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Thread: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Hi,

    I am going to travel across country (5-hour flight) with my baby, who will be almost four months old at the time. My pediatrician told me to nurse her during take-off and landing to prevent earache. I was wondering exactly when to start nursing. Is it when the plane is going down the runway? Or when it's already airborne? I know this might sound completely dumb, but I want to make sure I do it at the right time so she's not in pain.

    Also... I welcome any other tips for traveling with an EBF infant... anything on diaper changes in the plane, what to pack, useful gear etc. And I'm assuming it's OK to NIP in planes and airports?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,120

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Don't worry too much about timing things right. Just watch the baby. The moment she starts to fuss, pop a breast in her mouth and everyone will be complimenting you on how quiet your adorable baby was during the flight!
    I suggest taking the following:
    - Chnage of clothes for you and the baby. If the baby throws up or poops all over the place, you want to be able to get into clean clothes.
    - Plastic bags for containing soiled clothes and diapers. If you're using disposable diapers, always wrap them in a plastic bag and ask the flight attendant to dispose of them rather than stuffing them down the bathroom trash. Those receptacles don't get cleaned as often as you might hope!
    - Baby sling. Great for carrying baby through the airport, and walking up and down the aisle of the plane if she is fussy.
    - Large shawl. Great for discrete nursing (not that you need to be discrete- you are legally protected just about anywhere you go), and also great for naps. The shawl will cut down on sound and light, and sometimes he baby will nap contentedly underneath for hours. My first daughter napped from Denver to San Francisco under a shawl!
    - Number for your pediatrician. Always good to have on hand when traveling.
    - Hand sanitizer. Airports are dirty places!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern NM
    Posts
    712

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Also remember to drink lots of water; flying can be dehydrating. Pack healthy snacks for you. If your baby spits up, you may want an extra shirt for you. I nursed my 9 mo. old in the middle of a three person row once; I think that often people realize they would rather have you nurse than have screaming baby.

    When I traveled with my second when he was about 2 mo old I realized that he was getting fussy from being carried too long and just wanted to wiggle. Fortunately I had a blanket in my bag which I spread out on the floor by the gate and he wiggled away. It made him much happier.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    I have heard to nurse when the plane starts down the run way, because when you are going up that's when there is pressure on the ears. I always chew gum myself or take a sucker, so I imagine it would be more comfortable for a baby to nurse then, and during a landing. I would take my ring sling since it is easy to nurse in and keep the baby secure.
    SAHM of Baby Dominic, we

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    549

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    with pp.
    Another important tip is to bring more diapers than you think you could possibly need. You never know when a flight delay could happen and most airports do not sell diapers. A friend of mine IRL got stuck for over 6 hours at an airport on what was supposed to be a 3 hour trip. Her daughter ended up pooping in the last one during the flight. She had to stuff her pants with paper towels from the bathroom for the rest of the flight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    549

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*expat-mum View Post
    That sounds awful! But I think in an emergency like that you could just as easily walk up to another mom with a similar-sized baby, say, "Hey, we're out of diapers--do you have an extra I can borrow?" Of course, it's nicer to BE the mom offering the extra diaper, so go prepared...but flying with an infant is just not as freakout-worthy as it might seem before you try it once or twice.

    ETA: Oh, just saw this was in the PLANE, not the AIRPORT. Sorry! In an airport it's easier to find help with those last minute problems, but someone on a plane still might be able to help. Also, a burp cloth or a tightly folded receiving blanket could do the trick in a pinch possibly a little better than paper towels.
    I agree I thought it was weird that she had to resort to paper towels. After remembering her story though, I threw a couple more diapers in the bag just to be safe the last time we flew with DD.

    I also agree flying with a young baby is really easy and not at all as stressful as many think it will be.

    I don't really pack anything special for baby during the flight. Just diapers, wipes, a change of clothes (especially if the weather will be different at the destination), a couple burp cloths, some sanitizing wipes and maybe a receiving blanket.
    Wear baby in a sling, and nurse when you need to nurse.

    If you will be flying by yourself, bring some snacks along. You will get hungry nursing, and it is nearly impossible to lower the tray for meal service with an infant on your lap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,120

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*wdsmom View Post
    with pp.
    Another important tip is to bring more diapers than you think you could possibly need. You never know when a flight delay could happen and most airports do not sell diapers. A friend of mine IRL got stuck for over 6 hours at an airport on what was supposed to be a 3 hour trip. Her daughter ended up pooping in the last one during the flight. She had to stuff her pants with paper towels from the bathroom for the rest of the flight.
    Excellent tip! In 1975, my mom got stuck overnight due to a huge blizzard that shut down flights all over the east coast. She had just one diaper change for me. Which was NOT ENOUGH! She told me she rinsed out the used diapers (she used cloth), and dried them over the radiator in the hotel- this was back in the days when being stuck garnered symathy and a free hotel stay. Those were the days, right?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    466

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Thank you everyone for all the fantastic tips! I am partly looking forward to the new adventure with my LO, and partly anxious about how she'll feel. I am also dreading changing her diapers in the airplane bathroom--those are always so cramped and yucky. I heard that some people change diapers on the seat if they have a whole row to themselves. Sounds less germy, but my daughter has explosive poops and diaper changes always "inspire" her pooping activities...
    I also wasn't sure if a stroller was more convenient than a carrier. We should probably bring both? My DH is flying with us so we can pack lots of stuff...

    Also. Do they make your baby go through the X-Ray machine?!? Can you refuse this? ?!? If you are wearing your baby, I'm assuming they make you take her on your arms?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    Do you think nursing will help once their ears already hurt? My little boy is four months tomorrow but he is super routine oriented so I suspect since we are flying late he will be asleep when we take off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Airplane nursing and other travel tips?

    My daughter and I flew from Japan to Australia and back when she was six months old and EBF. The three things that were the most useful were the baby carrier, the nursing cover (good for privacy and also shielding baby from the lights during naps) and a hand towel. Aeroplane toilets are very cramped and the changing tables are hard plastic so you might want to put a towel under baby's head to make him/her more comfortable.

    If you are travelling internationally, make sure you get a bassinet seat. It makes all the difference.

    It might have been the air pressure but my little girl pooped on two out of four flights so you might want to prepare yourself.

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