Breastfeeding/Changing Baby on Air Plane

Megan - posted on 07/09/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

9

6

1

Hi there,

I plan to possibly take a airplane trip to see my folks back home with my newborn daughter-- obviously plan to wait until the suggested 6 week mark (and longer, when shes about 3-4 months old), and was just curious about advice with taking a baby on the plane. I am breastfeeding and plan to take cover ups, but I am afraid that it will be very awkward when I will be sitting next to someone I don't know.. who knows what kind of person is sitting next to you! Also, any tips on diaper changes on the airplane when you're going alone? I wouldn't be so hesitant if someone was going with me and I could use their seat space as well, but when you're alone, what do you do?? Thank you everyone!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Iona - posted on 07/12/2010

47

30

7

I have flown about 6 times now with my daughter, 17 months. I too have found window seats most comfortable for breastfeeding, as they are the most private I think. I have found that most people do not even notice. Once she started refusing the cover, I made sure I wore a cardigan, so that I felt like I had a bit more privacy.

As for sleep, when my daughter was really young I used to lay her on the tray table to give my arms a break for a bit (wrapped in her blanket, she's always slept all curled up). Now that she is bigger, she will lay across my lap, with her head on the arm rest.

As for entertainment, even when my daughter was just 4 or 5 months old, I used my iPod touch and had Baby Einstein videos on it. It would hold her attention for 5-10 minutes at first, now 15 or so (we never watch at home, so it is a treat).

Also, nursing on take off and landing is the best strategy - if they will nurse. Once they can eat solids, my daughter is crazy about yogurt melts and will always eat them, even if she is not hungry! This helps to keep her clearing her ears during take off and landing.

I've never had to pump in flight, but have on occasion in one of the family rest rooms in the airports. There are almost always plugs in there and much more privacy than regular bathrooms. I would think though if you have a battery attachment you could pump on the plane.

Sylvia - posted on 07/11/2010

1,315

8

31

Most aeroplane washrooms actually have a fold-down shelf over the toilet that you can use to change a baby on. Definitely bring a changing pad, though -- they're not padded or curved, just a flat shelf. I dunno about anyone else, but I wouldn't do a diaper change, even of a pre-solid-foods (and therefore non-smelly) baby, in the cabin of a plane -- it just seems icky.

Nursing a small baby on a plane is actually very easy. Try and get the window seat (gives you the most privacy), and ask for the row behind the bulkhead (gives you the most leg room). If you don't feel comfortable without some kind of cover-ups, then I guess you take those -- I could never be bothered, and anyway DD wouldn't tolerate having anything draped over her head! -- but otherwise I found you pretty much just plug the baby in as soon as you're settled in your seat, and s/he tends to stay latched on and half asleep for most of the flight. Of course, that means you end up eating one-handed, but it's a small price to pay for a contented, non-shrieking baby ;^)

I've done a lot of travelling with DD (she's now 8), because although we don't take vacations we have relatives all over the continent to visit :P, and honestly I think the *easiest* trips ever were when she was under a year old. The most difficult were in the toddler/preschool years, after she became mobile and before she was old enough to sit quietly with a book; now she's quite a good travelling companion, but there were some tough trips in the middle there :P

Karen - posted on 07/11/2010

15

19

0

Most of the ladies have covered everything....I think the only extra advice I can give is take some rescue remedy in some cooled boiled water. I gave that to my daughter when we were traveling and it made a big difference....but latch for take of and landing! x

Anneke - posted on 07/11/2010

121

35

6

We flew early in the morning. Both baby and big brother slept for most of the trip. We also used an oral drop for congestion, I think it was. That was over 3 yrs ago, just before they took all infant drugs off the shelf. He was 7 months when we flew, so along with bottles and extra clothes, we had some toys to keep him occupied. nobody realized we had kids on the plane until we landed and started to taxi. My eldest yelled out that they could open the door now! Everyone around us laughed! Some plane companies have seats at the back of the plane that have a bit more room. Check in early, and see if you can request one of those. And don't forget to find out what you can take for you LO. We were able to check in a carseat and put a stroller under when we boarded the plane.

