Are you worried about flying with your baby? Does the thought stress you out? Don’t worry, and don’t stress. Flying with a 4 month old is much easier than flying with a 12 month old ;). By the time our baby was 4 months old, she had flown on 11 flights with ease and by 6 months she had been on 20+. If this is your first flight with your baby, don’t worry, we are here to help. Here are our best tips on how to fly with a 4-6 month old baby and everything you need to know. The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with a 4-6 Month Old Baby
Traveling is a personal thing and what may work for one person, may not work for another. Hopefully you are able to travel often with your baby and try different things out. In this post, we go over different options so you can potentially see how each possibility will work.
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Booking a Ticket
Lap Seat- here is everything you need to know when booking an infant ticket.
Infants typically fly free domestically on your lap if they are under 2 (in the United States). You do however need to book a ticket for them. If you forget, you can call the airline to add them. Not all airlines allow you to book your infant online, but if they do, there is usually a place that is easy to find.
If you are traveling internationally, there is typically a 10% charge of the adult fare plus taxes and fees. Make sure you book your infant when you book your ticket, because if you wait, depending on the airline, it is not 10% of the fare you originally booked, it is the % of the ticket cost that day.
If you would like your infant to fly in a carseat, you must purchase a full fare ticket for them. Sometimes, you may get lucky and the seat next to you is empty and the gate agent will allow you to take the seat, but do not count on it.
You can gate check your car seat, but make sure you put it in a travel bag. Our favorite is this red bag, it is only $15 on amazon and has held up really well. Link to the bag here
Our Favorite Travel Items
What Seat to Choose?
Choosing a seat with an infant can be a hot topic. Everyone has their preference and you may not agree, but I will share the pros and cons of each choice.
Infants are not allowed in the exit rows, so if you are hoping for extra room, you may need to pay for the bulkhead seats. So, Aisle or Window? I prefer the aisle seat because it is easier to get in and out for diaper changes, or if I need to bounce my baby, I do not have to crawl over someone. If you are nursing, the window can be great because it allows more privacy and a tad more room to lean against the plane.
**PRO TIP: If you are traveling with someone else, book the aisle seat and window seat, if the flight doesn’t sell out, you may end up with no one in between, and if you do end up with someone in the middle, they will usually happily switch with one of you.
Now, you may know what seat you want, but where in the plane to sit? I prefer the back with my baby because I am less likely to bother other people if I need to stand up and bounce my baby and walk around a little. I also like the white noise from the engine in the back.
Time of Day
When to fly? This also is completely dependent on you. Some babies will happily sleep on a flight, but for others, the baby may want nothing to do with sleep. I suggest attempting to fly during a nap time so they have a better chance of falling asleep. We however, rarely have the luxury of choosing our flight time (stand by life) and have just learned to go with the flow. Sometimes we have to entertain our baby, and sometimes she will sleep.
Packing: Carry On or Checked Luggage
Carry On Luggage
We are huge believers in only taking carry ons, but sometimes we just need more stuff (like when we went to Asia for 2 weeks). In order to easily navigate the airport with carry ons, I either wear my baby with the diaper bag on my back (full of my stuff and her stuff) and use a 4 wheel roller suitcase and drag it along. I strap my carseat to the rolling suitcase with this awesome contraption. If we are traveling with a stroller, I either have my baby ride in the stroller in the carseat, or strap it to my luggage. I can easily push the stroller one handed and pull my suitcase.
If all of that seemed overwhelming, you can always check your bag. If you are checking a bag, make sure to give yourself plenty of time at the airport to wait in the line. Most airlines will allow you to check a 1-2 extra things for baby free of charge (a stroller, carseat, or a pack n play). If you check a bag, make sure you have plenty of extra diapers, wipes and a change of clothes. Always check with your specific airline what the restrictions and rules are. Also make sure you have a change of clothes, extra formula (if using), and other essentials in case your luggage is lost.
Packing for Baby
As mentioned above, make sure if you are checking your luggage, you pack necessities for your baby in a carry on. My absolute favorite backpack/ diaper bag is my Freshly Picked Bag. You can read more about why here, but it has gone everywhere with us and is so durable.
-extra diapers (double the amount you think, in case of accidents/ delays)
-extra outfit for mom and baby (x2 for babe)
-grocery bag/ wet bag for soiled clothes
-blanket (good for warmth, a nursing cover, and even peek a boo)
-pump if needed
***PRO TIP- milk and baby food are not subject to the 100 ml limit. We had to pack formula and always could pack a bottle or two of water.
Our biggest tip is to prepare early and give yourself more time than you think. This will allow you to not be as stressed trying to rush and help everyone have a better time. Use the kiosks to check in if you aren’t checking a bag, so you don’t have to wait in another line and have someone check you in.
Gate Check your Carseat and Stroller if you have one. Avoid checking these items at the counter to minimize the time they are being handled by others. The gate agent will issue you a tag for your items.
