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Flying with a 6 Month Old Baby
Are you flying with a 6 month old baby soon? Worry not, whether you are flying domestic with an infant or on an international short or long haul flight, you will find plenty of tips and information here to help you feel more prepared and relaxed about your next flight.
(Don’t forget to visit my bumper guide with many scenarios covered for flying with a baby after you have read this helpful article)
Traveling With a 6 Month Old On A Plane
Table of Contents - Click to jump to a section
Do Children Need ID to fly?
If you are traveling internationally with a 6 month old, then a passport is always needed. If you are flying domestically in the USA or Canada you do not need ID for your baby, but I always recommend taking a copy of their birth certificate.
Various other countries require all different sorts of ID and paperwork. With some airlines, lap babies may not be issued a boarding card but may need a boarding verification document. There is more information on travel documents here.
When is it Safe to Travel with a Six Month Old?
- It’s always best to ask your medical professional for advice on this as there are so many variables. Eg consider where you are travelling to, whether any additional vaccinations are needed, general health etc.
- Travelling with a six month on the plane means they will possibly be exposed to more germs than at home. Tray-tables, TV handsets, air vents etc can all be breeding grounds for germs. A 6 month old will be able to grab things more easily and reach out, so adding anti-bacterial wipes to your carry on is a good idea. Use disposable gloves before you wipe the table and other surfaces, and then dispose of these gloves carefully without cross contamination.
Do babies fly for free?
- Traveling with an infant on a plane gives you the option for them to fly as a lap baby, or if you purchase a seat, to fly in their car seat. If you are traveling with a 6 month old as a lap baby, typically they either fly for free, or at a reduced fare of approximately 10% of the adult fare plus any applicable taxes. This obviously depends on the airline, the destination and whether it’s a domestic or international flight. If you purchase a seat to use your carseat for your infant, then it will be at the applicable child fare plus taxes.
Can I use a car seat on a plane?
- Short, answer. Yes, in most cases. But you will need to purchase a seat for your baby and have a valid approved car sear for air travel. Car seat use occasionally depends on the plane seat type and whether an air bag seat belt is used so some business and first class seats may not be suitable. USA and Canadian based airlines allow airline and FAA approved car seats at any age.
- Find out more about child restraint devices and car seats regulations here. The FAA car seat rules are here for USA readers and for UK readers the CAA are here. If your little one flies as lap baby, on a non USA/Canadian airline, then you will be given a lap belt to secure to them to your seatbelt.
How to travel with a 6 month old
- Read this comprehensive guide of over 50 tips about flying with a baby.
- Request an airline bassinet if it is available on your airline/flight. If you are flying with a six month old infant as a lap baby, then good news – your little one will fit in an airline bassinet, meaning hopefully they will sleep in the sky cot, allowing you to get some rest too! Check here to find out which airlines provide a baby bassinet on board.
- If you have a bassinet, I can’t recommend the CoziGo airline bassinet cover highly enough- which shuts out the cabin light so baby can sleep even during the day time. It doubles up as a UV breathable stroller cover too – perfect for hot sunny climates. This bit of baby gear is my go to for baby shower gifts or as a travel gift for parents, and is perfect when flying with infants.
- Several airlines allow you to choose your seat immediately if you are flying with an infant – some for free! e.g British Airways and Thai Airways. If you want to double-check for a particular seat, look at www.seatguru.com and put in your flight number where you can check the plane layout. if you don’t know your flight number, don’t worry, you can enter the route and the airline. However, with USA and Canadian airlines this does not apply: in this case, it is first come, first served at the gate – so check in early to maximise your chances.
- Look at the airline policies on hand luggage and hold luggage. All airlines allow at least a car seat or stroller – with the majority allowing both for free. Lots of airlines provide an infant baggage allowance too, some for both cabin and hold baggage. If you think you will be taking a lot of stuff when traveling with a baby, look at what each airline provides.
- Check with your airline if you are allowed to bring an additional diaper/nappy bag with you as well as your cabin bag allowance when traveling with a 6 month old.
- Use this free downloadable packing checklist for travelling with a baby. which lists everything you may need. Consider if you need any of this travel gear? Alternatively, this baby travel essentials list has some great suggestions too.
- Consider boarding a bit later to let little one stretch out at the airport gate and get those wriggles out.
- If you are breastfeeding, consider what will make YOU more comfortable. Here are some breastfeeding tips whilst travelling.
- If you are bottle feeding and need to sterilise bottles whilst on the go – look into the various ways you can sterilise baby bottles whilst travelling.
