Author Topic: Traveling with a 7 month old?  (Read 994 times)

BuffaloStache

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Traveling with a 7 month old?
« on: October 16, 2017, 08:04:11 AM »
My family is going on a mini-vacation next week, and trying our best to do it the frugal way; we are staying with friends, using mass transit when we can to get around, etc. Since we will be flying on an airplane, and bringing our 7 month old son on an airplane for the first time, we were hoping to minimize (as much as possible) the hectic-ness that comes with child airplane travel. The real question is: can we get away without bringing a stroller at all, and just bring our hiking child-carrying backpack instead? He does seem to love riding in the backpack, and it would be much easier to travel with than the big, bulky stroller.

Additionally, since we are staying at a friend's house: any advice on sleeping arrangements? DS currently sleeps in a pack-n-play, but lugging that across the country doesn't seem great either. Should we buy one and have it shipped to my friends house, and just have him sell it on Craigslist after (still cheaper than hotel)? Or just suck it up and let our son sleep in bed with us?
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Millennialworkerbee

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 08:18:58 AM »
You can absolutely get away without a stroller at that age, IMO (15 month old over here). In fact, if you have a front carrier (Ergo, Boba, Moby, etc), baby can sleep in that on the plane (white noise will hopefully put him to sleep).

If you don't bring the pack and play where will he nap? When we travel, our son usually ends up in the bed with us at night, but starts the night/ takes his naps in the pack and play. Since your son is used to the pack and play, I'd say buy one and have it delivered there- being somewhere new will be overstimulating enough for him, if you can mimic the home sleep environment, I think you'll be grateful.

We flew at 7 months with our son and honestly it was a breeze. Don't let thehorror stories scare you!

KCM5

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 08:38:02 AM »
You'll be fine with just a carrier. However, I've never brought a child carrying hiking pack on a plane - those things are pretty big. Is yours smaller/more soft structured? We had a soft carrier at that age that worked great for travel (an Ergo). They might make you gate check it if its large, which shouldn't be a problem. If you brought a stroller you would gate check that as well.

When we travelled at that age we just had the baby sleep in bed with us as that's where she'd end up anyway. If your kid sleeps well in a pack and play, you could buy/leave if you want - if its a short trip that wouldn't be worth it to me, buy YMMV. Also, depending on the life situation of your friends, maybe they know someone that has one to lend to you? It's pretty common to lend out pack and plays in my social network, but we're of the age that people have young kids.

acroy

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2017, 08:39:39 AM »
Yes! backpack carriers are GREAT. The soft kind - not the framed kind. We've had both and have not found an advantage to the framed type.

We took or 9month old all over Paris for 2 weeks back in the day. By foot, averaged 14miles/day. Great times.

Sleeping: pop-up mini tent thingamabob, i don't know what it's really called. Like this. But ours was simpler and $20 iirc. We still use it, for MMM #7.
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iowajes

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2017, 08:40:13 AM »
We traveled with a 4 month old, and are planning a trip with our 9 month old.

We don't travel with a stroller, we use our Lillebaby.  But I rarely use the stroller at home.  If the hiking backpack is framed, it might be tough on a plane because the frame may prevent it from being under the seat or in the overhead. 

We borrow a pack and play when we get to our location.  I think that buying one and selling it would be a good solution too- you can get basic ones for less than $100, probably less if your friend looks for a used one.

She sat in our lap on the plane at 4 months. She screamed for take off then mostly slept. The one (of 6) flights where she was fussy at the end, others on the plane did their best to try to amuse her too.  One woman read her a magazine, it was sweet.   I did notice the planes are so loud only about 5-6 rows around you hear the crying, which made me feel a bit better (when I walked to the bathroom, I walked by a screaming baby I hadn't known was there.)  We booked our seats as aisle and window, and then if someone was seated in the middle traded them, but tried to maximize our chance of getting the spare seat.

The one thing to make sure to ask: is there a oxygen mask in the row you are seated in.
On one flight, there was a baby in the row across from us too. I asked the flight attendant and she said 'they wouldn't have ticketed you that way if it wasn't ok". Then 5 minutes later a different flight attendant moved us because I was right- that plane did NOT have oxygen masks on both sides of the aisle and we were ticketed in an illegal configuration.

