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30 Tips to Keep in Mind When Traveling With an Infant

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Sure, going away is exciting—but when you’ve got little ones to account for, getting ready for a trip can feel more like work than vacation. Traveling with baby is intimidating, but it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, family travel expert Corinne McDermott believes traveling with an infant is often easier than traveling with an older toddler. “They’re not mobile, they’re not wiggling and they’re eating and sleeping around the clock,” she says. “It doesn’t really matter where you are!”

That said, whether you’re getting to your destination by plane, train or automobile, you’ll still want to prepare to ensure your journey goes as smoothly as possible. Below, experts break down all the travel-with-baby tips to know before you depart.

When Can You Travel With a Baby?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), both premature and full-term babies shouldn’t fly for the first few months of life unless it’s absolutely necessary. Flying can increase baby’s exposure to infectious diseases, so it may be best to wait until their immune system is a little more developed, or until they’ve received some of their initial immunizations , which are generally given at the 2 month visit, but can be given after 6 weeks old. Traveling by train poses the same risk. Road trips are usually the safest option for newborns and infants. Just make sure to have a properly installed infant car seat and take breaks every few hours, per the AAP . Of course, it’s always best to check in with your pediatrician before planning any kind of vacation with baby.

General Tips for Traveling With an Infant

Traveling with an infant can seem like a daunting task, but there are several ways to make it go a bit smoother. Whether you’re hitting the road, taking a train or flying, consider the following travel-with-baby tips:

Stick to baby’s schedule

Odds are baby has a naptime , bedtime and feeding schedule they’re used to. Children tend to behave better when they have a predictable sense of order, so try to plan your travel—as well as events on the trip—around that schedule (i.e. after baby’s nap or meal) if you can, advises parenting coach Tammy Gold . They’ll likely be less cranky if they’re well-rested and fed.

Keep baby’s meals handy

On a similar note, while traveling with an infant, pack plenty of formula, bottles, water (for babies older than 6 months) and other solids . Pack more than you think you’ll need in case of delays—and don’t forget to take all the essentials you’ll need for pumping while traveling .

Bring extra clothes and lots of diapers

When traveling with an infant, you’ll want anything and everything that can help clean up a messy emergency. Pack extra wipes in your carry-on diaper bag , as well as multiple changes of clothes for baby . “Bring more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need,” suggests McDermott. Accidents happen. Stash plastic bags to hold trash until you have the opportunity to dispose of it properly. While you’re at it, keep a change of clothes for yourself handy in case of spit up or a blowout. If baby makes a mess, you might take the brunt of it. Plus, don’t forget the essentials, like travel-sized diaper cream , baby shampoo , body wash, moisturizer and other staples in baby’s daily routine, suggests McDermott. (This checklist is a great tool for packing all the baby essentials you’ll need in your diaper bag.) Gold also suggests trying overnight diapers for long travel days to prevent baby from getting uncomfortably wet.

Bring baby-safe medication

Consider also packing a first-aid travel kit in case of unexpected incidents, like if baby has an allergic reaction on the plane. It can also come in handy once you’ve landed, since you won’t want to hunt for a pharmacy in a strange place at an odd hour. You’ll also want to bring nasal aspirators , nasal saline drops, and infant Tylenol in case baby gets sick while traveling . Check in with your pediatrician for their recommendations on what medications to pack. Plus do some research before leaving on local pediatricians and pediatric hospitals in case of emergencies.

Pack baby’s toys

Whether you’re traveling with an infant or a toddler, packing books and toys to keep them entertained is key. Bring a mix of baby’s favorites, including items that offer comfort, like their favorite stuffed animal or lovey . Having that small comfort from home when baby’s in a new place can go a long way to making them feel happy and safe, Gold says. Bringing new toys or options that baby doesn’t usually play with can be a game changer too. “New situations also offer new perspectives, so that book your child loves for hours at home may not be of interest to them at all on a flight. But that other one they’ve never picked up will suddenly occupy them for hours,” Lund says. “Books, wooden puzzles, busy-boards and coloring books are great for flights because they pack pretty easily and don’t require movement to be used.” Wondering if you should consolidate baby’s books onto one device to make your bag lighter? McDermott says to do this only as a last resort: “Once you pull that tech out, it’s hard to go back.”

Go over the logistics beforehand

If you’re flying with a baby internationally, do some research beforehand to see if there are any special passport or visa requirements, or immunizations baby will need . Also investigate if getting travel insurance is a good idea. Finally, call your lodgings beforehand to see what kind of travel gear they offer. This can help save you the effort of packing baby gear .

Arrive early

Whether you’re flying with baby or traveling by train, give yourself ample time. Get to the airport or train station a little earlier than you normally would to check in, request any assistance and board when you can. The last thing any parent traveling with little ones wants is the additional stress of missing their departure time.

Don’t worry about other passengers

When traveling with an infant, one of the primary anxieties parents have is disrupting other passengers. While it can be really hard, try not to worry about what others think. “No one wants to be the stereotypical ‘bad parent’ on a plane with a screaming kid, but there’s a reason it’s so prevalent,” says Tyler Lund, founder and lead contributor at Dad on the Run . “Parents need to do what they need to do and what’s best for their children, regardless of whether it interrupts another passenger’s enjoyment of their in-flight movie.” Instead of worrying about other passengers, spend your time and energy making baby comfortable.

Be patient with yourself and baby

Another important tip for traveling with baby? Show yourself grace. Even with extra time and tons of planning, it can be challenging—with or without a child in tow. Despite all of your planning, baby may have a fit , or things may not go as smoothly as you had hoped. Accept the situation at hand and roll with it, Lund says. “Even the most epic meltdown won’t ruin the rest of your vacation.” It’s also okay not to be as strict about rules as you might be at home to make things easier on yourself and your little one. Be patient with yourself and your kiddo and know you’re both doing the best you can.

Tips For Flying With a Baby

Anxious about an upcoming flight? Check out the following tips for flying with baby to ensure you both have a stress-free and enjoyable time.

Figure out what time to fly

Chaos is inevitable around peak travel periods, like the holidays, spring break and the summer months, but you can avoid some of it by traveling early. Generally, airports are less crowded earlier in the morning, and early flights are less likely to have travel delays. “Given the choice between an early flight or mid-afternoon, I’ll take early every time,” McDermott says. “Some kids might actually go back to sleep for the ride to the airport.” As for booking the cheapest tickets, “steering clear of the weekends usually offers the best opportunity for reasonable airfare,” she adds.

Know TSA rules for breast milk and formula

Wondering what the deal is with packing formula or breast milk when flying with baby? According to TSA , when traveling with an infant, you can take breast milk, formula and baby food (like puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces for your carry-on; cooling accessories like freezer packs and gel packs are also allowed. These items are subject to additional screening though, so have them grouped together in a separate bag to make the check-in process go smoother. “It’s just easier to show security when you have all of baby’s food and drinks together,” McDermott says, adding that, while a clear bag may speed up the screening, it’s not necessary.

Gate check your stroller

Not to worry if you don’t have one of those cool micro travel strollers that folds up to fit in the overhead compartment. As you’re checking your luggage, tell the attendant at the counter that you’d like to gate check the stroller. They’ll give you a tag to attach to it, which is all the gate attendant needs to see as you’re boarding. The only stipulation: The stroller needs to be able to fold in half. With most airlines, it’ll be waiting for you on the ramp as you deplane.

Prepare baby for takeoff and landing

One of the most important tips for flying with baby? Be sure to soothe them during takeoff and landing. “Babies and toddlers tend to feel the most pain from the pressure, since the Eustachian tubes in their ears are much smaller,” explains McDermott. “The act of swallowing helps to clear them, so nursing or sucking on a bottle or pacifier can help. However, don’t be afraid to administer a dose of baby pain reliever if your child really seems to be in pain.” (Get the green light from your pediatrician first.) For older kids, swallowing snacks or drinks should help with the ear pain from the change in air pressure. Plus, while pain relievers may be okay, experts don’t recommend offering little ones medicines like Benadryl to help them “sleep better” on the flight, as it can cause adverse side effects.

Think carefully about your seats

One of the most valuable tips for flying with baby? If you have the flexibility, choose seats that work best for your family. Lund recommends the bulkhead seats toward the front. These are the rows without seats in front of them, and they often have more leg room. Some airlines may also have a pull-out bassinet in the bulkhead area too. Call your airline ahead of time and see if they’ll let you reserve the bulkhead seats, suggests Lund.

McDermott, on the other hand, prefers the back of the plane, where you can nab a spot closer to the bathroom and the service galley. “It’s easier to catch the flight attendant’s attention should you require assistance with anything,” she explains. A window seat is also usually better for baby to protect them from the service carts and any items that may fall out of overhead bins.

Consider getting baby their own seat

While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows babies and toddlers under 2 years old to sit on your lap, the AAP suggests getting baby their own seat with a car seat that’s certified for airplane use. Check in with your airline on whether baby’s gear will count as luggage and whether there are any rules and regulations to keep in mind.

Accept help from anyone you can

Many passengers or crew members will be willing to help a family traveling with an infant. Particularly at the airport, you might be surprised at how friendly and helpful TSA agents, airline employees and flight attendants can be when you ask for assistance.

Figure out if pre-boarding is right for your family

One of the biggest questions parents have when flying with baby: To preboard or not to preboard? It’s really a matter of preference and your child’s temperament . Is an extra 30 minutes of sitting on the plane a recipe for disaster—or is that additional time going to help everyone get settled? “Personally, if I let my kids run wild until the last minute, it takes them a long time to settle down,” McDermott says. “I prefer pre-boarding because it gives me the opportunity to get organized and settle the kids in their seats. You want to make sure you have access to a close overhead bin, as well as have time to install a car seat if you brought one.”

Find the airport’s play areas

Most major airports will have at least one play area for children—and this can be a great place for them to get all their energy out before boarding a flight. “It also helps to keep them from falling asleep in a stroller or on seats at the gate right before boarding,” Lund says. While it’s unavoidable at times, waking up little ones right before boarding a plane may quickly cause a meltdown.

Keep baby entertained mid-flight

“Most toddlers don’t like being restrained for lengths of time and just want to get up and explore the plane,” Lund says. Along with toys, keeping baby entertained may involve walking up and down the aisle with them when the seatbelt sign is off. Pay no mind to other passengers—as long as baby is safe and happy, that’s really all that matters.

Use bedtime as a tool for international flights

For international flights, consider overnight options, and book flights around baby’s normal bedtime. “[This] gives them a chance to calm down, get used to the setting and fall asleep. It also helps in the case of a minor delay,” Lund says. “Our boys refused to sleep on our first flight until two hours after their bedtime… Once they fell asleep though, they were out for the rest of the flight and gave us time to ourselves.”

Car Travels With Baby Tips

Keeping your little one happy while they’re strapped into a car seat for hours can be a challenge. As you gear up for a road trip with baby, keep the following travel-with-baby tips in mind:

Check the car seat

Baby will be spending the entire ride in their car seat, so it’s crucial to make sure they’re safe and secure in a properly installed car seat . While babies shouldn’t sleep in car seats for long stretches of time or overnight, the AAP notes that babies can doze off in a properly installed car seat while your vehicle is in transit.

Plan your route

Know where the gas stations and rest stops are located. Moreover, take note of any hotels along the way in case you need one, and call ahead to see if they provide a safe sleep space for baby. If not, bring a bassinet or a travel crib . Also, don’t be super-strict about arrival time. “You can’t plan around unexpected diaper changes or needing to nurse,” McDermott says. “If you go with the expectation that things will take a lot longer than usual, you’ll be fine.”

Time your departure

If you’re going to be in the car for a few hours, try timing it with baby’s nap schedule or earlier in the morning when they’re still sleeping. For longer trips, consider driving at night during baby’s normal bedtime .

Make sure everything you need is handy

Before you pull out of the driveway, make sure you have everything you and baby will need within arm’s reach. This includes extra clothes, diapers , wipes, meals and toys for baby, as well as water, hand sanitizer , sunglasses and a phone for you.

Sit in the backseat with baby

If possible, it’s smart to have a caregiver sit in the back to help with baby’s needs throughout the ride. It’ll also help keep them entertained. Whether you’re reading board books or singing a song, interaction is key when traveling with baby. “When they’re small and rear-facing, it gets awfully boring in that back seat,” McDermott says. “An engaged, safe and comfortable baby is usually a happy baby.”

Take breaks every few hours

Not only will this help you stretch your legs, but it may also keep baby from getting too restless. The AAP recommends taking a break every two to three hours during day trips and four to six hours at night. Use this time to change baby’s diapers and feed them. (The AAP also cautions parents to never breastfeed baby in a moving car.)

Pull over when you need to

Maybe baby just won’t stop crying because they threw their toy and now it’s stuck somewhere between the seat and the door, or maybe you need to use the restroom. Whatever the reason, if there’s anything distracting you from the road, pull over and take the time to deal with it. If you’re traveling with baby alone and need to leave the car, take them with you. Otherwise, work with your traveling companions to ensure everyone’s needs are met before getting back on the road.

Train Travels With Baby Tips

The train seems ideal for traveling with baby, right? You’re free to move around, baby always has a view and you don’t have to keep your eyes on the road. “For older toddlers, you can’t beat it,” McDermott says. Plus, Amtrak also offers great discounts for kids: Infants 0 to 2 travel for free, and children ages 2 to 12 ride at half price. However, there are some things to keep in mind to have a smooth ride—and many of these will be similar to our tips for flying with baby.

Tag team finding seats

If you’re traveling with your partner or someone else, have them scout out seats while you tend to baby. Many cars have four seats facing each other toward one end, and these typically have more room. Try to snag those seats if they’re available. Also, ask the conductor which doors will open at your stop so you won’t have to scramble to switch cars.

Sit by a window

If you’re able, try to grab baby a window seat. Similar to flights, it’s safer than the aisle. Plus, the view outside may keep baby engaged and entertained while you take a few minutes to yourself.

Above all else, when traveling with baby, remember to have patience. “Tantrums and breakdowns aren’t malicious; they’re a sign of frustration,” Lund says. “Remembering this might be the difference between a bad [experience] that’s a side note to an otherwise great vacation, and a bad [experience] causing a bad vacation.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Tammy Gold , LCSW, MSW, CEC, is a licensed therapist, certified parent coach, author and the founder of the Tammy Gold Nanny Agency. She has over 20 years of experience and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree from Columbia University.

Corinne McDermott is a TICO-certified family travel expert with over 15 years of experience and the founder of the blog Have Baby Will Travel . She received her bachelor’s degree from Toronto Metropolitan University.

Tyler Lund is the founder and lead contributor to Dad on the Run , a blog dedicated to fatherhood. He’s also a software development manager, tech nerd, home-brewer, three-time marathoner and rescue dog owner. He loves traveling to new and unique places a bit off the beaten path and sharing stories from these adventures., Flying with Baby: Parent FAQs , November 2019, Is it Safe for My Baby to Travel in a Car Seat a Few Hours at a Time? , December 2022

Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, The Importance of Schedules and Routines , September 2023

Cleveland Clinic, Why Can’t Babies Drink Water? , September 2023

Transportation Security Administration, Traveling With Children

Pediatrics Child Health, Air Travel and Children , January 2007

Federal Aviation Administration, Flying With Children , September 2023, Travel Safety Tips , August 2018

Amtrak, Discount Information for Children

Learn how we ensure the accuracy of our content through our editorial and medical review process .

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Flying with a baby: 15 tips for an easier trip

Planning on flying with a baby? Here's everything you need to know, including whether your baby can fly for free and tips for managing the flight.

Caroline Picard

How old does a baby need to be to fly?

Do babies fly free, what do babies need to fly, 15 tips for flying with a baby.

Flying with a baby adds a layer of complication and planning – but that doesn't mean you can't make it work. To help the trip go as smoothly as possible, book a seat for your baby, plan for the security screening, and pack wisely for you and your little one. For everything even the most seasoned travelers need to know about air travel with a baby , read on.

Planning a flight with a newborn? There isn't an official age requirement for air travel , but airlines have varying policies. Some (such as Alaskan Airlines) have no minimum age to fly; others (American Airlines, JetBlue) say babies can fly as young as two or three days old; and still others (Delta, United, Spirit, Frontier) allow babies on board after the first week of life.

Less commonly, airlines will require infants to be slightly older. Southwest, for example, says children must be at least 14 days old for an international flight. Check with your airline to confirm their policy before booking a ticket for your little one.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics Opens a new window (AAP) discourages parents from flying with a baby too soon after birth. With their delicate immune systems, newborns have a heightened risk of contracting an infectious disease on a plane. That's especially true if your baby was born prematurely or has a condition such as a chronic heart problem that makes them more vulnerable.

Always discuss your travel plans with your pediatrician and ask what they recommend. Depending on your baby's age and your destination, they might suggest an extra dose of certain vaccines .

Babies and toddlers under 2 years old aren't legally required to occupy an airplane seat and can instead travel as a "lap infant" on their parent's ticket. Lap infants are generally free of charge, although you may pay a percentage of the full fare if you're traveling internationally .

Even though you don't officially need to purchase a ticket for your under-2-year-old, leading experts agree that it's much safer to buy an airplane seat for your baby. That's because a baby held in your arms is nowhere near as secure as they'd be buckled into an approved child restraint system should the plane encounter turbulence.

Unrestrained children are the leading cause of pediatric injuries on an airplane, and lap infants have tragically been killed during even moderate turbulence. Although it can be upsetting to think about, human arms are simply not strong enough to hold a child in these events. That's why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Opens a new window , and the  National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Opens a new window all strongly urge parents to purchase an airplane seat for young children.

If you book a seat for your baby or toddler, bring an FAA-approved child restraint on board to strap them in safely. You can use a car seat on a plane (make sure it's approved for both motor vehicles and aircraft) or AmSafe's Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) device Opens a new window .

Although it can be tough to swallow the additional cost, a baby or toddler in their own seat has other benefits in addition to safety: They're more comfortable during the flight, easier to manage, and more likely to fall asleep, many parents find.

This depends a little on your child's age, the airline you're flying, and whether you're traveling within the United States or internationally.

For domestic travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Opens a new window doesn't require children under 18 to provide identification. However, it's still smart to check your airline's identification requirements. Some (JetBlue, Alaska Airlines) may ask for an infant's proof of age for domestic flights, which could be a birth certificate, passport, or immunization record.

Other airlines, such as Southwest, might not ask for proof of age but may require you to have a boarding verification document printed for your infant from the ticket counter even if they aren't occupying their own seat. When in doubt, it doesn't hurt to have some extra documentation for your baby just in case.

If you're flying internationally, your baby will need a passport regardless of their age. And if your baby is flying internationally with just one parent, you might be asked to show a letter of consent.

1. Check in with your airline

Regardless of whether you're flying with a lap infant or purchasing a seat for your baby, it's worth connecting with the airline ahead of time to discuss your seating options. A few things to consider bringing up with the agent:

If you're going the lap infant route : Ask the airline if there's an option to reserve a seat in a row with a skycot. These onboard bassinets are designed for babies 6 months and younger and provide a place for your baby to lie down flat during the flight (though you will need to pick them up whenever the seatbelt sign is on, as well as during takeoff and landing). Also confirm whether there are any rules about how many lap infants are permitted per row or section. Alaska Airlines, for example, has a policy Opens a new window stipulating where lap infants can sit on certain aircrafts.

If you're booking your baby their own seat and bringing a car seat : Some airlines require that car seats be placed next to a window so they don't block other passengers. A bulkhead row can also be nice to request when traveling with a car seat since it provides extra legroom. Just keep in mind that in the bulkhead row, it's sometimes trickier to access bags that might contain diapers, milk, and anything else you might need. Because there's no seat in front of you to stash your personal item under, you'll likely be asked to place it in the overhead compartment.

2. Ask whether your child is eligible to earn points

When booking a seat for your child, look into the airline's loyalty program. Some, though not all, will allow children to earn points that you can use towards future travel. Take  JetBlue Opens a new window , which lets parents enroll children 13 and younger in their TrueBlue account. You can then combine points earned within the family through the airline's Points Pooling program.

3. Confirm that your car seat is FAA-approved

If you've bought an airplane seat for your baby, bring an FAA-approved car seat for your child. This is the safest way for babies to fly, plus it ensures you'll have a car seat for your baby at your destination. It's likely that your child's existing car seat is approved for airline travel, but check the product manual or look for a label that says "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" to make sure.

If you didn't buy a ticket for your baby, you might get lucky and be able to use the car seat if there are empty seats on board, but there are no guarantees with this approach.

4. Consider your stroller strategy

If you're traveling with a baby or toddler, chances are good that you'll be bringing your stroller along, too. Families have three options when flying with a stroller:

Check it at the ticket counter: If you want a stroller at your destination but don't need it in the airport, you can check it along with your baggage when you arrive. (Note that some airlines always require you to check a stroller at the ticket counter if it weighs over a certain amount.) A stroller usually doesn't count towards your checked baggage, and many airlines allow families to check one stroller and one car seat per child for no extra cost. If you do check a stroller when you arrive at the airport, you may want to use a baby carrier to get your baby to your gate.

Gate-check your full-size stroller: The benefit of gate-checking a stroller is that you have it with you while navigating the airport, which many families find helpful. Waiting in a long security line or racing to the gate with a small child in tow is often much easier with the support of a stroller. Plus, you can use the stroller's storage basket to stash some of your stuff. The downside is that you'll have to wait for your stroller to be unloaded once you arrive, which can slightly prolong the process of getting out of the airport.

Bring along a stroller that will fit in the overhead bin: If you'd prefer not to gate-check your stroller, consider investing in a lightweight travel stroller. Some are compact enough to fit in most overhead compartments when collapsed (though you can check your airline's carry-on bag size guidelines to be sure). Their smaller size can be convenient for travel, and it's also nice not to have to wait for a gate-checked stroller to be brought back up when you land.

5. Look into your baggage options

Airlines have different baggage policies, but call ahead of time to understand exactly what you can bring on board. For example, while lap infants are generally not entitled to their own carry-on bags, many airlines allow families traveling with a child to bring a diaper bag, a breast pump , a cooler bag for milk or formula, an FAA-approved car seat, and a compact stroller onboard in addition to the regular carry-on and personal item allowance.

6. Pack smart

Packing for a baby is an art form: You need to have access to all the essentials, but you also don't want to overpack and have to rummage through a big bag to find something you need.

Consider what you'll want to have access to during the flight and pack your bags accordingly. For example, it's helpful to have a bag with diapers, wipes, disposable changing mats, disposable diaper bags, and a change of clothes at easy reach. For more ideas, check out our suggested packing list for traveling with a baby .

Definitely pack more spare clothes for your baby than you'll think you'll need – and include a fresh shirt for yourself. Nothing is worse than a blowout on an airplane! (Here's how to handle a blowout or change a diaper on a plane .)

7. Be ready for flight delays and cancellations

When you're traveling with your little one, the last thing you want to deal with is getting stuck at the airport. But it happens, so be prepared. Bring more than enough diapers, formula, and snacks in your carry-on bags, as well as a few changes of clothes for your baby (and perhaps a change of clothes for you, too). Flight delays and cancellations can make it difficult to get your checked luggage, so you want to have the essentials with you. 

