Flying Canada to Australia with 8-month-old (+helpful website)

Katie - posted on 05/20/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Hi all,

I am going to be flying with my 5-month-old (she'll be 8 months when we travel) from Ottawa, Canada to Brisbane, Australia via Vancouver (approx. 24 hours flying time + stopovers) - yikes! I'd appreciate advice from anyone who's been crazy enough to survive long-haul flights with babies (ie. changing in the little washroom, feeding (she'll be starting solids soon - and can you hold them and breastfeed while the seatbelt light is on, or do you have to use a bottle?), ear problems, what it's like holding a baby while flying (or should I go ahead and book her a seat? If so, do you bring a carseat onboard?) - and any other tips/suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated - thanks! Happy Travels!

Also, I found a website that might be helpful for others flying with little ones - I'm just having a look at it now. http://www.flyingwithbaby.com

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Katie - posted on 08/06/2009

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Quoting Selena:

LOVE all of your travel tips! Was going to ask a similar question but was lucky enough to find your post. We're traveling from Toronto to Tel Aviv (11 hour direct flight!!) at the end of August with a 7 month old.
Thanks Katie, found flyingwithbaby.com a big help. I had buyers remorse at first when we booked the tickets but now feel like I can totally accomplish this.
Thanks everyone for your help. Katie- hope your trip goes well & happy travels!


No worries! Thanks Selena - hope your trip goes well too!! :o)



Thanks again to everyone for all of your suggestions - we'll be flying in 8 days - I'll try to remember to post any other tips I learn along the way. xo

Shereen - posted on 06/20/2009

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ahhhhhhhh i am flying from Sydney to beirut on wednesday (24hour s travel time) WITH TWINS (9momths)!!! i have done this before but usually my husband is with me this time its my mi so i am in charge and will need to take care of the logistics and other important stuff! this is the 4th time i travel long distnaces with them and each time i learn something new!

1) i definetly agree with the ziploc thing! it always helps to find things (bibs in one bag, biscuit, in another, diapers in one...etc)

2) also i agree with Terri-Anne about taking 2 bags! the first one should be like your regular diaper bag/purse. Calculate how many diapers your child uses per bag (4 or 5 at an older age) multiply by 2 then split them between the 2 bags. have about 3 or 4 in your diaper bag. then have all the things your child would need for her meals and entertainment (food, formula, bottles, wtater, wipes, bibs). Whatever you put in diaper bag put the same thing in your overhead carryon! you need to always have etra but not too much because you don;t want anything heavy. Also airlines usually have extra stuff in case of an emergency!

3) make sure to take with u extra formula thats the most important bcs most of the time you can calm a fussy child with milk.

4) Also the baby needs something to suck on during take off and landing (breast bottle or paccifier)

5) book a bassinett even if you won't use it book it you will always find something to use it for trust me!

6) whenever you have a stopoever take sime time to reorganize your diaper bag. Get rid of the stuff you already used and restock on formula and diapers

7) when you are done with one meal prepare for the next one straight away don't wait bcs the babies won't

8) if you are using bottles then take with you a piece of oil soap or washing detergent to wash your bottles in the bathroom (u can find hot water there)

9) take a few empty garbage bags or ziplocs to put away dirty clothes or diapers or whatever

10) change of clothes definetly

11) dress your child in comfortable clothing (sleepwear)

12) use a backpack rather than a shouldre (messenger style) diaper bag. you need your hands to be as free as possible while traveling

13) use a baby carrier during transit if you can't get your stroller

14) lastly ITS NOT EASY. no matter how organized you are and how well behaved your child wil be its never easy. Flying for that long is difficult for afdults imagine the experience for babies. But you can try your hardest to make it the least difficult as possible. be very organized and prepared!

good luck

[deleted account]

LOVE all of your travel tips! Was going to ask a similar question but was lucky enough to find your post. We're traveling from Toronto to Tel Aviv (11 hour direct flight!!) at the end of August with a 7 month old.

Thanks Katie, found flyingwithbaby.com a big help. I had buyers remorse at first when we booked the tickets but now feel like I can totally accomplish this.

Thanks everyone for your help. Katie- hope your trip goes well & happy travels!

