flying with a 4 month old

Our Experience Flying With A 4 Month Old

Just the thought of flying with a 4 month old baby can make any new parent stress.  I know we stressed plenty about Kairi’s first flight, and that’s why we decided to test it out as soon as possible.  At least then we could see how she would handle a flight.

To do that we carved out a weekend to visit friends.  Friends that have kids around the same age as Kairi.  That way we didn’t have to pack up and travel with our ever-expanding pile of baby gear.

So for Kairi’s first trip, we opted for the Bay Area.  It’s a short hour flight. With Kairi’s diaper bag doubling as Trang’s purse, the only extra piece of equipment we had with us was the Ergobaby carrier.

Getting Through The Airport

Flying with a 4 month old
Kairi about to board her first plane.

Our first stop at the airport was the check-in counter.  Lap children are not eligible to be checked-in online and are required to be checked-in at the front desk.  We brought her passport and birth certificate, not remembering which one was necessary.  Either would have worked.  Trang received a new ticket with additional text showing she had a lap child and we headed toward the TSA.  So far, no sweat.

TSA was just as smooth.  Trang had researched all the baby travel information and had everything packed correctly.  All she did was request a physical pat-down while having Kairi in the baby carrier, and that was it.  The entire process was quick enough that Kairi continued to sleep through the entire procedure.

Kairi’s First Flight

The flight was 4 hours late, but boarding also went off without a hitch. The delay put Kairi well into the part of the night that our sweet baby can turn into the Incredible Hulk.  So in an attempt to be courteous, we opted to sit in the back of the plane in case Kairi started to cry. We even packed some ear plugs to pass out if she decided to go full terror.

It wasn’t until the captain announced our descent that all hell broke loose.  Kairi was hard to handle for 10-15 minutes.  Refusing to be breastfed or sucking on her binky. All she wanted to do was cry.   Trang finally got her to settle down shortly before landing.  The plane touching down really calmed her.  She fell back to sleep and was out cold as we waited to deplane.  Looking around, we didn’t see anyone giving us dirty looks.  Not having checked any luggage we were able to walk off the plane and out of the airport without any problems.  With our ride already there we hopped into the car and Kairi’s first flight was over.

What We Learned Flying With A 4 Month Old

  • Babies under two fly for free.  Might as well take advantage of this now because you’ll be paying for a ticket for the rest of your life
  • Your baby has to be checked in at the ticket counter.  With either their Passport or Birth certificate.
  • Feeding the baby just before boarding can help them keep calm
  • Your breast pump is considered a medical device, which means it does not count as a “carry on.”
  • There is a lot to learn about traveling with breast milk.  *we’ve linked two extremely useful articles below to help you with this.
  • A baby carrier like the Ergobaby is perfect for keeping your kiddo comfortable as you check in, go through security, and boarding your flight.
  • Once on the plane your child can’t be in baby carriers. Instead, they must sit on the lap un-strapped.  Crazy right?
  • Bring a few small toys, or something you know works well to keep the baby occupied.

The Flight Home

Flying with a 4 month old
Back home from Kairi’s first trip

The flight back was mid-day with Kairi awake during the takeoff.  She wasn’t a fan, but Trang was able to calm her down slightly with a pastry bag that Kairi crumpled to her heart’s content.  During the time the plane climbed to cruising altitude Trang ended up breastfeeding Kairi to keep her from crying.  

After Kairi was asleep, she stayed asleep, and the rest of the flight was perfect.  We even managed to get her off the plane and through the airport, without her waking up.  It wasn’t until we strapped her into a car seat before she got cranky.  She hates all car seats, like really hates them.  

Kairi did pretty well for her first round trip.  Besides the 10 to 15 minutes of pure wailing on the departure flight, she did great.  Gave us the courage to consider a much longer flight while she’s still free.

We recently wrote another article discussing everything we’ve learned about flying with a lap child.  The post is full tips a tricks we used to get through long international flights with our daughter before she turned two years old.  

I also recommend you to read these articles before your first trip.

I also recommend you to read these articles before your first trip.

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