In the same vein, consider gate checking your car seat and stroller (rather than checking them at the ticket counter) so you can easily get them back if needed.

8. Plan ahead to bring formula, breast milk, and bottles

Thankfully, not all the TSA rules about traveling with liquids apply to you. Parents are permitted to bring greater volumes of breast milk or formula through security.

Review your airline's policies for bringing formula or  breast milk on board and hand it to security officers when you go through screening. You don't need to put bottles into the standard quart-size zip-top bag.

To speed up the process, TSA recommends storing either breast milk or formula in clear, translucent bottles rather than plastic bags or pouches, which may be subject to additional screening. And if you pack all the bottles in a cooler bag, know that most airlines won't count it towards your personal item allowance.

Breast pumps are often considered medically necessary, and ice packs, freezer packs, and other cooling accessories are allowed in your carry-on bags. You can bring all of these items on board even if your child isn't traveling with you.

9. Pack formula safely …

When traveling with baby formula, keep these safe storage tips in mind:

Ready-to-feed formula: Bring an unopened container and clean, empty bottles on board. When your baby is ready for feeding, pour the formula into the bottle and serve it right away.

Powdered formula: Fill bottle(s) with clean water, and bring a small container of powdered formula and a scoop with you on the plane. You can measure, shake, and serve a bottle to your baby when they're ready for a feeding.

Premade bottles: You can also bring premade bottles through security if you prefer, using a cooler to keep them cold. Just keep in mind that if the cooler doesn't keep bottles at 35 to 40 degrees, you'll need to use or refrigerate them within two hours.

10. … and breast milk, too

A cooler will be essential if you're bringing breast milk on a plane. You can pack breast milk in bottles or pre-sterilized, sealable storage bags in a cooler bag, then offer them to your baby on the plane.

Breast milk will stay fresh for 24 hours in a cooler with frozen ice packs. At room temperature, breast milk is good for four hours; in the refrigerator, for four days; and frozen, for up to 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Opens a new window . 

11. Bring plenty of snacks

If your little one has started solids , pack baby-friendly foods for your flight. Containers with pre-chopped fruit, steamed veggies, tofu, and crackers are all easy choices. Know that you're also allowed to bring puree pouches through security, as the TSA considers them medically necessary liquids. And make sure to include snacks for yourself, too!

12. Consider whether you want to board early

Some family-friendly airlines allow you to pre-board. But there are two schools of thought on how to approach boarding with kids: Some families relish the chance to locate their seats early and settle in, while others find it difficult to entertain young children on an airplane that's not moving as other passengers also try to get settled.

If you're traveling with your partner or a loved one, you might decide to split up, with one adult boarding early with the bags while the other lets the kids run around a bit longer by the gate.

13. Bring entertainment for older babies

Younger infants may be mostly content to sleep, eat, and snuggle their parents, but older babies and toddlers can be trickier to keep occupied on an airplane. At this stage, kids are learning how to pull up to a stand and walk , or else have recently mastered these skills and are eager to explore an exciting new environment.

While you don't need to pack tons of toys, a few new items can help hold their attention. Some ideas: a slinky, painter's tape, small board books, coloring books and crayons, and stickers. You can also try classic car games like "I Spy" and "Rock, Paper, Scissors."

14. Take steps to fight jet lag

If you're crossing time zones, try shifting your baby's sleep schedule over a few days leading up to your departure and exposing them to sunlight once you reach your destination. Or, you may want to keep the same schedule in the new time zone if that works best for you. Here are more tips for handling time changes with a baby .

15. Prepare for pressure changes

If your baby's ears seem to hurt from air pressure changes during takeoff and landing, encourage them to breastfeed or suck on a bottle, pacifier , or sippy cup. If your baby's strapped into a car seat, give them something to suck on while in their seat rather than taking them out to breastfeed. It's safest for both of you to be securely buckled in.

Not all babies experience ear pain when flying, so use your judgment. If your baby's sleeping soundly, leave them be and they might get through the takeoff or landing without any trouble.

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BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies .

Alaska Airlines. Undated. Traveling with infants and children. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

American Academy of Pediatrics. 2023. Flying with Baby: Parent FAQs. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

American Airlines. Undated. Traveling with children and infants. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022. Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Delta. 2023. Children and Infant Travel. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Federal Aviation Administration. 2023. Flying with Children. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Federal Aviation Administration. Undated. Frequently Asked Questions. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

National Transportation Safety Board. 2015. Child Passenger Safety on Aircraft. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Southwest Airlines. Undated. Traveling with an infant. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Transportation Security Administration. Undated. Traveling with Children. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Transportation Security Administration. Undated. Identification. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

United. Undated. Traveling With Children. Opens a new window [Accessed January 2024]

Kathleen Felton

Kathleen Felton is a freelance writer and editor. She was previously the executive editor of editorial strategy and growth at BabyCenter, the world's number one parenting resource. She is originally from Farmington, Connecticut, and now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two sons.

Where to go next

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Safety & Prevention

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Flying with Baby: Parent FAQs

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By: Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP & Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Taking a baby on a plane is something that most parents approach with caution. Infants and air travel can both be unpredictable, and they don't always mix well. But some advanced planning and preparation can help make for a better experience for your baby, for you, and for everyone else on the plane.

Here are answers to some questions you may have before traveling with an infant, along with tips for a smoother and safer flight.

When is my baby old enough to fly on an airplane?

Generally, you should avoid flying with your newborn until they are at least 7 days old. Ideally, wait until your baby is two or three months old to fly. Air travel (and being in crowded airports) can increase a newborn's risk of catching an infectious disease.

Should my baby sit on my lap during the flight?

Ideally, no. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn't require a ticket for children under the age of 2 years. But that means your baby will be on your lap. If there is turbulence, or worse, it may not be physically possible to protect your baby in your arms. Turbulence is the number one cause of children's injuries on an airplane.

If you do not buy a ticket for your child, you may want to ask if your airline will let you use an empty seat where you can install a car seat for your baby. If your airline's "lap baby" policy allows this, avoid the busiest travel days and times to increase your odds of finding an empty seat next to you.

The safest way for baby to fly

The safest way for your baby to fly is in a child safety restraint ―an FAA-approved car seat or airplane harness device . It should be approved for your child's age and size, and installed with the airplane's seat belt. Booster seats cannot be used on airplanes during flight.

  • Infants weighing less than 20 pounds should be buckled into a rear-facing car seat during airplane travel.
  • Children who weigh 20 to 40 pounds should be restrained in a car seat. They should not be switched to using just the airplane's lap belt until they reach at least 40 pounds.

There is an FAA-approved alternative to using a car seat on an airplane called the Child Aviation Restraint System ( CARES ). This airplane safety harness is not meant for infants, however. It is designed for use by toddlers (22 to 44 pounds) and only on airplanes.

Should I bring our car seat on the plane with us? Does that count as luggage?

Car seats, booster seats, and strollers generally don't count as luggage, but policies vary by airline; check with yours before flying. In most cases they can be checked at the gate, where the risk of damage may be lower, at no cost. Consider packing the car seat in a protective bag or box. If your baby has their own airplane seat, bring your car seat with you.

Not all car seats are certified for use in airplanes.

Make sure a label on the car seat says: "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."

Which seat on the plane is best for a baby?

Look for rows on the plane with more space , like the bulkhead. Exit rows are out, for safety reasons.

Choose a seat closer to the window, if possible . Aisle seats can be risky for babies during beverage service. Hot drinks being passed to passengers can spill and cause burns , and their little arms and legs can be caught by passing carts. Aisle seats are also closer to falling overhead bin items. If you use a car seat, most airlines require that they be installed in a window seat.

Ensure that your baby's seat is next to you on the plane. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation Airline Family Seating Dashboard for tips. It shows which airlines guarantee adjacent seats for children under age 13 traveling with an adult at no extra fee.

Is there a way my baby can lie down flat on long flights?

Buckling your baby into a car seat or safety restraint remains the safest option. However, there are other options available to help baby sleep comfortably, especially on long-haul flights.

Airline bassinets. Some airlines offer airline bassinets attached to the plane's bulkhead wall―the wall behind the galley, or toilets or another cabin. In some premium cabins, they can be built into the seat compartment to use in bulkhead rows. Most airline bassinets require the baby to be under 6 months old and/or 20 pounds, and not yet able to sit up unassisted. These bassinets are sometimes called "skycots" or baskets.

Sleeper seat . For an added fee, some international airlines let you book three seats in a row with locking seat extensions. This creates a "sky couch" or sleeper-seat big enough for both parent and child. Some airlines also offer "lie-flat" and "flat-bed" seats.

Inflatable seat extenders . Some airlines let you bring your own inflatable, individual seat extension for your baby to snooze on lying down. Not all airlines permit these to be used, though, so check ahead of time. Your child will need their own seat to use one.

Note: For all options above, your baby would still need to be buckled into a car seat or held on your lap during takeoff, turbulence and landing.

Safe sleep practices still apply on the airplane.

  • If your baby sleeps on your lap during the flight: stay alert and check on your baby often. Make sure they can breathe easily, and their face is uncovered.
  • If your baby sleeps on another device during the flight: check that it is firm and flat, with no soft bedding. (See, " How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe .")

Will I be able to get liquid formula or expressed breast milk through security?

Yes, but you have to follow the reasonable quantities rules. This means you're exempt from the 3-1-1 rule limiting liquids to 3.4 ounces (100 mL).

Pack formula, expressed breastmilk, or water for mixing with powder separately and be ready to let the TSA know you have it. You may ask that they not go through the x-ray machine (although this shouldn't cause a health problem). Visit the TSA website for more information.

Any tips for keeping my baby comfortable and content on the plane?

Dress your baby in layers. The temperature in a plane can vary widely, especially if you are stuck waiting on a runway. So, dress your baby in layers of clothing. As you pick out clothing , choose outfits that make diaper changing in a small space easier. Also, pack a change of clothes or two, in case turbulence hits during a diaper change or when you are feeding. Bring plastic bags for soiled clothing.

Be ready for ear pain during take-off and landing. During takeoff and landing, changes in pressure between the outer ear and middle ear can cause discomfort. If your baby has had ear surgery or an ear infection in the past two weeks, ask their doctor if it's OK to fly. Having babies drink from the breast or a bottle, or suck on a pacifier, can help. If your child has a cold or ear infection, a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help; check with your doctor for the right amount to give your child.

Reduce jet engine noise exposure . Airplane cabin noise hovers around 100 decibels, and is even louder during takeoff. Using cotton balls, small earplugs, or noise-canceling headphones may help to decrease the decibel level your baby is exposed to, and also make it easier for them to sleep or relax.

Keep in mind that sleeping babies are easier for everyone. If possible, travel at a time when your baby naturally sleeps. Or, onsider trying to put off a nap until it's time to fly. Flight delays can cause this to backfire if your exhausted baby decides to scream instead of sleep. But it may be worth a try.

Do not use diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, to help your baby sleep without talking to your doctor.

This medication can have serious side effects , especially if repeated doses are given on long flights. If you get the go-ahead and appropriate dose from your doctor, try it at home first. Some children react to the medicine by getting more awake instead of sleepy.

Consider a diaper change right before boarding the plane. A dry baby is a happy baby. Fortunately, when you do need to change a diaper in-flight, many planes have restroom changing tables . If yours doesn't, ask a flight attendant if there is a spot where you can spread out your changing pad. Some parents resort to diaper-changing on the closed toilet seat. If you try this, be sure to have a hand on your baby at all times and pack a disposable changing pad. Plan for delays; pack plenty of supplies.

Bring distractions . Pack some toys and books and be ready to play with your baby the entire time. A tablet with videos can be a good backup if the toys and books aren't helping anymore (we don't encourage entertainment media for children under the age of 2 , but desperate times can sometimes call for desperate measures).

Don't let the glares get to you . Despite the best advanced planning and efforts, babies cry sometimes. Know that you did, and are doing, all you can. At that point, one of the best ways you can calm your baby may be to stay calm yourself. And remember that for every person who is glaring at you, there are plenty of people who have been through it themselves and have lots of sympathy.

Ask for help . Arrange for your airline to help you if you need help making a connecting flight. Carrying a child safety restraint, your baby and luggage through a busy airport can be challenging.

Does my baby need a passport for international travel?

Yes. All U.S. citizens, including infants, need a current passport to travel internationally. Parents or guardians need to apply with their baby in person using the form DS-11 . Be sure to bring your baby's birth certificate and a photo taken within the last 6 months.

Passport photos must be taken with nobody else in the photo, which can be tricky with infants. To do this safely if your baby can't sit up yet , lay them on their back on a plain white blanket or sheet to ensure head support without having to hold them. Another option is covering a car seat with the sheet and taking a picture with your child in it.

What about domestic flights?

A valid passport is usually the only identification your baby will need to fly on a domestic flight, unless you need to show proof of age for a discounted child fare. Check with your airline before you leave. Note: Children under age 18 will not be required to get a Real ID .

What is the best time of day to fly with a baby?

It is hard to say whether flying during the day or night with a baby is better. After the first few weeks, some infants may sleep more reliably at nighttime than they do during naptime travel. If you and your baby can sleep on the plane, a late-night flight may be the way to go.

More information

Travel Safety Tips

Holiday Travel Tips

Flying With Children Safely (

Tips for Families and Links to Airline Webpages (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Destination-Specific Vaccine Recommendations for Travelers—Including Travelers with Children (

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Is air travel safe for an infant?

Air travel is typically safe for most healthy, full-term infants after the first few weeks. Air travel may not be a good idea for babies born before their due date, called premature or pre-term.

Babies born early may still need time for their lungs to mature. So check with a healthcare professional before flying in a pressurized cabin or visiting high-altitude places.

And any infant with heart or lung problems should be cleared for air travel by a healthcare professional.

As you plan your trip, here are some things to keep in mind, such as the baby's age, your health and some basics of flying.

The baby's age, overall health

Experts caution against flying in the first seven days after a baby is born. Some healthcare professionals suggest not traveling for the first few months.

In general, babies and adults face the same risk of exposure to illness from travel. But a baby's immune system is still learning how to protect against germs. And in most cases, a baby's illness needs to be more closely watched by a healthcare professional.

Caregiver health and planning

It is important for caregivers to think about their own health too. Flying with a child can cause added sleep loss and stress. And adults are at risk for new germs and illness, as well.

Finding out what illnesses are spreading in your area and where you're going can help you prepare and take thoughtful action. And basic things like handwashing are even more important to prevent the spread of germs while traveling.

The baby's ears

Offering a baby something to suck on may help relieve the baby's ear discomfort. You can offer the baby a breast, bottle or pacifier to suck on during takeoff and the start of the landing process. It might help to try to time feedings so that your baby is hungry during these times.

Ask a healthcare professional when it's safe to fly with babies who have had ear surgery or an ear infection.

Also, airplane cabin noise levels are loud, mainly during takeoff. Cotton balls, noise-canceling headphones or small earplugs may limit your baby's exposure to this noise. This may help make it easier for your baby to sleep.

The baby's safety seat

Most infant car seats are certified for air travel. Airlines often allow infants to ride on a caregiver's lap during flight. But the Federal Aviation Administration recommends that infants ride in properly secured safety seats.

If you choose not to purchase a ticket for your infant, ask about open seats when you board the plane. It's possible an open seat could be assigned to your infant.

Don't be tempted to give your baby medicine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others), to help the baby sleep during the flight. The practice isn't recommended, and sometimes the medicine can have the opposite effect.

Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.

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  • Jana LA, et al. Flying the family-friendly skies. In: Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality. 4th ed. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2020. Accessed Oct. 30, 2023.
  • Newborn-flying and mountain travel. Pediatric Patient Education. Accessed Oct. 30, 2023.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveling safely with infants & children. In: CDC Yellow Book 2024. Accessed Oct. 30, 2023.
  • AskMayoExpert. Infant Fever. Accessed Nov. 18, 2023.
  • Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols: Office Version. 17th ed. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2021.
  • Child safety on airplanes. Federal Aviation Administration. Accessed Nov. 18, 2023.

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What to Pack When Traveling With Baby

Fact-checking standards, latest update:, when can you travel with your baby, read this next, what to pack for your baby in a carry-on bag, what to pack in your baby's suitcase.

Happy travels!

What to Expect the First Year , 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff., Flying With a Baby? Here's What to Know Before You Go , September 2021., Do Babies Need Passports? , October 2021., Best Travel Toys for Babies , February 2021., Baby Products You Can Take on a Plane , September 2020. American Academy of Pediatrics, Flying with Baby: Parent FAQs , November 2019. American Academy of Pediatrics, Is It Safe for Families to Travel Now? , August 2021. American Academy of Pediatrics, Travel Safety Tips , August 2018.  American Academy of Pediatrics, Is It Safe for My Baby to Travel in a Car Seat a Few Hours at a Time? , August 2021. Transportation Security Administration, Traveling with Children . Federal Aviation Administration, Flying with Children , March 2021. Mayo Clinic, Is Air Travel Safe for an Infant? , October 2019.

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Everything You Need to Know Before Flying With a Baby or Young Kids

By Laura Dannen Redman and Noah Kaufman

Cropped hand of a toddler pointing airplane window against blue sky

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Your baby’s first flight can be as momentous as their first steps, first solid food, or first drop off at daycare. And like all those milestones, parents can feel understandably freaked out beforehand. No one, not even your baby themself, knows how a child will react to being on an airplane for the first time. And no matter what happens, one thing's for sure: you'll be stuck in a cabin full of strangers for at least a couple hours while you find out. 

But dread not—your child may love air travel, for starters—and even if they don't, you will get through it. With a little planning, the right gear, and a willingness to make many lists, flying with a baby or young kids can be easier than you think. Here are our best tips for arriving in your destination with energy to spare, from seasoned parents. 

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How to prepare 

Right after you purchase your tickets, download Flying With Baby by Meg Collins, the blogger behind new mom survival guide Lucie’s List . Collins claims, accurately, to be the voice of reason about everything: “ticketing, check-in, car seats, feeding, napping and all the other stuff that makes your brain explode.” 

There's no surefire way to prepare a baby ahead of time, but if you're traveling with a toddler or an elementary school-aged child, you may need to do a little incepting—i.e., plant the idea that flying is fun! and make a game of it at home beforehand. Traveler contributor Debbie Dubrow gave Traveler some excellent tips a few years ago that still hold true:

  • Talk about your trip and your flight ahead of time, focusing on the aspects that are new to your child or might cause them concern.
  • Read stories about flying, like Airplanes by Byron Barton for toddlers, and Richard Scarry's A Day at the Airport for older kids. If you’re headed to a new destination, make a trip to the library to pick up a few books set in that place.
  • Line up some dining chairs to make airplane seats, and act out how you should sit down and buckle up on a plane. Build a security checkpoint using a doorway as the metal detector and a cardboard box and towel as the conveyor belt and X-ray. Practice putting your child’s stuffed animal or blanket through the X-ray and getting it back on the other side.
  • Let your children help pack their carry-on bags (but secret away a few new toys in your own). That way they’ll get to choose which items they just can’t live without, and you’ll get to set expectations about which toys are okay on the plane (leave the harmonica at home, please!).

What to pack

If this is your first time flying with a baby, you'll be bringing significantly more items than you've flown with before. To keep track of everything, make an itemized list of the major items (i.e., the car seat, stroller); the bags you’re checking; and the bags you’re carrying on. Do a count of your bags like they’re children on a field trip when you get to the airport, get through security, and get off the plane. (If it sounds like overkill, think about what your trip might be like if you forget the one bag with your baby's favorite stuffed toy. Yeah.)

As for what to bring? Everyone has their go-to items, but there are a few items we love most.

The Doona Infant Car Seat/Stroller (for infants up to 35 pounds) combines two of the most cumbersome items you have to bring on a trip. With the Doona you just gate check the stroller, and get to leave the car seat at home. 

The Dohm sound machine helps little ones fall asleep and stay asleep in new and strange places. “I bring my son’s Dohm everywhere with us," says director of strategic projects Lauren DeCarlo . "Hotels, my parents house. It’s essential.” You can also download white noise apps on your phone.

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The Líllé Baby Carrier is a comfortable and functional carrier that adjusts into six different positions, so you can keep your (hopefully) sleeping baby against your chest during flight and prop them on your hip while you're waiting to board.

A well-stocked diaper bag with enough wipes, diapers, and formula/breast milk/food to get you through the flight and an hours-long delay, minimum, is a must. Frequent flier, Skift aviation reporter, and father Brian Sumers recommends three days' worth of food for the baby to account for any mishaps. Make sure you also have basics like hand-sanitizer, scented diaper trash bags, a pacifier clip ("this will save you the horror of watching a pacifier drop to the airplane floor," says Traveler contributor and mom of three Juliana Shallcross ), and one new baby toy. "I still swear by the one-new-toy trick," Shallcross says. "Buy the baby one new toy specifically to open on the airplane. It will keep their attention for a little bit longer than if you brought an older toy. However, for young babies, you don't need much. All they really need is their bottle, maybe a pacifier, and a nice seatmate who makes funny faces."

The WayB Pico Car Seat is great pickup for kids that have outgrown the Doona. It weighs a barely noticeable eight pounds and folds up into a convenient carrying case. Note that this is a forward-facing car seat, so your child will have to be physically ready for that.

The Cares Airplane Safety Harness is the only FAA-approved harness for kids over the age of one, when they're big enough for their own seat but too small for the seatbelt to do any good.

A different outfit —for you—is a gift. "A change of clothes is a no-brainer for the baby who may have a diaper situation at some point during the flight," says Shallcross, "but if you can manage it, pack a T-shirt or leggings for yourself in your carry-on." You don't want to be stuck wearing a formula-stained shirt (or worse) for the rest of the flight.

As for what to leave at home? Anything you can get where you’re going: jars of baby food, diapers, wipes. Just make a beeline for a local grocery store once you arrive. It can also be fun seeing how other cultures and countries do the basics. (Fun fact: French diapers aren’t quite as absorbent as American ones. Who knew?)

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Uber drivers always get out of the car to open the trunk, assuming the stroller will need to go in the back—and are always amazed when you collapse the Doona and slide it into the backseat instead.

Do babies need an I.D.?

Babies from the U.S. don’t need an ID when flying domestically, says the TSA . This is actually true of anyone under the age of 18. But they will need a passport to fly internationally. 

To apply for a passport for your infant, both parents need to be there in person—“there” may be a USPS post office or a passport agency near you; if you’re the sole custodian of a child, you need to bring proof of that as well . You will also need the child’s birth certificate (original and a copy), your passports and U.S. drivers’ licenses (and a copy), a completed DS-11 form , money for the fees (credit is not accepted for the $80 standard fee and $35 acceptance fee—bring cash or your checkbook), and—the best part—two identical 2x2 inch passport photos of your baby. There are websites dedicated to getting your infant to sit upright and still against a plain white backdrop for long enough to get a photo. Some, like, will prepare your photos with a guarantee that your baby's photo won't be rejected (check your passport application location's policy on this, as some don't allow third parties to send in photos). 

Here’s the full list of what you need to get the baby’s passport.

