There was a questionabout how to best travel with an 11-week-old baby, in terms of sterilizing bottles and pump equipment when you don’t have access to a kitchen, and what exactly will airlines allow you to check without incurring extra (and often outrageous!) fees.
As a seasoned 2nd-time-mom (for a whole 2 months now!), I can honestly say that this is actually one of the easiest times to travel with your baby. However, when my first-born was 11 weeks, leaving the house was a big deal for me, and getting on a plane was definitely unthinkable! Right now your baby is immobile, on a liquid diet only, not yet on a schedule or in a routine from which deviating could cause meltdowns, and relatively easy to distract.
Exclusive breastfeeding is by far the easiest way to feed your baby while you’re on the road, but if you’d like a bit of flexibility, you’ll need to bring your bottles and pump. If your accommodation has a microwave, you may find it easiest to pack your microwave sterilizer, even if it is a bit bulky. You can store your gear in it during transport. If that option doesn’t appeal, there are now microwave sterilizing bags that can do the job with less bulk. However, if there’s no access to a microwave, be sure to pack a travel kettle. Clean out the bathroom sink and sterilize by rinsing it out with boiling water. Wash and rinse the bottles and pump components and then rinse again with more boiling water from the kettle. Allow to air dry on a towel. Don’t forget to pack your bottle brush and a small bottle of dish soap!
Airlines have differing policies regarding extra baggage, and a lap infant usually does not get a baggage allowance. You may be allowed an extra piece of carry-on. If you’ve purchased a seat you can definitely bring your approved car seat on board. If not, airlines cannot (should not) charge you extra for checking a child safety seat. If yours cannot be used without the base, you can’t use it on a plane. Pack your main pump components in your carry-on and if your stroller folds, you can gate check it. All other baby gear (playpens, etc.) will be included in your luggage allotment. Double-check with your airline before you leave as each company’s policies may differ slightly. If you can, call ahead and try to reserve a bulkhead, and arrange for a bassinette. This would certainly be your easiest option if purchasing a seat for baby is not feasible.
I love hearing about families hitting the road (or skies) when their baby is little. I often wish I was less fretful when my daughter was a newborn, and took more advantage of my first maternity leave. Have a wonderful trip!
Gee, why waste time pumping when you are traveling? Just nurse your baby. That’s the easiest and best way to do it. You don’t have to worry about checking items, sterilizing, or heating the milk. With only one baby it’s very easy to do. If you have a Maya Wrap it keeps the baby in position easily and keeps you covered while nursing. Good luck!
FYI – Car seats are no longer allowed to be used while on an airplane. They will check them at the gate though for no additional fee we have found.
As far as sterilizing your pump… I think Medela makes cleansing wipes. Babies R Us may carry them or try the Medela website. When I bought my pump about 5 years ago, it came with some samples. (hopefully they still make them??) Good luck with your travels!!
We did the travel thing with our daughter at 16 weeks, 9 months, 13 months and again at 21 months. I found each time less stressful as I got better.
I too brestfed and had ready to use bottle supplements. So I fed discreetly, no need for equipment and supplmemented as needed, then discarded the bottles. As she was older and we had the reuseable bottles, I just washed them in very hot water with soap. It was as close to sterile as possible and much the same as many people do with their 2nd and 3rd kids, so I just started a little early. My child never was ill, until our first fever and strep throat at 2 1/2 yrs old.
I agree with the free car seat checking, and the using your stroller right up to the gate check. Baby formula is allowed unlimitedly if sealed. No extra carryons, on 2 per seat purchased and sometimes they limit it to one. In the beginning it was just necessities, by the older trips there was toys and the last trip included my laptop and some dvd’s. Oh and the absolute is to have your baby sucking at taking off and landing, bottle, pacifier, etc. We got some of this sugary syrup from the pediatricians that we just dipped the paci in to keep her actively sucking as an infant, we told her to drink her juice when a little older and the last trip included suckers. Each time we were better prepared for what we needed on board and my little one still loves to fly and asks often for a trip by plane.