Megan - posted on 07/10/2010

9

6

1

Morgan- You're very welcome! Thank you for the advice- I never knew they made such ear drops! I will be sure to ask our Pediatrician at our next visit. I'm still not sure whether I will be bringing my stroller/car seat or taking some sort of carrying device (at least to safely carry her through the airport even if I am unable to use it at take off and landing) yet, but will continue to ponder on it. :) I'm glad to hear that you are able to take breast milk on the plane & will be checking that website and practicing bottle-feeding some expressed milk to my little girl.. we tried yesterday and made quite a mess..hehe. :P I hope your airplane rides go smoothly and safely and will keep you all in my prayers (Morgan & Sheree)-- If you wouldn't mind posting how your experiences went after your flights I would very much appreciate it! God Bless!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

28 Comments

View replies by

Eva-Lotta - posted on 07/16/2010

54

15

0

I don't know how long your flight is but we just did a round trip Sydney to Copenhagen (that was 26 hours on the plane)... Our daughter is 8 months and was really good.
When you booked the plane; did you ask for the bassinet seat? All airlines have the seats right upfront in ecomony where there is extra leg room and the hang the bassinet on the wall in special holders. They are great!
My daughter doesn't breastfeed anymore but security was fine with us bringing water and formula and food along for her.
I didn't use the the toilets on the plane to change our daughter - they sat in a really awkard position and she almost fell of the thing as there was tiny bit of turbulence and the strap to hold the baby with was broken. We have a little portable change mat (folds up like a little blianket and takes no space so I put that on the floor, changed our daughter and tied nappy and everything in a plastic bag and the flight attendent placed it in their bin... No one minded at all, most people around us didn't even notice that we had a baby with us until we were playing around with her when she was awake and they all commented on how cute and wonderful she was. People were amazing on the plane (I had prepared myself for the worst so was pleasantly surprised).
Good luck and don't be afraid to ask the flight attendents for help and advice! All the best!
:o)

Cally - posted on 07/15/2010

28

14

0

My son is 7 months old and he has already flown to several other captial cities (his first flight was when he was 4 months old). I have flown both with my husband and on our own. I use a baby bjorn carrier to get on and off the plane and now take a small carry on with wheels as I find between juggling boarding passes and a bub the wheels are really handy. I do however take the sling off as soon as I get to my seat.

Often the hostesses will either let you leave your carry-on bag with them and they give it to you on the flight or other passengers will put my bag in the overhead cargo bin. I normally put a nappy, wipes, cream etc in a zip lock bag so if I have to do a change I just grab the bag and it is all there for me.

I BF on take-off, landing and during the flight if he gets too ratty. I do not both with a coverall and have never had any problems with passengers sitting next to me (in fact most do not seem to mind if his legs end up hanging over their seat etc). I actually always request an aisle seat so I can get up easy (to walk the aisle if he's unsettled) or to do a nappy change etc.

I do however always ask for a pillow as it makes it just that little bit more comfortable for them an me considering that you have to nurse them for the trip (unless its a long flight and you can get a bassinet)

I also try to pick flight times that are good times, however last month I flew from Adelaide to Canberra during what would normally be bath and bedtime, yes he was ratty but there were also 7 other infants on the flights along with families with children and the hostesses and other passengers were all really supportive of all the babies on the flight.

Travel with a bub can be challenging but I just accept that he might be unsettled for a day. I love that my son has already been to four other states and we are just about to head off overseas, while he wont remember all these trips, he is getting expose to different things and that tolerance and acceptance for change will last.

