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Flying with newborn

I’m wondering if it is safe to fly with a brand new baby. After reading the posts on ICPC waiting times,it looks like many of you came home within a week or two of birth sonit must be ok.  In our case, If the baby is born when scheduled, it will likely be about a two week wait. Ware adopting from MS and live in CT and there are no direct flights.We have debated driving but its 1200 miles.
I’d love to hear about your experience with flying along with any advice!



We live in VA, adopted from CA.  Flew home with our youngest daughter when she was about 2.5 weeks old.  She had been in the NICU her first 10 days due to meconium aspiration and meth addiction.  Doc still said it was fine to fly (no direct flights for us either) and our daughter handled it wonderfully.  A suggestion- take the infant car seat with you on the plane, dont try and hold her the whole time.  Its safer for her and less exhausting for you!  Make sure you pack plenty of diapers, outfits, and food for the plane.  We once got stuck on a plane (planned 2 hour flight) for over 12 hours, so be super-prepared!!!!!!

Posted by sara on Aug 25, 2012 at 10:44pm

I would definitely fly instead of drive. On the plane you will be able to get your baby out of the carseat and hold him/her if you need to. In the car they have to stay in the seat. You can also get up and walk around on the plane. Sitting in the carseat on a 12 hour drive could actually be more detrimental to the baby than an airplane ride. Staying in one position in the carseat for such a long car ride can affect the baby’s blood flow without frequent stops. It can affect adults too, but adults can at least frequently repositions their bodies. A newborn cannot.
We had a 2 hour car ride with our son and he did great, but I would not have wanted to go much further than that.

Posted by momof3eaj on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:07pm

We live in MD and adopted in AZ.  Our son was 10 days old when we flew home with him.  We were lucky enough to get a direct flight.  We had no issue with the fligh.  I would say 95% of the passengers did not even know he was on there.  For most of flight he was attached to me in the baby bjorn.  This allowed me to be comfortable and I was also able to rest.  I made sure I fed him during take off and landing but he slept for most of the flight. I also agree be over prepared.  Make sure you have plenty of diapers formual and extra clothes.  I would also carry extra blankets.  Good luck and congrats.

Posted by Bo&Jay; on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:12pm

We are from CA and adopted from LA and had connecting flights in DFW.  I had the baby in a sling the whole flight and we also bought one for my husband so that he could hold her to give me a break.  It was great and worked really well.  We bought the Hotslings brand as they are one pc and safe.  Our daughter was only 2.5 weeks old so I did not want her in a car seat… but strapped to me she was cuddled the whole time.  This method also allowed some really cool bonding time with our daughter.  We had one of those car seat frame strollers - they are great and gate checked that and the car seat for movement in the airport and inbetween flights.

Like the other poster said BE PREPARED… since you cannot bring a bunch of liquid on the plane we did the individual packets of formula and there is plenty of bottled water on the plane.  The attendents will also heat water for you if you need it.  Be sure to let the baby suck on your finger or a pacificer during take off and landing as this causes pressure on the ears and the sucking decreases the pressure build up.  Our daughter did wonderfully and we had people commenting that they did not even know a newborn was on the flight.

Posted by Special K on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:22pm

ps…. Congrats and good luck…...

Posted by Special K on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:23pm

We also flew with our daughter who was 2 weeks old and we didn’t have a direct flight.  She did great mostly sleeping in the baby bjorn.  We also fed her during takeoff and landing.  It is definitely a good idea to have a diaper bag with plenty of supplies and clothes.  One thing to make sure you have if the doctor release form saying that it is OK for the little one to fly - at least we were told to have it, although we were never asked to show it to anyone.  Congrats!

Posted by adoptiondaddytim on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:26pm

First, you need a doctor’s note to fly with an infant of less than 2 weeks old. Trust me on this one. (We were almost arrested for not having it when we flew with DS.) Why? Well, there is an infinitesimal chance that the baby’s ears could be damaged. It rarely happens.

Second, you can take as much liquid as you want for a baby! We took bottles of water in the diaper bag and there were no questions asked. You don’t need to heat formula. It’s a lot easier if your baby takes formula at room temp or cold. 

