For most airlines you can take a baby on a plane from 7 days old but do check before booking. Obviously if you are flying internationally they need a passport and in order to get a passport you need a birth certificate so you need to be super organised to get these in place that quickly. Other considerations to make air travel with a newborn a stress-free adventure include
- Speak to your doctor
Before making any travel plans, it’s crucial to consult with your doctor. Your baby’s health and well-being should be the top priority, and your doctor can provide valuable insights into whether your newborn is ready for air travel. They can offer advice on vaccinations, feeding schedules, and any special considerations based on your baby’s health.
- Check airline policies before booking
Different airlines have varying policies regarding newborns and infants. Some airlines allow infants as young as a 7 days old to travel, while others may have specific age restrictions. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the airline’s rules regarding infant tickets, seating arrangements, and any amenities provided for parents with newborns. Many airlines allow you to travel with two extra checked items per baby.
- Timing is everything
Choosing the right time for your journey is crucial when traveling with a newborn. Opt for flights during your baby’s most relaxed and content period, which is often during their regular sleep schedule. Red-eye flights or mid-morning departures might be ideal to maximise the chances of a calm and peaceful journey.
- Pack thoughtfully
Packing for a trip with a newborn requires careful consideration. Ensure you have all the essentials such as nappies, wipes, extra clothing, and any medications your baby may need. Don’t forget to bring a favourite blanket or toy to provide comfort and familiarity. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a packing list. The first time we flew with Theo we got to the airport and realised we had forgotten the buggy which was far from ideal!
- Plan feeds
Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, it’s essential to plan for feedings during the flight. For bottle-fed babies, prepare formula in advance and bring enough for the entire journey, taking into account potential delays. For breastfed babies consider latching the baby on for take off and landing or giving the baby a dummy to minimise any popping of ears.
- Seat selection
When booking your flight, consider seat options that provide easy access to the aisle for nappy changes and quick walks with your baby. Some airlines offer bassinets for infants, so inquire about availability and reserve one if possible.
- Allow extra time for security checks
Airport security checks can be time-consuming, so be prepared by allowing extra time. Familiarise yourself with the rules regarding baby supplies such as formula, breast milk, and baby food, as these may require additional screening.
- Stay calm and flexible
Finally, the key to a successful journey with a newborn is to stay calm and flexible. Be prepared for unexpected situations, such as changes in feeding or sleep schedules. Remember that babies are resilient, and with your love and attention, air travel can be a positive experience for both you and your little one.
Traveling with a newborn may seem daunting, but with careful planning and the right mindset, it can be an enriching and enjoyable experience for the entire family. By speaking to your doctor, understanding airline policies, and packing thoughtfully, you can create lasting memories with your newborn while exploring new destinations together. Bon voyage!