Really though, flying was fine. I'm more nervous about the upcoming 20 hours in the car with 2 dogs.

Laura33

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 09:03:04 AM »
1.  Yes, you can use a backpack carrier just fine.  Although we loved our stroller -- it was the kind that the carseat buckled into, so we'd throw the carry-on bags on top of the carseat and use it as a luggage trolly to get to the plane (while carrying DD to give her some freedom before the flight), then detach the carseat, gate-check the stroller, buckle the carseat into the plane seat, and pop DD into her seat.  Obviously this is not as practical if you did not get the baby its own seat. 

2.  I would not significantly mess with sleeping arrangements on a big trip.  There is no way to ruin a vacation more quickly than to have a baby that refuses to sleep -- and there will already be enough changes that are going to mess up the schedule.  I'd either borrow a pack and play, or get that awesome little tent acroy linked to and practice using it at home before taking it on the trip.

3.  Bigger-picture:  traveling with kids can be fun!  You just have to have very, very low expectations.  Lots of stops, short attention spans, kid-friendly locations like parks (vs. museums and such), lots of opportunities to run around/get sunshine/get the wiggles out, hanging out in the living room/yard with friends vs. going/seeing/doing/etc.  Stick with your normal routine as much as you can -- be the sleep or food nazi if you have one of those kids (I did) -- and enjoy!

4.  I hereby give you permission to do whatever you need to to get through the flight.  All "good parent" rules are suspended when you are stuck in a flying tennis ball can 30,000 feet high with 200 Judgy McJudgersons who firmly believe that babies don't belong on planes.  I was a healthy-food-and-minimal-TV queen, but you put me on a plane with the baby, and I used snacks as entertainment and whipped out the DVD player as soon as it was allowed. 

Added bonus: when you don't normally serve Oreos or allow all-day Elmo-watching fests, those things become HUGE treats.  Which tends to make for enthralled babies/toddlers.  Which may then lead to spontaneous praise about your parenting skills.*  Oreos and Elmo FTW.

*Ask me how I know.  No one will ever notice when you spend time and effort making sure your child eats a healthy, balanced diet, gets enough sleep, doesn't rot in front of a screen all day, etc.  But shut him up with an Oreo on an airplane, and your fellow passengers will nominate you for Mom of the Year.
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starbuck

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 11:29:28 AM »
Additionally, since we are staying at a friend's house: any advice on sleeping arrangements? DS currently sleeps in a pack-n-play, but lugging that across the country doesn't seem great either. Should we buy one and have it shipped to my friends house, and just have him sell it on Craigslist after (still cheaper than hotel)? Or just suck it up and let our son sleep in bed with us?

I would ask the friend to reach out to their local social circle about borrowing a pack-n-play (aka ask on Facebook.) My parents did that for us when we went to visit last month with our toddler. Also when you're flying with a child under 2, you can check two pieces of baby equipment for free, aka a travel crib, car seat, or stroller. You can gate check the stroller for free too. I've traveled a lot with our kid, both as a family and solo (even once solo without a wallet or any identification!) and I prefer a stroller so I would have somewhere to put him that wasn't on me. But my kid never liked the carrier after the first few months, so just trust your gut on this. It will all work out and get easier next time. Have fun!

GizmoTX

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 01:08:30 PM »
We travelled with DS at age 4 months, 9 months, 1.5 years, & every year thereafter. We used a backpack for a diaper bag.

Make sure you make some provision for a good car seat. We opted for an FAA approved one (where the vehicle seatbelt goes over the carseat, not behind it, & the carseat has its own 5-point straps), always bought our son a seat on the plane, & used the carseat in the plane. He and we were so much more comfortable, he was safer & could sleep most of the time. The carseat had pop out wheels that converted it to a stroller, so no need to bring that, & we could just roll him through the airport.

