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 part worrywart/part control freak so that certainly never helps matters. All of 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 were a standard especially when it was most inconvenient. I always brought a few extra jars 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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- Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with a Newborn
- Flying with Baby: Travel Tips for Flying with a Toddler
- Traveling with a Baby? It Gets Harder…
- Traveling with a Baby? It Gets Easier…
- Infant Travel: Planning Your First Trip with Baby
- 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
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!
Thanks for the awesome advice!
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?
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 🙂
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 …
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!
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.
Have a great trip, Paul – let us know how it goes!
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!!!
Have a great flight, Lucy–let us know how it goes!
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*
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?
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?
Samantha from Australia 🙂
Samantha! How did it go? I hope you both got some rest!
Thank you for the great advice! We will be flying with our 10 month old and I’m a little nervous.
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?
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?
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.
I’m traveling from fl to ny solo with my 4yr old and 9 month old any tips
We have a 3 hr layover as well I’ve never flown before can I do this lol
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!
Are you alloeed to take dry formula and water on the plane. Also baby food. Daughter is flying to Texas from Calufornia
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!
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 …
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!
I’ll be traveling with a 10 month old for a 5 day trip. I’m concerned about the baggage the fees. Any advice
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 🙂
I will be travelling with my 9 month old by myself. Would you recommend a window or aisle seat for a 3 hour flight?
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
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!
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
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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
Great tips!! I’ll be traveling from India to Turkey and from Turkey to Miami with a 9 month spoiled baby!!! Wish me luck
Have a wonderful trip–good luck!
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?
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?
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
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!
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 !!!
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!
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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!
HI, my husband and I have twins (9mo) and are flying from Germany to Taiwan. How do you recommend that we eat? The idea of trying to keep those little hands off of our food… and our food on our trays sounds very daunting to me. I enjoyed your article… It took the edge off of my worries!
Hi Bre–good luck!
Maybe try to eat in shifts and when it’s mealtime for you see if there’s some finger foods that they enjoy that you can give them to work on while you’re eating. My guys liked those Mum Mum crackers and little puffs that basically melt in their mouth.
Love these tips.
Such an amazing blog.
I will be travelling with my 6 month old – 9 hr flight followed by 1.5 hr flight. I have already postponed my travels. I was planning on flying with him when he was 3 months old but felt overwhelmed and too nervous and cancelled the flight. Now I am again losing sleep and thinking whether I should postpone when he is even older – 9 months. I worry I exhaust him, he might catch something, cry a lot and get disturbed. Any tips, please? If I fly now when he is 6 months I am thinking I dont start solid just yet so he gets the most immunity from me and we deal with introduring solid once we arrive at our destination where I am planning on staying for 3 months. Any thoughts or recommendations?
Hi Lena! Don’t postpone out of fear or worry. You can do this! Hope for the best but prepare for the worst and you will be ok. A few small solids would be good to start so you have some to try to distract for interest. You may both feel a bit out of sorts for a day or two after your journeys but all eventually balances out, I promise!
Hi there, I stumbled on your blog. I’m going very last minute with my six month old from New York to Europe for a family emergency and feeling very flustered. I was able to book a bassinet seat – being unfamiliar with these, do you have any tips on sanitizing them? I was going to bring a muslin swaddle to put underneath the baby but also want to be mindful of SIDs guidelines. Thanks in advance.
Hi Victoria–I’m so sorry about your family emergency. I would give the bassinet a quick once over with a disinfecting wipe and an extra muslin to use as a liner might be a good idea. Hopefully you can find some other tips here: https://havebabywilltravel.com/a-complete-guide-to-booking-and-using-an-airplane-bassinet/
Best of luck with your travels.
Hello! i just came across your blog because i am SUPER nervous! this September i will be flying with my
13 month old eeeeeekkkk and before i bought the ticket i should have done more research too! she will be sitting on my lap and i will be on a 9-10 hour flight DOUBLE EEEK! Great advice i will be hopefully calm on your flight along with baby too
You both will do great–you have lots of time to prepare!
Such a useful and detailed post for those having a baby and traveling from the flight, thank you so much for sharing your tips.
Hi, so the stroller can be put on the plane, or it has to go under?
They almost always have to go under the plane, but you can usually gate check it so you can bring it right up to the plane and it’s waiting for you when you land.