baby will be 4mnths - is this ok to fly a long way

Lauren - posted on 01/30/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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i live in brisbane and we are thinking of going on a holiday to london for a week - bub will be 4 months old then , the flight is around 24 hours ..should he be ok? what are some tips for thier ears??? thanks guys!!!

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Carrie - posted on 09/23/2012

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My hubby is Aussie so we have had that trip too.it's great to do when they are only that small. I'm also a former flight attendant and now a mummy and I get asked questions like these all the time. So much so I set up a blog www.flyingwithababy.com. here's a few tips from that and please check my blog for many more:-



1) Families with young children generally get to board first. Make the most of that time as it really helps take the pressure off finding space for your luggage etc. This year (2012)some American airlines including United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines have changed their policies. United Airlines is the most controversial change, which means that families board with everyone else..



2) Most, but not all airlines will allow you to bring your stroller/pushchair/pram to the gate or the doors of the plane. As a general rule don't expect your buggy to be stored inside the cabin but instead in the hold with the rest of the luggage. However, it is always worth asking the crew if they do have room in the cabin, (if your stroller is compact and collapsible). If they do allow it and have space, you are very lucky. There are no actual designated pram compartments in the cabin to store them. Cupboards which store aircraft equipment and/or premium cabins passengers' jackets are usually used. If the flight is full, it is highly unlikely that your pram will be brought inside.



3) If your stroller is in the aircraft hold, then you will generally collect it at the baggage belt, where you collect your suitcases. Some airports/airlines will bring it to the aircraft door on arrival once all other passengers have disembarked but this is rare. It really depends on each airlines and /or airports policy. A baby sling/carrier is highly useful in this case. Some airports/airlines do provide a pram for you to use if you check in your stoller. Please see my post to see which ones.



4) Babies often cry during take-off and landing because of the change of pressure which hurts their ears. Crying does actually help relieve this, but it's not exactly soothing for you and your fellow passengers. Feeding your baby can help relieve this pressure this or sucking on a dummy or pacifier. If you are thinking of weaning them off of a dummy around the time of your flight, I would recommend waiting 'til you have have returned. Makes it easier for both of you. :-)



5) Flight Attendants will not allow your baby or child to sleep on the floor. Even if you have the bulkhead seat and the bassinet is too small, they won't allow it for safety reasons. (Those being the overhead oxygen mask will not stretch that far, and in the unlikely event of a rapid decompression, the time of useful consciousness is minimal, and that combined with the other effects, will mean it would be difficult to get your baby close to the oxygen supply. )



6) If you need milk warmed up, ask before you need it. Not all airlines will do this for you, it depends on their policy, so definitely ask before you travel or check my links to each airlines baby/infant/child policy. Cabin crew are happy to help you, but unfortunately could be very busy with the main meal service. Furthermore, they could over heat it, so you'll need time to let it cool.



7) If you fly with Gulf Air they provide a specially trained sky nanny for free, to help you with boarding, disembarking or to give you a break whilst you have a snooze or read a book. Wow!





1. Request a bassinet/skycot seat. These can booked by either calling your travel agent or airline and sometimes online. I prefer to call the airline direct, as it's one less person to go through and therefore limits mistakes. Remember it is only a request, and airlines or staff will do their best to accommodate you, but there is a limited availability of these seats. They are highly sort after by other passengers because they are on the bulk head, meaning there is no seat in front of them which will recline and further restrict your space. Airlines such as British Airways will let you choose your seat if you travel with an infant at the time of booking whatever class you are in, whereas with Qantas you do need to phone ahead.

2. The best bassinet seats are the middle seats. ( if just the 3 of you.)Usually DEFG seats. The reason being that D and G seats on a 4 across seat plan, means that they are aisle seats. Therefore, you and your partner only have to jump across each other if you want to stretch your legs, pace the aisle with a toddler etc. The ABC/ HJK means that either you will have to climb over someone or they will have to climb over you. Either way a bit of a nuisance. This applies to large aircraft like the Boeing 777, Airbus A380, A340, A330, Boeing 747 etc. But varies with each airline and their configuration. I highly recommend looking at www.seatguru.com when booking your flight, as you can look at each seat and the benefits on your particular aircraft just by putting in the route or flight number into the search function.

