Planning on flying with an infant 6-12 month-old? 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?
Flying with an infant of this age means one thing for mom and dad and anyone else in your traveling party…
You’re. VERY. Busy.
And if you’ve got an early walker on your hands (lap)?
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. They are 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.
Our Experiences Flying with a Baby 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. And they were solid eaters 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, but sadly no longer in the super convenient infant carrier car seat used with or without the base.
We needed to buy an FAA-approved car seat.
Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months: Biggest Concerns
Seeing as this was the age (11mos.) of our very first flight with our daughter, I had so many concerns. 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. I am a worrywart and control freak who frets over all the details. 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. My husband (very tall at 6’7″) could not unfold himself at all.
Later flights with our son at this stage were worrisome to me simply because he was (and still is) SO. BUSY. Even a seasoned flyer such as myself got pangs thinking about those upcoming flights.
Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months: The Reality
As a first-timer, in spite of the ridiculously tight seating, our daughter flew well. Well enough, in fact, 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. 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 our son at this age, I was much busier. In spite of it being nap time, on one flight home from Cuba my arms got quite the workout as I was 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 bring with us. Diaper fails are a standard especially when it was most inconvenient. I always brought a few extras of their favourite foods and, in the case of my daughter, some extra formula in case of delays. Nursing my son on all of our journeys could not have been easier or more convenient. I’m pleased to state that we received nary a stink-eye from anyone due to nursing while traveling. For take-off and landings I usually nursed him, 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 seemed troubled by their ears while flying (knock on wood!).
Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months: Extra Consideration
As with all of our flights, I did bring on board anti-bacterial wipes. I used them 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 paranoid, 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) and also toys or snacks. If you’re well into solids, the foil pouches 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 finger foods. Those little Os work wonders as both distraction and nourishment!
And now that your baby is bigger, for long-haul flights you may be close to the end of being able to use an airplane bassinet. You may want to consider purchasing a seat on the plane and investing in a travel car seat. This is entirely at your discretion since flying with car seats is a lot of work but worth it for obvious safety reasons.
Useful Tips for Flying with an Infant 6-12 Months:
- 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 slip-on diapers. Not all airplane bathrooms have change tables, or 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 – 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 me on that.
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- Baby Travel Gear Essentials
- 10 Dos & Don’ts for Flying with Babies & Toddlers
- Flying with a Baby: The Ultimate Tip List
- Tips for Flying with a Baby or Toddler at Every Age & Stage
- The Mother of all Packing Lists
- Beware the Aircraft Armrests When Flying with an Infant