What about their own ticket?

It depends. On most airlines, babies under the age of two can sit in your lap on a flight, sometimes with a special lap belt that you attach to your seatbelt. You may have to pay a fee—primarily on international airlines—which may come with a special boarding pass. It helps to call the airline before booking to confirm. Once the child turns two, they are required to have their own ticket. 

Still, if you can swing it, we suggest purchasing your baby their own seat from the get-go. It will be more pleasant to have the extra space (and a buffer from other passengers) and, as Sumers says, it's safer: “You wouldn't hold your baby in your lap in a car, even if you were only going a mile away at 10 mph. So why would you hold your baby on an airplane racing on a runway at 150 mph? In severe turbulence, or in a survivable crash, you may not be not able to hold onto your baby.” 

At the airport

When flying with kids, arrive early to the airport, so you have extra time to check in, get through security, and board the plane. 

Going through security

If you have TSA PreCheck , children 12 and under can get in line with you and breeze on through. But if you have Global Entry , the baby needs it, too. Here’s what it takes to apply.

When it comes to getting your stuff through, TSA checkpoints are “wildly inconsistent” across different airports in the U.S., says Shallcross. "If you're traveling with breast milk or formula, note that you can carry-on [in excess of the 3.4 oz liquid rule] , but you will most likely be on the receiving end of a pat-down." Having TSA PreCheck makes the process go a bit faster, and sometimes, in lieu of a screening, TSA will test to-go bottles of formula instead. International checkpoints also vary widely, but, often, jars of food and bottles get checked.

As for the stroller you plan to gate check, know that it will have to go on the belt through the x-ray machine, like the rest of your bags. It may be pulled aside and tested or swabbed by a TSA agent. 

Getting to the gate

Speaking of gate-checking: "As soon as you make it through security, head to your gate and get the gate tags for your stroller," says Shallcross. "If you wait until you board, the gate attendants may ask you to step aside and wait until they finish boarding the group, before they give you the tags."

And then there's the age-old question: Should you board in the first wave with your baby and toddlers? Most gate agents give you the option of early boarding—and with a newborn or infant, that's the way to go so you can get settled with bags stowed and essentials out for takeoff. But with an active toddler? That means you're on the plane for an extra 30 to 45 minutes, trying to contain their wild energy in a small space. No thanks. 

If you're traveling with another adult, super traveler Sam Brown recommends dividing and conquering. One of you boards early with the bags; the other stays behind with the kids, letting them burn off energy at the gate until the last possible minute you can board.

Nursing and pumping

If you need a quiet space to breastfeed before boarding, look for a Mamava Pod . They're designed to allow moms to nurse babies in private, they're free to use, and there's even room for another small child to hang out inside. 

The flight itself

The easiest way to keep a baby from crying during the flight is to give them milk or formula on takeoff and landing—the go-to move of parents for decades, as it helps babies adjust to the change in cabin pressure. Admittedly, if the baby is going to be strapped in, nursing will be hard, so consider a bottle. (When it comes to tips for getting your toddler to sleep on a plane , we've got those too.)

If you have a bassinet or plan to have the baby in a Bjorn for most of the flight, they'll need to come out and be strapped into their seat or held on your lap during takeoff and landing. Become friendly with your flight attendants, because you may need their help (and patience) more than usual from here on out (that said, they're often happy to help with things like warm water for a bottle).

This also brings us to our favorite controversy: Should you apologize in advance to your fellow seatmates? Sumers says, emphatically, that “there's no reason parents should bring treats for other passengers, or apologize for their baby's behavior." Everyone knows it's hard to control any situation on an airplane, and that you're doing the best you can, Sumers says. People pleasers may feel the need to do otherwise; ultimately, it's about whichever move creates an on-plane environment that's most comfortable for you. 

Does my baby need to wear a mask?

Though pandemic-era regulations require adult passengers to wear face masks , rules vary for children. For children under two, the answer is no. But once your child is old enough to need their own seat, they also need to wear a mask, per an update to federal law in February 2021. If you know that will be an issue for your two year old, you'll want to hold off on flying—airlines reserve the right to remove anyone refusing to wear a face mask from the plane. 

What if your kid is a seat kicker?

Try changing up your seating chart. Travel journalist Sam Brown and her husband would book seats in two separate rows, one right in front of the next, and each sit with one of their twins. If one of the kids got fussy—or kicked the seat in front of them—at least it would be a family member they were harassing.

Upon arrival

Many parents worry about the impact of jet lag on children when flying long distances. If you're taking a transatlantic flight (say, New York to Paris), the red-eye is a godsend and the easiest way to ward off jet lag . To start: Your baby will be more inclined to sleep through the flight. Once you land, consider not getting on local time. Yes, you'll all sleep in later and start your day later, but you can keep the baby out later, rather than having to commit to your hotel room by 6:30 p.m. every night, and the re-entry back home goes a bit smoother because you never really got off your schedule. There's also something special about being able to take your baby to the Louvre at 8 p.m. on a Friday.

This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated with new information.

air travel with newborn tips

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The Ultimate Packing List for Flying With a Baby

This is how to survive hours in the air with your little one.

air travel with newborn tips

In This Article

  • Packing Checklist

Tips for Packing

Frequently asked questions.

  • Why Trust T+L

Travel + Leisure / Alli Waataja

As a mom of two, I know from personal experience that the thought of flying with a small baby can be terrifying. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Travel is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. I first flew with my daughter from South Africa to the United Kingdom when she was just shy of four months old. With family in both countries, it’s a journey we’ve done multiple times since. I soon learned that the key to making the experience as stress-free as possible for all involved (parents, baby, fellow passengers, and airline crew!) is planning and preparation. Consider your little one’s needs carefully, and then think about how you can meet them 35,000 feet above ground. 

From getting them to sleep to keeping them entertained, here are our packing essentials for flying with a baby, defined here as a child under a year old. This list haa been carefully chosen according to my own experience as well as that of two experts: Dr. Natalie Prevatt — an NHS pediatric travel, tropical medicine consultant, and the lead clinician at the Children’s Travel Doc — and veteran flight attendant Samantha Sharpe. 

Packing Checklist for Flying With a Baby

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I haven’t included many of the most obvious, day-to-day items that you most likely already have and keep in your baby bag anyway, from diapers to wet wipes and burp cloths. There are some things, like pacifiers and bottles, that your baby will have a specific preference for and these should remain unchanged before a trip (there are enough variables up in the air without worrying about whether your baby will accept a new teat type, for example.) You also won’t need everything on this list. Tailor your choices to align with your particular routine, destination, flight length, and airline rules and regulations.

Sleep and Entertainment

  • Best Infant Headphones: Alpine Muffy Noise Reduction Earmuffs
  • Best Tablet: Amazon Fire 7 Kids Tablet
  • Best Inflatable Bed: Flyaway Kids Bed
  • Best Teething Toy: Lamaze Mortimer the Moose Clip & Go
  • Best Book: Priddy Books First 100 Words
  • Best Noise-Free Toy: The First Years Stack & Count Stacking Cups

Food and Drink

  • Best Portable Bottle Warmer: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Bottle Warmer
  • Best Formula Dispenser: LotCow Portable Powder Dispenser
  • Best Travel Cup: Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Sippy Cup  
  • Best Snack Container: Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box

Strollers and Carriers

  • Best Baby Wrap: KeaBabies Baby Wrap Carrier 
  • Best Baby Carrier: Ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier  
  • Best Lightweight Stroller: Babyzen YoYo2 Stroller


  • Best Breastfeeding Cover: Copper Pearl Multi-use Nursing Cover
  • Best Travel Blanket: Everyday Kids Car Seat Blanket
  • Best Changing Pad: Kopi Baby Portable Diaper Changing Pad
  • Best Packing Cubes: Remobia Hicol TSA-approved Diaper Bag Organizer Set  
  • Best Sunscreen: Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Mineral Sunscreen

Getting a baby to sleep can be hard enough at home, let alone on a noisy airplane. If I have just one tip, it’s to enquire well in advance about booking a baby bassinet. If they can’t be reserved, arrive early enough at the airport to give yourself a good chance of being allocated one. For long-haul flights, paying for a separate seat to use with your car seat is another option, although Dr. Prevatt advises that babies should not sleep in an upright position for more than a few hours since it can affect their oxygen levels. When it comes to entertainment, opt for noise-free, mess-free toys without too many pieces to potentially lose.

Best Infant Headphones

Alpine muffy noise reduction earmuffs.

Both my children loved the sound of the airplane engine and at night, its low vibration worked just as effectively as a sound machine for getting them to sleep. However, if your baby needs a quiet environment to drift off or if you’d like to avoid overstimulation while waiting to board in the bright and busy airport, infant headphones are a good idea. 

These ones from Alpine Muffy are designed to protect the sensitive hearing of little ones up to 36 months old. I love that the extra soft, adjustable headband is made from non-slip elastic to avoid exerting pressure on Baby’s delicate fontanelle, and that they’re proven to reduce noise to just 23 decibels. They’re super light, easy to clean, and come in a convenient travel pouch with a choice of colors ranging from Olive Green to Pink.

Best Inflatable Bed

Flyaway kids bed.

I hesitated including this category because most airlines allow children under two to fly at a significantly discounted rate if they sit on their parent’s lap. For this reason, purchasing an extra seat just so you can use an inflatable bed may seem excessive. But, for long flights when baby bassinets can’t be booked in advance, having a guaranteed place to sleep may well be worth it. 

Inflatable beds are not allowed by every airline, and those that do permit them often accept certain brands only. I love the Flyaway Kids Bed because it takes the guesswork out of your purchase, with a full list of approved and at-the-stewardess’-discretion airlines on its website. It inflates relatively quietly in just 90 seconds to create a full, secure bed that serves the dual purpose of preventing toys rolling onto the floor. It’s relatively compact by travel bed standards but will still take up about three pounds of your precious carry-on allowance.

Best Teething Toy

Lamaze mortimer the moose clip & go.

Traveling with a baby is one thing. Traveling with a teething baby is a whole different ball game. You’ll want to pack teething gel and possibly (if recommended by your doctor), some infant Tylenol. A toy with chewable elements for soothing sore gums is another lifesaver, both for your baby and your fellow passengers. 

When I took my daughter on a 11-hour flight at 18 months, she was cutting several teeth simultaneously. The Mortimer the Moose Clip & Go from Lamaze was her go-to comforter. She loved chewing on his textured, easy-to-clean antlers and tail rings, while his brightly colored crinkling and jingling hooves helped provide distraction from her discomfort. When she finally drifted off, multi-use Mortimer also doubled as a plushy for cuddling.

First 100 Words

A tray table is key to many methods of entertaining a wide-awake baby, whether you’re helping them play with stickers and stacking toys or using it as a tablet stand. Takeoff and landing can therefore be tricky — not only does the tray table have to be stowed, but this is the time babies are most likely to be affected by changes in cabin pressure and most in need of distraction.

Books are a great option during these times: they’re mess- and noise-free, have no moving parts to roll away while the seatbelt signs are on, and are easy to grab before stowing your bag in the overhead bin. My kids loved Roger Priddy’s First 100 Words long before they were able to talk. It’s got big, bright, colorful images of familiar items ranging from pets to food and more than 35 flaps for keeping baby engaged. It’s also travel-sized with sturdy board pages.

Best Noise-Free Toy

The first years stack up cup toys.

The first time I flew with a baby, one of my greatest sources of anxiety was disturbing or upsetting other passengers. I quickly learned that you can’t always control how much noise your baby makes; but you can make sure their toys are quiet. If they’re interactive and simple enough for the baby to use with minimal assistance, all the better. 

Stacking cups punch way above their weight in this category. My kids loved this simple set from The First Years. Both of them could be entertained for an amazing amount of time by nesting the cups and taking them apart again, using them to build towers, or playing hide-and-seek with some small object placed underneath them. A sturdy clip keeps the cups neatly together and when you reach your destination, small holes transform them into fun beach or bath toys.

Best Tablet

Amazon fire 7 kids edition tablet.

In an ideal world, we’d be able to keep our little ones entertained without resorting to screen time. But trust me, if there’s ever a time and place to relax the rules, a couple of hours into a long-haul flight is it. When all else fails or I simply need a break, I let Paw Patrol (in my daughter’s case) or Thomas the Tank Engine (in my son’s) take over. 

The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Tablet is the smallest and most portable of Amazon’s tablets made especially for kids. It comes in a virtually indestructible kid-proof case with a built-in stand for your airplane tray table. A Parent Dashboard allows you to filter age-appropriate content and purchases. It also includes a subscription to Amazon Kids+. Choose 16 or 32 GB of storage and relax knowing that for the first two years, any device that breaks will be replaced free of charge.

As Dr. Prevatt points out, the low level of humidity on board makes it especially important to keep your baby hydrated. Remember that breast milk, formula, and baby food are exempt from standard liquid limitations . Sharpe confirms that cabin crew will never impose restrictions on breastfeeding at any stage of the flight unless there’s an emergency. And flight attendants can always provide warm water for heating bottles, although it’s best to avoid asking during busy meal services. Consider investing in a portable warmer for full independence. Finally, snacks are great for both sustenance and entertainment.

Best Portable Bottle Warmer

Tommee tippee travel baby bottle warmer.


Whatever stage your baby’s at and whether they take formula, bottled breast milk, cow’s milk, or even puréed food in a jar or pouch, it’s likely they prefer their food served at body temperature. This isn’t as simple to achieve on a plane as it is at home, because the commercial convection ovens used to heat adult meals are impractical for warming baby food. 

This is where the beautifully simple Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Portable Bottle Warmer comes in. It doesn’t require electricity or any other external heating source — instead, it consists of an insulated, stainless steel flask with a leak-proof lid and sturdy plastic sheath. Simply pour boiling water from the flask into the upturned sheath and sit your bottle or pouch inside to warm up. The warmer fits compactly into your bag and can be refilled as needed by the cabin crew.

Best Formula Dispenser

Lotcow portable powder dispenser.

Flying with a formula-fed baby can seem daunting, simply because of the extra time and effort required to get your crying child what they need as quickly as possible. The key to minimizing stress for everyone is advance preparation. Instead of bringing your regular formula tub with you and attempting to measure out powder in the cramped confines of your seat, use a portable powder dispenser like this one from LotCow. 

Made from BPA-free plastic, the dispenser consists of four separate moisture-proof and leak-free containers that stack together to create a conveniently packable cylinder measuring roughly seven by three inches. Each one holds about two ounces of milk powder that can be tipped into baby's bottle in seconds. On shorter flights, you could even use some of the layers for storing snacks.

Best Travel Cup

Munchkin miracle 360 trainer cup.

Starting at six months, babies should be offered a drink of water with every meal. This is especially important on a flight, where low humidity levels can cause dehydration even in adults. Some children master the art of drinking out of a proper cup quicker than others, but if yours (like mine) ends up soaked every time, you’ll want a sippy cup for travel.

I loved the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Sippy Cup so much the first time around that I sought it out for my second child even after moving countries. First, it’s truly leak-free, with a soft plastic valve that fits all the way over the top. It’s also spoutless, which means babies can drink from anywhere around the rim in a way that protects their dental health and encourages normal muscle development. The handles fit little hands perfectly and it’s easy to clean on the go.

Best Snack Container

Bentgo kids chill lunch box.

If your baby is old enough for solid foods, there’s good news. Packing a snack box not only ensures they’ll be full even if they don’t like whatever baby meal is served on the flight; it’s also one of the very best ways to keep them entertained. Bento boxes help with this by providing spaces for lots of different foods for maximum interest. 

The Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box stands out for its quality construction, leak-proof clip-and-seal design, and choice of bright, baby-friendly colors. It offers four compartments of varying sizes for everything from cereal to fruit pieces or sandwich fingers and (best of all), an optional, built-in ice pack that fits underneath the food tray to keep contents fresh and safe to eat even after hours in the air. When you get to your destination, it’s dishwasher and microwave safe.

Before you travel, it’s important to decide how you’ll be transporting baby through the airport. It’s often a long walk, sometimes with connecting buses or trains, so keeping your little one safely secured and supported is crucial. A baby carrier is a great option for navigating crowds with minimal fuss while keeping your hands free. You can also take your stroller all the way to the airplane door. If you plan on doing this, Sharpe recommends investing in one that fits into the overhead bin rather than having it checked to avoid unnecessary delays at the other end. Alternatively, she says, the Doona X stroller doubles as a car seat that can be used on board.

Best Baby Wrap

Keababies baby wrap carrier.

My daughter was born in South Africa, where wraps like the KeaBabies Original Wrap Carrier are one of the most popular and traditional methods for hands-free baby carrying. Although it took me a few tries to perfect the art of tying the wrap correctly (definitely something to master before you fly), she loved its womb-like closeness. It’s great not only for getting babies from point A to B in the airport, but also as a way of comforting them or getting them to sleep onboard. 

Consisting of a single length of stretchy, sturdy fabric, the KeaBabies wrap offers just the right amount of elasticity to hold and support your baby securely, while distributing weight evenly to minimize strain on your back and shoulders. It’s one-size-fits-all can be worn by mom or dad with zero adjustment, is safe from birth, and packs away compactly when not in use.

Best Baby Carrier

Ergobaby 360 cool air mesh carrier.

Although wraps like the KeaBabies one are technically suitable for children up to 36 months of age, I found that both of my kids were too heavy for me to carry in this way by the time they were around nine months old. The natural next step is a soft carrier like the ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier, which is designed for use from 4 to 48 months (up to 45 pounds.) 

The ergobaby 360 stands out for its award-winning design, which allows you to switch between four comfortable and safe carrying positions: on the front of your body facing inwards, on the front facing outwards, on the hip, or on your back. When forward facing, the baby’s hips are held in the “M” position to protect against hip dysplasia. Breathable mesh keeps them from overheating, while padded shoulder straps and a wide waistband save your back and shoulders.

Best Lightweight Stroller

Babyzen yoyo2 stroller.

Although you can use any stroller all the way up to the airplane door and then have it checked separately, the Babyzen YoYo2 with a newborn pack (suitable for babies zero to six months) is one of the few that folds compactly enough to fit in the overhead bin. It can be folded and unfolded with one hand, which is a lifesaver when trying to juggle your baby, diaper bag, and passport simultaneously.

It also tips the scales at just 14.5 pounds. This lightweight compactness makes it ideal not only for air travel, but also for exploring your destination because it fits just as easily into an overhead bin or taxi trunk. The stroller includes a five-point harness, a comfortable one-inch, lie-flat mattress, and UPF 50+, water-repellent fabric. You can also attach the YoYo2 bassinet and later, the six+ color pack for older babies over six months.

We’ve covered the main areas of traveling with a baby, but what about the easy-to-overlook accessories that make all the difference? These range from breastfeeding covers (Sharpe recommends researching whether your destination has any modesty laws that may make this a particularly important choice) to sunscreen (Dr. Prevatt points out that children under the age of 15 are especially at risk of skin cancer if allowed to burn which can occur while waiting on a hot airport concourse.) Look for accessories that make life easier by simplifying essential tasks, whether that’s changing a diaper or finding what you need in your carry-on.

Best Breastfeeding Cover

Copper pearl cover canopy.

While I’m a firm believer that women should be able to breastfeed wherever they like without having to cover up, there is something especially intimidating about doing so in a confined space surrounded by perfect strangers. The Copper Pearl Multi-use Cover is made from lightweight, stretchy, and breathable fabric that provides full coverage without feeling restrictive for either of you. 

I particularly like that the opening is wide enough to allow you to easily view your baby (my son refused to drink if he couldn’t make eye contact) and check for a correct latch. The cover also comes in super handy on vacation as a car seat or stroller cover, takes up virtually no space in your diaper bag, and comes in an endless choice of gorgeous watercolor-style prints.

Best Travel Blanket

Everyday kids car seat blanket.

If your baby already has a favorite blanket, then that’s the one to take on your flight. But if, like mine, they’re ambivalent about which blanket they use as long as they’re warm, the plush fleece Everyday Kids Car Seat Blanket could be a useful option especially if you plan on bringing your car seat on board or if you end up with a bassinet that has a five-point harness. Safety features for the latter vary, but I’ve flown with at least one airline where this was the case.

The blanket has universally spaced notches that align with most five-point harness straps, keeping it secured to the car seat or bassinet so that it doesn’t end up on the less-than-sterile airplane floor every time Baby kicks. The swaddling style is easily unwrapped, too, so that you can prove your little one is securely fastened during turbulence without waking them up.

Best Changing Pad

Kopi baby portable changing pad.

While you’re definitely going to need your regular, full-size baby bag to carry everything you need for the flight, a portable changing pad like this wipe-clean one from Kopi Baby makes all the difference when it comes to the Olympic sport that is attempting to change a diaper in the tight confines of an airplane bathroom. 

When folded away, it measures just 7.5 x 11.5 inches and resembles a regular clutch bag. But when opened up, it reveals a full-size changing mat with a built-in pillow and three mesh pockets with enough space to store up to five diapers as well as other essentials from rash cream to diaper bags. I especially love the smart wet wipes pocket, which features an opening that dispenses wipes for one-handed convenience, even when the pad is folded.

Best Packing Cubes

Remobia hicol tsa-approved diaper bag organizer set.

Organization is the key to minimizing stress when flying with small children. After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to juggle a screaming baby while rooting around helplessly in your bag for an item that has somehow disappeared just as you need it. Enter the Remobia Hicol Organizer Set, a collection of five packing cubes designed especially for parents. 

They’re made from sturdy, transparent TPU plastic, making it easy to see at a glance what they contain. The various sizes lend themselves to categorizing your diaper bag contents (one for spare clothes, one for snacks, one for medicines and so on), while the fact that they’re both waterproof and easy to wipe clean prevents unnecessary mess. They’re TSA-approved for convenience through security and nest inside each other neatly when not in use.

Best Sunscreen

Aveeno baby sunscreen.


Sunscreen may seem like an odd item to include on this list since there’s no chance of sunburn in the airport or on the plane. However, many airports in hot countries lack covered walkways from the plane to the terminal. It’s also easy to forget to apply sunscreen once you leave the airport in the chaos of clearing customs and collecting luggage. 

Additionally, bringing sunscreen with you guarantees access to a brand you know and trust, and can test on your baby’s skin for sensitivity prior to travel. I recommend packing a travel-sized mineral sunscreen like this one from Aveeno for on-the-go protection. At three fluid ounces, it complies with TSA restrictions and is especially formulated for babies (doctor’s advice recommended for those under six months), using naturally sourced zinc oxide to provide hypoallergenic, fragrance-free SPF 50 protection.

Try not to overpack

There are a lot of items on this list, and many more besides that will be part of your everyday baby routine — from bottles and pacifiers to burp cloths and diaper cream. Remember that you don’t need all of them. Think carefully about which are most relevant for your baby, your flight (duration, time of day, and number of layovers), and unique situation (are you flying alone, or will you have someone to help juggle baby and luggage?) Then, try to limit your packing to the things that you’re most likely to actually use, because flying with a baby is overwhelming enough without having to keep track of or carry a ton of extra gear. 

