We are heading to my family's house for the holidays which involves a three hour flight on two of the busiest travel days of the year. I'm trying to figure out how best to prepare for the airport experience and flights. Any tips from experienced travelers? I breastfeed my little one and she's lukewarm on pacifiers which I've seen recommended to help with any discomfort during take off and landing. I selected a window seat bc with my husband on the other side I can feed her comfortably but I'm not sure if an aisle is preferable for walking? Also, I don't anticipate times that I'm not with the baby while on vacation but I'm wondering if I need to bring my breastpump? Any advice would be appreciated.
Airtravel with a three month old?
Both of mine have been really easy to travel with at that age. I would just put them in a carrier for the airport and then breast feed as needed on the plane. That being said our flights were only 2 hour flights. I did occasionally have to go to the bathrooms to change them, most airlines have changing tables in at least one of the plane bathrooms, just as a helpful FYI. Other then that I prefer the window seat since it kept the baby more contained and out of the way.
Mine both tended to fall asleep on the plane at that age, and with DH there to help it is really not bad at all. I would make sure to bring some water for you on the flight since flights do tend to dehydrate you and when nursing that is never a good thing. Other then that I really won't worry about it too much.
Both my boys were very easy to travel with at 3 months. They would nurse on takeoff and pretty much sleep, nurse, sleep, nurse the rest of the flight. I never had to do the walk the aisle thing with them. Something about the noise of the engine lulls them to sleep for a nice long time!
The bigger issues for me was diaper changes (not fun in an airplane bathroom) and lugging along our car seat.
Good luck and have a safe flight!
We flew 5 hours to Cuba at that age, and she just nursed and slept the whole flight both ways. If she was asleep I left her asleep for take off and it didn't seem to bother her.
On holiday she watched things carefully, nursed and just slept in our laps through most dinners. It was SOOOO easy.
We travelled almost 24 hours to the other side of the world when she was 6 months. It did require a few walking/nursing in the sling moments on the plane, and distraction eating new foods when we returned and she was 7 months old, but was almost as easy.
Even if you don't buy a seat for her bring the car seat (bucket) to check at the gate. If there are extra seats they will assign you one so the baby can sleep in it when flying. This is the best ever and so much easier than staying awake with baby on your lap the whole time. You can also ask about extra seats when you check in.
We travelled frequently when my older DS (now 7) was a babe - nursing is the key. Also bring a few of those plastic grocery bags - if she had a wet diaper I just changed her in my seat - easier than the bathroom - and then tossed it in the plastic bag. They're also good for putting clothing in just in case you get a massive poop or urp. If you've got a big urp-er - also bring a change of shirt for you just in case. Nothing worse than sitting in an urp-soaked shirt for hours. Bring twice as many diapers, wipes as you usually need. Also - a little hand sanitizer wipes that you can use on the arms of the chair and tray.
Second the nomination on water for you - but also snacks - never know when you'll be delayed and airport food sucks rocks. It will be much easier than you expect at 3 mo - flying doesn't get hard (IMHO) until they're crawling/walking and they want to get out and move. If you can, try to sit in the back of the plane - you're closer to the bathrooms if you need to and it's louder back there - which can help LO's sleep and drown out crying.
I'll be flying solo this Xmas with my 5 mo old and my 7 yr old and I'm not too worried. I always gate check my stroller - in this case - my car seat and snap and go. Little DS is not crazy about the sling so I may not bring it as a carry on.
As for your pump - bring it if you want to give your relatives a chance to feed the baby - but if not, forget it. I have a mini electric that I'll bring just so my Mom can feed the little guy, but I'm not expecting to do a lot of pumping ...
Good luck! Take a deep breath - it won't be as bad as you think!
Previous posters have some good points! I would just add that you know your baby best. If your baby is often difficult to settle, he/she may be on the plane as well. Mine was like this. At 3 months, we took a 3 hour flight. He cried the first 30 minutes of the flight, from when we got on the plane to when we were in the air and they finally turned the seatbelt sign off. It was frustrating because obviously you can't bounce him when you're in your seat! Also, they don't even let you use your carriers for take-off and landing, which is very frustrating too! Mine was really dependent on the carrier to settle! I found that using a nursing cover up was very helpful to block some of the unwanted lighting when baby was sleeping. I also nursed at any stressful situation that would usually cause him to cry -- like going through security! If you have a carrier that you can nurse in easily, that will be useful too. Good luck!
also to ease the nerves.....even if your babe is crying, you really can't hear it past the rows immediate to you because of the engine noise. it's not such a big deal as they make it out to be.
when i flew with dd as a 4 month old it was easy breezy but there was another babe on the plane who cried the whole time. seriously....you wouldn't have even known though it gets so drowned out. that's when i stopped worrying.
We just flew with our 6 month old (I know, slightly older than your LO but I think some things will still apply) and it was actually really easy. DH wore her until we were seated on the plane. Then I held her so I could feed her whenever she wanted it. I encouraged her to feed on the first take off but, after that, for each take off and landing she just seemed to know when she needed to suck. I just had her on my lap with my breast out and she'd attach on and off. Apparently landing is harder on ears than taking off so that's the one to watch.
I found the window seat easier. I tried the aisle seat but, when J was laying back on my lap, her head was a bit out in the aisle and she could have been bumped by a trolley or someone walking past. I also rolled up one of our jackets and tucked it under my elbow as the arm rest was nevr in quite the right position.
We got a couple of those dummy chain/clip things to attach a toy to her clothes so she couldn't throw it away without us noticing as we walked through the airport. It also meant we weren't constantly fishing under our seats on the plane.