Rosalba - posted on 07/15/2010

3

2

0

I travel whe my baby when she was 3 months in a five hour flight and I put my cover on I never took it out that way I did't have to be looking for it remember the space is really limited don't worry for the people if they dont like it is their problem not your. for the chaging the diaper the airplane I took did't have changing table bacause it was a older model so i put a disposible changing pat and I put it on the top of the toilet i work just fine since they don't move alot. Good luck

Dina - posted on 07/15/2010

3

0

0

Don't be intimidated to fly with your new little one. Seriously! It isn't that bad... I've done it several times already with my 6-month old, starting at 8 weeks old, both with and without my husband. As far as breastfeeding, just take a thin blanket which you can drape over your shoulder. I've never had a problem. (You could use a nursing cover too of course, but I've always just used blankets.) Be sure to request a window seat (minimizes the view from other people), and likewise, it also helps to either sit way up front (in the first couple rows) or in the last row (if you don't mind being in the back). Regarding changing... lots of airplanes do have changing tables in the bathroom... but honestly, I've found that it is MUCH easier to pull down the seat back trays in front of me (be sure to ask your "neighbor" first if you are traveling alone), and just changing my baby right there. Only change the babe if it is absolutely necessary though (ie., BLOWOUT or a very long flight)... otherwise, just make sure to change him/her right before you board and right after. :)

Good luck and if you have any other questions, post away! :)

Becky - posted on 07/15/2010

30

9

2

I believe at least one bathroom in commercial planes has a changing table and you can even get a flight attendant to put the changing table down for you.. I had to fly with my son when he was 5 wks old. One of the flight attendants offered.

I kept my son in a wrap on the plane, and didn't have any problems with over stimulation and it was easy to adjust for nursing as well. I traded seats so that I could be in the aisle seat for ease of access to the bathroom in case he was fussy and having problems latching on, or needed a diaper change.

[deleted account]

When our little one was five months old, we spent 11 hours flying across the US. I took a coverup and breastfed without any problems. Granted their isnt alot of room, but managable. I just made sure I changed him in between flights. Which I just did another 11 hr trip with him and they now have changing tables on some of the planes so it may not be such an issue anymore depending on the plane and I still breastfed him without any problems. Which both times, once I was in the air, I put down the tray table to give my arms extra support in holding the baby because I knew what a long flight it would be . It worked for me and we had a great trip each time. Good luck and dont worry. It wont be as bad as your imagining it to be

Breann - posted on 07/12/2010

18

28

0

I agree with above. I have flown several times with my son. He is now almost 2 and no longer nursing, but I nursed him at take off and landing. Most flights had a changing station in the bathroom - a couple did not... I did the best I could (changed him in my lap). I was a very shy breast-feeding mom... I would even hide in my bedroom when people came over. I was very nervous about flying and nursing, but no one noticed! I think that people, for the most part, try to ignore the strangers around them when they fly.
Good luck! I'm sure you will do great!

Mary Renee - posted on 07/12/2010

831

16

25

Thanks! This whole thread is EXACTLY the reason I love Circle of Moms... and Moms in general too!

Mary Renee - posted on 07/12/2010

831

16

25

Meghan, Morgan and everyone else!

Thanks for posting!

I'm taking my 3 month old on a TWELVE hour plan ride in a few weeks all by myself and I'm very nervous (I live in Hawaii, my whole family lives in DC)

My question... was anybody able to pump on the plane? I was thinking about bring along some expressed breast milk in case I had trouble feeding her, but it's so painful for me to go much longer than 4 or 5 hours with out feeding or pumping that I'd really need to pump if I fed her expressed milk.

Also, did anyone have trouble with sleep? Almost ALL flights leaving Hawaii are red eyes, and if there isn't an empty seat I'll be holding the baby the WHOLE time. Any suggestion to ensure she sleep comfortably (and I'm comfortable as well?)

Mary

Megan - posted on 07/11/2010

9

6

1

I appreciate the advice, everyone! I am now way excited to make this trip back to my folks, across the country! I was very apprehensive and more leaning towards the "Eh, I'll just wait til my Husband can go with me.." but I feel like I can actually do it on my own now.. and I barely do anything on my own! Thanks again, everyone! :)

Tenille - posted on 07/11/2010

14

26

0

hopefully u are lucky enough like me and happen to get a vacant seat beside you at the back of the plane. Changing baby on plane is no trouble as they have fold down change tables in the toilets. Not the most comfortable space but private never the less. You are best to feed your little one on the way up and on the way down as the sucking reflex helps to stop the ears from blocking from the altitude. Otherwise you could find you have a screaming baby midflight because they have a peircing headache from the ears hurting.
I hope this helps as I have recently flown with my then 3mth old daughter and she was fine.