Consider the flight time

When packing your diaper bag, tailor its contents according to the length of your flight, making sure you have enough diapers, wipes, milk, and snacks to last the duration with a few extras in case of any unexpected delays. If it’s a long flight, prioritize snacks that don’t need refrigeration and consider ways to increase the entertainment value of each one (e.g., individually wrapping some items so they’re fun to open together or cutting sandwiches into quirky shapes).

When booking your flight, bear in mind departure and arrival times. If you can, choose an overnight flight or one that coincides with your baby’s longest sleep period (I know these are not always the same thing!). And remember: when flying with a baby, if you can stretch your budget to get the most direct route, the extra expense will be well worth it. Layovers shouldn't be too long or so short that you end up having to run to catch the next flight. Minimize stress, wherever possible. 

Prepare for the unexpected

While it’s important to try and resist the temptation to pack everything including the kitchen sink (see our first tip), you should also prepare for a few worst-case scenarios. In my personal experience, these could range from being vomited on mid-flight (pack an extra shirt for yourself and at least two spare changes for baby) to your perfectly well infant suddenly developing a high fever. Dr. Prevatt suggests packing a basic first aid kit with essentials your baby might need since airline medical kits are minimal and not packed with infants in mind. 

She also frequently hears from breastfeeding moms who haven’t wanted to wake their sleeping baby to feed and therefore end up struggling with engorgement. She recommends learning to express by hand in advance or, if you have space in your carry-on, packing a portable breast pump. Meanwhile, Sharpe says that she often sees parents struggle due to not packing enough snacks and activities. If there’s one thing she’d recommend leaving at home to make space for these essentials, it’s a bulky inflatable baby bed.

According to Dr. Prevatt, it’s theoretically safe for a healthy baby to fly from the first day of life. However, most airlines only allow babies to fly from seven days old because it takes a week for the ductus to close (completing the transition from a fetal to an infant heart). If there is anything wrong with a baby’s heart, it most often presents in the first seven days of life. Up in the ai and, away from medical care is not where you want to be should any such issue arise. Premature babies or those with known conditions may require medical clearance to fly.  

Dr. Prevatt notes that the greatest risk of flying with a newborn is to the mother rather than the baby. To avoid postpartum deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), women who have given birth in the last two months should book an aisle seat so that they can perform leg exercises and walk freely around the cabin. Having your baby on your lap puts extra compression on your thigh veins, so take turns with your travel partner if you can. And even if you’re not breastfeeding, abstain from alcohol and caffeine and be sure to drink extra water since dehydration increases risk of DVT.

Babies under two years old are allowed to fly on your lap or in an approved infant car seat. Dr. Prevatt points out that although there have been very few reported injuries caused by an infant sitting on their caregiver’s lap rather than in a car seat, it is still recommended to use a car seat for safety since it is a moving vessel. Policies vary slightly between airlines ( British Airways only accepts forward-facing seats, whereas American Airlines allows seats to be installed in the direction appropriate for the size of the child, for example) so check with yours in advance.  

You should remember that to guarantee being able to use an infant car seat onboard, you must book a separate seat for your baby — a much more expensive option than having them on your lap. Dr. Prevatt also notes that small babies must not stay in an upright position for more than a few hours since it can affect their breathing — so on longer flights, you’ll need to be prepared to cradle them in your arms for hours at a time or use an airline bassinet.  

A bassinet is an absolute godsend, especially on an extended or overnight flight. My daughter spent most of her first 11-hour flight sleeping peacefully in hers. However, the availability of these bassinets is limited because they can only be fixed to the bulkhead. And while some airlines allow you to book them in advance, others assign them on a first come, first served basis which means that you should always be prepared for the possibility of not getting one.

My top tip? Attempt to book a baby bassinet. If that’s not possible, turn up to the airport early in the hope of being assigned one. If that fails, ask if there happens to be an available seat that you can use for your car seat (you should bring one anyway, since a child must still be restrained on car rides in foreign countries and relying on your own is safer than renting). If there is, you may be allowed to use it without having to pay extra. If not, the car seat will be checked for you, typically free of charge, and baby can sleep in your arms.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. A stroller is useful because you can stash items in the basket, it saves you from having to carry your baby (especially great if they fall asleep while waiting at the airport), and you can use it all the way up to the airplane door. Here, Sharpe says, it will be loaded into the plane’s cargo hold by the ground handling agents. In theory, it should be waiting for you near the door when you disembark at the other end, too. 

However, Sharpe points out that occasionally there can be a miscommunication and strollers end up in the oversized baggage pickup area or at the luggage carousel with the other bags, leaving you stranded with no easy way to carry Baby through the airport. I have also waited for quite a while to have the stroller delivered to the correct place, which can be very stressful if you have a short transfer window. To limit the chances of this happening, Sharpe recommends having check-in staff put a note on your booking and re-iterating this to the flight attendants and ground staff on both ends of your journey. Alternatively, investing in a stroller that fits into the overhead compartment eliminates these issues completely. 

Having experienced my fair share of stroller delivery issues, I would recommend checking your stroller in with your luggage for use at your destination and using a baby carrier to transport your little one from check-in to airplane. The many pros outweigh the one obvious con (having to bear their weight all the way), and include being much more mobile in a crowded airport, having both hands free for your other luggage and passport checks, and giving Baby the comfort of being held close to your body in an unfamiliar and overwhelming new environment.

Sharpe says that parents are often unaware that normal liquid restrictions do not apply to breast milk and formula. TSA states that both of these substances are considered medically necessary liquid and put no restriction on the amount you can bring on board. This applies to juice, too. You just need to remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately at security. However, be aware that TSA rules only apply in the United States. Sharpe points out that at Heathrow Airport in London, for example, you may bring aboard up to 2 liters each of baby food and milk as long as it’s stored in a clear, transparent container or bag. Check airport and airline rules carefully before flying to avoid any confusion.

The change in cabin pressure during take-off and landing affects babies’ ears in the same way it does adult ears — by sucking the eardrum backwards or forwards. However, Dr. Prevatt says that this is more painful for babies (and in fact, 20 percent of children experience a pain so severe that an adult would not be able to put up with it) because the Eustachian tubes that connect the mouth and ears are so much smaller.  

This makes it much harder for babies to equalize effectively, a problem compounded by the fact that they can’t understand how to do so. Swallowing is the easiest way to help them equalize. Therefore, it’s important to breast or bottle feed during take-off and landing. I recommend bringing a pacifier as well in case your baby refuses to drink in the strange environment that is a noisy, cramped airline seat. As a breastfeeding mom, I can confirm that getting a good latch can be tricky because both you and your baby will have to wear a seat belt during take-off and landing, making cradling them in the usual way a little awkward.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Jessica Macdonald has been writing about travel gear for more than 10 years and has flown with both of her children many times since they were four months old. She sought the expert opinion of Dr. Natalie Prevatt, a children's travel medicine consultant and the lead clinician at the Childrenstraveldoc , which offers remote telephone consultations to prepare pregnant mothers and children for travel. Samantha Sharpe also provided invaluable insight from her perspective as a former nanny and flight attendant who previously worked for Qatar Airways and now flies for one of the UK’s largest airlines.

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Related Articles

12 Essential Tips For Flying With A Baby

Everything a new parent needs to know to make that first flight a smooth one.

Father and baby on a plane together

Flying with a baby is one of parenting’s most daunting early challenges. Not only do parents have to navigate the stresses of air travel ⏤ airport traffic, flight delays, long TSA lines ⏤ but they’re doing so with tiny human cargo (and not to mention more baggage ). But with a few essential guidelines and insider tips at the ready, flying with a baby is surprisingly manageable. Sure, traveling with an infant can be a handful, it doesn’t have to be — if you plan ahead, pack properly , and arrive at the airport early and with the proper mindset. To help get you into that mindset, here are some well-worn tips for surviving a flight with a baby.

1. Get to the Airport Early When Flying With a Baby

While some new parents argue against arriving at the airport too early ⏤ as it requires entertaining your baby for a longer stretch of time outside the comforts of home ⏤ the simple fact remains: airport stress is dictated by your departure time. And the less time you give yourself to go from the parking garage to the gate ⏤ especially with a baby and extra gear in tow ⏤ the more stress you will create. Flying with a baby takes significantly more time than traveling on your own. Arriving 90 minutes to two hours before your flight ensures no matter how long the check-in or TSA lines are, or how slowly they’re moving, you’ll never have to sweat missing your flight. Even better, it gives parents a chance to regroup ⏤ order lunch, feed the baby, buy a book they won’t be able to read ⏤ when they get inside the terminal.

2. Use Curbside Check-In

This could be the single-biggest, life-changing tip on the list. Traveling with a baby requires a lot of extra gear ⏤ stroller, car seat, diaper bag, bigger luggage, etc. ⏤ with which you traditionally wouldn’t fly. The sooner you can ditch your checked bags (and possibly the car seat and stroller) without having to wait in the long check-in line, the easier life will be. Seriously, do not walk by a curbside check-in counter and think life will be better on the inside. It won’t. The lines will be longer, slower, and noisier. Budget a few bucks for the porter’s tip and gladly pay them — it’s well worth the convenience.

3. Gate-Check Your Stroller and Car Seat

The beauty of flying with small children is that car seats and strollers fly free. Better still, you can walk them straight down the jetway and check them in before you board the plane, ensuring both will be there when you disembark. For a stroller, this is a no-brainer. Why carry a baby through the airport when you can push them? Even if you’re wearing a baby carrier , it’s nice to have at least an umbrella stroller should your flight be delayed or your baby gets fussy.

Whether to gate-check a car seat that’s not coming on the plane is a bigger debate. But the arguments are straightforward: Car seats are not cheap and those checked at the terminal often get the crap kicked out of them as they move through the bowels of the airport/airplane. There’s also a chance, albeit a small one, that the car seat doesn’t make the flight, and you’re left at your destination with no way to drive the baby to grandma’s house. Gate-checking the car seat may mean lugging it through the airport, which admittedly sucks, but ensures it will make it to your final destination and is less likely to be damaged along the way. No matter what you decide, buy a travel bag ⏤ and preferably one with backpack shoulder straps ⏤ to protect your investment and make carrying it easier. Also, consider buying a lighter travel car seat ⏤ many weigh under 10 pounds and cost less than $75.

4. Wear Your Baby and Your Diaper Bag

Hands are a hot commodity when traveling with kids and ⏤ between carry-on luggage, strollers, diaper bags, and your coffee, not to mention the actual baby, parents simply don’t have enough of them. Even pushing a stroller requires at least one hand be in use. The easiest solution is to invest in a child carrier and wear your baby through the airport; it’s especially helpful when going through security. Just be aware that most airlines won’t let you use the carrier on the plane. While you’re at it, wear your diaper bag too. Invest in a backpack diaper bag and let it double as one parent’s carry-on. Not only do you bring one less bag, but there’s no annoying tote sliding off your shoulder every two minutes.

5. Board the Plane Separately

While all airlines allow parents with babies to board first, it’s not always the smartest move. Remember, it usually takes a half-hour for everybody else to board and the plane to start moving ⏤ that’s a lot of time stuck in your seat with a newborn. If you’re traveling with a spouse, friend, or family member, the better strategy is to have one person board the flight early to stow the carry-ons and diaper bag, gate-check the stroller/car seat, and, if concerned about germs, disinfect the armrests and tray tables. Meanwhile, the other parent walks/entertains the child until everybody is on board and then boards last.

6. If You Can Afford It, Buy the Baby a Seat

Obviously, this decision depends on one’s finances, but if you’ve got the money to buy an extra seat ⏤ book it. Being able to secure the wiggly baby in a car seat, rather than bouncing them on your lap for three hours, is a game-changer. Plus, there’s a better chance they’ll actually sleep during the flight than if resting in your arms or on your shoulder ⏤ which, incidentally, isn’t always comfortable for a parent either. If that baby naps in your arms, you’re petty much stuck in that position for the duration.

7. Fly During Nap (or Happy) Time

We know: Given the hell that is air travel, this may not always work. Even if you do book your flight during this window of time and everything departs smoothly, your kid may be too distracted to sleep because, hey, everything is new and why can’t anyone get up? But booking flights that coincide with a child’s nap schedule at least give you better odds for a smoother trip. If you can’t fly when they usually sleep, try to plan the trip during periods of the day when you know they’re happiest ⏤ for most babies, the morning.

8. Book Two Aisle Seats Across From Each Other

While a lot of nursing moms prefer a window seat for privacy, booking two aisle seats across from one another can provide a much-needed change of scenery for an infant-in-arms. Funny as it might sound, each time the child is handed back and forth, they’re reintroduced to a new environment, new neighbors, etc. which can help recapture their attention. Not only that, but it’s much easier for either parent to get up and soothe the baby by walking up and down the aisle.

9. Nurse or Feed Them During Take-off and Landing

Hands down the number one tip for flying with a baby ⏤ and one aimed at keeping the entire plane from hating you ⏤ is to nurse or feed your baby during take-off and landing. Their ears are especially sensitive to the changes in air pressure during those phases of the flight and the result of the uncomfortable sensation is usually an Armageddon-like meltdown. By nursing or giving them a bottle, the swallowing keeps the ears from popping and the cabin quiet(er). Or, if they don’t want to eat, give them a pacifier.

10. Use Baby Food as an Activity

For toddlers and babies old enough to enjoy solid snacks, eating food on a plane is an all-consuming activity on par with watching an iPad. If a baby is tired of listening to books or playing games, break out the Cheerios and let them concentrate on eating ⏤ and on picking the Cheerios off the sanitized tray table ⏤ for a bit. Will the Cheerios get everywhere? Most definitely. But a little clean up sure beats a crying baby and a section full of angry passengers. In fact, the added bonus of eating as an activity is that the kids’ mouths are too full to yell or cry.

11. Bring Cheap Toys

Take a trip to the dollar store before your flight and stock up on cheap toys you don’t mind losing or accidentally leaving on the plane. And then wrap them individually in cheap wrapping paper like it was Christmas Eve. Whenever your child gets restless during the flight, break out a new toy and help them unwrap it. Let them play with the paper, then the actual toy, and when the child tires of both, well, there’s always Cheerios.

12. Stay Calm

Finally, keep a cool head about you. Easier said than done, we know. But a nervous parent breeds a nervous baby, and the calmer you stay, the more likely the child will mirror your emotions. Traveling with a baby can be stressful, but a lot of that stress is due to worrying about the (dis)comfort of other passengers. Babies cry on planes, that’s what babies do. And assuming you don’t throw on your Beats the minute your child starts melting down, people will understand that you’re trying to stop the crying ⏤ especially if they have kids of their own. And if they don’t, screw them and their judge-y glances. Your baby’s got places to go too.

This article was originally published on July 27, 2018

air travel with newborn tips

Have Baby Will Travel

Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with a Newborn

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First-Hand Tips & Advice for Flying with a Newborn Baby

flying with baby, flying with newborn, baby's first flight, car seat on plane, flying with a newborn, flying with a baby, flying with a newborn baby, tips for flying with a newborn

The thought of traveling with a newborn was overwhelming. With my first child the thought of leaving the house sent me into a tizzy, never mind the country! I wanted to believe I could still travel with baby, but was definitely not an effortless new mom.

But I was not a road trip person ( back then ), so in order for us to get away I needed to get over my fear of flying with baby . My daughter’s first trip was when she was 11-months-old.

My son came with us on our first family-of-four trip when he was just 10 weeks. Bub traveled quite a bit by the time he was two, and has been on planes at pretty much every developmental stage of his life.

Some trips were easy. Some trips were tough. But they were all worth it!

Our Experience Flying with a Newborn…

I consider a baby aged three months and younger to be a newborn. Our son was a big baby who nursed well, so by 10 weeks we had a robust infant on our hands who was slowly developing a sleeping and eating routine (but had lots of growth spurts and early teething that kept us on our toes). We flew to Quebec City via Porter Airlines Both are highly recommended for family travel!

Biggest Concerns Before Flying with a Newborn:

Our son had not yet had his routine vaccinations. I was worried about the germy environment of an airplane’s interior, as well as various strangers touching his hands. And I was really afraid of him getting sick on vacation . This was pre-pandemic, mind you, but this worry (obviously) still stands.

Also, I was also really afraid that he’d scream for the entire flight.

The Reality of Flying with a Newborn:

Flying with a newborn is (comparatively–to, say–a toddler ) easy. A baby this small is actually easy to keep fairly separated from the germ-laden population as they are not yet mobile. When Bub was not in his car seat , one of us was holding him, and various baby admirers seemed to know enough to keep their distance. We had anti-bacterial wipes for his hands if he did manage to touch something (and then regular wipes to wipe off the anti-bacterial residue. Because, residue).

Our flight out was not full, so we were able to keep him in safely in his car seat for the duration of the flight. This was awesome. For our flight home, we had to gate-check his seat but we had no issues with that nor keeping him on our laps. He slept for the majority of the flight in my husband’s arms after a good nursing session during take-off. For long-haul flights, check with your airline to see about availability and using an airplane bassinet .

Extra Consideration When Flying with a Newborn:

Our biggest issue was that, as an exclusively breastfed infant, our son’s poops were quite explosive. If the diaper did manage to contain it, it would end up seeping out anyway. (Normally I’d worry about TMI here. But, if you’re reading this you’re likely a parent (who won’t care), or an expecting parent (who needs to learn this stuff ;))

I brought a change of clothes for our flight out, but he went through that rather quickly. And the new outfit barely held until we reached our hotel. Since baby clothes are so tiny at this age, more than one change of clothes (for you too, if you’ve got the room) is a good idea. If your infant is formula-fed , bring extra feeds and bottles. You never know when or for how long delays will happen. I can’t imagine the stress of having a hungry baby and not having access to formula and water.

The usual flying with baby advice holds here when flying with a newborn… Try to keep them sucking during takeoff and landing, whether that’s by nursing, a bottle, or a pacifier. Don’t be afraid to administer a bit of infant pain relief medication if you think baby’s ears are in pain. Our son’s naps were not yet consistent by this point, but we were flying at typical naptimes so he slept for most of both flights. Toys won’t really do much at this age either, so enjoy the relative lightness of your carry-on bag !

Of all the ages and stages our son’s been at when we’ve flown with him, this was definitely the easiest. Although if you’re a first-time mom (as overwhelmed as I was), you probably don’t believe me.

You will, if you have another!

Have Baby Will Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates/Influencer Program. If you make a purchase through this site, we may receive a small commission. Click here to check out our Amazon Store .

  • Planning Your First Trip with Baby
  • Traveling with a Baby? It Gets Easier…
  • Traveling with a Baby? It gets Harder…
  • A Complete Guide to Traveling with a Newborn
  • Coping with Time Changes & Baby Jet Lag
  • A Complete Guide to Booking and Using an Airplane Bassinet
  • The Complete Guide to Baby Travel Gear
  • Tips for Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months
  • Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months
  • Flying with Toddlers and Preschoolers
  • 10 Dos & Don’ts for Flying with Babies and Toddlers

56 Responses to Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with a Newborn

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We didn’t take our twins anywhere until they were older, and didn’t fly until they were almost 4. When our youngest came along, we packed up and took off when he was only 3 months old. That was, by far, the easiest flight with him. He fed, he slept, he didn’t need much room to wiggle. It is hard to convince new parents, but they really should fly while the baby is tiny.

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Oh boy. You are flashing me back 2 years to our first flight with our guy at 3 months. We went across the country. I thought everyone was right and we must be insane. He slept almost the whole time. When he wasn’t sleeping he was chewing on a toy. As usual, I was more crazy than he was. And you are absolutely right about packing more formula than you think you will need. This saved our butts. We got stuck in San Fran over night on our way home from Maui when he was 5 months old. I was panicked because we only had 2 bottles left. I was asking for our luggage, where a 24 hour grocery store was. Anything! Somehow we managed without more formula, but it was definitely more stress than we needed to deal with if we had planned a little better. We packed some extra in case of delays, but didn’t even think about getting stuck overnight! As always thanks for all the amazing baby advice.

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I’d give anything to travel with a tiny one these days!

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Corinne, I have some grand kids you can take . Jack

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Totally not what I expected coming in to this entry, haha. For some reason I was expecting tips about how to keep your baby quiet on a long flight.

But all of these made sense. I’ve got no kids myself, but I had wondered in the past how my sister would deal with poopy nappies on a long flight. That confined environment makes them all the more lethal :-p

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About to make our first air trip with our newborn, he will be 9 weeks. That’s great you were able to use the car seat on board. … We have requested the bassinet so hope he sleeps ok in it!

I will post our experience on my blog wish us luck!

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Good to hear it’s not so bad traveling with an infant. Most people tell me I’m crazy for planning a flight with a 2M old. They said I am being naive as a fist time mom to think that all baby needs is sleep, food and change of diapers. This is all good advice but is there anything else I should consider for a long haul flight? We are flying NY to Australia which usually means 3 long flights of 6/16/5 hours. Besides extra clothing/diapers, is there anything else I should be considering to bring along? I plan on breastfeeding so that cuts down on bottle feeding gear. Should we really plan a layover somewhere for a few days to make travel easier for all?

Way to go, Marlyn! You will be all be tired, so make sure you have a day or two on the other end of your journey to recuperate. Hopefully you’ve bought baby a seat or will have a spare seat between you so you can have a break from holding baby. A layover mid-way just extends the journey in my opinion, but I’m of the “grit your teeth and get it over with” school of baby travel 🙂

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We some time really become worried if we need to travel alone with a toddler and a baby. These tips will definitely help people to get prepared before the trip.

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Thanks so much for this, I have been nervous about flying with my newborn but this has put my mind at rest a little!

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Thanks a lot. I have been worried about flying with my 2 months old baby but this helps..

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I’m planning on flying with my baby when she is 3 weeks old, crazy I know. We’re traveling missouri to California so one hr and one 3 hr flights. Any tips for a baby so little? Planning on wearing her and breast feeding for takeoff and landing.

Good luck Caitlin! Maybe this post will help:

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How did ur flight go? I’m taking the same from Missouri to lax in California in 3 weeks with out 2 month old. I’m nervous but allegiant airlines is nonstop 3 1/2 hours

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I think it’s more safe take a baby on travel when he/her anti-body activates aside from the vaccines. Thanks for sharing your toughts.

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We want to take our kids travelling once we start our family. My parents took my siblings on airlines when they were 3 months old and it seemed fairly fine. There was one scare with one of them catching a cold. Apart from that, they never really had any trouble. And the flight was from Sydney to LA.

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I could never muster enough courage to travel with my infant.. Well they are 3 and 4 years old now, so i guess i missed the chance.. LOL.

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Last time I travelled to India there was a baby screaming for about two hours. I cannot imagine what that would be like for the parents….The air on that plain was also extremely dry, so maybe that’s why.

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I traveled with my 6 week old son from NYC to Michigan for an hour, then 6 hours to Claifornia. We stayed in LA for 3 days and proceeded to Manila, Phils. via Tokyo for another 15 hours straight flight. All he did was sleeping, eating and pooping. Layovers are good for long travel and with this age, travel light is recommended. I made sure to bring extra baby clothes and prepared water baby bottles.

Way to go, Phoebe! Thank you for leaving this comment. You’re an inspiration to moms of newborns facing a marathon flight.