After several less than satisfactory experiences with rental cribs, we always brought a pack&play along as checked luggage.

jwharki

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 01:21:08 PM »
We traveled with two ~7 mo. olds last week.  We brought a stroller and soft carriers.  The babies mostly rode in the carriers in the airport and on the plane, and we definitely could have gotten away with not bringing the stroller.  It was nice to be able to wheel our carry-ons through the airport, though.

cats

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 04:37:18 PM »
I agree that you don't need a stroller.  We use an ergo carrier when travelling and at that age it is plenty.

However, if you aren't already in the habit of co-sleeping, I think you DO need some kind of sleeping set-up.  We traveled with our son at about the same age and once or twice in desperation I tried taking him into bed with us.  It didn't work out well, he's a big thrasher and the bed was just not large enough to accommodate.  There's also the issue of napping, if you are not out and about, it's nice to be able to pop the kid in his space and then chill and take a nap in the bed yourself, or just be able to leave the room without worrying about where baby is going to roll off to.

I'd do as a prior poster suggested and see if your host knows anyone locally who can loan one. 

GreenQueen

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 07:56:32 PM »
I travelled alone with 6-month old across country by plane. I wore her in a carrier en route and everywhere else. (Stroller absolutely not necessary, but they are free to check, fyi.)

I love the pack and play. Itís so much better having baby in her own safe space for me. That said, you can order a really solid $40 version off Amazon and have it delivered to your destination if you donít want to haul it with you or pay to check it.

Also, while the pack and play technically speaking is not free to check, I fold it up in its travel bag and check it for free as a stroller (it holds a kid, right?) with the car seat. This has worked numerous times. Compared to the mammoth strollers that people get to check for free, I figure Iím entitled to 2 pieces of baby gear. Happy travels.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 10:25:50 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone! We are definitely not going to bring the stroller.

Also, a coworker was able to lend us a much more portable baby co-sleeper thing, so we are going to test it out for the next 2 nights and see if DS will sleep in it. If he does, then we'll just use that instead of lugging the pack n play around.

I'm also intrigued by the pop-up tent/crib idea, so I may keep that in mind for future travels. I'll be sure to report back after our trip to let everyone know how it went
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iowajes

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2017, 12:32:51 AM »
Look into airline policies before you check gear. Many will not be liable for damage unless you package in the original boxes and packaging, and who does that?

Some strollers are really expensive, so consider that.

We chose to carry her carseat and gate check it rather than check it at the counter.  It worked well for us.

reeshau

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2017, 07:01:02 AM »
Our son, now 2 1/2, flies at least once a quarter (since age 6 months) and now has miles accumulated for free tickets on 2 airlines.

One comment on Iowajes' point about oxygen masks:  before anyone panics, of course every seat has oxygen masks.  the concern is an *extra* oxygen mask, for babies riding on laps.  That is commonly on one side of the plane, on smaller aircraft.  (right-hand side for Delta, not sure if it's consistent)  It is something to ask about if you are not reserving a separate seat for your child.

We did hold our son sometimes on short flights, but generally we bought him a seat, and brought his car seat onboard.  You cannot hold your baby through turbulence.  (look up the definition of "moderate" turbulence) and a wrap-type carrier cannot, either.  For us, it was about safety more than convenience, but I have seen all these strategies employed by people.

Of course, with a carseat the stroller becomes the carseat and/or stuff carrier.  We did buy a heavy duty bag for gate checking it, and it worked well.

At his age now, we use a Cares Kids Fly Safe harness.  He is still getting used to is--does not sleep as readily, as he is more upright.  But, sitting in the full seat means he can't kick the seat in front of him, and gives us some extra room, sitting next to him.

Finally, another option you might look into if you can't borrow a pack-n-play is to rent one.  Many resort areas have supporting industries of baby equipment rentals.  Maybe there is one near your friend.  Also, if you bought one, do you visit regularly?  It can be more than a one-time item.  (in our case, Grandma bought one for grandchild #1, and it has been reused for quite some time--great purchase!)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 02:36:55 PM by reeshau »

BuffaloStache

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2017, 08:26:07 AM »
Our son, now 2 1/2, flies at least once a quarter (since age 6 months) and now has miles accumulated for free tickets on 2 airlines.
...