Terri-Anne - posted on 05/28/2009

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Hi! I did a similar trip with my daughter from Kuwait to Brisbane, then to Detroit and back to Kuwait when she was between 4 and 7 months of age. I had her onmy lap for the entire trip and it was not a problem. I was breastfeeding at the time and fed her on take off and landing to help with her ears. She also slept for themajority of the time on my lap and Iwas quite comfortable with her there. I did have a bassinet seat and could put her in the bassinet if I wanted to but you have to take the baby out during turbulance so when I was sleeping it was easier to just hold her. I ended up using the bassinet to store toys, blanket etc in.
There were a few thingsI found useful on the trip. On thing I purchased was a baby b'air. It is a little vest that you put on the baby and then attach to your seatbelt. It is FAA approved for in flight but not take off and landing. I used it for the whole trip, including take off and landing as it was more comfortable and seemed more secure than the infant seatbelt. The baby has enough roomo to move around when using it and it is very easy to breastfeed the baby while she is wearing it. I took two bags with me on the plane. One had immediate things that I needed close by and the other had spares andextras. Eg. I had two diapers and 2 changes of cothes in one bag and in the other bag I put in the overhead I had 8 additional diapers and 3 more changes ofclothes. I also divided up my diaper bag with ziplocs so that things were easy to find. I had my diapers/wipes/diaper cream in one bag and each set of clothes in their ownziploc. Saved me from rumaging through everything. When I used something out of the smaller bag, I would restock when I got the chance. A friend also told me to take clean sheets for the bassinet as I would need them. I never used them and they were always supplied by the airline and were clean. I did take a baby blanket though as the airline blankets are a little thin and scratchy. One other thing I found useful was one of the squishy cylinder shaped pillows. When baby was on my lap, I put it behind her head as a comfort for me and also to protect her head from people walking down the aisle.
I took bottles with breast milk for the first part of the trip and never used them so didnot express or take bottles for the next two segments. I also did not take any solids with me as we had only just introduced them for the last part of the trip. The airline did offer me baby food on one leg of the journey though. As Molly said, you can take more than 3 ozof liquids for a baby and it is not an issue.
I am about to do the Kuwait Brisbane journey again and this time my little one will be 12 months. I decided to get her a seat for comfort purposes and will be taking a carseat on the plane. I just had to make sure the carseat was FAA approved and had to inform the airline I would be using it. I also plan on using a sleep wrap when travelling this time as some of the airlines (qantas in particular) will not let you gate check your stroller and then you have to carry the baby. THis is not a problem if there are two of you but one person with a baby, carseat, and carry one can become a little tricky.
I hope some of this info helps. Just relax and everything will be fine. Also, if your baby cries or is upset during travel, just remember that you will probably never see any of the people on board the plane again, so don't worry about what they are thinking, just take care of yourself and baby.
Happy travels! :)

Michelle - posted on 05/27/2009

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I wrote a whole chapter on this subject for my book: http://www.tinyurl.com/traveling-with-ki...!!

Seriously: wrt to airlines and whether or not you'll get a bassinet: check out http://www.seatguru.com before you go. That should tell you whether or not there are bassinets in your cabin and if so, how many. If there are very few (e.g. 14 bulkhead seats for all of coach on a 747), you should call the airline ahead and ask for a bassinet.
re. Jetlag: it's going to happen. For the first couple of days, you'll both be discombobulated. Best solution (which has worked for me over 13 years of flying all over the world with my kids): set your watch to destination time as soon as you board and try to wake/sleep according to that tz while you fly. If you're lucky enough to fly overnight, that's really helped with my flights - the trick is to have them stay awake through the following day i.e. no naps if possible. Thirdly, plenty of fresh air and exercise (walks, playgrounds) during the first couple of days. If you're traveling with a partner, agreeing who takes early/late shift with wakeful kids in advance also helps.

Pack a change of clothes for you and your baby!! At least a clean t-shirt. I sat on a 10hr flight covered in baby barf once. Not fun.

Seatguru will tell you whether or not your plane has changing facilities in the bathrooms. General rule of thumb is that larger planes (747 and A330) do, smaller planes do not.

Finally: don't expect anything from the airline wrt helping you and the baby. They're not trying to be nasty, but there are up to 400 people on a full 747 flight. You'll be in better shape if you just pack everything you think you might need for the duration of the flight (and then some).

Hope that helps!

Paola - posted on 05/27/2009

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Hello All!

I'm also travelling with my 9 month old baby from Canada to Slovaquia and I found all the advise very helpful. I still have one question, I'm concerned about adapting her to the time difference, any ideas???

Katie - posted on 05/26/2009

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Ah, that's great news! Thanks Molly! I hope that's the case when we fly because there are so many liquid things you need for baby - especially if you want to bring food and water for them. Have a great trip! :o)

Molly - posted on 05/26/2009

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I dont really have advice... as a matter of fact I was reading the posts to get advice as well b/c we will be flying from Portugal to the US with our 7 mo old this week. I did want to mention that if liquids are in the diaper bag they can exceed 3 oz. I traveled with my baby at 1 mo old and had water, wipes, diaper ointment, etc and they all exceeded 3 oz. At the first airport no one even looked in her diaper bag, at the 2nd airport they checked but passed us through letting us keep everything. Good Luck!

Katie - posted on 05/25/2009

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Thanks Alison! Gosh, I can't imagine not having either a bassinet or a carseat to give us (and her) a break from holding her the whole time! (she likes being held, but not for that long!). Yes, I'm hoping wipes don't count as part of the limit on liquids you can bring on board (I can't imagine they would) because I'm planning to bring 1-2 boxes of wipes. Thanks for the heads-up on the first-come-first-serve for bassinet seats - I haven't actually booked our flight yet, so I better not wait much longer! Thanks again! :o)

[deleted account]

I take long haul flights all the time with my son. He's 4 now, but was only 3 months old when he went on his first flight from the UK to USA. The best advice is lots wipes and bring your own blanket. Most airlines have a breast feeding friendly policy these days. Best to check with the airline to make sure. Most airlines also have a crib that baby can sleep in. This is usaully available on a first come first served basis bacause you have to sit in a certain row, so get in early and call the airline. I find the baby food they give you a bit runny because it has to be suitable for all babies so an 8 month old might find it a bit boring to eat. That was only on Continental airlines though. Other airlines might have a bit more variety.