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Wow! Did you bring your carseat and stroller with you on all flights?

We did! It was a PITA sometimes, but I never regretted having them with me.

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I didn’t travel with my two children until they were 3 and 5. Went to Disney World and was just amazed at how many people actually take their newborns, toddlers, twin infants and more! To me they were quite ambitious! At three and five it was so much easier with them being potty trained and able to talk. Kudos to the parents for braving it through the earlier years!

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Dear Madam/ Sir,

Could you tell me that My daughter she is 3 month old can travel by Air and Total travel time is 4.5 hours.

But via flight 1. hours from Madurai to Chennai, Get 2.25 hours from Chennai to Mumbai.

Kindly Advise.

Hi Ganesh! You should be just fine. Plan ahead by packing all you will need, and be ready to be busy for those 5 hours! Take care, Corinne

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I will be traveling with my baby once he’s 6wks back to Alaska where my husband and I are based. It’s a 5hr plane ride and I’m not sure where or how I’ll change him? Any info on that would be much appreciated.

Most planes have a change table in the washroom in the back of the plane. At 6wks your baby should fit just fine, but it is a challenge for older babies since the space is so tight. I recommend bringing along a change mat and lots of wipes to clean things beforehand. Have a great flight!

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Thanks for this and all the comments. We are travelling soon and my baby will be just over 3 months..I am very anxious and scared of her getting sick during the travel but all these comments are helpful. Thanks

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Great tips! The more tips the better!

Hello, I’m a first time mom and my husband and I will be travelling with our newborn in a few months from NYC to the Philippines. Was thinking about not getting her a separate ticket since the aircraft provides a bassinet but we will still be bringing a car seat with us. Do you recommend checking it in along with our other free baggage or should I take it with me to the plane? Can it be gate checked if the airplane is full?

Hi Karen! I would definitely gate-check your seat, ideally in a padded travel bag. The airline should be totally fine with this, and also not charge you for it.

Oh wow, that was quick! Thanks! Do you recommend gate-checking the stroller too? We’re taking the new york-seoul & seoul-philippines flights.

You should be able to gate check both.

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Hello just want to have an idea since i am a first time mom of my daughter 6th month old and we want to travel from philippines to bahrain (it’s a long travel) i was thinking that maybe she might be afraid during take off and landing.. Can someone suggest to me what to do? Im thinking also what to do if she is not comfortable during our flight since it’s her first time to travel.

Hi Micha! Six months is a pretty ok time to travel with a baby. Seek to comfort during takeoff and landing by nursing or offering a bottle or pacifier, and make sure you have lots of diapers on hand! It will not be a relaxing flight for you but you should both do fine. Good luck!!

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We have a weekend trip planned, 4 days from FL to NY. Our little one will be 11, almost 12 weeks by that time. My husband doesn’t want to take her, for fear of germs, getting sick, etc. Any resources available to help change his mind?

I don’t have any official resources to suggest other than our personal experience. My son was 10 weeks on his first trip which is kind of similar–we did a long weekend in Quebec City. It was a short flight and a few nights in a hotel. At this age, since they’re not mobile or (usually) sticking their hands in their mouths, it’s pretty easy to shield them from things and surfaces that usually harbor the nasty germs. We kept him in his car seat, he had a seat on the plane, and I’m not exaggerating when I say he slept from the plane, through the airport, in the taxi and didn’t wake up until we’d checked into the hotel. If you’re nursing your daughter will have some immunity from your breast milk, but even though NYC is a busy place, you’ll have her close to you either in her car seat, stroller, or carrier. You can control who touches her and what she touches. Enjoy this phase because it doesn’t last long!

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Thanks for this write up. Being reading various comments so I’m not so scared anymore. Will be traveling on a journey of 35hrs 30mins from Texas to Nigeria with my 3months old baby. Guess I’ll have to pack as many diapers, bottles and extra cloth.

Hi Bibi! That is quite a journey! You could probably get away with 20 or so diapers, but since your baby is only 3 months they are still pretty small and don’t take up too much room. Don’t skimp on the bottles, though. It would be awful to run out and delays are possible. Good luck and have a great trip!

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Hi Bibi, How did the travel go? I am planning to travel to Portland from Nigeria soon. My baby will just be around 4 weeks then and I do not know if he can cope with the jet lag. I do not want to drop him because I want to exclusively breastfeed him.

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My grandmother is not expected to live much longer, so I am planning an unexpected trip from NC to Florida with my 9 week old. My husband and older two children will be staying at home. I was thinking about wearing the baby in a cloth baby carrier – if I do, will I have to take her out of the carrier during take off and landing ?(I believe I could still buckle my seatbelt with her in the carrier). Thanks!

Oh Alicia, I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Yes, you will have to take her out of the carrier for takeoff and landing. Luckily I would imagine your flight will be short. Wishing you and your daughter a peaceful journey.

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Getting ready to take a 4 hr flight with my 2 month old, I’m planning on baby wearing, I know I will have to take her out during takeoff and landing, my question may be stupid but what do I do just hold her on my lap during that time?

Hi Tracy! During takeoff and landing, you are usually directed to hold your baby upright in the “burping” position.

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Hello Corinne, Nice & very informative article you shared with us. it is very important to carry travel seat for a newborn to 18 months baby. if anyone have car seat then its very useful when you flying with air plane. You need lots of diaper storage when travelling, so check you have available diaper on your bag.

Thanks for Article.

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We are about to embark on a 15hr trip (with two flights and layover and car ride) with our five week old. We are just praying she sleeps well. One thing I was curious if anyone has had success being able to wash bottles/hand pumps while on the plane or in layover? Just trying to figure out the safest way to ensure clean utensils.

At five weeks I think your bottles, nipples, and pump parts still need to be sterilized. If it were me I’d have extra on hand, sealed in ziploc bags, rather than risk the water from an aiplane restroom sink or airport bathroom. Good luck!

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I have a girl baby 3 month old. Recently I have to travel a long journey for an important reason. It is about 4 hours journey.I am very worry about this how can i travel with my little baby in a long journey. plz dear suggest me.

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This is a great post on realities of traveling with a newborn. I have gone through this myself with my son. Traveling with a toddler is a little different, since they become attention seekers and need constant entertainment. I am going to place a link in my blog to this post, and I would appreciate if you linked to my post talking about traveling with toddlers and what to take with you on the way.

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Good evening.

I am plannin to travel from Washington DC to Europe( around 20 hours) with my daughter who is going to be three months old at time of traveling. Besides having a lot of diaper and formula bottles , do you have any advice for me. How does she travel? Do I need to buy separate seat for her? In that case, I should use car seat, right? What about stroller? Does it go with us in the airplane? Thank you in advance!

Hi Milica! 20 hours is a long time to have a baby on your lap! if your airline offers bassinets , see if you can book one. Otherwise, she would be safest and most comfortable in her own seat, in an airline-approved car seat. But if that’s not in your budget, it’s not in your budget. You’ll want to gate-check your stroller, instructions on how to do that are here . Have a great trip!

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Thanks for posting this article! We’re debating whether or not we should take a trip with our newborn from California to France (approx 11 hour flight). She will be 10 weeks old at the time. We originally were not planning on buying a seat for the baby, nor were we going to bring a car seat with us. Do you think that’s doable?

We were also thinking of getting back row seats, because it’s closer to the restroom and there’s a higher chance that nobody will sit in between us. Is this a good idea? Or should we ask for bulkhead?

11 hours is a loooong time to hold a baby in your arms, even a cuddly 10-weeker 🙂 Bulkhead would likely be most comfortable for all of you, especially if you can get a bassinet.

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Very important things to know when travelling with a baby.

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Nice write up!, Thank you for sharing this amazing topic, I’ll like to call it ‘an ultimate guide when traveling with your baby’ ☺️you know what? I just discovered this website and I used read a lot of Parenting blogs, and I’ve read articles similar to this, but I’ve never seen written this way, very insightful and educative.

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Thanks for sharing this information. I am a new father, and it’s help me a lot. Thanks again.

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Survival Tips for Air Travel with an Infant or Toddler

 TripSavvy /  Emily Roberts

Air travel is stressful enough when you're traveling alone, especially during busy flight times. And that stress is doubled when traveling with an infant or toddler, as you worry about checking in, passing through airport security, navigating your way to your gate and finally getting on your flight. But you can get through the process with flying colors if you create a plan of attack in advance of your flight. 

Top Tips for Flying With a Baby or Toddler

Book a separate ticket for your child, even though they can fly free from birth to age two. Do this for your comfort and the safety of the child. And ensure that your child is traveling in an FAA-approved car seat or you may be forced to check the seat. Make sure you read up on your airline's car seat policy before you fly.

When booking your ticket, use seat maps to choose your seats right away, then put in your note that you're traveling with an infant or a toddler. Although the bulkhead seat can have more space, the back of the airplane is better, because lavatories are easier to access, there's more overhead bin space when you board and it's more likely to have vacant seats.

Spend the money to check your luggage so you're not carrying as much on your flight. And check out some tips to cut back on baggage fees . Finally, print out your boarding passes at home so all you have to do is check your bags.

Be prepared for possible flight delays or even cancellations by having extra diapers, wipes, bottles, powdered formula and extra clothes. You should also have books, toys, coloring sets and snacks .

Once you get to the airport, you will have to go through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint. Before getting there, read the TSA's list of approved items that can go past security. Medically required liquids, such as baby formula and food, breast milk and medications are exempt from the 3.4-ounce restrictions for a flight. While you don't have to put these liquids in a zip-top bag, you must tell a Transportation Security Officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the beginning of the screening checkpoint process. These liquids will be subjected to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container. 

You will likely have to take the child through the screening machine out of a stroller and carrier, so carry the baby in your arms. As you head to the gate area, take note of the nearest restroom should you need to take care of a baby or toddler emergency before boarding the flight. Get to your gate early and take advantage of pre-boarding so that you and the child can get settled before the masses begin to board.

Ask the gate agent to gate-check your stroller or non-certified car seat before boarding so that it will be waiting for you when you land. Be aware that some checked items, such as car seats or large strollers, may arrive at an oversized or special luggage section separate from regular luggage. If you are missing any of your luggage, check there first.

If you brought a stroller and checked it at the gate you may as well take your time getting off the aircraft, since it needs to be retrieved by a baggage handler and brought up to the door of the aircraft. This takes time, so rather than disturb your baby or toddler even more, wait until the crowd is off the plane and your stroller may already be waiting for you.

Edited by Benet Wilson

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Home / Parenting, Kids & Teens / Air travel with an infant

Air travel with an infant

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air travel with newborn tips

Your first flight with your child will likely be a lot different from your previous flights. Instead of worrying about whether you have enough reading material, you may now be worried about entertaining your baby or toddler. While there’s no telling how your baby will react to his or her first time on an airplane, careful planning can go a long way toward calming you and your child’s nerves.


  For domestic travel, consider bringing a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you. If leaving the country, your child will need a passport. If you know you’ll be traveling outside of the country with your child in the future, consider applying as soon as possible. The application process can typically be expedited for a fee.

Seat safety

  Although airlines typically allow infants to ride on a caregiver’s lap during flight, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends that infants ride in properly secured safety seats. Most infant car seats are certified for air travel.

  In order for your little one to travel in a car seat on the plane, your child will need his or her own seat. Though airlines typically will let you use an empty seat if available, the only way to guarantee a seat for your child is to purchase a ticket. When booking your flights, check if there are any discounts for infant children.

Keep in mind that car seats must be secured in a window seat so other passengers will be able to exit the row. If you purchase a seat for your child, FAA strongly encourages that your child remains in the seat with the seatbelt firmly fastened during the duration of the flight. This can be a challenge if your child is crying and you want to hold him or her, especially during takeoff and landing. Airlines typically allow a child under 2 to be held on your lap, but the policy varies by airline.

If you don’t bring a car seat for your child on the plane, ask the flight attendant for instructions on how to hold your child during takeoff and landing. If you sit in an aisle seat with your child, be sure to protect your child’s head, hands and feet from getting bumped by service carts or other passengers.

Many traveling families seek out the bulkhead of the plane, which offers extra space. Others prefer the back of the plane, which is typically noisy enough to drown out crying and may even lull a baby to sleep. Do what makes the most sense to you.

Getting through the airport

If you plan to bring a car seat on the plane, a stroller that allows you to attach the car seat to it is a smart investment. You’ll be able to wheel your child in his or her car seat until you board the plane, at which point you can collapse the stroller base and check it at the gate. You will, however, have to take your child out of a car seat and carry him or her through security while the stroller is screened.

While the Transportation Security Administration limits the amount of fluids you can bring on a plane, exceptions are made for baby-related items, such as medications, formula, baby food and breast milk. Be sure to notify security officials about what you’re carrying and expect it to be inspected. Also, let security officials know if your child is using or has any special medical devices.

Many airlines offer families priority boarding. However, some families prefer to board last to minimize the amount of time spent on the plane.

Keeping baby happy

Dress your child in comfortable, easy-to-remove layers. This will help you keep him or her warm or cool enough and make diaper and clothing changes easy.  Bring extra clothing in a plastic, sealable bag for accidents that might occur or if your child becomes sick and vomits on the plane. Consider bringing an extra change of clothing accessible for yourself, too, in case you’re part of the accident.

Nursing or sucking on a pacifier or bottle might ease discomfort during takeoff and landing, since babies can’t intentionally “pop” their ears by swallowing or yawning to relieve ear pain caused by air pressure changes. Having extra pacifiers on hand will be helpful in case the pacifiers fall or get lost. A sippy cup of water can help a toddler with the same issue.

If your child is restless, consider taking an occasional break to walk up and down the aisle — as long as the crew approves moving throughout the cabin.

If your child is old enough to snack, have different types of snacks available and bring them out at different times during the flight. Also, consider bringing several little toys to keep your child occupied, introducing a new toy as your baby’s interest in the current toy wanes.

Although parents often joke about giving a child a sedating over-the-counter medication to induce sleep during the flight, this isn’t recommended. In some cases, the medication could end up producing the opposite effect and make your child agitated.

If your child does cry during the flight, do your best to figure out what’s wrong — just as you would at home — and try to stay calm. Chances are that many passengers on the plane have been in your situation before and likely sympathize.

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Everything You Need to Know About Flying with a Baby

Tips, tricks and the best products to make your time in the sky a little bit easier., by babylist team.

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There’s no way around it—flying with a baby is intimidating. Whether it’s your first flight or your fifth, taking your baby on a plane can feel pretty overwhelming and leave you with a lot of questions.

We’re here with answers. We’re breaking down some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to babies + air travel, plus sharing the best (and most helpful) products to make your time in the friendly skies a little bit easier.

Flying with Baby FAQ

Can you bring breast milk or baby formula on a plane? What about baby food pouches?

Yes. (Phew!) Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has pretty tight restrictions on what can and can’t make it past security for adults, those rules don’t apply to children 12 years old and younger.

Formula, breast milk, juice and other liquids (a sippy cup filled with water, for example) are permitted in “reasonable quantities” through the security checkpoint. Same goes for gel teethers and baby food in cans, pouches or jars. Ice packs, freezer or gel packs and other accessories needed to cool formula or breast milk are also OK.

These items don’t need to follow the usual liquid restrictions and don’t need to be in a quart-sized bag. As you approach the security line, you’ll want to remove these items from your bag and inform the TSA officer that you’ll be bringing them through so they can screen them separately.

Check out the “ Traveling with Children ” section of the TSA website for a full rundown of rules and procedures. And please note that these rules apply to domestic U.S. flights only; if you’re traveling out of the country, you’ll want to do some research around international travel regulations.

Do you need to buy a plane ticket for a baby?

Not if your little one is under the age of two. Most airlines allow lap babies under two years old to fly free on domestic flights alongside one paying adult. (But always double check with your airline to make sure.) Whether or not you’re comfortable with flying with your baby on your lap, however, is a matter of personal preference.

Does a baby need a car seat on a plane?

Technical answer: no. Longer answer: it depends on your comfort level, but we think so.

It’s much safer for your baby to ride in a car seat on an airplane rather than on your lap. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree and strongly recommend buying a ticket for your baby and bringing your car seat on board. That’s because anything not secured has the potential to bounce around the cabin in the event of an emergency, or even severe turbulence. Securing your little one in a car seat while flying is the best way to ensure their safety.

If you do purchase a ticket for your baby and bring along a car seat, you’ll need to make sure that it’s FAA-approved . Look for a sticker on your seat that reads, “this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”

Do you need to bring identification for baby when flying?

If you’re flying domestically, no. TSA does not require children under 18 to provide ID when traveling with a companion within the United States. However, if you’re flying with a lap infant, an airline may ask you to present proof of age. A birth certificate, passport or immunization record will do the trick.

If you’re traveling internationally, your child will need a passport.

Can you bring your stroller on a plane? Does a stroller count as luggage? A large stroller cannot be brought onto a plane—it needs to be checked either with your luggage or at the gate. Some travel strollers fold up small enough to fit into the overhead compartment, in which case it’s fine to bring them on board. (They may or may not count as luggage, though, so be sure to check with your airline.)

We recommend gate-checking your stroller. Your little one can stay in their stroller all the way to the door of the plane; just ask a gate agent to give you a tag beforehand so you can tag it before you board and retrieve it after you’ve deplaned.

How do you change a diaper on a plane?

Patience, dexterity and a little bit of good luck.

We kid, we kid. (Um…sort of?) Changing your baby on a plane isn’t ideal, but it’s definitely doable. And while we recommend always doing a quick diaper change before you board, sometimes nature calls and you’ll be forced to change your little one’s diaper in-flight.

The best place to change your baby’s diaper on a plane is in the bathroom. Ask your flight attendant which bathroom is equipped with a changing table, and bring along a portable changing station stocked with everything you might need.

Tips for Traveling with Baby

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re traveling with a little one in tow that will make everyone’s trip a little bit easier.

  • Get organized . Now isn’t the time to toss a few things into a bag and hop on the plane five minutes before takeoff. Make a packing list of everything you think you’ll need, and keep the essentials like wipes , diapers , snacks and a change of clothes close at hand. (We recommend a change for you and your little one!) Build in plenty of extra time to get to the airport in case anything comes up like an unexpected diaper blowout.
  • Get the right gear . A backpack-style diaper bag and an easy baby carrier to get on will help keep your hands free. Invest in a travel stroller if you think you’ll be traveling frequently enough to justify the cost. Keep a portable changing pad on hand for quick changes on the go.
  • Help with air pressure . Babies can have a tough time with air pressure changes on planes. Sucking can help, so consider feeding your little during takeoff and landing and keep a pacifier on hand if your little one takes one.
  • Keep ‘em busy . A few simple activities go a long way in keeping little ones, especially older babies and toddlers, entertained on a plane. Bring along some favorite toys and books, and hit Pinterest for creative plane activity hacks like DIY busy boxes, lacing cards, window clings and more.

Packing List Must-Haves for Flying with Baby

Our favorite travel essentials will go a long way in making air travel easier on you—and your little one.

A Backpack Diaper Bag

Product of the North Sustainable Elkin Diaper Bag Backpack - Black - $99.99.

Product of the North Sustainable Elkin Diaper Bag Backpack - Black

Gender neutral, roomy, comfortable and packed with compartments to store all your travel must-haves, this practical backpack keeps you organized and frees up your hands for wrangling your little one through the airport.

A Comfy Carrier

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Baby Carrier - Midnight Blue - $101.50.

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Baby Carrier - Midnight Blue

Speaking of keeping your hands free…pop baby in this carrier (either front, back or on your hip) and pack your stroller with all your bags as you make your way to your flight. The breathable fabric will keep you cool and the lumbar support will keep you comfortable.

A Lightweight Stroller

Colugo The Compact Stroller - Black - $225.00.

Colugo The Compact Stroller - Black

Sturdy enough to use when you reach your destination yet compact enough to fit into the overhead bin when folded, this travel stroller should come along on all family adventures.

A Problem Solver

Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddle 4-Pack - Lovestruck.

Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddle 4-Pack - Lovestruck

The jack of all trades when it comes to baby products, a swaddle works as a blanket, a nursing cover, an on-the-go changing solution and so much more.

A Germ Killer

Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes - $13.28.

Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes

We’re not huge germaphobes, but when it comes to planes and babies, it’s another story. Throw some of these in your diaper bag for a quick wipe-down of the plane seat and tray table. (And while you’re at it, we love this travel-sized pack of hand sanitizing wipes too.)

A Change of Clothes

Burt's Bees Baby Organic Sleep & Play Footie Pajamas - Moonlight Clouds, 0-3 Months - $15.00.

Burt's Bees Baby Organic Sleep & Play Footie Pajamas - Moonlight Clouds, 0-3 Months

A change of clothes is a must when traveling with a baby, and we love this easy on, easy off one-piece footed romper. (Don’t forget to pack yourself a change too.)

A Snack Keeper

ZoLi PODS Snack & Formula Container - White - $13.00.

ZoLi PODS Snack & Formula Container - White

Truth: you can never have too many snacks on a plane. This container has three compartments for all your little one’s snacking needs, and can also be used to store formula.

An Ear Reliever

doddle & co Pop Pacifier - Oh Happy Grey - $9.99.

doddle & co Pop Pacifier - Oh Happy Grey

A pacifier helps relieve ear pressure caused by changes in air pressure, especially during takeoff and landing. This one is easier to keep clean as the nipple pops back into its protective bubble if (when) dropped.

A (Quiet) Distraction

Touch! My Big Touch-and-Feel Word Book - $15.56.

Touch! My Big Touch-and-Feel Word Book

This oversized activity book may take up a little extra room in your bag, but it’s worth it for the interactive, hands-on fun it will provide for your little one during a flight.

{name} {jobTitle}.

Babylist Team

Best Travel Strollers of 2024, Tested and Reviewed by Parents & Experts.

How to pack — and prepare — for travel with a baby

Lori Zaino

About to take your first trip with a new baby ? Or maybe this isn't your first time traveling with your little one , but you'd like to pack more efficiently this time around.

It can be hard to know how to prepare and pack when you have a baby in tow. Babies often change so quickly that anticipating their needs can be complicated — especially if you're planning a longer trip.

In addition to typical packing concerns, such as the weather in your destination or luggage size restrictions, it's not always clear what you can carry on or must check when it comes to your infant. Here's our advice to help you prepare, pack and travel better with your baby.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel advice .

Choose accommodations wisely (and pack accordingly)

If you're traveling by car, you can easily pack a travel crib and other larger baby items.

However, if you're flying, choosing the right accommodation is the key to packing lighter, which is the goal. Toting around an infant is strain enough — staying somewhere that provides baby items means you can leave the extras at home.

Check with your hotel to see if it offers cribs or other baby items, as well as if it provides laundry services or facilities where you can do your own. Some hotels will even provide an extra fridge for milk storage upon request.

Often, a home rental might be a better choice than a hotel, assuming you pick the right one. Airbnb allows you to filter properties by items such as "crib" and "high chair." You can also message hosts to see if they have any other baby-friendly items available.

For example, I recently filtered an Airbnb search in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to show only rentals that included a crib, high chair, washer and dryer. I ended up picking a rental that included not only the aforementioned items, but also a bottle sterilizer, bottle warmer and a few other infant-friendly items, which allowed me to pack less.