Brenda - posted on 07/10/2010

2,386

62

250

See if you can get window seated, so you can adjust yourself. Just cover and go with it. I did a two hour trip about five months old with our son. I nursed all the way up and all the way down. I also recently took a six hour train trip where we nursed quite often with no coverups because he won't have it anymore. I just turned my body away and toward the window. No one said anything to me either time.

Brynne - posted on 07/10/2010

30

20

6

I've had to fly quite a lot with both of my girls. This is what I know.... Nurse on the take-off and landing because the sucking helps with ear pressure issues. Window seats are easier for nursing and if baby is asleep you won't have to get up for anyone else. Bring extra baby clothes - but also an extra mama shirt! I've had a couple of experience leaking through due to the heat on the plane. Bring your self a bottle of water - people naturally get dehydrated and you don't want to be low on milk that day! Most airports have family bathrooms where you will have plenty of space. Try to change before and after the flight. Most planes do have changing stations, but they are about the toilet and the bathrooms are incredibly small. If mama has to go potty I have asked one of the flight attendants to hold the baby for a minute and they love it. Enjoy, don't stress - it is only a couple of hours even if the baby is a wreck!

Cavell - posted on 07/10/2010

61

27

6

If you don't have one already a sling will come in very handy. I took my daughter to visit family back in April when she was just about 4 months, and I had her in a Moby wrap on the plane until I had to feed her. They tell you that you have to hold them in a burping position for take off, so I just put her in it facing me and as soon as we leveled out a little I started to nurse her. The other passengers on the plane didn't even know there was a baby on board until we stood up. We had to change planes once each time (there and back) and with her in the wrap it was sooo much easier with luggage moving around in the airports. I didn't use a cover at all either, but I wasn't travelling alone, so my boyfriend sat on the outside and I was by the window.

Anneke - posted on 07/10/2010

121

35

6

I brought a snugli on the plane with my child and if the seatbelt sign is on, the baby is not allowed to be in the snugli. I didn't end up using it. Wasted space in my carry on. I'd check with the plane company before taking the snugli. The attendant will also tell you the correct way to hold your babe during take off and landing

Sheree - posted on 07/10/2010

10

22

2

I agree thanks for posting this, I will be traveling with my DD who will be 4 months. I will have her big stroller and car seat with me and they will have to be checked at the gate. I agree you can take breast milk on the plane just tell them at the security check area. If I read it correct they will test it to make sure it doesn't have anything in it. Like a few other people have said feed on take off and landing is the advice I seem to get the most of. Safe Travels!

Morgan - posted on 07/10/2010

22

1

2

Megan - thank you so much for posting this question. I am in the very same situation - i'm taking my 4 mo. old by myself to the other side of the country (5 hour flight) next month and very nervous. I appreciate the advice others have put in and am keeping my eye out for more suggestions. So no experience here yet, but this is what I have learned. My pedi gave me a prescription for ear drops that numb baby's ears instantly if there is any pain during take off or landing. They are inexpensive and he said they last for a very long time. You may want to ask about this. I'm not bringing my car seat and stroller, so i'm carrying him in his "snugli" which I hope goes well. I only pray that i don't have to nurse him on the plane (people KNOW when he is eating, vocally impatient at times when the milk slows down) and I really don't want to disturb people. Hope that goes easier for you! And you are definitely allowed to bring pumped milk, juice, or water through security as long as you declare it before you put it through. (tsa.gov has good info on these rules as well) And I hear towards the back is the best place to sit if you can. Anyway hope your trip goes well!

