develop a stronger immune system before you take it to an airport and on a plane. Recommendations are to wait at least 2 months after birth. 4 or 6 months, if you want to be on the safe side.
But yes, probably you don’t want to fly with your newborn for the thrill of it. Assumingly, you have a good reason to do so. So you might just have to take the risk.
In this case, just take some extra care what your baby puts in its mouth and maybe bring some antibacterial cleaning wipes, that we often recommend in our articles, on the trip. You know it…better safe than sorry!
Baby On Plane Ears Popping
Even for us adults, it can be an unpleasant and weird feeling. The airplane takes off, and our ears feel weird.
Holding your nose and try to breathe out through it, can give you a quick pressure equalization and it’s instantly better. But what about your baby? How can you protect your baby’s ears on a plane?
Indeed, the infamous and feared baby crying on airplanes often happens during take-offs and landings. While we adults know what is going on with our ears and the environment around us, a baby doesn’t. Their ears feel weird, they don’t know why and they don’t know what to do about it.
Here is our tip: sucking.
Give your newborn the bottle, your breast, or of course a good pacifier.
While a lot of grown-up passengers use chewing gum or little sweets to keep their mouths busy and in motion, the sucking can help your baby with the pressure equalization in its middle ears.
Definitely keep this in mind if you get into this situation.
And by the way… if your baby suffers from a cold or ear infection, the chances are higher that it will experience discomfort up in the air. Especially when it comes to cabin pressure and ear pain.
Consult your pediatrician. On those occasions, it would be justifiable to give your infant a pain reliever before taking the flight.
Baby Food, Diaper Bag & Stroller – What Can I Bring On A Plane?
If you are going on a long flight with your little one, you are might wondering if you can bring baby food on a plane.
And to make it short and simple here:
Yes, you can bring a reasonable amount of solid or liquid formula or also processed baby food with you and your baby when you get on a plane. Be prepared that TSA Agents might want to check the containers or even open them to have a look, but we didn’t find anything about restrictions during our research.
The same applies to a stroller and usually car seats too. You can bring those items in addition to your normal carry on luggage.
Restrictions about an additional diaper bag can vary again from airline to airline. So as mentioned before, give the airline that you want to choose a phone call and ask for a direct information.
Infant Flight Ticket Cost
It is pretty essential for parents to know, what they actually have to pay for their baby when they are about to take a flight. Most likely it will be in their arms or on their laps most of the time anyway. So what do you have to pay? Do Babies Fly Free Internationally?
Usually, airlines will give special tickets to infants, that are younger than 2 years. Those tickets allow them to travel on your lap or in your arms. They will not have their own seat.
Those tickets will usually cost 10% of the adult fare.
This is a basic information and those things can always change or differ for specific airlines. But ask about this special fare before booking your tickets.
Getting An Own Seat For Your Baby On A Plane
The safest way for the baby to travel is an own seat though. It also is more relaxed for the parents, in case the little rascal sleeps during the flight and mom and dad can move their bodies, and get up and walk a bit for example.
For those reasons, a lot of parents bring a car seat on the plane. It seems like a hassle but can save you some nerves on a long flight. The only downside is, that you have to buy a full prized ticket, instead of the 10%-version. However, some airlines still give you a discount if you pay for a seat for your baby. So you would end up paying about 60% – 75% of an adult fare.
If you consider this, we suggest you check out this specific seat, that we also present in more detail later on in this article.
How About Bassinets On A Plane?
Another little tip at this point: you can ask for a bassinet.
Every plane is equipped with one and the crew gives it usually to the first person who would ask for it. In some occasions when there is more than one request on the same flight, they would hand it to the younger baby.
If you think you need a bassinet for your flight, ask at the airline-counter or at the check-in.
Baby Clothes For The Plane
Another aspect that is worth to take into consideration is the choice of clothes for your little one.
Just make sure that they are as comfortable as possible and that you can easily change the clothes or diapers if necessary.
A good and comfy baby onesie and you are good to go (preferably, of course, a funny baby onesie from our hand-picked funny baby onesie collections directly through amazon, to make the other passengers laugh and don’t take it too seriously, in case your baby cries 😉 ).
Which brings us directly to our next important paragraph.