Some rentals I've stayed in even provided baby toys, books and cutlery. The key is communication. Don't hesitate to message and confirm the equipment again with hosts as you pack. You can also request or confirm that everything will be set up and ready for the baby upon your arrival.

Access to a washer and dryer is important since babies tend to have accidents or leaky diapers. Being able to do laundry also lets you pack fewer clothes. Also, if your rental is not a stand-alone house or a unit on the first floor, check that there is an elevator. A five-floor walk-up in a multi-unit building can be difficult with a stroller, shopping bags and baby in your arms.

Call your airline to understand the regulations

Depending on your airline, fare class and destination, you may have to adhere to different rules when it comes to traveling with an infant.

Those regulations can also vary depending on whether you've purchased a lap ticket versus a separate seat for your baby. In almost all cases, airlines allow travelers with an infant to gate-check a stroller or buggy, and some may also allow a car seat. Check with your airline ahead of time to understand baggage rules for your little one to avoid getting caught off guard at the airport or paying extra, especially when flying low-cost carriers like Ryanair or Spirit .

Flying with an infant in a car seat and hoping to bring it on the plane? Make sure it's approved for air travel. You may also want to request a bassinet for your baby, if the aircraft you're flying offers one (check the weight limits, however). Ask for an aisle seat, as it makes standing up with your baby much easier.

Invest in travel-friendly baby items

air travel with newborn tips

Having a dedicated (foldable) travel stroller will be useful beyond air travel. It's the perfect item to have when exploring a new city. Other key travel baby items to consider taking along are:

  • Travel diaper backpack.
  • Portable changing pad.
  • Travel car seat.
  • A bag for a car seat or stroller so these items aren't damaged if checked.
  • Portable baby monitor.
  • Baby carrier or wrap.
  • Swaddle or baby blankets.
  • Inflatable bathtub .
  • Pack 'n Play or travel crib.
  • Travel neck pillow (use it while feeding your baby).
  • Baby chair strap.
  • Disposable bottle liners.
  • Disposable bibs.
  • Portable blackout shades for travel cribs or strollers.

Purchase (or preorder) diapers, formula and more at your destination

Depending on how long your trip is and where you're headed, calculate (and it's always best to over-calculate) how many diapers you'll need for the trip.

If your baby uses a specific formula or baby food, make sure you know where to buy it at your destination. Amazon and other delivery services can be useful for ordering these items -- and remember, these services are available internationally, too. You can also compare ingredients to see if you can get a similar formula or food at your destination, so you won't have to load up your suitcase with diapers or formula.

Don't worry if you forget baby socks or another basic item. Babies live all over the world, so you'll likely find many basic items available for purchase wherever you are. If your baby requires something specific, though, pack it just in case.

There are also companies that rent baby gear in many destinations around the world. Research ahead of time to find out exactly where and how to obtain these necessary items, especially when traveling abroad .

Carry on the essentials (and extras)

Always pack your baby's key essentials in your carry-on . This includes comfort items like their favorite toy or pacifier, and extra clothes for both your baby and you (in case their wardrobe disaster becomes yours, as well). You should also pack enough food, diapers and other key items to last you through the trip, plus more for any possible delays and/or cancelations.

Here's a list of items you may want to keep in your carry-on bag :

  • Extra clothing for you and your baby.
  • Layers of clothing or blankets (plane temperatures are often extreme).
  • Pacifier and clip (and backup).
  • Comfort toy(s) or blanket.
  • Extra diapers.
  • Breast pump.
  • Snacks (for you and your baby).
  • Baby wipes.
  • Sanitizing wipes.
  • Extra bibs.
  • Ziploc bags for stowing soiled clothing (or a reusable, waterproof bag).
  • Baby Tylenol or any infant medications.
  • A basic first aid kit.
  • Small toy(s).

The rest of your baby's items, like additional clothing, blankets and more, can go in your checked bag. If you're checking more than one bag, split your baby's items among different checked suitcases. That way you'll be covered if the airline loses one of your suitcases.

Know the security regulations and have a backup plan

On a recent call to Iberia Airlines , I was told I could bring "reasonable quantities" of formula and breast milk through security. However, the representative also told me that in some cases during security checks, certain agents might not allow me to pass these items through security at the Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) . What?

Not all security checks, Transportation Security Administration agents or customs agents are alike, and each country, airport or airline may have specific regulations. Call ahead of time and prepare for things to not go as planned. If you do use formula, take your bottles already mixed, but also bring extra powder in case you need to prepare new bottles on board.

If you're pumping, it might also be a good idea to bring both a hand pump and an electric pump in case you have limited access to electricity or encounter issues with electrical outlets or voltage when traveling internationally.

Arriving at the airport early is always a good idea, because you may not breeze through security as you might have in your pre-baby days. Everything takes longer with an infant, so having that extra time can ensure a low stress travel experience. Take advantage and board the airplane first to give you extra time to get settled. If your airport has a family security line, use it.

Make sure you understand any remaining COVID-19 regulations

As mask rules and COVID-19 testing, entry and vaccine regulations continue to evolve in countries around the world, stay on top of exactly what you need to know and bring for your baby to get to your destination (and back home again). It's important to understand whether you'll need masks for your 2-year-old or need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 tests upon arrival at your destination or re-entry into the U.S. when traveling abroad.

Remember that airline staff members also struggle to keep track of ever-changing rules, so if you know something has recently changed or a rule seems specific, make sure to bring along proof of this information and whatever documentation you need in case you have trouble when boarding.

Photocopy important documents and always have extras. I loathe having to take paper documents along when traveling. However, having them may mean the difference between getting through customs, being able to board or being stranded at the airport. This is especially true if your phone battery dies or you're left without service for any reason. While being denied boarding is always dramatic, it's even worse with a baby in tow.

Download the right apps

Mobile phone apps can help you anticipate what you need, as well as keep your baby (and yourself) comfortable during travel.

A white noise app is key for better sleep for your baby — and therefore better sleep for parents — and allows you to leave a white noise machine home. Nightlight apps are also helpful during travel.

You can also connect most modern baby monitors to your phone and use an app to access the video of your baby so you won't need a separate viewing device.

Parents may find an app to track sleeping and feeding especially helpful during travel, particularly when switching time zones. A general packing app could help you keep track of what you need to bring for your infant, as well as the entire family. Make sure these apps are accessible offline if you need them while flying.

Don't forget their passport

air travel with newborn tips

This one is obvious, but you'd be surprised. Don't forget your baby's passport when traveling.

Look into identity and consent documents, as each country has its own requirements, especially if your partner isn't with you. If you have any older children, make sure to check that their passports are valid, as children's U.S. passports expire in just five years.

Traveling with a baby might seem like a lot. However, once you get the hang of it, packing, prepping and traveling with your infant becomes second nature. Ask for help when you need it and accept help when offered.

And when things don't go quite right, stay relaxed (remember, baby can feel your moods) — you'll figure it out. While it may seem tragic in the moment (like that major diaper blowout on board a plane), it will be an epic story to share one day.

Bottom line

When in doubt, bring enough baby supplies for a few extra days or a flight delay, but don't overpack. Make sure to be clear on any and all regulations that will cover your travel, from having the right documents to understanding what baby items you can bring through airport security . With these tips, packing and traveling will be a more enjoyable experience for the entire family .

10 Tips for Flying With a Baby

Airline travel with baby is no joke, but totally do-able. Learn my tips for traveling with your baby to make the trip enjoyable and fuss free for everyone.

  • Written by Genevieve Howland
  • Updated on May 27, 2024

Airline travel with baby is no joke, but totally do-able. Learn my tips for traveling with your baby to make the trip enjoyable and fuss free for everyone.

My husband and I are avid travelers, and having a baby doesn’t have to stop us from continuing this great love of ours.

While traveling with little ones takes a little more planning and patience, it can be done.

Here are the top tips for travel with baby that I’ve learned along the way.

Video: 10 Tips for Flying with Baby

Book Flights Outside of the “Witching Hour”

With young babies, the later in the day, the more fussy they become. I learned the hard way not to book a flight in the 3 to 7 p.m. window. Travel with baby is best done in the morning because babies are better rested, happier and therefore more adaptable.

Get free updates on baby’s first year! – Free Updates on First Year [In-article]

Reserve a Window Seat

A window seat is wonderful for travel with baby. It gives you privacy for nursing or feeding and contains a “wall” (the window) to lean against which helps with a squirmy baby. You are also in charge of the amount of light coming in through window shade, which helps when trying to get a baby to nap. An added bonus, some babies also like to look out windows… a nice diversion!

Go to the Gate Early and See if You Can be Seated Next to an Empty Seat

If the plane isn’t full, most airline attendants will let you move to a seat next to an empty seat. This is a HUGE score for travel with baby. We brought Griffin’s car seat onboard and strapped him in the empty seat between Mike and me. He fell asleep easily because he’s in his own space and familiar with being in there for naps.

Bring a Travel Companion

If possible, be sure a husband, companion, friend or family member comes with you. This will allow you to take bathroom breaks and help you lug around all of the baby gear. In fact, I would seriously consider not traveling if you have to go alone.

Be Prepared to Nurse, Nurse, Nurse

Wear an easy access top and bra so baby can nurse liberally throughout flight, especially during take off. I also brought along a pacifier, which Griffin only gets on special occasions, as another tool to help soothe him during the flight.

Just a few of his/her favorites that pack well and aren’t horribly loud. Again, this brings some of the familiar to the foreign environment. They are also a great way to entertain baby during long flights.

Pack for Plane

Travel with baby requires creativity. Bring along a little bag filled with a few toys, pacifier (if you use one), extra diapers, wipes, changing and burp cloths, a change of clothes and an extra sweatshirt and blanket. Babies like to touch everything and put things in their mouths so the wipes are critical to keep the germs at bay. While I’m not a germaphobe, planes are filled with new exposures to the baby that could prove harmful. Extra clothes and diapers are obviously important in case there is a diaper blowout. Fun times.

Bring a Baby Carrier

If you can, wait until baby is 6 months.

Travel with baby is easier at different ages. We went to California when Griffin was 4 months and I found that was a tough age. He was “awake” enough to be restless and bored but he was also young enough to be a hot mess if he missed a nap. By 6 months, babies sleep cycles are more ingrained and they are more resilient. If they miss a nap, they can roll with it better, making for a better traveling experience all around. I even think 0-4 weeks would be better than 2-4 months since babies are still in that newborn “haze” and can sleep pretty much anywhere.

Be Gentle With Yourself and Baby

Travel with baby in tow is tough. Despite your best efforts, sometimes babies just need to cry on a plane. Griffin went “code red” for twenty minutes on his first flight and all I could do was rock him and patiently wait for him to pass out in exhaustion. I was getting the evil eye for all those around me. I felt like a terrible mother. It was hard. But it’s gonna happen. They are babies and airplanes are very stimulating, and at times, uncomfortable places. Roll with it and try to even find the humor in the situation. It will be over before you know it. BTW, on the return flight, Griffin didn’t make a peep and everyone was commenting on what an angel baby I had. LOL!

What About You?

When did you begin to travel with baby? Share any tips you learned along the way!

air travel with newborn tips

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  • See 52 Comments

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About the author.

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course . A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


Oliver j sep 29 at 1:30 am.

I’d like to explore options for obtaining compensation from Emirates Airlines due to a flight cancellation. Can you provide guidance on the steps I should take and any additional information I might need to know in order to navigate this process effectively?

robbers alice May 31 at 3:56 pm

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Mat Brown Feb 8 at 2:32 am

Flying with a mobile baby takes some courage. These are wonderful tips for the momma dreading this. Also, see my blog about Travelling and Vacation rental

Baby Grafitty Dec 16 at 2:25 am

To fly with baby its a new to baby and new to parents to take them with as it creates better to get involve with them. Your tips are beneficial to use. Thanks! Baby Grafitty ( )

Rachel Garon Dec 14 at 1:40 pm

I have been looking for such recommendations for a long time because I have never made up my mind to fly with a child. But now I am sure that I can do it. I decided to buy Business Class Flights to Slovenia for my first flight because I am worried about the comfort of the baby. And it should be good for him.

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Ryan Castillo Oct 16 at 11:30 pm

Hi, those tips are awesome and really helpful! By the way, considering transportation laws, lugging car seats can be a nightmare! Did you know that Kidmoto can solve that problem for you? Ditch the car seats when flying with a baby! A life-saver, I promise! 🙂 You can learn more at

Ryan Castillo Oct 14 at 6:12 pm

Hi, I love your tips! Traveling with a baby can be a nightmare! Good thing, you can ditch the car seats when flying with a baby! You can learn more at

Mariana Thielen Feb 2 at 6:41 pm

Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone to travel with. I´m a single mom that just traveled internationally with my 4mo old by myself (8h flight, a layover and another small flight). It is ridiculous and rude for you to make a point of `seriously consider not`. My little one was actually perfect and I had no problems. I took a 11pm flight since overnight and he slept pretty much the entire flight, only woke up when I had to get up from the seat to leave the plane. He was happy otherwise with a very light fussy time on second flight but I got up with him and he calmed down immediately. I took an ergobaby and also a carry-on size stroller to be able to have breaks from just being on me. Definitely extra clothes and diapers (i had an explosion at the airport – thankfully not in the plane). Lots of pacifiers since they may fall on the ground etc.

Marlie Mar 15 at 8:42 pm

Ohhh please. Don’t get all offended. Its not “ridiculously rude” for her to suggest not traveling alone. Shes stating facts. Glad your baby did well on your flight for you but a majority of people would likely agree that its easier to travel with help. She’s not trying to attack single mothers ?. She specifically said family or friends…no reason to get upset about it.

Sheldon Quinto Nov 6 at 7:46 pm

I agree with you

laura Mar 19 at 2:25 pm

There’s nothing wrong with this post but the timing! I would not take my baby to an airport right now. Social distancing?

Ashley Albanese Jun 24 at 9:12 am

This was posted in 2019 – before the pandemic.

Amy Boyd Sep 26 at 3:26 pm

I agree that avoiding the witching hour is critical! My LO is 22 weeks now and has gone transatlantic twice. The first trip at a little over 2 months was a breeze because she slept the whole time. Then we did a short evening flight at 4 months and it was excruciating! The 4 month sleep regression is real. For 3 out of 4 of her transatlantic legs I’ve been by myself. I concur with all of Genevieve’s rec’s with the exception of the window seat, at least while traveling alone. At least with an aisle, I can hang her feet out a little while nursing and that helps a ton in those cramped airline seats. I’ll add another tip for traveling alone, look for grandmotherly types hanging by the bathroom and endear your LO to them. They make great temporary baby-sitters when the need arises. More power to the mamas traveling alone! You got this!

Kayla Sep 25 at 11:07 am

Make sure to take more than enough diapers in carryon luggage just in case you get delayed. Our flight kept getting pushed further and further back, ended up being delayed about 8 hours. Thank GOODNESS the Dallas airport has a couple nursing rooms with a small stash of random left behind diapers because we ran out and there’s no where to buy more diapers in most airports! Second tip… if you have a long layover investigate if the airport has nursing facilities and/or rental suites. For that same trip we ended up renting a Minute Suite in DFW for a couple hours and it was SO worth the money!!!

Claudia Feb 18 at 2:14 am

I would never travel alone with a baby. 1) Bathroom breaks are so important to me:D I usually need on the flight and before, not to mention I also have IBS and traveling makes it worse.

2)All the planning and getting on time and worrying about surprises on the flight makes me very stressed and hence not good for me or baby. 3)Most low-cost airlines in Europe have such a crowded and uncomfortable seats leave alone nursing in them… Sorry to me this fly with a baby sounds awful

MO Dec 1 at 9:25 am

I will be traveling with my 8 month old this holiday season. We flew once when he was 3.5 and he did great on the lap. He fed during take off and landing and it was a quick flight (1.5 hours). This next flight is two 3 hour flights. I nurse on take off and landing to help with the ears popping. If he is in his car seat in his own seat what do you do to help them pop their ears?

Amy Boyd Sep 26 at 3:31 pm

I wonder if you could do a bottle of breast milk, or a breast milk popsicle. I just got a one ounce mold and my 22 week old loves it! It may distract just enough and provide the swallowing needed to pop the ears.

Mary Streeter Sep 13 at 1:46 am

From few days I am searching on the Internet for the best useful tips to travel. After reading many blogs I’ve found your tips more useful than the other. Or the tips may be suitable with my kind. So thank you for these unique suggessions.

Amanda Carrier Sep 12 at 1:31 am

While you are in a flight with your baby always be careful about his food. Maintain the time of feeding him. Don’t forget to check his diaper if it is dirty enough to have a new one. Because dirty diapers can make him sick. And it will be wise if you take a car seat in the flight. It is very very important for your baby’s safety and comfort.

Taylor Bishop Jul 24 at 8:06 am

These are some good tips for traveling with a baby. I appreciate that you mentioned to try and reserve a window seat, especially since it could be a good diversion if they look out the windows. Not only that, but it may be that they will feel more comfortable near a wall with you sitting next to them. There seems to be something calming about being near a solid surface.

shelley Dec 11 at 11:48 pm

Are you absolutely kidding me? I read this article for advice, I am a single parent from England and I live in Hong Kong. Simply telling someone they are not recommended to fly alone when they actually have no choice is awful. Life would be pretty boring if you decided to not take risks don’t you think? Any DECENT advice for someone who has no other option? Or are you just catering for those who have partners?

Tereza Jul 17 at 9:06 am

Hi, I am not single Mum but I do fly very often on my own with my 5 months old and 5 year old boys, as my Husband is busy at the farm and usually comes to join us in different times, but we always fly separately and I have to say that way it is more easier then with him :o) I prefer doing these sort of things on my own as I am more brave. So for me it is definitely pram, sling, dummy, breast, food, toys, nappies, wipes, cloth, blanket,….but I also take with me homeopathic for calming and organic honey in a small jar as it helps my baby to calm him dow if needed. I have been using organic honey for my older boy when he was a baby and it was a life saver for me. I always buy magazine for my older boy and little snacks and lots of water and for me…..well I just need energy pills, lip balm and lots of optimistic thinking :o)

Mariana Feb 2 at 6:42 pm

Totally agree

Elaine Nov 10 at 6:40 pm

Also, checking the car seat at the gate is not recommended either. Baggage handlers are not gentle and seats can easily get damaged or lost. The last thing you need to worry about when you get to your destination is not having a usable seat to drive anywhere.

Elaine Nov 10 at 6:38 pm

This is missing the most important tip of all: lap babies are not safe on airplanes. They can be ripped from your arms during severe and unexpected turbulence, rough landings, and runway emergencies. The safest thing (and what the FAA strongly recommends) is to buy your baby and ticket and have them safely buckled into a car seat, especially during take-off and landing and other times during the flight when the seatbelt sign is on. Taking baby out to feed or change is fine but they should be in their seat for the majority of the flight. A baby’s life is not worth saving money from not buying a ticket.

Crystal Jun 17 at 8:56 am

Hi, I’ll be traveling with a then nearly 4 month old by myself in August. Total travel time both ways a little over 4 hours. I did not buy her a ticket. I requested window seats. My plan had been to check the convertible (not infant bucket) car seat at the ticket counter and travel with my daughter in a ring sling and our carry-on as a backpack. I use this combo often when going around town with her and it works great. As of now, we don’t own a stroller (we are trying to wait until she can sit up on her own so we can skip straight to the umbrella-style). Question: can I bring the car seat (again- a convertible car seat, larger than an infant bucket-style seat) as my “carry-on”? Even if I can, and I get one of those bags to be able to roll it around the airport, it seems like a hassle. But, baby will be safer in the seat, if I even get to use it. . . advice?

Kayla Sep 25 at 11:13 am

I would suggest checking the car seat so you don’t have to tote it around the airport. Check with your airline but I think most let you travel with one car seat and one stroller free regardless if you check or carryon. The only reason I would carryon a convertible car seat (instead of checked) would be if you want her to sit in it on the plane but you have to buy her a separate ticket for that.

Rebecca Jul 7 at 2:47 pm

I recently traveled with my 2.5 month old from BC to Ontario to visit with family who had not yet met my son, with 1 stop over in Edmonton. I traveled without a companion (unfortunately hubby had to stay behind to work) and because of the length of stay at our destination (3 months) I also had in tow, my dog (which was stowed) my cat (as my carry on) baby, diaper bag, stroller, carseat, baby carrier and a bag of luggage for each of us (which was also checked). Everyone thought I was crazy,and/or curageous for taking on such a feat. But I did. And with no obsticles if you can believe it. We had an aisle seat since I was travelling alone (which made bathroom trips easier) I brought my ergo baby carrier so I could be “hands free” since my cat was tucked under the seat and my diaper bag had to be stored overhead. only had one minimal blowout… and changing in an airplane bathroom is pretty interesting, but can be done. I was surprised at how many helping hands there were to lend a hand if needed. Although there were a few rude looks when some folks saw that I was alone, and figured they were in for a miserable flight… which wasn’t the case at all. Now, my son is almost 5 months and we are due to fly back to BC in 3 weeks… I am certainly going to take your advice on travelling earlier in the morning, window seat, and bringing toys, now that hes old enough to want them. I am a little worried though as I think hes starting to teeth and how that might affect our trip? (Any advice or insight would be appreciated ) :/ fingers are crossed that we can have as smooth a trip home as we did when we left!

Megan Dec 29 at 12:53 pm

I don’t think it’s crazy to go alone at all but being away from your new baby for three months is.

Nancy Dec 10 at 1:26 pm

I’ve been following you for a while so I remember the last time you posted tips on traveling with an infant. I remember you got a lot of hateful, negative comments for NOT using a car seat with Griffin and not suggesting the use of one so now you sound disingenuous to me especially because you have posted pictures of your happy baby NOT sitting in one. I personally see no problem in traveling without a car seat and not sure why you would go back on your original suggestion and inadvertently suggest parents purchase an extra ticket just to accommodate a car seat when they don’t have to for a child under 2. To each his own but please be true to yourself and state what you have actually done with your children without fearing backlash from wack jobs who choose to stay home if they can’t afford a plane ticket for their infant.

Genevieve Dec 11 at 12:44 pm

I too remember the heated discussion last time. People pointed out that new guidelines had come out after we’d posted this article that recommended that babies be in their car seats on planes. We were going to delete or retool this article after that, but we never got around to it.

Our strategy, even with the original article above, was to try to score a free empty seat for baby so you can bring their car seat on board for them to sleep in, as opposed to checking the car seat and stroller at the gate. We did have success with this tactic years ago, and it’s still what we try to swing now with baby #2.

Destiny Feb 16 at 3:16 pm

Heyy! ? How do you avoid them checking the car seat & the stroller at the gate?

Judith Dec 9 at 4:34 pm

small bottle of lavender essential oil helps babies sleep by placing a drop or two on a cotton handkerchief and placing on your shoulder so baby breathes this in when baby gets fractious!

