Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with an Infant 6-12mos.

baby in stroller, airport gate, flying with an infant

No Time For Photos Once We Boarded!

We’ve flown with our kids during this stage more than any other. And just how many pictures do we have of us on board the aircraft? Zero! Flying with an infant of this age means one thing for mom and dad and anyone else in your traveling party… You’re. Busy. And if you’ve got an early walker on your hands (lap)? Even. Busier. But this does not mean that flying has to be unpleasant. Unlike newborns, and younger babies, infants of this age are even more interactive than their younger selves, usually well-established into a sleeping and eating routine (that will not be blown away permanently by a few disruptions due to travel – promise!) and while you may be starting the exciting but nerve-wracking and messy process of starting solids, you can now (or soon!) take advantage of the calming and distracting power of SNACKS.

Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months Old…

For us, this was a very busy but still fairly easy time to travel with baby. Ours were not yet mobile, thankfully, but solid eaters and on a very well established routine of eat and sleep times. In terms of getting around, although they were getting kinda heavy, they were easily carted in an infant carrier, pretty content to ride in a stroller, though sadly no longer in the super convenient infant carrier car seat used with or without the base.

Biggest Concerns…

Seeing as this was the age (11mos.) of our very first flight with our daughter, I had so many. Would she scream the entire time? How would it be feeding her? What if she put everything in her mouth? It was preparing for that trip that provided the inspiration for this site, and my being part worrywart/part control freak certainly never helps matters. All my issues were compounded by the fact that our charter airline, the now-defunct Skyservice, had the most miniscule seat pitch I have ever encountered. My knees dug into the seat in front of us, and my husband (very tall at 6’7″) could not unfold himself at all. Later flights with Bub at this stage were worrisome to me simply because he was and is SO. BUSY. Even a seasoned flyer such as myself got pangs thinking about those upcoming flights.

The Reality…

As a first-timer, in spite of the ridiculously tight seating, our daughter flew well – well enough for us to be encouraged to create this site and hopefully inspire, motivate, and help other families to do the same. It was based on this trip that I wrote the 5 Ts To Happy Travel With Tots, which outlines in a nutshell pretty much everything we did and do when flying with an infant. Our carry-on was full of food and toys and distractions – and while it was certainly more than the magazine and bottle of water in my pre-baby flights, it really was not unmanageable. On our flights with Bub at that age, I was much busier. In spite of it being nap time, on our flight home from Cuba my arms got quite the workout as I acted as a human jolly jumper for pretty much the entire duration. But he was cheerful and relatively quiet, save for some happy squeals, so I was grateful for small mercies. We always used the change of clothes we’d brought with us for baby – diaper fails being a standard for us whenever it’s inconvenient. I always had a few extra jars on hand of their favourite foods, and in the case of my daughter some extra formula for feeds in case of delays. Nursing Bub on all of our journeys could not have been easier or more convenient, and I’m pleased to state that we received nary a stink-eye from anyone due to nursing in public. For take-off and landings I usually nursed Bub, or he drank from a sippy of water or used his pacifier. Pain from ear pressure is a common concern when flying with an infant, but neither of my kids have ever seemed troubled by their ears while flying (knock on wood!).

Extra Consideration…

As with all our flights, I did bring on board anti-bacterial wipes, which were used on armrests and the tray tables, as well as a quick swipe over the laminated safety card that both my kids seem to enjoy so much.  And because I’m a freak, I then went over those with our usual wipes because I was afraid of the anti-bacterial residue.

And also as with flying with a newborn or flying with a younger baby, changes of clothes are recommended for baby and you, as well as plastic bags to put them in. Again, your carry-on bag will be quite full of diapers (and possibly bottles) as well as toys or snacks. If you’re well into solids, 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 mix it with bottled water once you’re at the gate. You’re now in or getting close to the stage of the dried cereal – those little Os work wonders as both distraction and nourishment!

Baby on beach, playa pilar, playa pilar cuba, baby playa pilar, flying with an infant

Well Worth The Arm Workout…

Useful tips:

  • Get baby used to room temperature bottles and food, so you don’t have the additional hassle of heating en route.
  • Now baby can likely bear weight on her legs, so 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.
  • Get yourself up to speed with the 5 Ts Of Happy Travel With Your Tots – this info now applies to you in its entirety and for the next couple of years.

You’ll be busy. You will have your hands full. You will be very tired at the end of your journey. But you will have such wonderful memories of your travels with baby that the fear of flying with an infant will seem inconsequential. Take lots and lots of pictures and write down some of the more memorable stories.

Your baby will not remember these journeys, but you will never forget them. Trust.

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50 Responses to Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with an Infant 6-12mos.

  1. Anny at 00:30 #

    Wow! Thanks for all these great tips! I don’t usually leave comments but these tips are just so useful for me, a first time flyer with an 11-month-old! I am especially inspired by the part where you use the usual wipes after the anti-bacterial wipes. So smart! I am always worried about the anti-bacterial residue too, but never thought of wiping it again with usual wipes. Thanks again for sharing these great tips!

  2. Thanks for the awesome advice!

  3. Anne at 21:32 #

    Hi,

    Nice article! We want to travel to France (7 hours flight) but are hesitating to take a seat for my baby boy that is 4 minths. So you said that you had your baby on your lap the all trip, how long was the flight? Was it confortable for you and your baby?

    By the way, do you live in New York?

    Thanks 😉

    • Corinne at 09:37 #

      Hi Anne!

      For a 7 hour flight I would definitely consider getting a seat for your son and bringing on board his car seat. It is definitely the safest option and possibly the sanest for you as well. The longest I have done with a lap infant is 3 hours, and after a couple of those flights I would have paid anything to have an extra seat! Another option for you is to see if you can reserve the bulkhead and if they have a bassinet for infants. It is not as safe as his own seat with a car seat, but you will both likely be much more comfortable!

      Not in New York. Toronto 🙂

      • Minika at 15:29 #

        Hi ..m flying with my 9 month old baby for almost 22 hours flight ..and then 5 hours drive . My baby is very active and he don’t like solids too. He don’t like too many people and small places . I am travelling alone and this is my first experience . Any suggestions please …

        • Corinne at 13:38 #

          Hi Minika! You will be very very busy, so definitely be organized and prepared. Try some bringing some snacks that you know he will enjoy as well as some new finger foods he can try. Magazines with pages he can rip might be fun for him. Good luck!

  4. Paul at 21:46 #

    Thanks for the useful tips Corinne! Very much appreciated. My wife and I are planning a 6 month adventure to South America from Vancouver, so I can sure see your tips coming in handy. All the best, Paul.

    • Corinne at 15:24 #

      Have a great trip, Paul – let us know how it goes!

  5. lucy at 21:48 #

    Thank u very much. We are flying.out tomorrow n the snack tips helped. I was afraid of bringing too much on board i.e. food wipes changing clothes etc. But i have a feel now for what to include. Thanks again!!!

    • Corinne at 22:00 #

      Have a great flight, Lucy–let us know how it goes!

  6. Jess at 17:01 #

    I should have done more research. I will be flying over 7 hours one way & over 9 hours back with my
    8 month old on lap. As far as snacks, would the Gerber puffs be suitable/cleared to take on flight? I am a first time flier my self as well.

    *Nervous Mommy of Two*

    • Corinne at 18:42 #

      You’ll be fine! You will also be busy 🙂 The Gerber puffs are a great idea, and any kind of cracker and/or cold toast soldiers would be great for your eight-month-old. When is your fight?

  7. Samantha at 07:58 #

    Hi Corrine, thank you for the advice I’m traveling with my 10 month old soon at midnight and have a stop over for 5 hours, I’m so nervous as I’m flying solo and going to be exhausted, have you got any extra tips please?
    Thank you,
    Samantha from Australia 🙂

    • Corinne at 00:08 #

      Samantha! How did it go? I hope you both got some rest!

  8. Becky at 10:04 #

    Thank you for the great advice! We will be flying with our 10 month old and I’m a little nervous.

  9. Leen at 09:44 #

    Hi there!
    Thanks for sharing. I’m considering a long 18 hour flight with one transit halfway. Worried that my 7 month old baby will not be able to take such a long journey. would such a long flight be advisable?

  10. Amy at 21:34 #

    We will be flying to St. Thomas in 2 weeks! What is your advice on strollers? My stroller is the new Chicco Tre which folds very compact for an all terrain stroller. I really want to take it but recently read US Airways rules and it states any stroller over 20 lbs must be checked at the ticket counter. I called US Airways costumer service and the lady said I would be fine to check it at the gate, that check in at the ticket counter is only recommended. I have heard a lot of airports will let it slide but that smaller island airports will make you check it with baggage. I don’t want it checked with baggage for fear of it getting broke in the many transfers. I would rather buy a small stroller than have my good stroller broken. But want my good stroller so my baby will have shade from the sun as he’s only 7 months old.

    What are your thoughts on this? And are all terrain strollers really that great in sand?

    • Corinne at 16:26 #

      Hi Amy!

      How much does your stroller weigh? So long as it folds down compactly, I’m sure you would be ok. I’ve yet to see a gate agent weigh a stroller before approving the gate check. If you’re close to the 20lb limit I’d say go for it. If you’re too worried, the G-Luxe by Uppababy has a great sunshade. Maybe not the best for traversing sand, but certainly easy to transport and use for a nap.

  11. Danielle at 22:08 #

    I’m traveling from fl to ny solo with my 4yr old and 9 month old any tips

    • Danielle at 22:09 #

      We have a 3 hr layover as well I’ve never flown before can I do this lol

      • Corinne at 10:49 #

        You can do it, Danielle! Lots and lots of distractions and snacks for your 4yo. Enlist him or her to be your “co-pilot” for your journey. 9mo will be busy, but hopefully big sibling can help entertain as well!

      • marti at 17:26 #

        Are you alloeed to take dry formula and water on the plane. Also baby food. Daughter is flying to Texas from Calufornia

        • Corinne at 00:09 #

          Hi Marti!
          Yes, you can take food and liquids on board for baby, just make sure you’ve separated it all together to make it easier to present for inspection. It might be easier (and lighter) to just bring the powder and mix with purchased bottled water once through security (if baby is past three months). Have a great flight!

  12. Anne at 15:37 #

    Hi Corinne
    My daughter is coming out to South Africa from new York in Dec with a 9month old. Do the airlines allow the removable car-seat on board? Can she reserve a bassinet ahead of time? Would the car-seat be placed on the airline seat, or on the floor alongside? All these questions …
    Many thanks
    regards
    anne

    • Corinne at 19:38 #

      Hi Anne!

      If your daughter books the baby a seat, she will be able to bring on board her (FAA approved) car seat. For a very long flight, it might be worth the investment. If she doesn’t book a seat for the baby, she will have to gate-check the car seat. I don’t recommend checking it as luggage. Depending on the airline, she may be able to book a bulkhead/bassinet. Hope this helps!

  13. Ray at 04:07 #

    I’ll be traveling with a 10 month old for a 5 day trip. I’m concerned about the baggage the fees. Any advice

    • Corinne at 22:52 #

      If you’re really concerned you could pack a small bottle of laundry detergent and wash while you’re there. Or get really good at compacting your stuff so you can fit it all. Luckily 10-month-old clothes are still pretty small 🙂

  14. Bella at 12:25 #

    Hi

    I will be travelling with my 9 month old by myself. Would you recommend a window or aisle seat for a 3 hour flight?

    Many Thanks

    Bella

  15. Snehal at 16:09 #

    Hi Corinne

    Thank you for this very useful post. I will be on a 12 hr flight with my 8 month old baby. I have booked a bassinet on Emirates so will be gate checking his car seat and stroller. Do you recommend getting those gate check car seat bags? Are they useful or can I use a regular large plasic or cloth bag?

    One more question was regarding putting my baby to sleep. He is habituated to me holding him on my shoulder and I rock or bounce him to sleep. I have nt sleep trained him yet and was wondering if that would be a problem on the flight? We have booked the bulk head seat with bassinet so m hoping I might have some space for this

    • Corinne at 09:25 #

      Hi Snehal!
      Please consider purchasing a padded bag for your car seat if you are going to gate check it. Your stroller should be fine. You should be able to get your baby to sleep on your shoulder on the flight, although it might be a little awkward while you’re seated. Do you transfer to the crib at home? If you’re good with that, hopefully it will work for the airline bassinet as well.

      Best of luck and have a great flight!

  16. Mary at 16:20 #

    Hi we will be travelling this month going to Philippines for 14 hours non-stop we have 10 months old baby boy and me and my husband is very nervous thinking about it… Please any tips ??? Thank you

    • Corinne at 22:38 #

      Hi Mary!

      Try not to be nervous but try to be prepared. The more you have on hand to distract and soothe your baby, the better. Some babies don’t have any pain issues in their ears at all, but if you are worried be ready with something for baby to eat or drink, or even a pacifier would do. It’s the act of swallowing (not sucking) that helps keep ear tubes clear. Good luck!

  17. Mary at 16:25 #

    Hi one more question, when the plane is taking off anything I can do to help my baby if he cry , im a bit worried with the pressure when plane is taking off… Thank you

  18. Angelica at 00:23 #

    Hello. Thanks for all these wonderful tips. I am planning a very long haul flight to Europe when my bub is 15mths. He is a formula drinker too. Any tips for the longer haul flights? Thanks, A.

    • Corinne at 13:04 #

      Hi Angelica! Bring extra formula powder and see if baby will drink it at room temperature. That way you can just mix it with bottled water with no need to heat. Make sure you have LOTS of distractions, and don’t shy away from toddler-appropriate technology if it will save your sanity. Good lucK!

  19. Sarah Louise at 12:37 #

    Hi! Thanks for all the great advice. I’ll be traveling on a month long sabbatical to Costa Rica next spring. Do you have any packing recommendations? Have you ever used the services that drop off rental bib baby items to the airport?

    I just wrote about why I’m headed to Costa Rica in my blog!

    • Corinne at 12:59 #

      I have never been to Costa Rica but if you’ll be there for seven months it might be worth it to bring along your baby gear or purchase inexpensive items once you arrive. Rentals for seven months will be very costly. Good luck!

  20. Maira at 02:44 #

    Hi,

    We will be traveling soon with 5 month old and 3.5years old it will be 15hrs of flight time we have booked bassinet for the baby please tell me what could you recommend taking along with us! We are only going for 2 weeks can I take the Gerber baby formula water gallons like 2 of them in plane for me to use there one gallon last me little over week so I want to take 2 if they allow it?

    Thank you

    • Corinne at 10:19 #

      Hi Maira! Take what you think you will need. You may need to pay to check the baggage, and a gallon of water will weigh a lot. Can you get the water (or similar) where you are going?

  21. alyssa at 13:00 #

    these tips are beyond helpful! we have our first family trip to Disney for 2 weeks coming up. we have an almost 3yr old and an 8m old….. one question….we use distilled water for our baby girls formula bottles, did you have to deal with security bothering you about bottles pre-filed with 6-8oz of distilled? thats what I’m worried about!! i can’t have them taking the bottles lol

    • Corinne at 14:52 #

      Hi Alyssa! With that much distilled water, your best bet is to pack it in your checked luggage. Or bring what you need for the flight and have what you’ll need delivered to your hotel once you’re there. Have a great trip!

  22. Neah at 13:14 #

    Hi v r travelling from india to Phuket next week.. My baby is on formula and I feed her 8 oz per bottle.. Will they allow me to carry 2 bottles of pre filled water and similac advanced tin in cabin luggage? Thanks a lot, this article is wonderful !!!

    • Corinne at 10:27 #

      Hi Neah! So long as you keep your baby’s food and formula separate, they should be fine with bringing along her pre-filled bottles. If your baby is past four months you are ok to mix the formula with bottled water, in a pinch. Have a great trip!

  23. Elena Avila at 02:34 #

    Hi I’m traveling with my going to be 6 month old at time of travel from New Mexico to Germany, that is where my husband will be stationed I was wondering if you have any tips or advice being that it’ll be the first on a plain for myself and I’ll be alone with my daughter.

    • Corinne at 10:14 #

      Hi Elena! You will do great. You might consider purchasing your baby a seat and traveling with an FAA-approved car seat. It will certainly give you a break having your baby safely secured during the flight(s). Depending on your airline, you may be able to reserve a bassinet instead. When you make your travel arrangements, be sure to connect with your airline directly to make sure you’re familiar with their lap-infant policies (if you choose not to purchase a seat) and what additional assistance (if any) they can provide for traveling with an infant. Good luck!

  24. Inna at 02:09 #

    Thanks for your article. I am planning to travel in couple of weeks with my daughter who is 2.5 years old and my son who is 12 month solo, so i am already nervous. We have traveled as family before but never done it all by myself. I have to change flights as well. Any tips for traveling with two kids? Greatly appreciate any suggestions

    • Corinne at 15:02 #

      Hi Inna! I would highly recommend a lightweight double stroller, as you may find yourself needing to but both kiddos in baby jail. Failing that, a single stroller would work for your toddler if your baby is cool with being worn. If you can swing it, a lightweight double combined with a lightweight carrier might be your best bet, because if you’re wearing your baby you can put your carry-on bag in the spare stroller seat. A backpack might be your easiest choice for a carry-on, and make sure you have enough diapers and food for both kiddos. Be UBER organized; it will help going through security and you may want to introduce your toddler to the magic known as an iPad, in case she isn’t already 😉 Good luck!

  25. Amaris at 21:18 #

    So I have a 12 month old and I am super lost on how the whole seating works! Do I bring a car seat? Does he just sit in the plane seats? Does the plane provide a seat?? HELP lol im so clueless when it comes to this and me and my baba get on the plane in 2 days!

    • Corinne at 20:28 #

      Hi Amaris! If you purchase a seat for your son, he will need a car seat on board. If you bring him along as a lap baby, I recommend bringing his car seat and gate checking it in a padded bag, if you will need a car seat at your destination. Have a great trip!

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