Third, as one poster mentioned, don’t put the baby in an infant seat for the whole flight. It’s actually not good for them. We bought a seat for DS and put him in his infant seat, but he didn’t like being in there, so we held him the whole flight. We held our DD in a sling the whole flight.

Good luck!

Posted by rredhead on Aug 25, 2012 at 11:50pm

We live in New York and adopted from the Seattle, Washington area.  Our daughter was 7 days old when we flew home (a week sooner than expected) on a direct Jet Blue flight from Sea-Tac Airport to JFK.  We needed a note from our daughter’s pediatrician in Seattle (which was easily obtained) and an FAA/airline-approved infant carrier.  Most infant carriers are FAA-approved.  Our flight crew was awesome; they secured our daughter’s seat in the airplane seat, and they were very helpful throughout the entire 6 hour flight.  Our daughter slept almost the entire flight, just awaking once for a diaper change and feeding.  The flight crew assised in the diaper change process, setting up the diaper deck in the lavatory and staying with us in case we needed assistance.  Thankfully there was no turbulence!  Airport security was the most difficult part.  They made us take the baby out of the carrier, take the carrier out of the base, and they practically drank the formula.  Really?!  They were pretty nasty, too, because (since we were very new parents with a tiny baby) we weren’t doing things fast enough for them.  Hopefully you will get nicer TSA agents.  Once we got past them, the rest of the trip was much easier!  Good luck with your adoption and your trip!

Posted by beanie's mom on Aug 26, 2012 at 12:05am

Flew from Memphis to Maine when my son was 4 days old. No problem at all - just held him (no carrier) and had no problem taking liquid formula on. We also didn’t need a doctors note. It was the easiest part of the process for us - they are so little and they just eat, sleep and snuggle. Good luck!!

Posted by kateknox on Aug 26, 2012 at 8:15am

Soooo helpful everyone! Every story confident. As foster parents we have flown twice w. a baby, but never this new. Its really good to hear others have flown w very very little ones. I know that once we get the ok we’ll be anxious!

Posted by on Aug 26, 2012 at 10:12am

We flew with our 2-week old daughter (that’s how long it took for ICPC, etc. to clear).  We were never asked for any paperwork, but we did have guardianship papers along.  She flew like a pro… slept most of the time on my lap or in our moby wrap.  When we were ascending I tried to keep her sucking on a pacifier to help her ears out.  But she got so irritated at me for keeping her awake that I gave up.  She went to sleep and was fine.  On the descent 4 hours later, she never made a peep.

Like a PP said, take as much water and formula as you wish along.  I had a fairly large can of formula in my diaper bag and nothing was ever said.  (We bought water after we were through security). If you need more water than you brought along, just ask the flight attendant—they’re more than happy to accommodate your request.

Hope all goes well for you!

Posted by Waiting4baby on Aug 26, 2012 at 4:27pm

You can bring water and formula for babies, but it is an extra step for TSA, so expect it to take longer.  There is no limit, but I did have one TSA agent tell me I had “too many” bottles of water and he took some of it.  Most of the security are fine, but there is a protocol they are supposed to follow, so give yourself extra time.

Posted by jszmom on Aug 27, 2012 at 1:24am

We flew with our son from N. California to S. California, but the airline staff needed assurance that he was over 11 days old so there would be no damage caused to his ears.  Thankfully we had a letter from the pediatrition & all went well even though it was his 11th day.  However, on descent, he drank up all of his bottle while we were still circuling around, so got quite irritable until we were on the ground.  Sucking on anything else did not help him—even on my finger covered with a soft muslin diaper. The lady next to me was very understanding & sang to him while he screamed.  He always has problems with his ears when he flies (even @16), so we wonder if it was still too soon for us to have flown with him.  Agree with all above who say to be prepared with more formula, water, diapers, etc.  Good luck!

Posted by cairtmg on Aug 27, 2012 at 7:19am

Hello!  We flew from Texas to Minnesota with our little guy - 3 weeks old.  I wore a Moby and he slept the entire way.  Someone mentioned the ears - and if you are nervous about that, give baby a bottle/pacifier on take off and landing.  Safe travels!

