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International Travel for Babies

Diana has an upcoming trip with, not a toddler in tow, but a younger 6-month old:

I am a new mom (getting "schooled" as we speak) of a delightful and active (!) 6-month old baby girl named Mayumi. I am planning to bring her home with me to the Philippines to meet the rest of my family in February. The flight from here to the Philippines is 10 hours long. I was not lucky enough to get a red-eye flight so I was wondering if you moms have some advice for keeping babies occupied (or at least quiet) inside the plane for most of the trip (if it is even possible).

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A few new (quiet) toys tend to help keep their interest, for some of the time. When taking off and landing, make sure the baby is sucking on a pacifier, bottle or nursing, to help balance the pressure in their ears. My son was fine if he slept through it, but had a hard time if he was awake. Keep in mind that it can take several minutes to taxi, take off and reach cruising altitude. It isn't until we are up above about 10,000 feet that my ears settle down. I made the mistake of latching as we pulled away from the gate, only to realize that he was done nursing before we got up in the air. Granted, my son ate quickly, but it was hard to get him to keep sucking once he was done. So, I suggest waiting until the wheels are off the ground.

My little girl took her first plane ride at age 5 months. Granted it was only 2.5 hours to Colorado but there are the many hours of travel time with getting to and through the airport on either end.

I give credit to those moms and babies who manage to nurse when the plane is actually going up or down. My little Bean always seemed to be hungry (and loudly demanding to be fed) while we were still on the ground. And she doesn't take a pacifier anymore! Luckily, the cabin pressure changes didn't seem to bother her. This may not always be the case but for that trip I was lucky. She seemed to be more interested in looking around at other people and out the window. She also slept through one descent. I played with her the rest of the time with a couple of toys or just talked to her and made faces. It's hard when you are traveling alone!

We have two 10 hours flights back to back this summer when the Bean is about 9 months old - one to Florida and then to North Carolina. Thankfully my husband will be flying with us so we can play pass the baby!

Good luck and have a great time!

Oops, one last thing to add. By far the hardest part about traveling alone with the baby is when I had to use the bathroom! There was nowhere to put her down and no flight attendant offered to take her (and since she is a little wary of strangers I'm not sure I could have left her). So having to dress and undress one-handed (and mind you this is during the winter) while holding her was quite difficult! :-)

We took our older daughter to the Philippines when she was 4 months old. We informed the airline (Eva Air) that we were traveling with a baby and they assigned us the bulkhead seat where there are brackets for a bassinet. Philly slept practically the whole way out in the bassinet; we were lucky. When she was awake, we set out tons of blankets on the floor in front of us and let her lie in her cozy, makeshift play area. She used her pacifier when she seemed fussy and I also nursed often, even if she was done eating.

Safe and happy travels. Mabuhay!

I traveled cross-country w/ my daughter when she was almost 6 months old, so I have some experience to share that may be helpful to you. I found that age to be a relatively easy one for a long day of traveling. We flew during the day as well and she nonetheless was fine, for the most part, and she napped a good bit, too. It was easy enough to keep her occupied by alternating toy time w/ time walking the aisles and hanging out in the back w/ the flight attendants, who were glad to have the company of a baby. It also helped that we didn't have a non-stop flight; having to make a connection broke things up for my daughter & allowed her the maximum change of scenery. We also lucked out on the way back: our middle seat was free, which allowed us to spread the toys out, and the aisle seat was occupied by a grandma of a new baby who was delighted to help keep my child entertained.

Good luck!

when you check in or when you get to the gate, ask if there is a seat with an extra empty seat next to it; if there is they'll reassign you to it.

Definitely reserve a bassinet! It makes it much easier. Don't be afraid - six months is the perfect time to travel. We took a long overseas flight when our daughter was five months, and we were terrified beforehand, but it was wonderful. She was smiling a lot at that point, but not afraid of strangers, and content to sit and play, and it was just a giant love fest between her and everybody around us.
One caution - I'd been told the bassinets were a good place to change the baby, but we did it once on the plane and got scolded by the flight attendant. (It was just pee, for Pete's sake! Is the sight of a baby's bottom that offensive?) After that, we used those tiny bathrooms, and even though they have changing tables, it is still much easier said than done.

We're heading to Europe later this month on the Lufthansa flight from PDX to Frankfurt. We've reserved the bassinet/bulkhead option for my nine-month-old and I'm hopeful he'll sleep. (We had a nightmare scenario over Thanksgiving when they canceled the last leg of our flight and put us on an overnight bus instead, fortunately we had our carseat with us and he slept the entire ride...more than I can say for his parents!) Has anyone taken that particular flight and can offer words of wisdom?

And if for some reason your babe is wakeful and the trip is difficult, don't beat yourself up thinking it would have been a dream on that red-eye flight. We flew overnight to the East coast thinking our son would sleep. He didn't. Neither did anyone else.

