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Gone are the days when having a baby means your social life is over. Not only do modern parents have more freedom than ever before, but they also see the value of vacationing with kids.
If you’ve come across an exciting vacation opportunity that you just can’t pass up, you may find yourself asking the all-important question: “How soon can you travel with a newborn?”
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Here’s everything you need to know
How Soon Can You Travel With a Newborn? It’s up to the Airlines!
As a parent, you’ll ultimately need to decide when you feel it’s safe to fly with your baby. However, the airlines also have guidelines for flying with a newborn. Some will let you board the plane after just two weeks, while others don’t allow infants less than two months old.
Most airlines also require you to have a medical release stating that it’s safe for the baby to fly. You’ll need to speak with your pediatrician about this. In general, the medical community doesn’t recommend air travel for babies less than one month old unless it’s an emergency.
However, if you do have an emergency, you’ll be glad to know that certain airlines will work with you. For example, Air Canada allows infants that are at least 7-days old, and Southwest Airlines allows babies that are less than 2-weeks old as long as you have a medical release.
Before you plan your trip, verify your airline’s rules, confirm that your pediatrician will sign a release (if necessary), and make sure you bring the baby’s birth certificate to prove his or her age.
Important Safety Concerns
There are several reasons to consider holding off on booking your pick from that list of “Top 10 Tropical Vacations” you’ve been eyeing. Not only do new mothers need postpartum rest, but in-flight conditions are less than ideal for a newborn baby.
Airplanes are noisy, crowded, and full of germs that could seriously stress a newborn’s immune system. Some babies, particularly those that were born prematurely or have respiratory, heart, or lung issues may also have trouble breathing due to the low air pressure. If this applies to your baby, you’ll need to have a serious conversation with your doctor before taking the trip.
There’s also a chance that the cabin air pressure can cause intense ear pain in newborns. This, along with the unfamiliar environment, will likely lead to the baby screaming throughout the entire flight. You might get lucky, but it’s wise to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario.
The Cost of a Newborn Ticket
Many domestic airlines won’t charge for a newborn as long as they’re flying in the lap of a paying adult. However, if you’re flying internationally, you may need to pay as much as 10 to 25 percent of the cost of an adult ticket.
There’s also the concern that a baby flying in someone’s lap could be injured from turbulence since they’re not restrained. You may be able to bring the baby’s car seat or request a baby carrier from the airline, but, in this case, you’ll need to pay for the seat. Some airlines will charge you the full price while others will charge 50 to 75 percent of an adult’s ticket price.
Note that you’ll want to check with the airline to see if they will let you put your baby in a car seat or if they have their own carriers. They may also require you to show certification that your car seat is FAA approved.
If the airline does require you to purchase a seat, make sure that you reserve two seats together. This might seem obvious, but when you’ve got your hands full with planning a vacation and dealing with a newborn, it’s easy to overlook these types of small but extremely important details.
If possible, also try to get aisle seats. This will make it easier for you to do things like change diapers and get to the restroom.
Tips for Flying With a Newborn
Flying with a newborn requires more planning than you’re probably used to, and some special rules apply. For example, the 3.4-ounce limit for liquids on flights does not apply to breast milk, formula, or juice. You can also bring ice packs, liquid or gel-filled teething rings, and cans or jars of processed baby food in your carry-on luggage without an issue.
Note that there’s a chance you’ll need to go through some extra screening, but, in the end, you’ll be able to bring what you need on the plane with no issues.
Here are a few other important tips for flying with a baby:
- Use a clear toiletry bag for your carry-on baby items so they can be screened separately.
- Keep your baby bag under the seat in front of you so that you can easily access it throughout the flight.
- Wash/sanitize your hands frequently and avoid sitting near sick passengers if possible.
These simple things can help make your trip safer and more pleasant!
Start Planning Your Trip Today!
Now that you know the answer to the question: “How soon can you travel with a newborn?” you’re ready to start planning your next vacation! With this information, you can decide whether you’re ready to book now or if you’ll wait until your little one is a bit older.
Looking for even more information to help you make important decisions? Browse through a few more of our blog posts! New content is added all the time, so make sure to bookmark the page and check back often.