Posted by Bexevan on Aug 27, 2012 at 9:16pm

My first four children were all born where we were living at the time, but I had to fly home with my last two kids.  We were living in Utah by then.  One was three weeks old when I brought him home.  He was born in Arizona so, fortunately, it was a short, direct, flight.  My youngest came home at one week old, from Miami.  It was a much longer flight, and we had a layover in St. Louis.  My now-ex husband never went with me, and I always had at least one other child with me. 

I see that several others have had their babies in a front pack or sling of some kind.  I did that, too, for several reasons. Of course, I didn’t have to worry that if I got distracted for half a second, someone might grab the baby out of a stroller.  Another, very important reason is to limit the baby’s exposure to other people.  Everyone wants to see a newborn.  I didn’t mind showing them but if the baby is in a stroller and they are looking down at him/her, if they even breath, some microscopic particles from their nasal passages could fall on the baby.  Airports are full of people from all over the US and other parts of the world, so there are a wide variety of germs.  I feel like it is much safer if they are looking at the baby from the side. Also, with the baby strapped to your chest, they won’t get as close as they might, otherwise. 

I got to Miami to pick up my daughter just as a storm was brewing in the Atlantic.  It turned into a hurricane and they started taking people from our hotel to a shelter.  As long as it was voluntary, I stayed at the hotel.  I was not nearly as afraid of the hurricane, which was only a level one, at that point, as I was of having a baby that old in a small, enclosed, area with tourists from all over the world.  I walked to a store and got as much bottled water as I could, to mix formula, and just sat tight.  When they said that the storm had increased to where they were making everyone leave the hotel, I begged them to look for another place for me to go besides the shelter.  Fortunately, they found an available hotel room in an area that was not being evacuated.  It required more time in a taxi, but it was much better than having to go to a shelter!

Good luck when you bring your baby home!  I have had three grandchildren born within the last five years and my sons and the babies’ mothers haven’t taken them anywhere for at least several weeks. It is one of the things that makes adoption NOT the easy way, that we so often have to take our new babies out to places like airports and hotels!

Oh, and I also tried to have them sucking on a pacifier or bottle nipple during takeoff and landing. The requirement of a doctor’s note to take a newborn on a plane must be new, since my kids were born.  I would think you could get one from your physician at home, rather than trying to find a doctor in your baby’s birth place.  Or, maybe the agency could help you with that.

I always carried copies of documents verifying that the children had been placed with us for adoption when we traveled, for their first several years of life.  Especially with the three who are black (I’m white, and my ex is too) I didn’t want to take any chances that anyone might think they weren’t mine!  We did get questioned, once, when traveling with the first of our black babies, so I was really thankful that I had the adoption papers with me!

Well, I’ve written too much, as usual!  Have a safe trip!

Posted by Darillyn on Aug 31, 2012 at 2:45am

Actually, you can bring liquid formula and a small cooler for it on the plane. I just did this when I flew across country with my 19 month old. He uses special formula that is a lot easier to deal with when premixed.  Run the formula through the scanner separately and state what it is. The TSA will probably want to test both the liquid and powdered formula when you go through security.

If you do go the powdered formula route, it’s very helpful to get one of those containers with three sections for pre-measuring your formula. It’s easier to pour the powder into the bottle from one of those containers.

Posted by daniotra on Aug 31, 2012 at 3:58am

We flew from California to Maine in February, not a direct flight.  It took about 9 hours to get home, no problem for our 8 day old baby, he just slept, waking up only to be changed and fed.  We gave him a bottle at take off and landing.  We had no problems with security, the only thing is that he needed to come out of the car seat and it needed to be seperated from the base.  We took along the pre filled formula bottles that you get in the hospital and had no issues with security and they were easy to use on the plane.
The flight was simple and we sat next to a very nice woman who was so happy to hear about our adoption and reassured us that a little crying wouldn’t bother her.  The baby never made a peep! We were so anxious but we ended up being worked up for nothing.
Good luck to you!

Posted by onedaysoon on Sep 04, 2012 at 11:34pm

Those of you who had NB in a car seat for the flight…. did you pay for an extra ticket for the baby or did the airline find you a spare seat?

Posted by on Sep 05, 2012 at 4:29am

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