Good luck!

international flights are hard-----we just got back from Taiwan last month. 14 hours from LAX to Taiwan with a 18 month old was pure hell. But, at least we were surrounded by other parents (lots of them) who were having the same problems. So my advice,relax, have a glass of wine. Your child will cry but the flight will be over in 10 hours. Have a great time with your family.

We flew from PDX to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. The bassinet was great. The baby was calm and mostly happy and everybody flirted with her. The bulkhead row has room for two bassinets, so you might have a little neighbor, too. The plus is that your seat mates are understanding. But the downside is your little neighbor might be crabby. Our neighbor kept melting down with a really piercing cry that would wake our girl up, despite the huge amount of white noise in the plane. So she probably didn't get enough sleep, but it was still just fine.

We took our little lady to the Philippines when she was 8 months old! It's been mentioned, but plan on lots of nursing on the plane. This was a life saver for me. There was also a lot of Cheerio eating (and throwing), book reading, peek-a-boo w/the neighbors, and sleeping. The plane really lulled her to sleep most of the time. Bring some of her favorite (small) toys and books from home plus a few new ones as a surprise.
Don't worry. It might feel stressful at times but you'll forget all about it once you're done. She loved the Philippines too. So much family and warm people. She had some major milestones while we were there. Started talking a bit and waving!
Have a great time!

Much of the same advice as above, but I also have to mention that for me traveling alone with babe the Ergo baby carier has been a lifesaver. I strap him in as we leave the gate and he tends to nurse to sleep, which would otherwise leave me trapped but since he's in the carrier I can maneuver about. It also makes bathroom trips easier since I have hands free, once I figured out the mechanics of getting pants down then up and making sure straps don't go in the loo.

Much luck to you. I always remind myself beforehand that all I need to do is live through the experience and am usually pleasantly suprised.

We have family on the East Coast and down in California and have flown literally dozens of times with kids, including the wonderful Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt (German customer service is superb)--with our daughter who's almost four and our son who just turned one. In fact, I am writing from Florida, where I'm visiting my folks with the kids (and will be flying home with them on my own for the first time).

During a flight to Maryland last summer, a father of a newborn noted that my husband and I make traveling with children look easy. We do have a system now that helps keep air travel relatively pleasant, though it's still not easy.

A sling or other babywearing device is essential. I wear my son throughout the airport in a sling. I find it easier to get on and off quickly and in cramped quarters. I don't know how I'd get through security without one. You may not be allowed to wear your baby in a sling during the flight--I believe some attendents will ignore it, but others have sited FAA regs against their use to me as I've boarded. While I'm wearing him, I can help with baggage, fumble around my bag for ID and tickets, push my daughter in the stroller, and, if need be, use the toilet.

With older babies and children, snacks of all kinds...especially treats that might not otherwise be part of the regular diet...are another essential. Start with the usual snacks and save the special ones for emergencies. Remember that you cannot bring more than 4 ounces of liquid on board (per container). That means no yogurt in its original 6 ounce container. We bring along a small insulated lunch bag with sandwiches, dried fruit (that "nothing but fruit" stuff is especially non-messy), dark chocolate, spelt crackers, small containers of yogurt...don't forget spoons.

Nursing moms--bring along an EMPTY water bottle and have the flight attendents fill it for you. Nothing will make a mama crabbier (and therefore less able to deal with an unhappy baby) than dehydration. If the attendent balks at filling your bottle (as one did on our flight here and tried to insist I buy $2 bottles of water), explain the situation: You're a nursing mom who needs hydration and open cups of water will quite likely wind up spilled. I bring my SIGG bottle, which is lightweight, has a twist-top spout and a larger opening than a regular plastic water bottle. I don't need to have my tray-table down and can shove the bottle into the seat-back pouch between sips.

In my experience, there's not much, toywise, that keeps a baby entertained long enough to be worth carrying on board. Instead, bring your "toolbox" of songs and fingerplays--a singin' mama is the best toy ever and helps you both stay happy. My daughter now enjoys coloring, watching movies (my folks bought her a portable DVD player!), and putting together those stick-on foam thingies--we don't do those at home, but they're a light, non-messy craft that's perfect for air travel.

As mentioned before, get the bassinet! This will save your arms and back during the times when your baby does sleep.

Traveling with a six month old is actually fairly easy...they tend to nurse and sleep a lot. Have a wonderful visit with your family!

one more thing that helped soothe our son's ear popping, rub behind the earlobe straight down, halfway down the neck, it relieves pressure in the tubes and worked when nursing wouldn't happen or binky wasn't taken.
Good Luck!
Find the bathroom with the changing table and rest baby on that while you figure out how to fit underneath it to go if you don't take the ergo!!

what is the correct age for the child to start air travel. Can a 2 month old baby do air travel?? is there any risk in air travel at that age (2 months)?

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