We didn't have to change J on any of the flights but a friend of mine told me that there is very little space in the toilet once the change table is down and that there was no strap to hold the baby on the table. I had planned to not take the whole nappy bag with me but to just take a clean nappy and the wipes.
Hope you have a great trip!
We did a transcon with my son at 3.5 months, and we've done several flights since (he's now 12 months).
My boy slept on planes when he was that little. The white noise and gentle rocking is very womb-like. :) Getting a window seat is a good idea--if you are on an aisle and using the cradle hold to nurse on that side, people will bump into you, and if he falls asleep, you don't want to have to get up to let someone else out to use the bathroom. Two other things that are useful; a small pillow to put under your elbow for nursing (I used my rolled up baby carrier), and a lap blanket to contain any, uh, liquids that might emerge from your baby.
Other things that it's useful to know: you get an extra carry-on/diaper bag allowance with a lap baby on most US airlines; you can check a stroller or car seat for free (and you can check one and gate-check the other, so they are both free).
If breastfeeding is going well, you probably don't need to bring the pump. It's just one more thing to schlep.
I have flown with both my LO's when they were about 3 mo. old. It's very easy!
ITA with pp who said to check the carseat at the gate. You run the risk of it getting lost if you check it with your luggage. You can have DH carry it and just put LO in a sling or other BWing device. My LO's both slept on the plane. The white noise of the engine put them right out! I wore my DS recently on a flight from NC to MI. The flight attendant gave me a bit of hard time about my sling. You aren't allowed to wear LO during take-off and landing, but you can wear LO once you reach cruising altitude. DS was asleep, so I just slipped him out of the sling, but left it on my body. The flight attendant wanted me to remove it entirely, which would have woken DS. I refused, citing airline policy, and she was not happy. I guess I'm probably lucky she didn't have me kicked-out of the plane for arguing with her. It's important to educate yourself on what the policies and procedures are for flying with an in-arms infant.
Oh, one more thing: when you check-in, make sure they write your LO's name on your ticket. They didn't for me and the TSA agent sent me back. It took extra time and I felt stressed about getting to the gate in time to catch my flight.
I traveled unassisted with my little one at 3 months, and it wasn't too bad.
We had one flight with no extra seats and her in my lap the whole time and the other with a seat for the carseat. Both were fine. One time she slept, and the other I did have to walk the aisle, but she was fine either way.
I wore her to the gate, pushing a stroller with carseat on top that held our carry-ons. Gate checked stroller and carseat, and wore her on. This worked well. We nursed for takeoff and landing. I agree that the nursing cover helped her nap in my lap -- it blocked some light and she slept well. I changed her diaper at my seat, since I thought the lavatory might be gross like normal.
I'm assuming you already booked flights, but if not, try to get a direct flight so you don't have to change planes and risk delays in that, and I tried to schedule mine near naptime, which I think was useful.
We've flown several times with our almost-7-month-old (16 total flights as of yesterday, including 10-hour flights to Hawaii and back), and I'd recommend packing carry-ons as lightly as possible (don't bother with books or crossword puzzles or your usual entertainment for yourself -- your hands will be plenty full). Pack your checked bags lightly, too. You can do laundry wherever you're going, presumably.
Check the carseat -- it's free to check on most airlines. They give them special priority and they really very seldom get lost. If they do, I think the airline is required to pay for a rental (car rental places always have them -- they're not usually fancy seats, but they'll do in a highly unlikely pinch). On busy travel days, it's not likely that there'll be an open seat for you to put the kid's carseat in, and even if there was, there's an oddball rule that if you have a seat for the baby, you MUST use it during takeoff and landing. What you should really be doing during takeoff and landing is nursing or giving a bottle. It helps equalize their ear pressure and keeps them from crying in pain.
My #1 piece of advice? Bring the Boppy! I never use mine for BFing, but I ALWAYS use it on flights... it gives the baby a place to stretch out and lie down without having their head on an awkward armrest, or your arms falling asleep. So much easier, really.
But yeah, babies mostly don't seem to mind flying. The plane is like a giant buzzy chair combined with a white noise machine and Mama's warm arms. What's not to like about that?
What a great idea! I'm going to do that next time!
We've always had a separate boarding pass for our lap child. For some airlines you can't book a lap child online, so you have to call in advance to let them know. But if you do that, you should get a boarding pass.
My advise it be relaxed. Baby can totally tell if you are stressing out. So don't stress. Give yourself lots of time. I found that even when I had a screaming baby that people were really sympathetic and tried to help as much as possible. Don't worry about what other people are thinking, just focus on your little one. Good luck!
I'd say the MOST important thing is :
nurse/feed the baby on the way up and down so their ears pop (adjust to the elevation)!
Save the nursing for the going up and down!!
We took our 3 month old to New Brunswick and it was very easy. She slept the whole flights!
oh, and we just brought a ring sling(baby carrier) - no stroller. it worked great. Especially for the 2 hour layover, she was happy being worn in such a busy noisy place!
now she's 10 months and we're flying, it will be interesting! we'll probably bring a bottle of something to feed her because she doesn't want to nurse as often or for as long now.
no need to stress
Bring a change of clothes for you and your baby in your carry-on, bow outs and spit happen.
If your buying baby a seat carry that to the plane if not baggage check it this so your not juggling baby, luggage and a car seat through security. If you wear your baby, plan to be asked to take baby out of the carrier. My experience is it totally depends on the TSA person as to *IF* you will be asked to take baby out or not. If baby has shoes on they will have to come off.
If you carrying breastmilk or formula bring a few print outs of this along. http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm
Take time the flight IMO is the easy part.