How To Fly International With A Baby (and not stab your eye with a fork)

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Our son took his first flight, ever, when he was 4 months old from the United States to Germany.  Our other son took his first flight, ever, when he was 10 months old from New York to New Mexico.  The cross-country flight was more stressful than the International flight with two children.  Flying overseas is not as daunting as it sounds, as long as you prepare.

When you are flying to Europe, choose a night time flight and sleep the entire flight over here.  We gave our older son Melatonin.  You can find other things out there, I am certain, but this worked very well for us and our 4 year old adjusting to the 7 hour time difference, as well as jet lag.  The baby was still breastfeeding so by proxy he also in took some melatonin.

If you have a direct flight, this should be a breeze.  It will be the long layover that really mess you up.  Your kids will think its time to be up to play, eat, read, be entertained.  To only turn around and be stuck in their seat for another leg of a trip.

Here are some tips to get you through the flight:

  • Have your children sleep on the plane.  To encourage this I suggest using a melatonin – some people may disagree, that’s fine.  Our pediatrician suggested Benedryl but we went a more natural route.  
  • Get a seat for your infant/baby.  Do not attempt to hold your baby the entire flight here.  It is even better if you bring your car seat.  It makes the most sense to use your own car seat so you have it when you arrive.  But where does your baby sleep on long car rides, most likely, without a hitch?  His carseat?  It’s a pain but we use the GoGo Babys wheels for our HUGE Britax car seats.
  • We also used a collapsable wagon – it held the weight of the carseats and all our carry-ons and counted as a stroller at gate check.  If you do this, do not bother with a stroller.
  • These days you do not have to pack mounds of things to do if you have an iPhone or an iPad you can load up with games for your kids.  Babies are happy just looking around, talking, playing.  So do not go crazy packing a “to-do” bag.  You kids should mostly be asleep.
  • Give your baby a bottle, boob or pacifier to help with the elevation and their ears.  Some airlines will not let you do this during take-off/landing, but I would then find alternatives, or immediately after your plane allows it, feed your baby.

Do you have any other tips for an International flight?

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