Unless we are flying internationally, we have never been asked for documentation for our baby. We always always travel with her passport (or birth certificate) though just in case.
I have solo traveled with my baby so many times and have never needed a notarized letter with permission to travel, but you never know and you may need it.
We purchased global entry a few years ago and it was the best decision we ever made (well actually it came free with a few credit cards, but I would buy it even if we didn’t have the credit card perks). We get to use the pre check line and it is glorious. If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to consider global entry or TSA pre check.
There is a separate family boarding line that you can use, but we have found that it takes longer because every family is testing water/ other items. You may find it better though, because everyone is in the same situation as you.
When going through security, don’t stress, don’t worry about holding up the line. Take your time, organize yourself, and go through as slow as you need.
Wear Your Baby Through Security
To get through security, and you are stressed about what to do with your baby, I highly recommend baby wearing. We love our Wildbird Sling, or our Lillebell Carrier. They don’t make you take your baby out when going through the scanner. This also allows you to be hands free so you can arrange the rest of your luggage.
Your carseat will likely go through the X-ray and your stroller will be checked and swabbed down. Sometimes they ask you to fold your stroller, so be prepared for all situations
Tips and Tricks
-You can take larger amounts of liquid but keep them in a separate bag or somewhere easy to reach so you can put them in their own bin. If you leave them in your diaper bag, they will have to go through the diaper bag, take them out, and then test. In their own bin, they will easily not touch your stuff and test them.
-Use your stroller to haul your luggage. Since your baby is already wrapped and cozy, you can use your stroller to transport your luggage and only have one thing to push.
-Most airports have plenty of Family Bathrooms. We like to use them when we can so we have some space.
Boarding the Plane
Make your life easier and always double check the monitors for your gate.
Get your items ready ahead of time at the gate. I highly recommend this travel bag for a carseat. We use our Uppababy Vista a majority of the time, but if I am by myself or for International trips, we use the yoyo Babyzen. Both strollers have a specific travel bag and I highly recommend using them.
The flight attendant will usually come by if they have any procedures for you. If you are still wearing your baby, they will likely have you take them out of the carrier to face forward for take off.
I also like to use this time to take out my iPad, and a couple other things for easier access. I like to stay as organized as possible and keep things accessible.
Pay attention for when they call family boarding. I love utilizing this time to get us situated easier. It also helps us stay a little more calm and get overhead space by our seats.
Not everyone loves using family boarding. Why trap yourself on an airplane longer than needed? Decide what works for you, but if you want a little extra time to drop your stroller and car seat before you board and want a little more time in the aisle to situate, family boarding might be great for you.
Flying With Your Baby
Take Off/ Landing
The number one tip I always read was to have your baby nurse or eat on take off. This still applies at 4-6 months. We like to have her sucking so her ears do not hurt. Some flight attendants will ask you not to nurse because they need to be in a more sitting up position, but a pacifier will also do the trick.
Luckily, we do not have to change the baby often on planes, but it is nice that there is a changing table in the lavatories at the back of the plane. The bathrooms are small, so just take exactly what you need because your diaper bag will likely just be in the way.
Our biggest tip is changing your baby before the flight. Plan enough time to be able to do so.
Hopefully your baby will sleep if you are wanting them too, but pack some toys just in case. Our baby loves Sophie the Giraffe, a banana toothbrush, and anything that made noise. She also loves empty water bottles. I will also bring either a new toy or a toy she hasn’t seen or played with in a while.
Before exiting the plane, clean up your area as best as you can. Babies can make big messes and it really helps the flight attendants. It also allows you the chance to look around and make sure you have everything.
If you gate checked any items, don’t forget to grab them. You usually wait near the door, or someone will guide you where. Just don’t leave without them. If you have a connecting flight, you will need to gate check them again.
My biggest tip of all is do not stress. It is ok if your baby cries, it is ok if your baby makes noise. Most people have headphones, and if they do not, they should ha:)
FAQs and Tips and Tricks for how to fly with a 4-6 month old baby
Even though you have read through this guide, here is the cliff notes version of this post and some maybe not mentioned tips and trick for how to fly with a 4-6 month old baby.
-Arrive to the airport early, even an extra 15 minutes will allow for a little more time to go smoothly through security
-Organize the stuff you may need on a plane- put your toys in a pouch, snacks in a pouch, make it easy to find things
-Pack extra wet bags, ziplock bags, or grocery bags. These are great for so many situations
-Don’t stress, your baby will sense the stress and feed off of it
-Don’t be afraid to use a sound machine on a low volume if needed
-Bring their favorite toy or lovey, and few new toys or not as used toys for entertainment
-Change their diaper before boarding, airplane bathrooms are small and if you can avoid using them, do it
-Use a coat or a blanket in the window seat to block the space between the wall and the seat if your baby is prone to throwing and you don’t want your stuff lost
Must Have Items for Flying with your Baby
Hopefully these tips for flying with your baby have helped out and this Ultimate Guide for Traveling with a 4-6 Month Old Baby have helped.