No Crying – Keeping Baby Quiet On The Plane
Oh boy…there we go. A fear that is somewhere in the back of most parents minds, when they think about flying with a newborn (or travel in general). Also, because everyone experienced it before and knows how bad it can be.
So what if your baby feels so uncomfortable up in the air, that it starts crying and won’t stop doing so? Any tricks?
First of all, don’t stress too much. I know it is easy said, but actually, it is pretty effective and can help a lot, if you bring the right mindset to the table.
Don’t be too worried what the other passengers might think if your baby is crying. Concentrate on yourself and your little one.
Most of the time our head builds unrealistic bad scenarios, that actually don’t represent the reality.
Some people have a deep sleep, others watch movies or listen to music…not everyone will be bothered.
In addition to that, if the other passengers see that you take care of your baby and that you are trying, only an idiot would be angry at you. There are not that many things that you can do, right?
What you certainly CAN do is, to try the same things that you would do outside of a plane. Try to calm your baby, if the seatbelt sign is turned off, walk around and bounce your little one a bit. Speak to it, make a ‘shh’ sound. keep it busy with games or videos.
You can try to feed your baby at the crucial moments when the plane takes off and lands.
And make sure that you don’t forget your baby’s favorite binky! As mentioned earlier in this article, it can prevent ear problems that are caused by the cabin pressure, but of course, also soothe your baby and calm it down.
When To Book A Flight With Your Infant
If you have the choice, it would be a smart move to schedule the flight in the baby’s sleeping time, so that the chances are higher that it will just peacefully sleep during the flight. As obvious as it seems, some parents might forget to consider this.
A more professional tip is, to chose seats that are as close to the plane’s engines as possible. The idea behind that is, that the sound of them is similar to white noise. This is known to have a calming effect, as explained in detail in one of our other articles about white noise and its effect on babies.
If all those things do not help, you should try to distract the infant from its uncomfortable feeling. There are little games to play around like this inexpensive little toy for babies on planes.
It can be a stressful experience, but you can master it, just like hundreds of flying parents do every day. And when the little one is sleeping, reward yourself with a coffee and try to relax! 🙂
Keeping Your Baby Happy (And Busy) During A Flight
Traveling with your baby thousands of feet above the ground means that you have to prepare to keep your baby as happy as possible. If you already know some things that put a smile on your baby’s face or make it more happy/calm/interested, don’t forget to pack them in your hand luggage.
A flight can be (and probably is, especially if it is the first time) a stressful and crazy new experience for your baby. All those people, sounds, the environment, and the excitement.
Take into consideration that unlike you, your baby has no idea whats going on and what that all means. It might be hard at times and stressful to travel for you too, but try to show your baby your most patient and calm version of yourself that you got in you. I’m sure that you already know that infants can sense the excitement of the mother or father.
Just as mentioned in the paragraph before, you can distract your little one with one or two new toys or with his favorites, if he has some.
But especially a cool new toy that gets the baby’s attention more easily can save you a lot of trouble.
Keep Yourself Happy Too!
With all those things pointed out here in this post, don’t forget to think of yourself and make it as comfortable as possible for you, while dealing with the stressful situation of bringing your baby on a flight.
If the little one sleeps – perfect! Let’s lean back and enjoy a movie or a few of your favorite songs to ease the mind. But you probably know yourself what you would like to do most when you spend time on a plane. Probably get some sleep yourself too.
Another thing that can help your family here again is picking the right seats.
Where you sit on an airplane can be an important choice. Some seats have more space than others. If you want to check beforehand and inform yourself, you could check SeatGuru.
Benadryl Or Other Drugs For A Baby On A Plane
During my research, I also stumbled upon some parents that suggest and support to give little ones some cough medicine or other small dosed drugs, to make them more sleepy and the trip more pleasant (for themselves and everyone else). Especially Benadryl seems to be a popular solution for some parents.
Needless to say that this is a very controversial and discussed topic. We do not dare to give you any recommendations to try this out when you go on a trip with your baby. We do have to mention it here though, due to some parents who reported their positive experiences.
On the other hand, there are just as many people who made bad experiences. So it is really up to you and you have to make up your mind, how you feel about this.
If you thinking about it, please check with your family doctor before you make any decisions.
Some doctors recommend NOT to give your baby drugs like Benadryl within the first 12 months of life. But in general, opinions on this topic really vary.
Packing – What Does A Baby Need To Fly?