Huzaifa Feb 28 at 11:29 am

Hi dear I am stressed about flying with my 5 months meeee

Chrys Jul 13 at 12:24 am

Thanks for the very helpful/practical tips for travelling – I will be flying with my 3 month old for the first time in the next few weeks. I’m feeling pretty anxious about the whole thing.

Jill Mar 23 at 10:03 pm

I just found your blog. I read this travel article. I will be traveling by myself with our little one (who will be 7 months old then) from Asia to the east coast in July and I’m trying to prepare myself! Since we live abroad, air travel will become second nature for us! Your video is super helpful and even though I can’t travel with a companion, your other tips are awesome. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Have a great day!

Brittany Sep 5 at 7:19 am

I’ll be traveling in 2 days with my 6 month old son and my husband, I must say I’m very nervous because the last time I traveled I was in early pregnancy. I’m not sure how my son will react to a plan as he’s scared by sudden noises (turbulence and landing is a concern). He isn’t usually fussy unless he has noticed a loud noise, at which point he starts screaming. We recently bought him his first real toy it’s a decent size cotton ball that plays a little tune and if he shakes it, it makes noise so we’re going to bring that along with his favorite blanket. What other tips do you have for traveling with things to avoid the screaming from sudden noises? Also, do you recommend ear plugs for his ears?

Staci May 3 at 10:23 pm

Just wanted to share this because it’s SO incredibly helpful! I’ve come across a really great product made by an awesome lady that would be an amazing help to parents traveling. It lessens the need for on hand baggage, especially when hands are full with baby and baby gear! It also keeps important documents safe and secure while moving about. It’s called a Passport Pocket! I hope you’re ok with me sharing! I just think it’s such a great tool for any traveler! Here is the link if anyone wants to check it out.

Joyce Perez Nov 13 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for this post! It gave me a little peace of mind. I am traveling from Minneapolis to Brazil (a total of 17 hours with the connections) with my 5 month-old son for the first time. I am freaking out because he is not a good sleeper and I am going to be by myself. I didn’t want to bring the card seat in the plane because I was afraid that they would destroy the car seat and stroller when checking in at the gate but it seems like it would be a good idea right? Thanks again for the tips!! Joyce

Genevieve Nov 14 at 10:57 am

Definitely bring the car seat. That way, if there’s an empty seat on the plane, you can sit next to it, strap the car seat into the empty seat, and let the little guy snooze all the way there (well, a mom can dream, right? 🙂 ).

Sam McEwan Jul 13 at 9:30 pm

Hi Great Tips.. We are planning to travel next year. Our son will be 1.5 yrs by then so looking for all the advice I can get. We will be on a long haul flight as well as car travel for 3 weeks. With regards to the Ergo carrier what age can this be used? Having diffculty deciding what to take.. Car seat or not or purchase once we reach our destination. What do you use for stroller etc? Do you check your’s in? So many questions.. Will keep searching for other traveling parents out there.

Kristanbul May 28 at 5:34 pm

I just got back today to Istanbul from a trip to Germany w. my 5.5 month old baby and husband. Flights went well, though little one was really overtired tonight (no surprise).

I made sure to check in online in advance for a window seat, and booked my husband in the aisle seat. Fortunately the airline was able to keep the middle seat open, and we could carry on the car seat (had to fight for this a little bit, and they did check the stroller part at the gate). They gave me a infant extension to my seatbelt, which attached to mine for take off and landing (when I had to hold her in my lap) but then she was able to hang out/sleep in the car seat which was strapped to the seat between me and hubby for the majority of the flight.

Upon getting seated, I used a few wipes to clean all of the surfaces that baby might touch, or that I’d touch and then touch baby. I’m sure that the effect was minimally helpful, but it made me feel just a bit better! 🙂 An extra hand sanitizer probably would have worked better.

Her biggest fussy spell was quelled when I figured out that she had a poopy diaper, which I changed at the seat (I have a rubberized pad to lay down under her for a quick change), and then put the dirty bits in the barf bag that the airline gives you. It was pretty discrete, and hopefully not upsetting to other passengers (no one even seemed to notice). And yes, breastfeeding was really key!

But the best thing to bring on the flight was my husband – he was a great help (both as valet and as baby-entertainer). Hope you’re able to have a great experience and great memories!

Irene May 25 at 10:50 am

My husband and I will be traveling with our 19 month old in 2 weeks so it was nice to read this over and watch the video as sort of a reminder of what to bring and what to do while on the plane. I traveled with him when he was 6 months old by myself and it was incredibly exhausting and difficult. One tip that I would recommend to people traveling with a baby/toddler is to bring a tiny little pocket book that fits in the seat back pocket which holds one diaper, a few wipes, a pacifier (which doesn’t work for my son because he would never take one), a small toy, and a burp cloth. I also kept a travel hand sanitizer in it’s own little baggie with the pocket book (which is small enough to fit inside the diaper bag so it didn’t count as a personal item). It was my own little baby emergency kit for when I just couldn’t reach down to grab my diaper bag from under the seat.

I am so relieved to be traveling with my husband this time!

Cassandra Jones May 11 at 8:34 am

I started traveling with my daughter when she was two weeks old, and we fly one-two times per week. If you are able you should get the baby a seat, I have only had my daughter on my lap once and it was a little uncomfortable. Most airlines will offer a discounted seat for infants and it is much safer and easier if you travel with your infant in their own seat(make certain your carseat is approved for use on an airplane!) We travel all the time and I know I wouldn’t ever let my daughter sit on my lap in the car so I don’t want to risk her being on my lap on an airplane.

Genevieve May 11 at 1:23 pm

Thanks for your tips, Cassandra. It *does* seem a bit weird that airlines let – no, request – that you sit your child on your lap during take off and landing – whereas that’s a no-no in cars, etc.

Great point about the discounted infant seat. I’m going to look into that next time.

Genevieve Apr 13 at 1:44 pm

And my YouTube channel :

Thanks for sharing! :0) 

Our first plane ride will be when baby is about 2-3 weeks old. Its earlier then I want, but its an important family event. I plan to have my moby wrap and will nurse when needed. Plus my hubby will be there to help.

I’ll be taking my first plane trip with Cartier on April 19, he will be exactly 6 weeks old. I booked an early morning flight there, but a late night flight back. I hope that all goes well on our trip to see his grandparents for the first time. Thanks for the tips!

@benz2silent Good luck! If he’s that young, he should sleep on night flight, no problem. Enjoy your time!

I know this question has nothing to do with this video, but how do you get Griffin to nap during the day? What is your routine for putting him down? My son is almost 5 months old, and up until recently we only had him napping in his swing, but we’ve packed that away and are now trying to get him to nap in his crib. It is proving difficult, I nurse him just before and usually he will fall asleep but once I put him down he wakes up and cries. I’ve been trying to let him cry it out.

@mylifeisapuzzle Oh, sister, getting Griffin to nap as been the bane of my existence… LOL! It takes tons of practice, patience & routine. I’ve found the key is not to let him get overtired. It’s so much easier this way! At 5 months, Griffin wasn’t awake for more than 2 hours at a stretch. He took 3 naps a day & bedtime was 6:30pm. If your son cries in crib, I would stay in room w/ him & soothe him with “shh” noises but keep him in the crib. He’ll get the hang of it! Email me if u have more ?s

How do you go with taking bulky baby gear on a plane? For example you mentioned the carseat or something I think? And in terms of stroller and travel bed… we plan on travelling when our baby is about 3 months old and I’m really wondering whether my husband shouldn’t just take a couple of extra days off work so we can drive. I don’t know which would be more hassle – a full day in the car each way or travelling with a baby on a plane! 

@nikkiandvince Hi, we used Griffin’s stroller that is essentially a frame with wheels for his carseat. We rolled it right up to the gate and they checked everything there. Most hotels will have cribs available but we recently stayed in a cabin so brought along a pack and play. We checked it with our big luggage so didn’t have to carry around very much.Yes, we thought about driving instead of flying but thought the flight would be less painful. It was shorter and Griff could move around more.

@MamaNaturalBlog Thanks for your answer! We have a travel system like yours so that might work… I guess I’ll have to just check with the airline about what they will carry for free or at what cost. It’s a family event so we probably won’t be in a hotel to take advantage of having a crib provided.

wonderful video. we love to travel too and some of those things i wouldve never thought of. especially the witching hour, which usually is novas fussy time. thank you guys! 

great tips! hubby and I plan to be travling parents as well! I think its silly when people give up their love and desire to travel because they have kids or babies. :)

Genevieve Apr 13 at 1:41 pm

Sharing some comments from my Facebook page:

Natalie Martinez Rush Great video and just in time! We are traveling for the first time next month. My girl will be almost 6 months at the time. Thankfully we got direct flights. Thanks for the tips!

Felicia Russell I am traveling solo with my 22 month old daughter today from CO to OR. We started flying when she was 4 months old, Althea was breastfeeding then and it was the best “trick” to get through the flight. (I wish she was still nursing now.) Now that she is older we make sure we have lots of books, toys and crayons to keep her busy. I also let her have a special drink when the airline attendants offer, this makes her feel very special since all us adults are doing it. Some parents I know use a DVD player during the flight, I have found that it just another electronic hassle or maybe my kiddo is just not into it. I have also wrapped up lil’ gifts that she has never seen before, she really get into the unwrapping and checking out her new toy. My last tip is to use the airport play area if they have one or create your own. I let Althea run herself ragged in the airport so that when we get on the plane she is ready to sit and have quiet time. The most important thing for me has been to just relax and go with it. The more you let yourself off the hook the easier it will be to ensure that your kiddo is having a great flight. And be nice to the flight attendants! They can make or break your flight. Happy traveling to you all 🙂

Isabella Bashir I started travelling with Greg when he was four months old. Travel doesn’t get difficult until they become busier. I make a book out of photos with pictures of his friends, shapes, colors, etc and give it to him when the trip starts. The book keeps him engaged during the trip. I also take a couple of new toys, coloring books, puzzles, etc with me. I let him explore in the airport and run around so that he is ready to relax once he gets on the plane. Greg loves to talk so everyone he goes up to gets to hear about his trip.

Roderick Almaraz Did you say feed the baby at takeoff and landing? I thought they have to be strapped in? Is this another April Fools joke cuz I fell for the first one…

Isabella Bashir Trains – we had a 13 hour train trip last November. It was an overnight trip. The wonderful thing about Amtrek is having electrical outlets at your seat. We had dinner in the dining car, a movie at our seat, and he went to bed. Woke up and had breakfast then we were there. The more you travel with your kids the easier it will become. The trick is to keep them engaged with little activities.

Kylene Hing I use to fly and drive a lot with my baby. I forget how old she was when we started but I know she was an infant. Since she was a “lap baby” until 2, I would nurse her during take off and even at 5 years old, she passes out during take off though I don’t breastfeed anymore. When she was a baby, she would sleep most of the flight or drive. Now that she’s older, I bring my laptop and several movies (sometimes new movies to keep her entertained). She also brings a few of her favorite things to do, crayons, coloring book, tag reader, etc. Also, I bring little snacks but avoid stuff with sugar. I don’t want anything that can cause her to get hyper or antsy. A couple years ago we had a 19 hour flight to South Africa. Thankfully they had built in tv’s in the back of each chair with headphones. You can choose to watch movies, tv shows, play games, listen to music or check out the map of where we are. So she watched a lot of movies, snacked and slept for the most part. She’s a really good traveler and I think its because we have traveled so much with her from the start.

Zara Stevens Great video as usual! As a mum-to-be I was wondering if you could share your experiences with breast feeding. I know that it can be incredibly painful & difficult in the first few weeks & that women use all kinds of home remedies to heal sore nipples. Any advice is much appreciated!

Mama Natural ‎ @Zara – here are all my breastfeeding vids, including my top 10 tips:

@Roderick – Nope, they don’t require that babies are strapped in. Weird, eh? They even had me take Griffin out of the baby carrier (strapped to me) and just hold him during takeoff & landing.

@Kylene – 19 hour flight to South Africa!? Bold. I love it. Good for you!

@Isabella – Great tips!

@Isabella – Love the idea about creating a special book for trips.

@Felecia – Brilliant idea about wrapping special gifts for the journey!

Courtney Harris Legenhausen Thanks for the tips! I will be traveling with my son later this summer when he will be 8 months. Very helpful:)

Zara Stevens Thanks so much for the link – the video/blogs have made me feel so much better & helped me to realise that breast feeding is like learning to eat solids – it’s going to take time, practice, patience & be quite messy in the beginning!

Jessica Fashun we haven’t yet, and I wish we had around 5-6 months, just not in the cards. 🙂 Now I’m scared to death! 🙂

veronica sanchez Apr 12 at 3:08 pm

thanks for this info I will be traveling with my baby in a couple of weeks and he will be turning 7 months I also have a 2 year old and both are going on their very first airplane flight!!

Genevieve Apr 13 at 1:37 pm

Glad it was helpful, Veronica. Sounds like your babies are at a great age to go up up and away. Bon voyage and hope you’re going somewhere fun!

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16 Tips for Flying With Toddlers and Young Kids

Traveling with toddlers can be hard, at least if you're not properly prepared. Here, experienced flight attendants share their secrets for flying with young kids.


With long security lines, cramped airplane seating, and busy waiting areas, flying isn't the most pleasant experience—and all of the frustration increases exponentially when you add a toddler into the mix. Some young children simply don't have the patience for airport security. They might despise sitting quietly for hours on end, and they might be uneasy during turbulence or get upset with the ear-popping changes in air pressure.

Thankfully, though, you can have a worry-free travel day with proper preparation and planning. Whether you're jetting off to your relative's house or Disney World, check out these stress-reducing strategies for flying (and traveling) with toddlers—some of which came straight from flight attendants.

Book an Early Morning Departure

If you're traveling with toddlers or young children, you should book an early morning departure. These give you the best chance of avoiding delays at takeoff and landing, a flight attendant named Patrick explains. "They are usually less crowded, too," he says. "Plus, everyone is tired and just wants to nap—kids especially."

Save Your Upgrades for Toddler-Free Travel

Traveling in first class with kids can be more stressful than it's worth. Mom Joanna recounts the story of traveling with her loud, lively toddler and incurring the vocal wrath of her first-class seatmates for the entirety of the flight. "It's not fair, but you're just going to get more empathy and support with kids in economy," says a flight attendant.

Talk to Your Kids About What to Expect

"My experience is kids do so much better when they know what to expect," says Shireen, a mom of three from Australia who's traveled to the U.S. several times with her kids. She recommends watching a Let's Go Play video on YouTube , which goes over the entire flight experience, from baggage check-in and ticketing to onboard etiquette and safety.

Dress in Layers and Skip Shoes With Laces

Whether you are changing climates or simply dealing with in-flight heat and/or air conditioning, you can and should be ready for drastically changing temperatures when traveling with a toddler. Wendy, a flight attendant and mom, suggests you dress your kids in comfortable layers—preferably without buttons, zippers, or anything that could prevent them from getting to the bathroom in time.

The same principle applies to shoes: Avoid laces and opt for slip-ons. "There's the added benefit of getting through airport screening that much faster," she says.

Bring Surprises

When flying with a toddler, a wrapped new plaything has two advantages: Kids love to unwrap stuff, and a new toy has more attention-grabbing pull.

Consider Using a Smaller Stroller

Getting through an airport without a stroller is unthinkable for some parents, so consider switching out your regular-size stroller for a small, compact umbrella stroller or travel stroller. Also, check your stroller at the gate before boarding; the crew will have it waiting for you when you get off the plane.

If you've got more than one little traveler with you, consider a kid harness (aka leash), Wendy suggests. "I was so against them until I saw a woman with three young boys using them in baggage claim. It made so much sense," she says, "with the exit doors to outside right there. Look, flying is stressful enough. Do what you need to do to protect your kids and your sanity."

Pack Just Enough

Flight attendants urge parents to pack enough essentials for the flight. "Unfortunately, you can expect there to be zero food on a plane that would interest a kid," says Lynn. "And we are so limited in what we can offer in terms of comfort items as well."

On the flip side, parents will struggle if they zealously overpack. "Usually, when it's one parent traveling with one or more kids, they'll bring way too much stuff in an attempt to keep their kids happy," Wendy says. "They forget they have to carry all that stuff off the plane with them, along with their kids."

Plan Your Packing List

To guard against over-packing while ensuring you don't forget anything critical, consider writing out a full packing list. Star or highlight those items that will need to be packed last minute (like the lovey your kiddo sleeps with or the tablet that's currently charging) so you have a checklist to consult one last time before heading out the door.

Sample Airplane Packing List for Toddlers

When packing your carry-on for the plane ride, use this list as a starting point:

  • Comfort item: Consider packing one of your toddler's favorite comfort items in your carry-on for mid-flight snuggles. If the comfort item is a pacifier, be sure to pack more than one, lest it gets flung down the aisle or on the floor.
  • Sanitizer, wipes, pull-ups, and diapers: You'll want these critical items within reach at all times during your travels. Not sure how many diapers to throw in the carry-on? One diaper per hour of travel is recommended.
  • Electronic devices: If there is any time to let up on strict screen time rules, it's when you're traveling. Make sure that whatever device you're bringing is fully charged and ready to go—and don't forget the chargers for the flight back. Consider pre-loading the tablet or phone with your kids' favorite movies or shows for offline viewing.
  • Kid-size headphones: Be sure to follow the basic rules of travel etiquette and pack comfy headphones your little one can wear while enjoying their favorite games or shows. Have more than one kid in tow? Consider investing in a splitter so both can enjoy the show with their own set of headphones.
  • Art supplies: A small box of crayons and blank paper can go a long way when it comes to entertaining your toddler on a plane. Mix things up and pack some fun stickers or even plain sticky notes to add to the excitement.
  • Plastic bags: You never know when you'll need an extra bag for wet clothes, a dirty diaper, or even just for trash, so pack a few extras.
  • Water bottle: Toss an empty clean water bottle into your bag to fill after you get through security. Just make sure that it's leakproof!
  • Healthy and fun mess-free snacks: While you don't necessarily want to load your kid up with sugar just before take-off, consider packing a mix of healthy and fun snacks that are relatively mess-free to keep their bellies full and happy. Cheerios, pretzels, crackers, string cheese, and granola bars are good options.

Be Prepared for Security

When you pack, make sure items that need to be removed during security are easily reached. Keep in mind that traveling with snacks may mean extra scrutiny during the screening process.

Prepare for Air Pressure Changes

If your child has recently had an ear infection or a cold, get your doctor's approval before flying. The change in cabin air pressure may cause pain for your toddler. After passing through security, stock up on enough water for everyone to get through a possible delay and have enough left for the descent, which is often the most bothersome time for ear pressure discomfort. Have your kids drink some right after takeoff and during the last 30 to 45 minutes of the descent. The swallowing helps with the pressure changes and gives an added hydrating benefit.

By All Means, Use Pull-Ups

Your little one may have moved beyond Pull-Ups into big kid underwear, but pull-up diapers are a great resource when flying with a recently potty-trained toddler or young child. "I even use them on my 6-year-old," says Wendy, who adds that it's much less stressful than having to race to the bathroom or deal with an in-seat accident.

Show Some Appreciation

Flight attendants love to receive a certain gratuity for dealing with toddlers. "Any kind of chocolate found in an airport, handed over at boarding, does wonders," says Patrick. Of course, it will have zero effect on the random bad-tempered, unprofessional cabin crew member. But it's a nice gesture nonetheless, particularly when flying during the holidays when most flight attendants will be working and away from their families.

"It will be so appreciated," he says. "And we will remember you and look out for you. And not only that, you'll probably score a free drink out of it."

Seat Kids Away From the Aisle

Aisle seats can be dangerous for toddlers and potentially give them a little too much freedom of movement. For example, little hands and feet can be bumped as people walk by and hot coffee and water may be just within reach as the food and beverage cart passes by. If you can, consider the window seat, which offers the benefit of a view and puts you between your toddler and any other passengers in your row.

Beware of Germs

Toddlers tend to get sit a lot, but you can try to avoid any travel-related illness by keeping your little one's hands clean. When flying with a toddler, wipe everything from hands to tray tables down with sanitizing wipes when you're getting settled in your seats—and above all else, do not send your kids to the bathroom without shoes. "The floor is a Petri dish," a flight attendant confides. "You're in the air, things jostle. That's not just water on the bathroom floor."

Keep Your Composure

There's not much you can do to assuage that passenger who complains the moment your child sneezes or giggles. Here's what you need to remember: As long as you're trying (and what parent isn't?), you've got almost everyone on your side. "An adult having an issue with a screaming child is acting like a child as well," offers a flight attendant and mother named Patience. "Don't engage. Just worry about your own child."

Choose an Airline With Kid-Friendly Perks

There's nothing a family-friendly airline wants more than happy, occupied kiddos. As such, many leading carriers have all kinds of kid perks to offer their littlest travelers from a wide array of their favorite TV shows and movies to kid-approved headphones and snacks.

Before boarding, be sure to check in with the gate agent about whether the airline offers priority boarding for families with young children. Often airlines call special boarding for families so they can board a little early so you'll have time to settle in. Other great perks to look for are family lounges or airports with areas for kids to burn off some steam during layovers or before boarding.

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Traveling With A 9-Month-Old Baby: Flight Tips And Advice

  • Last updated Jun 06, 2024
  • Difficulty Beginner

Karli Trujillo

  • Category Travel

can 9 month old baby travel in flight

Traveling with a 9-month-old baby can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. As new parents, the thought of navigating through airports, dealing with potential meltdowns, and ensuring your little one is comfortable during a flight can seem overwhelming. However, with the right tips and advice, traveling with a 9-month-old can actually be a breeze. From packing essentials to keeping your baby entertained, there are plenty of strategies to help make your journey smooth and enjoyable for both you and your little one. So buckle up as we take you on a journey of flight tips and advice for traveling with a 9-month-old baby.

What You'll Learn

Safety precautions for traveling with a 9-month-old baby on a flight, tips for keeping a 9-month-old baby entertained during a flight, essential items to pack when flying with a 9-month-old baby, adjusting your travel plans to accommodate a 9-month-old baby on a flight.