Thanks for the insight. Just curious- lap infants (when you hold the baby on your lap), do *not* accrue any bonus miles, right? My thought was that only children who have their own seat earn miles.
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formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2017, 12:03:15 PM »
Be aware that you cannot get through security with a baby strapped in a carrier.  When I flew with a six-month-old, they insisted that I not only take the baby out of the carrier, but that I take it off of me and put the carrier through the xray machine.  I was travelling by myself with baby - I finally made the security person hold my daughter (security didn't want to; I refused to put the baby on the floor) so I could take off the stupid carrier.

Have you thought about buying a really cheap umbrella stroller?  You can use it in the airport, gate check it, and then decide if you want to use it occasionally at your destination.

And...bring LOTS of extra snacks.  Flying made baby hungry (or she was in a growth spurt). I had enough food in my carryon to cover her for 24 hours (for a 6-hour travel time), just in case there were delays.  She ate ALL of it (and there were no delays).

On another, driving, trip, that same child literally grew more than an inch overnight.  I measured her on Monday, packed a suitcase, and left.  Tuesday morning her clothes didn't fit.  I had to send my mom to Walmart to buy some new onesies. I found a tape measure and measured her again.  Now I always pack at least one outfit in a larger size, just in case.
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wordnerd

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2017, 12:08:35 PM »
If you will visit the friend again, you could have a pack-n-play shipped. We did that with my parents. We also had good success with a pop-up like acroy posted when we went to Europe. We put the pop-up in DS's pack-n-play for awhile before we left so he associated with sleep. Worked great.

I agree with bringing a carrier and no stroller. Have a great time!

iowajes

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2017, 12:21:43 PM »
Be aware that you cannot get through security with a baby strapped in a carrier.  When I flew with a six-month-old, they insisted that I not only take the baby out of the carrier, but that I take it off of me and put the carrier through the xray machine.  I was travelling by myself with baby - I finally made the security person hold my daughter (security didn't want to; I refused to put the baby on the floor) so I could take off the stupid carrier.

Wow, that sucks.

Both sides (CID and ALB) of security I walked through wearing the carrier (a front carry).  They did swab my hands though.

reeshau

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2017, 02:35:27 PM »
Our son, now 2 1/2, flies at least once a quarter (since age 6 months) and now has miles accumulated for free tickets on 2 airlines.
...

Thanks for the insight. Just curious- lap infants (when you hold the baby on your lap), do *not* accrue any bonus miles, right? My thought was that only children who have their own seat earn miles.

Correct--you have to pay to play.  But, you can get free kids' wings.  :)  He has a pile of them--most FA's still assume it's his first flight.  I am just waiting for a silver elite luggage tag to attach to his diaper bag...

mm1970

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2017, 03:03:52 PM »
Our son, now 2 1/2, flies at least once a quarter (since age 6 months) and now has miles accumulated for free tickets on 2 airlines.

One comment on Iowajes' point about oxygen masks:  before anyone panics, of course every seat has oxygen masks.  the concern is an *extra* oxygen mask, for babies riding on laps.  That is commonly on one side of the plane, on smaller aircraft.  (right-hand side for Delta, not sure if it's consistent)  It is something to ask about if you are not reserving a separate seat for your child.

We did hold our son sometimes on short flights, but generally we bought him a seat, and brought his car seat onboard.  You cannot hold your baby through turbulence.  (look up the definition of "moderate" turbulence) and a wrap-type carrier cannot, either.  For us, it was about safety more than convenience, but I have seen all these strategies employed by people.

Of course, with a carseat the stroller becomes the carseat and/or stuff carrier.  We did buy a heavy duty bag for gate checking it, and it worked well.

At his age now, we use a Cares Kids Fly Safe harness.  He is still getting used to is--does not sleep as readily, as he is more upright.  But, sitting in the full seat means he can't kick the seat in front of him, and gives us some extra room, sitting next to him.

Finally, another option you might look into if you can't borrow a pack-n-play is to rent one.  Many resort areas have supporting industries of baby equipment rentals.  Maybe there is one near your friend.  Also, if you bought one, do you visit regularly?  It can be more than a one-time item.  (in our case, Grandma bought one for grandchild #1, and it has been reused for quite some time--great purchase!)
+1

We flew a lot with kid #1.