Ok, a lot of questions are answered now. To make sure that you won’t forget anything for the trip with your little one, you should write a checklist. While it might not be a problem if you forgot the pacifier the last time you went shopping with your baby for an hour or so, it would be a whole other level of ‘oh-oh!’ if you forget it for this trip. So as a quick reminder:
- All the essentials that you always have around your baby, like some tissues, diapers and a pacifier for example
- Antibacterial wipes to kill germs if necessary
- As much baby food or formula (-powder) as needed and a little bit more. Maybe the flight will be delayed or you’ll have a stopover. A stressed AND hungry baby on a plane is something you don’t want to deal with.
- A backup-onesie for your little rascal, but also a backup shirt for you too. In case the little baby tummy has to get used to eating food up in the air while you are feeding or holding him.
- Don’t forget to bring a good binky or better two! The sucking can help your baby with air pressure problems in his ears.
Best Baby Travel Products For Flying
The basic things are covered and the essential questions are hopefully answered by now.
We want to end this post with the best baby travel gear for an airplane, that can make it MUCH easier and more comfortable for you and your baby, to travel. Not only can these cool articles that we put together here for you be helpful for your plane trip, but also for many other occasions as well.
As always here on our site, everything is handpicked from amazon and the links will bring you directly to the article pages if you are interested. We only share those products with you, that are top rated, have the best value for their money and have a lot of positive feedback and reviews.
So save yourself some research time and check our 7 top baby travel products for flying, that made traveling for many families much more pleasant and less stressful.
#1 – A Lightweight Travel Stroller
Starting this list with a real super-product.
Not only is this a convenient, light weighted and super easy to fold and pack stroller. It also doesn’t take much space and convinces with its functions and stability.
Around 4,000 (!) ratings that make this product the most popular stroller on amazon.
And it doesn’t stop there…it has also a killer price-tag of 60$ and therefore, is about half the price of its competitors. That is unbeatable.
And you can easily buy this bag for the article, in addition, to make your travels easier.
All in all, if you are looking for a stroller, the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller HAS to be it.
#2 – A Traveller Car Seat
Remember when we talked about how parents often bring car seats for their infants on a flight and usually don’t have to pay anything extra for that before? Well, here is the perf product for this
This very safe and light travel car seat is a popular choice on amazon and totally convinces us with its positive reviews and ratings.
And we also found a fitting bag for you for this product. Makes it a lot easier to carry around and bring on your trip!
#3 – A Great Baby Toy To Use On A Plane
We pointed out numerous times in this article, that it is a great idea to bring especially new toys on a flight with your infant. Instead of crying, there will hopefully curiosity and maybe some sweet smiles instead.
So maybe try out this cool thing! An activity drawing book, that works with magic water pens and can be reused again and again. In our opinion and after reading those reviews, definitely worth to check it out!
#4 – A Portable Changing Pad
You are on your trip and the Airports, public restrooms or other busy places leave you no other choice, to change your baby’s diapers in not-so-optimal places. Especially when you just have a dirty floor somewhere in an emergency.
This gadget will not only help you out in these scenarios, it will also keep your baby’s hands busy and make an overall easy changing experience, no matter where you are.
#5 – A Baby Sleep Sack
This machine-washable sleep sack regulates the body temperature of your little rascal.
It can not just be used on an often coldish airplane, but also in hotels, buses or trains. It saves space and it will be a comfortable friend for your baby.
#6 – A Diaper Bag For Your Trips
This diaper bag is not only super light and waterproof but also gives you the best value with its great price, when you compare it to its competitors.
It also comes with many zip-pockets and enough space for all the essentials.
#7 – Best Baby Carrier For An Airplane
Last but not least, the one thing that is now everywhere, when parents have to go somewhere with their babies: a baby carrier.
Especially in all this hectic on airports and planes, you got to ask yourself how people survived without this before.
And here we found for you our most loved product when it comes to baby carriers. It is already an established classic and made many parents and their little ones happy. Just check the reviews and you will be convinced, that this is the baby carrier that you want to use!
As always, we hoped that you enjoyed reading this article!
And we are happy if we could answer your questions, while at the same time, we did our research to answer them ourself too!
If you go on a flight with your newborn, all the best for the adventure and have a safe trip.
See you in the next article! 🙂