Best Wishes for a fun flight!
I’d note that most infant carseats do actually work without the base, even if you use the base most of the time. Check the sides of the seat for instructions on how to install it without the base, and find the “FAA-approved” sticker (you’ll have to point it out to the flight attendant. Also, even if you don’t buy a seat, make sure to ask at the gate desk if there are any free seats – if there are, they will let you use one of them for the baby.
Well, Jennifer, not EVERYONE is able to breastfeed forvarious, personal and numerous reasons….some people HAVE or WANT to formula feed, and this is a legit question. I would say for formula feeding, and maybe even to feed the pumped milk if you want to pump, take a playtex drop-ins style bottle and enough liners to last the trip, put the formula in one of the little premeasure containers, and ask the flight attendant to warm the water for you to mix it with. You could take multiple nipples, or just one, and just wash it in the bathroom with hot water and antibacterial dish soap. I don’t believe you need to sterilize bottle nipples every time, only do mine once a week or so, and my kids are never sick.
So far, it seems like you got good advise. However, remember to call the airline and check their “liquid” policy. For a time, you were not allowed certain items, due to security issues.
While breast feeding is certainly the best choice (I nursed all 4 of mine for a year +), not everyone is blessed to be able to do so. It is every woman’s choice to do with her body whatever she pleases, and to decide how she will raise and feed her children. That said, let us stick to the issue at hand: how to best travel with an 11-week-old baby, in terms of sterilizing bottles and pump equipment when you don’t have access to a kitchen, and what exactly will airlines allow you to check without incurring extra (and often outrageous!) fees.
May the blessings of the Lord be upon you!
I don’t know what kind of formula you use, but I would purchase the pre-mixed formula when I traveled with my children to supplement nursing. It’s both convenient and sterile. It costs a little more, but well worth it!
Traveled last summer with 1 yr old. You can take car seats and strollers up to gate. They will check them at gate free of charge. Utilize your diaper bag. It doesn’t count as one of your carryons so you don’t have to worry about paying anything extra for it. As far as liquids go, you can bring as much juice, milk, or breastmilk as you like through security as long as its for the baby. “Baby” is anyone under 2 yrs old. Hope that helps
I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old. I have traveled multiple times with them. I bring several paper towels and buy more when I get where I am going. I bring a bottle of dish soap (small). I lay out a hotel towel on the counter, and paper towels on top of it. Using the soap and paper towels, I wash the bottles, nipples, pumping equipment in the hottest water I can stand. I never let the items touch the inside of the sink. I lay them out to dry. I pack them up before the hotel cleaning staff comes in. Never sterilized on the road. My kids never got sick. Though my husband says I can really stand hot, hot, hot water on my hands!
Travelling with a newborn is, I think, much easier than travelling with a toddler. I personally couldn’t have travelled with my son without a good carrier. When he was newborn I used a stretchy wrap, called a Moby and when he got to about 5 months until now I use the Ergo, which is a soft structured carrier. I would have struggled to navigate the various airports with all our carry ons (umbrella stroller, car seat, diaper bag and my own carry on) without having my hands free. I also found them invaluable for when in the air- for getting to and from the bathroom. If you intend to use a carrier in the air then check with the airline ahead of schedule to read their policy. I’ve found that where their policy says its ok the flight attendants aren’t always well informed. Its best to be as informed as possible if they’re in the wrong!
I also travelled twice from Canada to the UK and back with my son in his carseat next to me. We didn’t pay extra, the flight just wasn’t full. If you’re prepared to lug the car seat through the departure lounge its definitely worth it!
Oh and… some of the more major airports (like London Heathrow, won’t allow you to take ANY liquids through. But don’t despair there is a pharmacy inside the departure lounge so you can stock up on the necessaries- you just might not get the brands you and your babe are used to!
Happy travelling all,
(Mum of one very well travelled 20 month old boy!)