We're going to be vacationing with our infant son in about a month. This is our first plane trip with him, so we're not entirely certain what to expect. Are there any tips you can share for the flight itself, for dealing with waiting in airports or passing through security with a baby?

asked 23 Sep '09, 02:06

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

edited 25 Sep '09, 00:11

How old is your son exactly? and how long will the flight journey be?

(23 Sep '09, 05:16) Emi

9 months old at the time of our trip. It's two legs, one of about an hour, and the second of about 2.5 hours, with 90 minutes to change planes in between.

(23 Sep '09, 14:44) dave0

Take a carrier or sling along for hiking through the airport. It will be a little bit of a hassle to take it off and remove your son to go through security, but when you are trying to manage him, the diaper bag, luggage, etc, you will be glad you have it.

Change his diaper just before you start boarding. It's no fun to change a diaper in the on-plane restroom.

Try to work out his feeding schedule for the day so that you can feed him during take-off to relieve some of the pressure on his ears. If possible feed him again or give him a pacifier for landing.

You will need to put any diaper rash cream or infant medications in your quart sized bag to go through security. They shouldn't fuss over formula though. Check the TSA's website to be certain a few days before you go to the airport.

Also, instead of trying to take enough diapers or formula for the whole trip, pack just enough for your flight and plan to make a trip to a store when you arrive. If you have anything leftover, you can try to pack it, ship it, or toss it.

I've flown with a 5 week old and a 3 month old. Doing these things helped me immensely on my flights.


answered 23 Sep '09, 02:38

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

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We found that once our luggage was packed I was still able to stuff an entire package of diapers (taken out of the package) into the extra side space in our luggage. I was AMAZED at how many diapers fit into my already full suitcases.

(23 Sep '09, 21:31) Sabrina

It depends on the situation. When I flew with the 5 week old, I was flying standby, so I was deliberately being careful with how much stuff I took. When I flew with the 3 month old, my husband was driving out the following day and was able to bring more supplies with him.

(24 Sep '09, 13:50) mkcoehoorn

I agree with most of the information. However, I would suggest having extra formula in case of delays (which seem pretty common these days). Some sites I've seen suggest having a days worth of formula with you, just in case.

(03 Nov '09, 04:50) Kiesa ♦

So, the trip took place, and we didn't have any real issues. Here's some tips based on my own experience

  • Changing facilities in airports are frequently horrible, and the older the airport, the more likely it is to have inadequate changing facilities. YOW and YYZ were newer airports and had reasonable changing tables in both mens and womens washrooms. MCO and ORD, being older terminals, didn't have adequate facilities in the washrooms near our gates. Several times we just found a quiet corner and changed DS on a bench.

  • Finding a quiet place to breastfeed in an airport terminal can be difficult. If your baby doesn't feed well in a crowded/noisy environment (or if mommy is shy about it) you might need to consider bringing pumped bottled milk with you for travel.

  • We brought pumped milk with us and had no problems with it at security checks. There's no need to have it in your 1qt bag of liquids -- just declare it to the checker at the xray belt and it should be allowed.

  • We dedicated a single carry-on to baby stuff, and used our other carry-on bag for our in-flight items. Our lap-held baby wasn't entitled to a carry-on bag.

  • We normally use cloth diapers, and continued to do so while at our destination, but we used disposables (actually, disposable liners inside our cloth diaper covers) while travelling. It just wasn't feasable to lug soggy soiled diapers around all day through security checkpoints, etc. There's also nowhere to rinse off a soiled diaper on the airplane (you can't dunk-and-flush in an airplane toilet).

  • Checking our umbrella stroller plane-side was not a problem on either airline we travelled on this trip (Air Canada and United). For Air Canada, we got a stroller tag at check-in, and on United on the return leg, we got the tag at the gate.

  • Pre-board whenever possible. Yes, it might suck to be on the plane with a fussy infant for the extra 10-20 minutes it takes to fully board, but if you don't pre-board, you might not have any space left in the overhead bins near your seat when you finally get there. Having baby's toy or snack 20 feet away on the other side of the drink cart and the washroom lineup is not a good thing.

  • DS sucked on his pacifier for most of the flight, and we had no pressure issues with him. He even slept through two of the landings, which surprised both of us.

  • If you're the souvenir-grabbing type, ask the flight attendants if they do anything special for kids or babies. The United attendant gave us plastic "pilot's wings" for DS, which will probably end up in his baby book.


answered 03 Nov '09, 03:55

dave0's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


My comment on pre-boarding: Yes, advisable. However, I wish Air Canada would give a few extra minutes to parents boarding before letting other passengers on board. We got on first but had a throng of people behind us and since the plane was small with only one aisle, we felt quite rushed having to step aside to let people through to the back of the plane while we tried to set up our car seat.

(03 Nov '09, 04:13) Chris W. Rea

When my son was that age we took a stroller and I used my moby wrap. The stroller is nice for waiting around in the airport (If your child likes the stroller) AND it's nice to put your luggage/diaper bag, etc. on (without the baby in it of course-hehe). I used my moby wrap to carry him through security, at 2 different airports, and they didn't ask me to take him out of it either time. Most airports have a family line at security where there aren't as many people "pushing" you to go faster so we didn't have any problems with a stroller and carseat.

If your son is wiggily I suggest not preboarding. Less time to be on the plane and there is really no reason to preboard unless you don't have assigned seats. We enjoy boarding last with our kids. There is PLENTY of time to get situated before the plane leaves even if you are last on the plane.

My friend suggested to me to bring a pillow (our flight was longer) and my son did fall asleep after nursing and the pillow was nice for him to sleep on so I didn't have to hold him in my arms the entire time. We carried it in my husband's backpack and my husband LOVED that we had it for him while on vacation to sleep with and while on the plane when my son wasn't using it. :)

None of my kids have had trouble with their ears, but keep in mind sucking is supposed to help with pressure in their ears. So a pacifire, bottle, nursing or eating are ideas for take off & landing with babies.

For on the plane I purchased a new book & toy which kept secret until he was starting to get restless and then those things kept him entertained for a while longer, my friend brings her laptop for movies. :)

ALSO - Each time we flew purchasing only 2 seats, when we got to the airport we asked if there were any rows with 3 seats that we could sit in. For the times it was available it was awesome to have the extra space for the baby to play in the seat (for free!).


answered 23 Sep '09, 21:27

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

My wife and I tend to check in online ahead of time and check ourselves into a row of three, reserving an aisle and a window seat, leaving the middle seat available. If the plane's not full and no one checks into that seat then we have a row of three to ourselves for us and the baby. If someone does check into the middle then we can offer them an aisle or window seat and still get our two seats side-by-side.

(29 Nov '10, 16:36) Jeff

The best advice I can give is to try and book red-eye flights. That way, your child will (hopefully) sleep through most, if not all, of the flight. When they're asleep, you don't have to worry about needing to entertain them, crying, etc. We took our then 16-month old son on a cross country trip this spring, and this worked like a charm. On all of our flights, he fell asleep shortly after takeoff, and stayed asleep almost the entire flight.


answered 23 Sep '09, 04:15

Brandon's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%


On the other hand, if the child doesn't go to sleep, and cries all the way, you may have a bunch of irate passengers who are desperate to get to sleep themselves...

(23 Sep '09, 08:54) Jon Skeet

That is very true, this plan can certainly backfire if the child refuses to go to sleep.

(23 Sep '09, 23:31) Brandon
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Asked: 23 Sep '09, 02:06

Seen: 6,398 times

Last updated: 03 Nov '09, 03:55