Family Travel Question:

Q | When can I start traveling with my newborn?

When can I start traveling with my newborn? What kinds of things do I need to know before doing so? -Mandy, Rhode Island

A | Flying with a baby

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My first baby was a preemie. By the time he got out of the NICU – ten days after he was born – I was at our home in California but my husband was at our new home in Seattle (because it’s always a great idea to have a baby and move house and, in this case, change jobs, at the same time!). Anyway, we had to fly to our new home. Just like you, I was concerned about whether or not it would be safe to fly with a new baby – doubly so because of his preemie-ness. I spoke to my doctor who suggested waiting until my baby was six weeks old before flying since he was so very, very tiny. So, first step, if you’re concerned about flying with your new baby, check with your doctor. (My second child was a full-term, 8lb, healthy baby boy. I flew with him when he was two weeks old).

The next things to think about are: safety, feeding, and comfort – yours and your baby’s.

You can fly with a child under two on your lap. Most airlines don’t charge for lap babies for domestic flights but you will pay for a ticket for international flights usually at a 10% ticket price plus taxes and fees. The FAA recommends always using an approved child restraint system (e.g. a car seat) for children on airplanes. But you can’t have a car seat without a seat on-board your flight on which to place it, so to follow this advice you will need to purchase a regularly-priced ticket for your child.

If you are breastfeeding, the issues you have to think about for feeding your baby on a flight are privacy and space. A wrap or blanket to throw over your shoulder and pointy elbows are really all you need. If you’re using formula, pack some pre-mixed bottles as well as some extra dry formula. Most air stewards are very helpful if you ask for water to mix formula but when there’s turbulence, they won’t be able to help you.

If your baby nurses or takes a pacifier at take-off and landing this will help him with ear pain from the pressure changes.

Personally, I didn’t need to do anything extra to keep me comfortable when I flew with my new babies, I think I was in “happy-new-mom-land” and nothing was going to kill that buzz :)

Related Info:
Flying With An Infant
Ten Tips For Flying Internationally With A Baby

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