Taking Your Infant on the Plane
You want to take a family vacation this year. However, you have an infant in the family now. You’re not entirely sure if you want to deal with the hassles of getting an infant somewhere that requires a plane ride. That’s understandable. Taking an infant on an airplane is always a little bit intimidating. It doesn’t help that there are rules in place on planes now that significantly impact what you’re allowed to bring on the plane for the baby. However, it’s still possible to fly with your infant child. This guide should help.
Bringing Formula on the Plane
The first thing that comes to mind for many parents of infants is the issue of food. Babies need to eat all of the time. They are constantly hungry. Not having enough food for the baby during the flight is simply not an option. But are you allowed to take formula on an airplane? Yes. However, there are some things that you need to know.
These are the rules to follow when bringing formula or pumped breast milk onto an airplane:
· The formula must travel with the baby. This should be obvious anyway since the baby is the one that needs it. However, there are cases in which spouses are meeting one another during a flight and one has the baby and the other has extra milk. This won’t work. Baby and formula must be together or the formula can not board the plane.
· It’s best to pack the formula or breast milk in 3 oz containers. That’s because it makes it a lot easier to go through a security check. And yes, you might have to get checked through security if you are carrying this stuff with you.
· You can bring as many 3 oz containers as you would like. There isn’t a limit on the amount of baby formula or bottled breast milk that you are allowed to bring for your baby. As long as it is packed properly and fits in a carry-on piece of luggage that fits on the plane then you should be fine.
Following a close second to the concern about formula is the concern about the health risks that a baby faces when you take him or her on the plane. Here are some of the biggest health concerns that you might have questions about:
· Ear pressure won’t damage your infant’s ears. We all know how uncomfortable ear pressure changes are when you are in an airplane. Yes, your baby is going to feel that discomfort and it may even be painful. However, it won’t last long and it isn’t going to cause any lasting damage to the ear.
· You can counteract ear pressure changes with a bottle. Give your baby a bottle to suck on at take-off and landing. This won’t completely eliminate the discomfort but it will help you out a lot.
· Your baby faces some exposure to illness on the plane. We all know how common it is to get sick from being in such close quarters with other people on the plane. The infant does face the same general risk of being in a crowded space with possibly-ill people.
· Don’t take a sick baby on the plane. If your child already has a cold or illness, it’s best to reschedule your trip. If you have to take the trip, make sure that you clear any necessary medications with the security personnel at the airport in advance of the trip.
· Strollers don’t come on the plane. Remember to check the stroller in with your other luggage because it’s not going to be allowed on the plane. Alternatively, some flights allow you to bring the stroller into the waiting area but you’ll have to check it onto the plane when you board.
Does the Baby Need a Seat?
Many people start to wonder at this point in the process whether they need to purchase a plane ticket for the baby. The answer is no. Children under age 2 are allowed to fly on a parent’s lap. However, you can buy a plane seat for the baby, bring their car seat along on the plane and sit them safely in the car seat on the seat next to you. Sometimes this is the easier way to go even though it’s more expensive.
One thing to note is that it might make sense to sit apart from a spouse during family travel. This allows you to each take turns with the baby so that the other can rest a bit during the flight. This isn’t right for all families but is something to consider.
Get on the Plane Early
Remember that having a baby with you gives you the right to board the plane at the start of boarding. It’s worth it to go ahead and get settled in with the baby as soon as possible.
What to Pack
You need a bottle and maybe some medication for your infant on the plane. What else do you need? Here are some things to pack in the carry-on:
· Anything that the baby needs for teething.
· Diapers and wipes.
· Extra changes of clothing.
· Blankets and other comfort items like stuffed animals.
· A small, calming music player (like a music box).
· Plastic bags.
· Infant first aid kit.
The Value of Staying Calm
Traveling is always a little bit stressful since it comes with a change of routine and location. However, there’s a lot of value to staying calm and relaxed during travel. This is particularly true if you have an infant with you since your mood often rubs off on your baby.