Oh and you don't usaually have to book a seat for an 8 month old. There is always the risk that they crib might not be available though. You could then be stuck holding her for the flight. I did it on a 8 hour flight when my son was that age. 24 hours is a differnt storey.

Katie - posted on 05/24/2009

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Thanks Morag! It's reassuring to know that long distance travel can be done with a baby - without it being too traumatic, haha! I had wondered about how well she'd take to the airline baby food, because I don't imagine it's any airline's selling point ;o) I'll definitely bring some pre-prepared solids for her - and lots and lots of wipes to clean up the mess she'll make - should be interesting ;o) I think I'm going to fly Air New Zealand - they have the bassinet seat option, which is sounding more and more appealing. I'll probably bring one of her blankets from her crib so it doesn't feel as foreign to sleep in. And that's a great idea to use the bassinet for wet diaper/nappy changing! (sounds much nicer than cramming her in the washroom or trying to change her on the floor). I hope you and your little one had a great time in Aussieland! Thanks again for your advice! :o)

Morag - posted on 05/24/2009

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HI! My daughter, who is 7 months old now & I just got back from our crazy long distance travels from the Uk to Australia (23hrs in total). I flew over with her when she was 3 months old. I did this trip on my own as I am a single mother. But I found that if you requested a bassinet seat (they usually have 2 kinds, one is up to 8 kgs, the other 15 kgs) it gives u a secure & more comfortable place for your little one to sleep because they can lay down & that way you don't have to hold her on your lap the whole trip, plus it gives you extra leg room where you can change her nappy if it's not to smelly ;) The change tables in the toilets are quite snug & don't tend to have straps for your little one which can make life a little interesting.I breastfed her on my lap when she was hungry & gave her a few solids that I brought with me beacause the plane food is awful & she wouldn't eat it! If they don't have their own seat then you have to have them on your lap for take off & landing & if there is turbulance, they give you a special seatbelt that attaches to your seatbelt. Not sure about ears because we were lucky and didn't suffer from ear problems. Not sure about the car seat either prob best to check with the airline 1st. Hope this has been helpful!! Good luck & safe travels!!!

Katie - posted on 05/21/2009

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Thanks so much Jennifer - your tips are very helpful! I hold my daughter alot too - and I keep hearing that you can't "spoil" a baby, but I think I might prove that wrong, haha! I like the ziplock bags idea, I might have to rethink the type of diaper bag I have for carry-on and look for one with more compartments (I hadn't thought of how challenging it's going to be to try to find everything in an hurry). Thanks again, best of luck with your trip too!! :o)

Jennifer - posted on 05/21/2009

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Hi there! I am about to embark on my own crazy travel plans in a few weeks. I am set to fly from Honolulu to New York with a 9mo old and a nine yr old. Not quite as far as you have to go but I have the same questions and concerns. I did go ahead and book a seat for the baby. I can't imagine you are going to want to actually hold the baby for 24 hours straight. I mean, I know I hold mine a lot (to the point of spoiling her) but you're going to have to get some sleep when she sleeps and then if you're flying alone are you going to wake her, bring her to bathroom and back when you have to go but she's alseep? I don't know about all of that. I think having her own space will help her to be more comfortable but more importantly YOU will be better able to handle any baby issues that come up. If you pile up a couple carry-ons in front of her seat then maybe you can make a make-shift changing area by laying a comfy blanket over the seat and the piled up bags. I am going to try this myself. That way I have access to a lot of my things and there will (hopefully) be a little extra room for her to spread out. I'm going to bring a very small bottle of good smelling body spray..something like vanilla..something that will most likely not offend passengers. I'll spray that once or twice in the air when I change any "full" diapers. I'm also bringing a full-size baby powder for this purpose. My thinking is that this might hlep those around me who may become irritated about the price they paid for seat next to a baby. :o) I also may just try to take her to the back of the plane where there is usually a bit of space to stretch and lay out a changing pad on the floor and do as many diaper changes there that I can get a way with.



My other handy tip is that I am going to pack everything in "zip-lock" plastic baggies. The middle size (bigger than the sandwich size) will hold one baby outfit very nicely-socks and a couple of outfit extras included. It's very easy to sort through everything I've packed and everything won't get upacked because the item I need at any given moment happens to be at the bottom of the carry-on. And if she dirties an outfit I have a plastic bag to seal it in.



Bring bottles ready to use in case of seat-belt light issues. Start introducing some type of baby food so you have an option while en route. Just check about the amount of liquids you have stored in any containers. You may want to pump ahead of time but store only 3 ozs per container. I'm not sure if they regulate stored formula/breast milk for babies as part of the security rules.



I hope this helps. :o)

Best wishes to you in your travels!

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