- All airlines are happy with a mum breastfeeding. If you are a bit self-conscious, here are my breastfeeding tips on a plane in detail.
- If you need milk or food heated up – do ask in plenty of time in case the crew are about to busy with a meal service. They normally will provide you with hot water to do this.
- Babies on planes usually likely to drink more than they usually do as the cabin air is quite dehydrating, which is another reason to pack more than you need if formula feeding.
- If your baby is weaning, request a baby meal at least 24 hours before you fly. These are typically pureed jars of baby food which you can request for long haul flights – but not all airlines have them. It is always best if you to bring your own supplies. For older babies, some airlines provide pre requestable toddler meals or post weaning meals too. For more information on what airline food airlines provide for babies and toddler, see here. Please note, since Coronavirus, the majority of airlines have temporarily stopped baby/child meal requests.
- If you are formula feeding, then plan to bring double than what your baby would normally consume. The same goes for any weaning snacks. You never know if your flight will be delayed on cancelled and having extra will save you stressing if that happens.
- The same also goes for diapers/nappies and wipes. Always pack more than you need for the trip and have them easily accessible in your carry on, in case you are delayed on the airplane and can’t access your hold baggage. Some airlines will allow a carry on diaper bag or changing bag for free. Otherwise it will need to be part of your carry on allowance.
- Bring a baby carrier with you, even if you have brought your own car seat. This makes it so easy to walk around the plane or settle baby inflight. Although you cannot use them for taxi, take-off phases of the flight. There are some excellent cabin size strollers around which can stow in the overhead locker as hand luggage. For the best travel stroller for 6 month olds have a look at this guide too.
- Be prepared for your baby to cry during take off, so landing. This is due to the change in air pressure: crying, feeding or sucking on a dummy/pacifier can all help.
- When traveling with a six month old, wear layers which are easy to remove one handed and dress baby in layers too.
- Pack an extra change of clothing for you and baby in your carry on. We have to rely on this several times, and once we went through our changes of clothes and my daughter ended up wearing an over sized pyjama top from first class! You never know when someone will feel poorly or an accident can happen! My husband got covered in puke on one long haul flight and no he didn’t have a spare change of clothes!
- Don’t forget to pack any essential medicine in your carry on. If it’s over 100ml or breaks the 3-1-1 liquid rules, ask your doctor for a note and check with your airline. Liquid medicines are exempt from TSA limits in the USA, but this is not always the case in other countries.
- Try and relax! You’ve got this!
How to entertain a 6 month old on a plane
- Entertaining your 6 month old on a plane is easier than you think. Often simple items like the buttons on the screen or the inflight safety card or a few paper cups provide a distraction. However, with the increasing need to limit touch points and keep things clean with anti-bacterial wipes you may want to bring some of your own items. Bring some interactive but quiet baby and toddler toys which will keep them busy and you popular with fellow passengers. We love Sassy Ring-O-Links Teethers. A firm favourite since she was a tiny baby and she still loved them as a small toddler. The bright colours engage and provide visual stimulation, whereas the links have different textures on which appeals to babies sense of touch. All linked together they can be used as a rattle, or separately as a teether. Another very versatile toy. They work brilliantly on airline bassinets and are ideal for travel car seats too. For more information see here.
- We also loved Melissa And Doug’s Take Along Shape Sorter. A popular game for little hands and one that is easy to transport whilst traveling. It does have pieces which could drop, but this is useful for little ones to play with in the more secure airplane bassinet or at your destination. It includes a padded case with 2 activity sides and a take-along handle, plus 9 shaped, textured blocks in various colours. For more information see here
- Some favourite books include the ‘Find The .. series Lots of things to spot on each page and a complete classic. Both have loved this book so much that I had to buy two copies due to over use!
- and also the Julia Donaldson ‘Lift the Flap’ series. Fox’s Socks, Hide and Seek Pig etc. Again lots of things to spot and fun lifting the flaps to see who is hiding. The pictures are by Axl Schelffler and are so engaging. It’s easy to see why these books are so popular with young children. Both of mine loved them from an early age and now the older one reads it to my youngest. Win win! For more information on this and others in the series, see here.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
How much baby formula can I take on a plane?
You can bring as much breastmilk, formula or water as you need for your baby for the flight. This can be over 100ml or over the 3-1-1 rule.
How can I stop my babies ears from hurting?
If you are wondering how to stop babies ears popping on a plane, here are some ideas! Some babies cry with the change of pressure in their ears on landing too – sucking or chewing or feeding often helps relieve this. Alternatively, use a pacifier/dummy.
Have you any more tips for flying with a 6 month old? Let me know in the comments below.
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