Flying with an infant of this age means one thing for mom (or dad)… You’re Busy. But this is also one of the more rewarding and fun times to travel with your baby. They’re alert, you can usually figure out what they need when they need it, and they’re still quite easily distracted. Unlike newborns, babies of this age are at least in the beginning stages of a routine, and while that makes your life easier as a parent, an understandable fear is blowing that routine by hitting the road. Fear not! Both my kids fell into a fairly structured routine at a very early age, and both adapted well to temporary changes during travel, as well as coming home.
Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months Old…
For us, this was a very easy time to travel with baby. Not yet mobile, still on a mostly liquid diet, and a fairly defined routine of eat and sleep times. In terms of getting around, baby is easily carted in an infant carrier, pretty content to ride in a stroller, and safe and snug in the infant carrier car seat used with or without the base.
Our biggest concerns when flying with an infant this age were keeping him (quietly) busy and hoping to avoid him getting sick. Bub was just shy of six months when we visited family in Florida, and we were flying in the height of the H1N1 hysteria.
Ok, I’m not gonna lie here. We totally lucked out. Flying Southwest meant we had to figure out their bizarre boarding procedures, but ultimately since it wasn’t a full flight, we did not have to gate check his car seat (didn’t buy him a seat), and we were able to bring him on board and keep him in his seat. He nursed both times before take0ff, and passed out for pretty much both three hour flights. I had on hand a sippy of water for him to suck on in case he did not want to nurse, as well as a couple of teething biscuits for him to munch/dissolve into an indescribable goo. Neither of my kids seen particularly bothered by their ears during take off and landings, but having a drink, snack or pacifier to suck on just in case is always recommended.
As I mentioned, we were traveling during the hysteria of the H1N1 outbreak, and paranoia was rampant about bringing the kids into a germ-laden environment. I did bring on board anti-bacterial wipes, which I went over armrests and the tray tables with. And because I’m a freak, I then went over those with our usual wipes because I was afraid of the anti-bacterial residue. Had Bub actually been conscious during those flights, I would have gone over the laminated safety card as well, as that seems to be his go-to distraction when we first board.
As always, changes of clothes are recommended for baby and you, as well as plastic bags to put them in. Here your carry-on bag will be more full of diapers (and possibly bottles) than toys or snacks, but if you’ve started solids already, the small foil packets of food are so much easier to travel with than jars. If baby is bottle-fed, the weight of the pre-made formula may outweigh the convenience of not having to mix it. Personally I’d travel with the can of formula powder (easier going through security as well) and mixing with bottled water once you’re at the gate. At this age they are usually just as happy to play with the seat belt buckle or safety card than any toy you could pack for them.
- Get baby used to room temperature bottles and food, so you don’t have the additional hassle of heating en route.
- If baby can bear weight on her legs, consider purchasing the new slip-on diapers – not all airplane bathrooms have change tables, or if they do they are big enough to change a baby kitten on.
- A cloth carrier or sling doesn’t take up much room in your carry-on and is useful to keep your hands free – especially if you’re flying solo – keep in mind you’ll have to take baby out for taxi, take-off, and landing.
You’ll be busy and will have your hands full when flying with an infant at this delightful stage, but still relish how (relatively) easy they are to distract and comfort. And take lots of pictures when you can!