- we made sure there was a borrowed pack n play for sleeping at the other end
- we always bought him a seat.  Seriously having the extra leg room, storage room for the diaper bag, and the carseat for long flights (we always flew cross country or to Hawaii), worth it.  And much safer
- we never took the stroller - used the Bjorn or Ergo or backpack.  Didn't pull that out until kid #2 was born.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2017, 03:47:29 PM »
We have traveled a lot with DD and once since having our second.

Most banks of three seats have four oxygen masks, so you are limited to one lap child per three seat section.  This meant my wife and I had to split up when both were lap infants, but is not a concern for a single baby.

In your position, I’d buy/ship a pack n play because it’ll be less than paying to check it.  Or fly Southwest, where you still get two checked items included in the ticket price.  Strollers and car seats are free to check.  We use a Scenera NEXT as a travel car seat because it’s 7 lbs and $40 so it wouldn’t be a disaster if it got lost or damaged.  If they lose your checked car seat, the airlines have loaners.  That happened to us once.

Bring extra diapers/wipes/formula/snacks in case of delays.

I’ve always worn the kids through security and only had to take off the carrier once because it was a ring sling with metal rings.  I had to hand my baby to a stranger to get the carrier back on, but oh well.

The best thing you can do is have a roll with it attitude.  My kid had three blowouts in a five hour flight (pressure change?) and ended up not wearing pants but we had a great trip and are glad the kids get to spend time with family.

reeshau

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2017, 06:03:17 AM »
We have traveled a lot with DD and once since having our second.

Most banks of three seats have four oxygen masks, so you are limited to one lap child per three seat section.  This meant my wife and I had to split up when both were lap infants, but is not a concern for a single baby.

In your position, Iíd buy/ship a pack n play because itíll be less than paying to check it.  Or fly Southwest, where you still get two checked items included in the ticket price.  Strollers and car seats are free to check.  We use a Scenera NEXT as a travel car seat because itís 7 lbs and $40 so it wouldnít be a disaster if it got lost or damaged.  If they lose your checked car seat, the airlines have loaners.  That happened to us once.

Bring extra diapers/wipes/formula/snacks in case of delays.

Iíve always worn the kids through security and only had to take off the carrier once because it was a ring sling with metal rings.  I had to hand my baby to a stranger to get the carrier back on, but oh well.

The best thing you can do is have a roll with it attitude.  My kid had three blowouts in a five hour flight (pressure change?) and ended up not wearing pants but we had a great trip and are glad the kids get to spend time with family.

+1 on rolling with it.  Really, any traveler will do better if they understand travel is dynamic, and you need to be flexible.  But with a baby, even more so.  And, eventually, a blowout will happen on a plane.  The airlines do not plan for that--you need to.  Blankets in this case are quick...containment devices.  Change of clothes is mandatory, and pants over shorts can also help at the worst times.

Also, as I wasn't clear on oxygen masks:  by small, I mean a regional jet:  1 + 2 or 2+2.  Any mainline plane, 3+3 will have equipment on both sides.  But as SimpleCycle points out, there are still limits.

FireLane

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2017, 11:23:30 AM »
This may go without saying, but it's worth it to make sure your baby will sleep in a pack-n-play before you leave on your trip. Ours flat-out refuses to, which limits our travel options. But some towns and cities have crib rental services you can take advantage of if you're in the same situation as us.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Traveling with a 7 month old?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2017, 02:27:26 PM »
This may go without saying, but it's worth it to make sure your baby will sleep in a pack-n-play before you leave on your trip. Ours flat-out refuses to, which limits our travel options. But some towns and cities have crib rental services you can take advantage of if you're in the same situation as us.

Good point FL, but my DS only sleeps in a pack-n-play, so this was nothing new for him.

...also, update- the trip was a HUGE success! DS slept for large portions of both flights and hardly fussed at all. Bringing the backpack was much more nimble than a stroller, and worked extremely well. We never once even missed the stroller.
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