Is It Safe For Babies To Fly On The Airplane?

Generally, speaking, the answer is yes. It can be a pretty awesome experience too. However, there is a bit of a waiting period that the mother and the baby has to go through before they should travel anywhere.

How Long Does The Baby Have To Wait?

Generally, if the baby is healthy, she can fly as young as a week old. However, this “time frame” is based on the actual due date of your baby. If she was born a week before her due date, then that extra week will have to be added on top of the waiting period; in this scenario it becomes two weeks instead of one

Of course, the waiting period is just generally accepted theory. It is best to get approval from your baby’s pediatrician first before flying anywhere. The reason is because babies have a weak immune system even if she is breastfed and receiving IgG antibodies from her mother.

Not to mention if she has any natural lung, heart, liver or gallbladder problems, things can get pretty serious if she can’t get any emergency help while being tens of thousands of miles in the sky. Another issue is coming into contact with other airplane passengers.

If other airplane passengers are either sick or extremely unsanitary, it is possible to get your baby sick too. Adults can get over sickness quickly with their toughened immune system, but a little fever might be lethal to a newborn, especially if they are only a few months old.

Of course, I am making it scarier than it sounds. Many parents fly with their newborns just fine, and nothing detrimental happens. The key is to steer clear of clearly sick passengers (maybe asking flight attendants to rearrange your seating arrangements if necessary), and keeping your hands clean (with lots of hand washing or hand sanitizer) while handling your baby’s things.

Does The Mother Have A Waiting Period?

Not only does the baby have to wait, even the mother has to wait before she flies. During the maternity period, especially shortly after giving birth, it is highly recommended for mothers to rest and recover before she travels anywhere. As for the amount of time it takes for the mother to recover varies from person to person. It is best to double check with your gynecologist to be sure.

Generally speaking, if the mother gave birth normally, she has to wait at least one to two weeks after giving birth to see if she is suffering from any kinds of side effects. For the mothers who has gone through c-section, the amount of wait is three times as long; at least six weeks. If after all that waiting, the mother feels perfectly fine without any complications, then she can fly after double checking with her obgyn doctor.

Of course this doesn’t matter if the baby is flying without her mother. In that case, it depends on the health condition of the baby.

The Airlines Might Still Require Something From You

Just because you believe that your baby can fly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the airlines feel the same. Before you book any flight tickets, contact your airlines to confirm that your baby can fly. Some airlines allows your baby to fly if she is at least forty eight hours old. Some airlines will require your baby to be at least a week to two weeks old. Some airlines might even require a doctor’s note, known as the “physician travel approval letter” before your baby can fly anywhere.

Is It Better To Fly When Your Baby Gets Older?

Not necessarily. To be honest, it is way easier to fly with an infant compared to flying with a toddler (when they start walking). Babies pretty much just sleep throughout the flight. Toddlers can struggle and get fussy due to the discomfort of sleeping on a chair. Not to mention, children at any age will suffer from the pain of ear popping while the plane takes off or lands.

However, there is a way to make the ear popping less painful. Simply simply feed your baby during the take-off and landing to reduce the discomfort.

Is It Better For My Baby To Sleep On My Lap?

The general accepted standard is that the parents should order another seat for the baby if it can be afforded, and attach a car seat to it. In cases of emergencies, and accidents like air turbulences for example, the parent’s arms are not secure enough to protect the baby.

Of course, paying an extra full price, or even half price plane ticket might feel like a heavy burden for many parents. There’s a way around this, but this is a gamble, not a guarantee. If you want your baby to have her own seat while not paying for that extra seat, there are a series of steps you have to follow.

  • First, you have to order your plane tickets to have your baby sleep on your lap.
  • Second, arrive at least three to four hours early before departure to check in
  • Third, during check in, ask the person the check in attendant if it is possible to request to have an empty seat next to you so that your baby can sleep (they may or may not give it to you. It’s a gamble like I said)
  • Fourth, while you are at it, request for a bassinet (a newborn’s bed) for your baby to sleep in.

Theoretically, if you arrived to the airport early, and your flight is not fully booked, this should work. I hope this helps you if you want to save a few dollars. In the end, if they can’t fulfill this request then simply have your baby sleep on your lap.

I hope you and your baby enjoy your trip. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment section below.