3. Just a point to note, as bassinet seats are on bulkheads, the armrest does not lift up and you must keep the area on the ground completely clear during taxi, take-off and landing. The magazine racks are not as generous as the ones behind the regular seats. But to have your arms free when baby is sleeping is a bonus. Various airlines have restrictions on the weight/age of a baby that can use the bassinet.

4. Always ask the ground staff/crew when checking in/boarding, if the flight is completely full. A half empty flight is a huge bonus as then you can ask the crew if you could have row of seats and spread out. Then you can make a bed for baby on the seats and take turns over watching them, whilst your or your partner has a sleep. If the flight is empty and you haven't booked a seat for your baby and you have an airline approved car seat, then you always use that.

5. If a bassinet seat is available and your child doesn't meet the requirements for weight/age, I still recommend asking for it, as it is still a useful place to store items you need for the flight. Qantas have bassinets available on international flights for up to 2 years old, but most airlines have restrictions anywhere from 6 months to a year.



Most airlines will have some baby milk, baby jars and nappies/diapers on board, but as you can never guarantee what is available, it is best to pack your own. Current guidelines in airline safety and liquids mean that you are likely to be asked to test at least some of the bottles/jars, so pack one extra. Remember to also allow for flight delays or unexpected stopovers...

You are allowed to take milk and food on board, if it is for your babies use and it can be over 100ml. This includes; sterilised water, breast/powdered/ cartoned milk of all kinds, and baby food of all consistencies and packaging. Boots, at UK airports allow you to pre-order,so if you want to avoid testing at the airport, you can arrange to pick up once you've passed through security.



1. Food/drink and supplies for your journey and some extra for testing at airport and unforeseen delays. All the rest can go in your checked in baggage or bought at your destination. Aptamil is currently not available in South Africa or Australia.



2. Change of clothes for your baby, you and partner. An absolute must, especially on those long haul flights to Oz!



3. Something familiar for your baby, whether a favourite toy or blanket or both.



4. Some new toys. Please see my best baby toys post on the details. But wrap these up in a few layers of different coloured paper. Perfect for tiny, inquisitive little hands, and helps keep boredom at bay.



5. Calpol and Ibuprofen sachets. Perfect for travel and in handy 5ml sizes. Available from most supermarkets and chemists. Other essential medicines, larger than 100ml can be brought on board but need a doctors letter and prior approval from the airline. This does include inhalers.

(In the USA -Tylenol and Motrin, but I don't think they provide these in handy dosage size sachets yet. Please let me know if/when they do.)



6. A baby carrier or sling. Perfect for walking around the airport, and even better for when you arrive at your destination and it's a long walk to baggage reclaim.



7. Dummy/Pacifier - if your baby uses one this can help in relieving the pressure in their ears. If not, a feed from bottle or breast will have the same effect.



8. Smart phone downloaded with their favourite TV show or music/nursery rhymes. Most airlines have a TV channel specifically for children, but it won't show age appropriate shows the entire duration of your flight.



9. A baby sleeping bag. These are great as they help keep your baby used to the familiar and also more comfortable when in the bassinet, skycot, or even your lap.



10. An extra wrap or thin blanket and a couple of safety pins. This is handy if you are at a bassinet seat and the overhead monitor is projecting too much light on your sleeping baby, or if your baby is sleeping and the cabin lights are turned on for a meal service. If the bassinet seat is unavailable, you can then make a 'den' by using the seat in front of you and your seat, to secure the blanket over the top of the seat, again giving you some respite from the bright cabin lights.





Checked-in Baggage

I've found since the arrival of Miss A, my suitcase is no longer my own and taken up by all her essentials. However, the arrival of baby means that you do have extra allowances which can be put in the aircraft hold. Check my airline list on 'What are the best seats on a plane and info on baby bassinets' , to find out your individual airline requirement. These are the basics.



