People don’t usually go on vacation with a newborn, but there are other reasons for you to travel with one. The whole family may need a change of scenery, or you might be traveling for a medical emergency; sometimes, new mothers feel like returning to their childhood home, to live with their parents for a few months after having a baby. 

Doctors advise new parents to wait at least a few months before traveling with a newborn; it could be anything from two months to six months depending on your baby’s health. At least, you should wait until your baby’s immune system has developed enough to be around so many strangers in a confined space. This is especially true for flying with your newborn. 

Since your baby will be confined inside the plane with many other passengers for a long time – some of them with health conditions of their own – it is important that you know some of the most important tips and tricks to traveling with a newborn. 

  • Consult with your Pediatrician 

If you are flying with your newborn before they are at least six months old, it is very important that you consult with a doctor. With a full-term baby, there’s no need to worry; they’re more than ready to travel the world by the time they are two or three months old. However, if your baby had been premature or if they have any problem with their lungs, they might face trouble breathing after the plane reaches a certain height. It is better to check with your doctor to see if your baby is ready to travel via air under normal circumstances. 

However, if you are traveling someplace nearer in a car, train or bus instead of an airplane, your newborn baby might not have any problem adjusting to the journey. 

  • Check with the Airline 

Not all airlines allow very young babies onboard. Even when you are traveling for a medical emergency, you might want to check the regulations of the airline you have in mind. Some airlines don’t allow babies inside who are younger than two weeks, while others allow babies to travel who are three days old. Airlines may ask for doctor’s permission notes before allowing absolute newborns to travel in their planes. 

  • Choose your seat Wisely

If this is a long flight, you might want to put your baby down for a nap away from you or lay them down at some point during the flight so you can relax a little. A newborn is too young to have their own seat or be seated in a car seat; besides, the car seat you own may not even be compatible with a plane seat. This is why you need to book your seats in advance to make sure you avail of the bassinet that can be found on the plane. 

Every plane has only one or two bassinets for very young babies, and they can only be attached in certain seats – preferably, the ones in front. Bassinets are usually free for international flights, and you might even get upgraded to the business class to get the bassinet. Only by booking in advance and asking for a bassinet can you avail it, before any other families with a newborn ask for the only one the plane is carrying. 

If you are travelling a long way, bassinets are extremely important. It will be exhausting for parents to hold or carry your newborn for hours at an end, and it will also be better for the baby to nap on a bassinet. 

  • Invest in a Baby Carrier 

For a very young baby, carriers are the better solution for travelling compared to strollers, baby seats or baskets. With your newborn tied to your body in a carrier, you will have your hands free for other activities, i.e. filling out forms, checking in luggage, showing your documents, or rummaging through your bag. If your baby is a fussy one, they will feel safer nestling against your body instead of in a stroller. Besides, strollers have to be handed over to carry as luggage, so they are not much help during travelling. 

While you can also carry a stroller for later when you have landed, a baby carrier is the safest and the most practical option while traveling. Newborns don’t weigh a lot, so they aren’t very hard to carry on your shoulders. Besides, you can do everything while carrying your baby, from having your lunch to reading a book, taking a nap or watching an in-flight movie. 

  • Pack Properly 

A newborn might very well need more luggage traveling than a grown-up, and this includes diapers, clothes, food, wipes, toys, medicines, and blankets. Packing for your baby will require you to pack everything in two piles: one for the luggage, and one to carry with you inside the plane. 

The rule of thumb says that you need one diaper for every hour that you are traveling, plus a few extras for emergencies. You’ll also need a lot of wet wipes, a couple of changes of clothes, emergency medicines, and of course, baby food. In fact, it is easier if you designate a whole bag just for your baby, and let someone hold everything else you need for the journey. It is better to use special baby bags for this purpose instead of a regular purse or backpack, as baby bags have separate compartments for everything your baby might need. 

  • Don’t Forget Baby Food 

If you are breastfeeding, there won’t be any need to take any additional baby food with you, unless you want to keep a little formula with you for emergencies. Most airlines are lenient about carrying pumped breastmilk, pre-made formula or baby milk with you, and you can even carry hot water to make the formula. 

Even when exclusively breastfeeding your newborn, you might want to carry some baby food with you, in case the mother feels sick, needs a nap or can’t feed the baby because she is dehydrated. You can even bring your breast pump to store your milk for the baby, and your partner can feed them while you take a break. You can do this in the privacy of the bathroom or while seated, whichever is comfortable for you.

  • Bring Some Entertainment 

In most cases, it is easier to travel with a newborn than an older child; newborns don’t need to be entertained, and they are usually quite satisfied with being fed, burped, changed and put to sleep. However, you might want to bring one or two of their favorite toys with you, preferably something colorful and bright, or something they can chew. 

A simple toy can keep your newborn entertained for hours, but you need to keep in mind that it doesn’t squeak too much or make too much of a noise. A noisy or squeaky toy might annoy the other passengers who are trying to sleep or relax. 

  • Always carry teething toys and pacifiers 

Even before your baby needs a teething toy, they can be quite entertaining. Sucking on a pacifier or biting a teething toy may help your newborn to fuss less, keep them entertained when they are awake, or help them to sleep. Always keep one of these, or both, in your baby bag and try to keep your baby satisfied with them. With newborns, teething gel toys and pacifiers work better as toys than anything else you might buy for them. 

The key to traveling with a newborn is not to get nervous. If this is your first time, you might feel a little tensed to travel such a long distance with a baby, especially if you are alone. However, newborns are quite easy to manage as long as they are fed, burped, changed and put to sleep on time. If you can just follow these tips and tricks mentioned above, traveling with your baby will be a breeze.