There aren’t any official recommendations for how old an infant should be to board their first flight. But when flying with a newborn, keep in mind that baby’s immune system isn’t as strong as an adult’s. Most planes use recirculated air, which means that germs, viruses and bacteria are more prevalent, and babies are more likely to catch something.
Normally the airline sets its own minimum age for flight travel and this can range from two days to 14 days old. Some airlines may insist a newborn baby and mom have a “Approval” Letter from personal doctor to say they are fit to fly before they will allow them on board.
Flying with an infant isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but with a little planning it doesn’t have to be a total headache.
Check out these tips for flying with a baby to make your trip a lot less turbulent:
Tips 1# Save A Spot
You don’t need to buy a ticket for babies under 2 years old—they’re allowed to sit in your lap. But, the safest place for baby is in a child restraint system. Many infant car seats are approved for use on airplanes, but not all are, so check your car seat manual.
Tips 2# Check Your Carry On Bag
Make sure your carry-on bag includes:
- Wet wipes, nappies, and nappy sacks. Carry a small wash bag with them so you don’t have to haul your entire hand luggage to the loo.
- Several sterilised dummies, if your baby uses them.
- Your baby’s sheet and blanket as the smell can be comforting.
- Spare clothes. Also bring clothes for you in case you spill her drink in a spot of turbulence, or in case air travel increases the amount she dribbles.
- Baby spoons and bibs if your baby is on solids.
- A couple of favourite toys, and a new one, too.
- Muslin cloths to wipe up accidents and possets. They will also provide you with cover if you’re breastfeeding.
- Enough formula milk and food for the journey.
- A book or tablet for you, as your baby may fall asleep.
Tips 3# Wear Baby When Going Through Security.
Since we had to put our stroller on the x-ray conveyor belt, better to put our baby in the Baby Carrier through the security area. Having two hands free made things much easier, especially when collecting our belongings after passing through the checkpoint.
Tips 4# Reconsider Boarding Early.
As a courtesy, airlines allow you to board the plane early if you’re traveling with small children. But you may not want to take them up on it.
Remember, it takes 30+ minutes for everyone else to board, and all of that is just additional time your child will be spending in a cramped seat getting antsy.
The best idea: If your partner’s with you, send him ahead with your bags while you walk around the wide-open terminal with your baby.
Tips 5# Feed Baby During Take-off and Landing.
The changes in cabin pressure can bother those little ears. Plan flying-with-a-baby feedings for takeoff and landing. This forces them to swallow and helps keep the ears open—worked like a charm for us!
Keep in mind, you’ll want to offer baby a breast or bottle before the final descent. Pressure change is most noticeable once the plane begins its initial descent, as much as half an hour or more before landing (and the higher up you are, the earlier in the fligher descent usually starts.)