Traveling with a baby can be both exciting and challenging, especially when it comes to flying. If you're planning a trip and wondering whether it's safe for your 9-month-old baby to travel on a flight, the answer is generally yes. However, there are some important safety precautions you should take to ensure a smooth and comfortable journey for both you and your little one. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Consult with your pediatrician: Before booking your tickets, it's a good idea to consult with your baby's pediatrician to ensure that your baby is healthy enough to travel. Your doctor can assess any underlying health conditions and advise you on any necessary precautions.
  • Plan your flight time wisely: Choose a flight time that aligns with your baby's schedule. It's usually best to book a flight during your baby's nap time or bedtime. This way, your baby will be more likely to sleep through the journey, making it more comfortable for both of you.
  • Pack essential items in your carry-on bag: Be sure to pack all the essential items you'll need for your baby in your carry-on bag. This includes diapers, wipes, extra clothes, feeding supplies, and any medications your baby may need. Having these items readily available will ensure that you can attend to your baby's needs during the flight.
  • Bring a comfortable and safe car seat: While airlines may not require you to use a car seat for your baby, it's highly recommended. A car seat provides a safe and secure environment for your baby during the flight, especially during any unexpected turbulence. Make sure your car seat is approved for air travel and properly installed in your seat before takeoff.
  • Dress your baby in comfortable clothing: Choose loose-fitting and comfortable clothing for your baby. Avoid clothing with buttons or small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Dress your baby in layers so that you can easily adjust their clothing if the temperature on the plane changes.
  • Protect your baby's ears during takeoff and landing: The changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing can be uncomfortable for babies. To help alleviate this discomfort, feed your baby during these times, as swallowing can help equalize ear pressure. Alternatively, you can offer a pacifier or give them a bottle to suck on.
  • Practice good hygiene: Airplanes can be a breeding ground for germs, so it's important to practice good hygiene during your flight. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer before handling your baby or their belongings. Avoid touching your baby's face to minimize the risk of contamination.
  • Keep your baby entertained: Bring along a variety of toys and books to keep your baby entertained during the flight. Opt for lightweight and interactive toys that won't cause any harm if dropped. You can also download age-appropriate apps or videos on your phone or tablet to keep your baby occupied.
  • Stay calm and relaxed: Babies are sensitive to their caregiver's emotions, so try to stay calm and relaxed throughout the flight. If you stress or become anxious, your baby is likely to pick up on these feelings, which may make them more fussy. Take deep breaths, distract yourself with a book or a movie, and remember that the journey is temporary.

By following these safety precautions, you can ensure a safe and comfortable flight for both you and your 9-month-old baby. Remember to be prepared, take your time, and enjoy the journey with your little one. Have a great trip!

The Ultimate Guide to Traveling from Vancouver Airport to Downtown

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Flying with a 9-month-old baby can be challenging, but with some preparation and creativity, it can also be a pleasant experience. Here are some tips for keeping your little one entertained during a flight:

  • Pack snacks and drinks: Bring a variety of snacks that your baby likes, such as puffs, crackers, or sliced fruit. Offer them throughout the flight to keep your baby occupied and satisfied. Water or milk can also help soothe them during the flight.
  • Bring favorite toys: Pack a few of your baby's favorite toys that are safe and easy to clean. Soft toys, rattles, and sensory books are great options. Offer them one at a time and rotate them periodically to keep your baby engaged.
  • Board books and interactive toys: Interactive board books with different textures, flaps, or sound buttons are great for keeping your baby entertained. Look for toys that have buttons or levers to press, encouraging their fine motor skills and curiosity.
  • Engage with your baby: Play peek-a-boo, sing nursery rhymes, or make funny faces to keep your baby entertained. Babies love the interaction and bonding time with their parents, and it can help distract them from any discomfort during the flight.
  • Use tablet or smartphone apps: Download some age-appropriate apps or videos on your tablet or smartphone. There are educational apps that can keep your baby entertained with colorful visuals and engaging sounds. But remember to limit screen time and use it as a last resort.
  • Pack a comfort item: If your baby has a special blanket, stuffed animal, or pacifier, make sure to bring it along. Having a familiar item can provide comfort and help them feel secure during the flight.
  • Take regular breaks: Babies have short attention spans, so take regular breaks during the flight. Walk up and down the aisle, visit the restroom, or simply stand and stretch near your seat. These short breaks can help your baby burn off some energy and reduce restlessness.
  • Carry extra diapers and wipes: It's essential to have a good supply of diapers and wipes handy during the flight. Changing your baby's diaper regularly can help prevent discomfort and keep them dry and happy.
  • Plan flights during nap time: If possible, schedule the flight during your baby's nap time. This could give you a quieter flight and provide an opportunity for your little one to sleep through a significant portion of the journey.
  • Be prepared for ear pressure: Babies can experience ear discomfort during takeoff and landing due to changes in cabin pressure. To alleviate the pressure, offer your baby a bottle or pacifier to suck on during these times. If your baby is already asleep, try not to wake them up during these moments.

Remember, each baby is unique, so it’s essential to be flexible and adapt to their needs. Stay calm, be patient, and enjoy the journey together. Happy flying!

Exploring Options: A Guide to Checking Your Residual Travel Fund with Southwest Airlines

Taking a flight with a 9-month-old baby can be a daunting task for any parent. It requires careful planning and packing to ensure a smooth journey for both the baby and the parents. To make your traveling experience hassle-free, we have prepared a list of essential items that you must pack when flying with a 9-month-old baby.

  • Diapers and wipes: This is the most obvious item you need to pack. Make sure to carry enough diapers to last for the entire duration of the flight. Also, keep an adequate number of wipes handy for quick and easy cleanups.
  • Extra clothing: Babies have a knack for making a mess, so it's important to have some extra clothing on hand. Pack a few sets of comfortable clothes for your baby, including onesies, pants, and socks. It's advisable to dress your baby in layers, as the temperature on the plane can vary.
  • Baby food and snacks: If your baby has started solid food, pack some of their favorite snacks and meals. Opt for foods that are easy to pack and serve, such as single-serving pouches or bite-sized pieces. Remember to pack a spoon or fork and some bibs to keep your baby clean during mealtime.
  • Bottles and formula: If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure to pack enough bottles and formula for the duration of the flight. It's a good idea to pre-measure the formula into separate containers, so you can easily prepare it on the plane. Keep in mind that you may need to have your liquids screened at the airport security checkpoint.
  • Pacifiers and favorite toys: Pacifiers can help soothe your baby during takeoff and landing when the changes in air pressure can cause discomfort. Pack a few extra pacifiers in case they get lost or dirty. Additionally, bring along some of your baby's favorite toys to keep them entertained throughout the flight. Soft toys or teething rings are ideal for this age group.
  • Blankets and burp cloths: Airlines can often be chilly, so it's a good idea to bring a lightweight blanket for your baby. This will not only help keep them warm but also serve as a familiar comfort item. Additionally, pack some burp cloths for any spills or spit-ups that may occur during the flight.
  • Medications and first aid kit: It's always wise to have a small first aid kit on hand when traveling with a baby. Include essentials like nail clippers, thermometer, infant pain relievers, and any prescribed medications in case of emergency. Remember to check with your airline regarding any restrictions or guidelines for carrying medications on board.
  • Changing pad and plastic bags: Airplane restrooms are usually small and lack adequate space for diaper changes. Pack a portable changing pad to provide a clean and comfortable surface for your baby. Additionally, carry some plastic bags to dispose of soiled diapers and clothes when necessary.
  • Baby carrier or stroller: When traveling through the airport, a baby carrier or stroller can be a lifesaver. It allows you to have your hands-free and keeps your baby safe and secure. Consider opting for a lightweight and compact stroller that can easily be folded and stored in the overhead bin.
  • Important documents: Don't forget to carry your baby's identification documents, such as a birth certificate or passport, if required. Keep these documents easily accessible during your journey.

Remember, preparation is key when flying with a 9-month-old baby. By packing these essential items, you'll be better equipped to handle any situation that may arise during your journey. Don't forget to check the airline's policies regarding traveling with infants and any specific requirements they may have. With proper planning and organization, your flight with a 9-month-old baby can be a stress-free and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Flexible Booking: Travel Companies that Allow Reservation Fee Payments

Traveling with a 9-month-old baby can be both exciting and challenging. On one hand, you’re introducing your little one to new experiences and creating lifelong memories. On the other hand, you need to make sure your travel plans are adjusted to accommodate your baby's needs. If you are planning to travel by air, here are some tips to help you prepare for a smooth journey with your 9-month-old.

Plan Ahead:

Before your trip, it's essential to plan ahead and make the necessary arrangements. Check with the airline about their policy on traveling with infants and any specific requirements they may have. Book your tickets well in advance to ensure you get the most convenient travel times and seating options. Also, consider timing your flight during your baby's naptime or bedtime, so they can sleep during the journey.

Pack Wisely:

When it comes to packing for a flight with a 9-month-old baby, it's essential to be well-prepared. Make a checklist of all the essentials your baby will need during the flight, such as diapers, wipes, formula or breast milk, bottles, pacifiers, blankets, and a change of clothes. Also, pack some of your baby's favorite toys or activities to keep them entertained during the journey.

Opt for a Bassinet or Extra Legroom:

If the airline offers bassinets or extra legroom, consider booking those seats. Bassinets can provide a comfortable place for your baby to sleep during the flight, and extra legroom will give you more space to move around and attend to your baby’s needs. Be sure to reserve these seats early, as they are in high demand.

Dress Comfortably:

Dressing your baby in comfortable, breathable clothes is important for their comfort during the flight. Avoid dressing them in clothes with lots of buttons or zippers that can be uncomfortable to sit in for long periods. Layering their clothing can also help them adjust to temperature changes on the plane. Don't forget to pack a hat and socks to keep them warm, as airplanes can get chilly.

Ensure Proper Hydration:

Airplanes can be dehydrating, so it's vital to keep your baby hydrated throughout the flight. If your baby is formula-fed, prepare enough bottles with pre-measured formula. If you are breastfeeding, nurse your baby during takeoff and landing to help ease any discomfort due to changes in air pressure. Additionally, offering small sips of water from a sippy cup can help keep them hydrated.

Bring Snacks and Food:

For older infants who have started solids, pack some snacks and finger foods that your baby enjoys. This can help distract them and keep them entertained during the flight. Opt for non-perishable snacks, such as cereal puffs, rice cakes, or fruit pouches. Remember to pack food that is easy to eat and won't create a mess.

Keep Them Entertained:

Bringing a variety of toys and activities can help keep your baby entertained during the flight. Pack their favorite toys, such as soft books, rattles, or teething toys. Consider bringing a few new toys or surprises to hold their attention. Interactive toys, such as ones that play music or have lights, can be especially engaging for babies. You can also download some baby-friendly apps or videos on your electronic device as a last resort.

Be Mindful of Ear Pressure:

Air pressure changes during takeoff and landing can cause discomfort in your baby's ears. To help alleviate this, encourage your baby to suck on a bottle, pacifier, or breastfeed. The swallowing motion can help equalize the pressure in their ears. You can also offer them a teething toy to chew on, which can have a similar relieving effect.

Attend to Their Sleep:

It's important to prioritize your baby's sleep during the flight. If they have a favorite blanket or lovey, bring it along to help them feel comfortable and secure. Consider bringing a travel pillow or a soft headrest to provide additional support. Dim the lights or use a sleep shade to create a sleep-friendly environment. If your baby is used to sleeping in a crib, you can bring a portable crib or bassinet if allowed by the airline.

Practice Patience and Stay Calm:

Despite your best efforts, there might be moments when your baby becomes fussy or restless during the flight. Try to stay calm and patient, as your baby can sense your energy. Comfort them, offer reassurance, and do your best to distract them with toys or other activities. Remember, this phase will pass, and you'll soon be at your destination.

Traveling with a 9-month-old baby on a flight requires careful planning and preparation. By following these tips, you can help ensure a smoother travel experience for both you and your baby. Remember to be flexible, stay calm, and enjoy the journey together. Bon voyage!

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Frequently asked questions.

Yes, a 9 month old baby can travel in a flight. However, it is recommended to consult with the airline beforehand and check their specific policies and guidelines for traveling with infants.

When traveling with a 9 month old baby, it is important to carry the baby's birth certificate or passport, as well as any other necessary identification documents requested by the airline or immigration authorities.

Airlines typically provide special facilities for traveling with infants, such as bassinets, diaper changing stations, and extra legroom seats. It is recommended to inquire about these facilities at the time of booking and make any necessary arrangements in advance.

Karli Trujillo

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air travel with newborn tips

Do Kids Need ID to Fly? Travel Identification Info for Every Age

A couple of times a year, I get a panicked message from a friend or reader who is about to take an airplane flight with their kids. Suddenly they’ve realized that they have no idea what kind of identification they need for their children to fly, if any. After a decade and a half of flying on hundreds of flights and dozens of airlines with my kids to destinations all around the world, I know this question can certainly be confusing!

In the United States, there are multiple entities that set the official legal rules and regulations governing air travel identification and documentation. Those can include Customs and Border Protection, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and each specific airline.

So exactly what documentation is required to board an airplane with kids? As you might imagine, it depends! Here is all the information you need to make sure you have the right identification to travel aboard both domestic and international flights with kids.

Short on Time? Quick Answers in a Nutshell

Children under the age of 18 typically do not need ID to fly on domestic flights within the United States when accompanied by an adult. Airlines may require identification, however, in more unusual circumstances such as with very young infants, lap children, unaccompanied minors, or older teens flying solo. Identification – specifically a passport book but sometimes more – is always required for kids of any age to travel on international flights.

Identification Required for Kids for International Travel

Most travelers usually expect strict identification rules when it comes to international travel. If you are traveling internationally by air the answer to the question of whether kids need ID to fly is pretty simple. Yes! They do!

Not just any ID will suffice. Just as with adults, a passport book is required to fly with kids internationally no matter how young. If you have kids who are United States citizens, getting an official passport can be time-consuming and expensive. In addition, it requires some logistical steps that parents can mess up.

How to Get Passports in the US for Kids

Specifically, the consent of both parents is required for kids under age 16. That usually means both parents need to appear in person at a passport acceptance facility (like many post offices, local government offices, etc.). Alternatively, one parent can appear in person with a notarized statement of consent from the other parent. I got a notarized letter from my husband the last time we applied for our kids because his work schedule made it difficult for him to be available during the limited business hours passport acceptance facilities in our area were open.

Note also that you can’t just easily renew children’s passports by mail like you can for adults. The same in-person application process with both parents present is required. Plus kids under age 16 must renew passports every 5 years, instead of every 10 years for adults.

For that reason, I highly recommend starting the process of obtaining passports for your kids many months in advance of any international travel. After the paperwork is submitted, the process can take 2-3 months for a passport to arrive. Plus, it can often take many weeks before you can get an appointment to even submit the paperwork.

This obviously makes international travel with very young infants especially challenging, as it takes time to first get a birth certificate for the child and then apply for a passport.

Hopefully you are landing on this article in plenty of time to get your paperwork in order for your specific situation. But if not, there may be ways you can get what you need more urgently. You can pay a $60 extra fee to expedite a passport, which can cut several weeks off of standard processing times. And in more urgent situations, there is an even more expedited option available by applying at a passport agency (which can be done if a trip is within 14 days or less).

Special Note about International Land Crossings and Cruises

One reason some travelers misunderstand the air travel rules for kid identification is because the rules for kids crossing land borders and on some cruises can be different. For example, minors who are US citizens can cross into Canada by land with only a birth certificate.

On some closed loop cruises starting and ending in the United States going to destinations like Mexico, Canada, or many Caribbean countries, there are times when both kids and adults can technically travel without a passport using a birth certificate or passport card.

But none of these exceptions apply to international air travel. Don’t mix these rules up!

Child Travel Consent Form

Although a passport book is necessary to travel with kids on international flights, it isn’t necessarily fully sufficient. There are some times that other travel documents may be required – such as a visa for certain countries.

What is even more likely to trip up international travelers is the situation in which a child is traveling with only one parent or is traveling with another adult who isn’t a parent. In many of these circumstances, proof that both parents consent to the specific trip can be required. In these cases, the best practice is to carry a notarized letter of consent for the child to travel.

Some countries have very specific forms or formats that you need to follow. Mexico is one such example and historically has tended to be quite strict. My husband will likely be traveling solo with one of our kids to Mexico for a family wedding in a few months, and we are already planning to get the a letter of consent completed as an extra precaution.

Many countries don’t have clear cut rules that are easy to research. For example, I flew last summer to Italy (first entering the Schengen Area in Frankfurt, Germany) with both of my kids without my husband. I wasn’t able to get completely definitive information as to whether consent was required. As a result, we went ahead and had my husband complete a notarized letter of consent that I kept with me along with a copy of his passport. We weren’t asked to show it, but I breathed easier knowing I had it!

Unfortunately, profiling can and does occur depending on where you are traveling. So parents who don’t share the same last name as their children or who may appear to be another race or ethnicity may find they face extra scrutiny. The best way to avoid any surprises – just or not – is to err on the side of having this document even when it’s not necessarily required.

Identification Required for Kids for Domestic Travel

If you are traveling domestically, the answer to the ID question is a little more complicated but thankfully usually much easier. In most standard circumstances, identification is not required for minors for domestic travel within the USA. There are specific unique situations, however, where it can be.

What Identification is Needed at TSA Checkpoints?

For domestic travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not require you to have an ID for children under age 18 at the security checkpoint.

That said, TSA agents may well talk to your child to confirm their identity and to screen for cases of child abduction. Agents have asked my kids over the years for their names. In some circumstances, they’ve pointed to my husband or me and asked our children who we are. If you have kids who are shy or who take warnings of stranger danger to heart, let them know in advance of your trip that it’s ok for them to speak to these agents and to answer truthfully.

Related: Strategies for Speeding Through TSA Checkpoints with Kids

Special Situations Where Kids May Need ID for Domestic Travel

While the TSA won’t require identification for kids under age 18, many airlines have policies in specific circumstances where some form of ID will be required. It’s vital to know about these outlier circumstances so you don’t come to the airport unprepared.

Young Infants

A number of airlines have rules that prohibit or limit newborns from flying. Airline rules differ, with some airlines like Delta prohibiting newborns under 7 days old from flying on any flights. Others set limits only on international travel, including Southwest which limits infants 14 days old or younger from flying on international flights. Most airlines allow young infants under their age limits, however, to fly with a letter of permission from a physician.

Related: Essential Tips for Your Baby’s First Flight

If you are traveling with a newborn, it’s highly advised to bring a document like a birth certificate for proof of age. And if you are looking for an exception to an age minimum of any sort, a physician’s letter is essential.

Lap Children

When you are flying with a child who will be sitting in your lap (permitted for kids under age 2), having identification to prove age may be required. Some airlines will allow younger infants to board with no ID, as it’s normally obvious that very small babies are not yet near the maximum age cutoff. Families with older babies toddling and speaking always should carry proof of age no matter what the airline. Airline employees can ask at any time for proof to make sure the child is young enough to travel as a lap child.

Related: What to Consider before Flying with a Lap Child

If you are flying Southwest Airlines, however, do not leave ID at home no matter what the age of your lap child. Southwest is the only US carrier that absolutely requires identification of any and every lap child regardless of how old they appear. You’ll need to show it at the ticket counter to obtain a boarding verification document (that works like a boarding pass) for the lap child.

Are there some instances where passengers haven’t had to show documentation for their children on Southwest? For sure. But I’ve flown with a lap child on Southwest more than a dozen times, and I can assure you that every time I had to show proof of age, even with a kiddo as young as 4 months! You don’t want to chance this.

Related: Complete Guide to Flying Southwest with Kids

What kind of identification works for lap children? A simple copy of a birth certificate will usually suffice. No need to rush to the DMV to get your tot a state-issued ID card.

Birth certificates can, however, can take awhile to obtain after a child is born. If you need to fly with a young infant domestically, most airlines will also accept hospital discharge documentation or vaccination records from a pediatrician’s office. The key is that the document have the child’s date of birth on it. When in doubt, if you cannot obtain a birth certificate, call the airline you are flying beforehand to confirm alternatives.

Unaccompanied Minors & Minors Traveling Solo

Another circumstance in which identification may be required for a child is in the case of children flying alone. Again, each airline’s policy is different.

In this situation, age really matters. All US airlines permit older teens (usually ages 15+ but sometimes younger) to fly solo just like adults. And most of them also allow younger kids (often ages 5-14) to fly as unaccompanied minors by paying a fee for limited supervision by airline employees. Depending on the child’s age and circumstances, different documentation can be required.

For older teens under age 18 flying truly solo and not with an unaccompanied minor program, ID is almost always required. Since many kids in this age range won’t have a driver’s license or official government photo ID yet, some airlines (like United) will accept other forms of identification like a birth certificates or student IDs. Other airlines (like Delta), however, require that 15-17 year olds flying solo have the same kind of photo ID that is required of adults. So if your child doesn’t have a driver’s permit or license yet, you’ll likely need to pack a passport.

Younger kids flying as an unaccompanied minor may need some identification as well. This also varies based on the airline and the circumstance. For example, when my son flew earlier this year as an unaccompanied minor on Southwest, I had to show ID as his parent, but I was not asked to show identification for him. Officially, however, Southwest’s policy is that parents may need to show proof of age for the minor. We probably weren’t asked because I booked under my son’s Rapid Rewards account that includes his date of birth (and he clearly appears to be within the age range of the program).

Most other US airlines won’t ask for ID for unaccompanied minors in straightforward situations, but the important thing to note is that they can . So the safest course of action is to at least carry a birth certificate. I put a birth certificate in my son’s backpack anyway, so we were prepared!

Here are links to the relevant age and ID policies that may apply to minors flying solo or as unaccompanied minors on each major US airline:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines

Additional Identification Air Travel Tips

  • When in doubt, bring it : I know from lots of digging around fine print on the internet that it’s sometimes impossible to get a definitive answer about identification. When in doubt, I highly recommend you err on the side of packing more than you need rather than less. A passport book is the gold standard. For domestic travel an original birth certificate (with the raised seal) can be helpful in many circumstances too.
  • Keep extra copies on the cloud : Back in the pre-internet old days of travel, most of us traveled with extra passport copies in a separate bag in case we lost the original. In the digital age, having backups is easier than ever. I keep a copy on the cloud of passports and birth certificates for everyone in the family. That way, I can easily access everything on my phone in cases of emergency.
  • Take extra precautions in case of child custody disputes and divorce : It’s crucial in situations of divorce or shared custody that parents have all of their legal ducks in a row before boarding a plane with their child, even for a simple hop across state lines. As a former attorney myself, I strongly suggest you consult your own legal counsel. Always make sure travel is permitted and that you know what additional documentation you need to bring to avoid any potential issues.

The post Do Kids Need ID to Fly? Travel Identification Info for Every Age appeared first on Trips With Tykes .

A couple of times a year, I get a panicked message from a friend or reader who is about to take an airplane flight with their kids. Suddenly they’ve realized that they have no idea what kind of identification they need for their children to fly, if any. After a decade and a half of …

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International travel documents for children

See what documents a child needs to travel to or from the U.S. alone or with a parent or relative.

Children traveling to the U.S.

All children, including infants, must have their own travel documents such as a passport or document from a Trusted Traveler Program to enter the U.S. If you travel or are going to travel with a child, consider taking the following documents:

  • If the child is traveling with only one of their custodial parents, they must have a letter of consent, preferably in English and notarized, from the other parent or signed by both parents. The letter should say "I acknowledge that my son/daughter is traveling outside the country with [the name of the adult] with my permission."
  • If one parent has sole custody of the child, a copy of the custody document can take the place of the other parent's letter.
  • Parents who frequently cross the border by land with a minor must always carry a letter of permission from the other parent.

U.S. citizen children traveling abroad

Ports of entry in many countries have security measures to prevent international child abduction . If you are traveling alone with your child, you may be required to present documentation proving you are the parent or legal guardian. You may also need a letter of permission from the other parent for your child to travel. 

If your child travels alone, depending on the country, they may be required to present a notarized letter from both parents or their legal guardian. If a minor is traveling abroad and is not accompanied by both parents or a legal guardian, contact the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting and ask about entry and exit requirements for that country.

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023

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