You can take usually take 2 extra items:-



1. A collapsible pram/stroller/buggy.



2. A car seat



(3. And on some airlines a collapsible cot as well. Qantas is one of these, if it is an international flight.)

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6 Comments

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Elicia - posted on 01/31/2010

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My daughter was 7 months when we took a 4 hour flight there and back...I had everything in her bag, diapers, wipes, toys, spare clothes. I also took baby Gravol (over the counter anti-queasy/motion sickness) and baby Advil (liquid pain reliever for the ear pressure) I also had Gripe water too (for all around fussiness) I nursed going up both ways and she slept for 2-1/2 hours both ways and didn't want to nurse coming down. (she's never used a dummy/soother) And she was fine, never needed any of the drugs I brought. But I was glad to have them "just in case" as it could have gone the other way. Two people I know have flown with their infants with no issues. Not saying you won't have any, because of the length, but odds are at least it should be minimum.

Good Luck and Enjoy :)

Natasha - posted on 01/31/2010

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My daughter and I had to take an emergency flight when she was about a month old. I was freking out and panicing. She basically slept on my chest or lap the whole time. I was told to make sure she had a binky or bottle for take-off and landing. I think he should be fine!

Jess - posted on 01/31/2010

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I flew from Brisbane to Manchester when my son was 3months old (I flew on my own) and was in Uk for a month before returning back to Brisbane. I was breastfeeding my son which made it alot easier. I packed a little bag epesically for my son and kept it with me at all times. It had wipes, nappies (about 15), dummies, blankets, spare clothes and couple of toys. I also took a bottle and a travel pack of formula (just in case). Make sure you dress your baby in warm clothes as airplanes tend to be very cold. I also took my baby bjorn (baby carrier) with me (that way you have both hands free), it was very handy when going through check in, getting on and off the airline and I also used it during the flight when my son was getting fussy, I would walk up and down the plane as it helped settle him.
I fed my baby during landing and take off as it helped his ears, a dummy works just as well. Make sure you book a travel cot and bulkhead seat as they are limited. My son slept most of the flight. Also most airlines allow you to take your pram with you on the plane, they take it off before you board at the gate and have it ready when you land but check with your airline first as some may not do this.
The airline I flew with were fantasic and very accomodating, they even took my son for a walk so I could have a rest. Because I was travelling by myself the airline orgainised someone to help me with my bags etc when I got off the flight. If you need to know anymore information just let me know and what infomation I have given I hope it helps.

Faith - posted on 01/30/2010

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I am from the US but living in Australia. I went to the US to give birth to my daughter (because I wanted to be with my family for this special occasion) and we brought her back to Australia when she was almost 3 months old it was also about 21 hours total flight time. Nurse him while the plane taking off or landing and yes feed him or give him a dummy during this time and it will help with the ears. Our daughter was fine throughout the entire flight. She was very comfortable in the cot (make sure you reserve one unless bub has his own seat) The airline staff weer also very accommodating to us and also very happy to have a small baby on board. They even gave her a little pilots iron on patch. Check with your airline too and see what they will and won't provide ours provided bottles, and had nappies and wipes on hand. They prefer you to bring your own but in cases of emergency where something was lost or packed in the wrong bag or forgotten it's reassuring to know they have them...just in case. I also recommend dressing bub in his sleepwear and bringing his favorite blanket and 2 or 3 small toys. These things helped us through a very smooth flight. Hope this helps.

Amber - posted on 01/30/2010

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My daughter flew for the first time when she was 1 month old. I made sure it was okay with the doctor first. As far as ears have a bottle or a pacifyer ready, however you are in luck. Air pressure changes are much easier on humans during long flights because you have a longer time to adjust to the change (you aren't just going up and coming down). check with the doc first then make sure you have plenty of bottles and or pacifyers available. The sucking motion should do the trick. Good Luck!

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