Megan - posted on 07/09/2010

9

6

1

That's what I was afraid of, with the restrooms-- I didn't think of taking some little baggies! Great idea. :) Changes of clothes, check! My daughter tends to enjoy having blow outs at the most inopportune times :P. Will be sure to have her feeding/sucking upon take of and set down. Thank you so much for the advice!

Heather - posted on 07/09/2010

20

21

3

I have taken my son (now 10 months) on a plane for 2 roundtrip 4 hour flights. The first time, my husband went with me and the 2nd I was on my own. I did not have a problem with breast feeding at all. I kept covered up and no one seemed to notice/care.... Now to the changing issue. On a couple of the planes, they did not have changing tables in the restroom. So, I laid down a blanket and changed him on the seat. It would be helpful to take a few of the diaper bags to help with the smell. I would also take a couple changes of clothes... My son had HUGE blowouts at the end of each flight. Oh! As you might have already read, just make sure she is sucking or eating when you are going up or landing..

Megan - posted on 07/09/2010

9

6

1

I'm so glad to hear that the restrooms have changing stations- I hope that is the case for all airplanes! I have never had to use the restroom on a flight so I have no idea what to expect, so that is definitely encouraging. I will definitely take your advice regarding asking the flight attendant for an empty seat/taking her car seat with us-- what a great idea. Thank you all for the great advice and encouragement! :) God Bless You all.

[deleted account]

I've only ever dealt with toddlers on planes but here goes

Change her, feed her before you board. If she poops, then there is probably a changing station in the restroom- like the other mom said, make sure you got a changing pad, disposable ones are great, or one that you can wash since planes are germ-havens. If there are empty seats at the back of the plane, ask the flight attendant if you can go back there to nurse, and they might let you stay back there.
A good friend of mine is a flight attendant and she said before my last flight, if you don't buy a ticket for the baby to have her own seat, take your carseat with you to the gate and if there are any empty seats then you can take it on with you, if not they'll stow it for you and you get it as soon as you get off the plane- the woman on my last return flight did this with her stroller (and she also got up 4x to change a messy diaper- she was infront of me)
Make sure that your baby is used to her carseat & likes it, and if you take it with you, she might be content in there for a good while.
Our return flight was packed, my 18 m old was throwing tantrums the whole time b/c she was sleepy- she would nurse for a second then was off the boob. She was flapping my shirt around wildly and all out being the most obnoxious I've ever seen her and even on the aisle, the looks that I did get were sympathetic ones.
Most people ARE in their own little worlds, either with music or books or asleep. The flight attendants were VERY VERY nice.

Laura - posted on 07/09/2010

43

7

1

We just took our baby on a trip on an airplane when she was 3 months. It was a four hour flight. I was super nervous, but she did GREAT!! She slept the whole time:) Some tips I would suggest would be to take a nursing cover up, a small pillow to rest your baby on (your arms will get very tired) and a well stocked diaper bag. I didn't need to change our baby on the plane, but the restrooms do have changing stations in them. You will want a pad to put down if you need to change a diaper. You can buy disposable ones at any baby store or Target. I would only worry about changing a dirty one. Otherwise, use a size larger diaper and put diaper cream on your baby just before you begin boarding the airplane. Your baby should be fine if it is just for a few hours.

As far as nursing your baby, I have found that most people don't really notice what you are doing! I was nursing our daughter at a baseball game and was sitting next to a man. When I was finished he said he didn't even know I had a baby under my cover! I wouldnt worry too much. It's amazing how busy people are with their own situation. They often don't even notice yours! I thought our daughter would nurse the entire flight but she nursed for the take-off and landing and that was it.

I wish you the best! You can do this, even by yourself! You will be so proud of yourself!

Anneke - posted on 07/09/2010

121

35

6

I took a Westjet flight about 3 yrs ago. They had a change station available in one of the bathrooms. I don't know how long your flight will be, but if you are too unsure about breastfeeding that close to a stranger, maybe you could express some milk for her. Last I knew, you were allowed to take milk for babies. Just nurse her before you board your flight. The flight attendants were wonderful help when I needed it. Don't be afraid to ask them for any help!! Good luck!!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms