Flying with an infant of this age means one thing for mom (or dad)…
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. They’re still quite easily distracted.
Both of 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.
Our Experiences Flying with a Baby 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 their travel car seat used as 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.
Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months Old: Biggest Concerns
Our biggest concerns when flying with an infant this age were keeping him (quietly) busy and hoping to avoid him getting sick.
Our son was just shy of six months when we visited family in Florida, and we were flying in the height of the H1N1 pandemic. Little did we know that just over 10 years later, travel during COVID-19 would make H1N1 seem like a walk in the park.
Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months Old: The Reality
Ok, I’m not gonna lie here… We totally lucked out.
Flying Southwest meant we had to figure out their unusual boarding procedures, but ultimately (since it wasn’t a full flight) we did not have to gate check his car seat (we didn’t buy our son a seat), and we were able to bring him on board and keep him in his seat. It’s safest for a baby to fly in a car seat, but that is not always doable for all families.
Our son nursed both times before takeoff, and passed out for pretty much both of our three-hour flights. I had 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 seemed particularly bothered by their ears during take off and landing, but having a drink, snack, or pacifier to suck on (just in case) is always recommended.
Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months Old: Extra Consideration
As I mentioned, we were traveling during the the H1N1 pandemic. Paranoia was rampant about bringing kids into a germ-laden environment. I did bring anti-bacterial wipes, which I went over armrests and the tray tables with. And, because I’m a worrier, I then went over those again with our usual wipes. I was afraid of the anti-bacterial residue. Had our son actually been awake during those flights, I would have gone over the laminated safety card as well, since that seems to be his go-to distraction whenever 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. If you’ve started solids already, the foil pouches of food are so much easier to travel with than jars. If baby is bottle-fed, the weight of pre-made formula may outweigh the convenience of not having to mix it. Personally, I’d travel with the can of formula powder. It’s easier going through security. You can mix it up with bottled water once you’re at the gate.
And, 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.
Tips for Flying with an Infant 3-6 Months Old:
- 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 their legs, consider purchasing slip-on diapers. Not all airplane bathrooms have change tables. If they do they are only 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. This is most helpful especially if you’re flying solo. Do keep in mind you’ll have to take baby out for taxi, take-off, and landing.
You will be busy and have your hands full when flying with an infant at this delightful stage. But be sure to relish how (relatively) easy they are to distract and comfort.
And take lots of pictures if you can!
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