15 months old-lap baby? — The Bump
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15 months old-lap baby?

Sorry for the deluge of questions...but it is nice to finally have this board

I am travelling back to the States this March with DD to visit family.  So far on our international flights, DD has been a lap baby.  Technically, she can be a lap baby until two, but next time I travel she will be 15 months old.  My orginal plan was to only fly to New Jersey to visit my family, but MIL in Texas is throwing a bitchfit that I wont fly there as well to see her....so WWYD

Lap baby or buy her a ticket?

I think I can suck up the 12+ hours of having her on my lap-but I would love other perspectives/advice on this.

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Re: 15 months old-lap baby?

  • We stop doing lap babies overseas around 12 months, mainly because they have outgrown the bassinet by that point, and she will not want to sit on your lap for 12 hours, at least in my experience. It is also safer for them to have their own seat. But, and this is a big but, it is also a pain to put them in the car seat because they can kick the seat in front of them, so it is better to do rear facing (if you clear it with the person in front of you because then they can't recline) or go without a car seat and get a CARES harness, as long as she weighs 22 lbs.
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  • Why doesn't she fly to NJ to see you?

    We flew with DD as a lap baby in September when she was 17 months old and, honestly, it was a bit of a nightmare. Thank goodness we ended up with an extra seat (and a bassinet) on the international flight or I would have gone insane, I think. There were a lot of other things that made that trip awful, but in retrospect, I think once they're walking it's way easier on Mom and Dad if they have their own seat. However, remember that the flight is only 12+ hours, and in the grand scheme of things, that's not all that long. So if you decide for financial reasons you want her as a lap baby, you'll all survive (if a little worse for the wear on landing :-)). DD was already walking at 12 months when we flew to the States, and we had her as a lap baby and it went fine. We spent the entire flight trading off 1-hour shifts of walking around the bathroom area with her, though, so were very thankful there was no turbulence.


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  • For safety, it would always be a separate seat for us, but beyond that I'd definitely think it would depend on your LO's personality.  For my DS, he rarely sits still on our laps for anything, so I can't imagine him ever sitting still on a plane.  He only even sits to watch Sesame Street for maybe a minute or two.  However, his little buddy traveled this way all the time at that age, including transatlantic, with no problem.

    And like the PP, I'd ask your Texas family to come to NJ. That's a long "extra flight" for you guys to make.

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  • We'll be flying to the US this Xmas and D will be19 months. The last time we did it he was 14 months and they gave us an empty seat. We put his carseat in there BUT it was horrible. The man in front of him kept complaining that D was kicking him because he reclined his seat all the way. Then D wouldn't sleep in there so I had him in my lap anyway. Next time, if they give us an extra seat again I won't bring the car seat, I'll just keep the extra room to move around. If we don't have an extra seat but have him in our laps it will be no worse than last time since the carseat took up the entire extra seat. Just my experience. 
  • Lap baby IMHO.

    We red eyed a 9 hour flight + 1 hour drive to another airport + another 1 hr flight with DS in arms at 19 months. Not ideal but it was fine. Fine as in the usual not a lot of rest when flying with a small child :)

    Usually the airlines are quite good about seating you in a spot with empty seats next to you if possible. 

  • Thanks, I appreciate all your responses.

      Orginally, I was trying to plan my trip to New Jersey to coincide with MIL's annual trip there (she still has family in the area) However, I got an email from her saying instead of her flying to New Jersey that DD and I should "just fly to Texas...I'll buy your ticket" I hate how she turns it into financial (reoccuring theme with her).  I think I need to just speak up and tell her no...she can be very passive aggressive and a PITA to deal with...but she is a great grandmother to DD.

    I found a really good deal on airline tickets from Aberdeen to NYC in the beginning of March, so we could manage two tickets-I know she will never last in the car seat on the Amsterdam to NYC flight so I love the idea of the CARES harness-thanks :)

    On a prior trip they had empty seats and gave us one for DD that was great, but the during our last trip to the States (August) the flights were packed.  March is not the peak season, so there is a chance that the flight will not be booked, but not sure if willing to take the risk...decisions...decisions.-but thanks again for all the helpful input!

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  • Have absolutely no advice obviously but I totally understand the pressure family puts on you! I know I've talked about this ridiculous trip to the states next summer many times already, but I'm finding it hilarious how many aunts and uncles and cousins are all 'well, if you're in Kansas City already, you could just fly to St Louis... or Charleston... or Miami... or wherever!' Like it's so easy!
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  • There is no way in He!! that I'd travel with DD on my lap any further than an hours flight! One hour to the UK is horrible, she just squirms and wants her own seat. 

    Last time we went to the US she was 8 months old and we got her a seat, best thing ever. She had her infant seat belted in and took her naps in there, sat in it while we had our meals etc it was great.  

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  • First of all I think it is nuts that you are expected to travel to TX from the East Coast after flying from Europe. I would probably tell her she can come to you as it is much easier for her to travel by herself. 

    DD was a lap infant until 2 except on our second trip to Europe when she was 16 months old.  On the way out there we actually got upgraded to business deom DC to Paris but only for 2 of us so she was a lap child on that leg.  Ont he way back she was mostly in my lap anyway but it was nice to have the extra space and she took her naps in her car seat. 

    For the short (2-3 hour) flights in US that we take regularly it was fine to have her on my lap. But she is pretty much attached to me anwyay so if you have a kid that wants her own space lap child may not be a good idea.

    I will say that I don't take the car seat on the plane anymore after that one trip to Europe and just use the Cares harness.  It saves on room and she can stand on her seat and strecth out when the seat belt sign is off.  We flew back economy on our most recent trip (we used to be able to fly economy plus for free but not anymore) and it would have totally sucked to have a car seat in those seats. Even without one you can barely get to your stowed luggage, especially if the person in front reclines their seat.

    So, long story short, I would probably get her a seat for the transatlantic flight, especially if it is just you and her. I like the Cares harness although she can't really sleep in it but she just slept on me.

    Domestic flights (should you decide to do that) I think either would be fine. 

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  • imagefrlcb:
    We stop doing lap babies overseas around 12 months, mainly because they have outgrown the bassinet by that point, and she will not want to sit on your lap for 12 hours, at least in my experience. It is also safer for them to have their own seat. But, and this is a big but, it is also a pain to put them in the car seat because they can kick the seat in front of them, so it is better to do rear facing (if you clear it with the person in front of you because then they can't recline) or go without a car seat and get a CARES harness, as long as she weighs 22 lbs.

    This. We love our CARES. 

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  • Hmm. We've done it both ways. In all honesty, at htat age, they never sat in their seat much. It does give extra space to sit and play, but it doesn't mean they'll be happy in it. My kids only ever sleep ON me or DH on flights. I have no idea why. We haven't tried a car seat (never wanted to lug it overseas just for a flight, as we borrow from family there), but we've tried CARES and teh bassinets and the seats some airlines have. They always end up on us. :P I'd have hated to spend a lot of money for it to just be wasted, esp if it's an overnight flight, you know?
    Mum to W (4) and M (nearly 2)
  • last time I flew with dd as a lap baby she was 11 months, and even then I bought her a seat for the domestic flights in the US as those seats are SO small!!!

    I think at 15 months I probably would buy a seat. Last time I flew dd was 23 months and I LOVED the extra seat for the flight - so worth the money. Just gave her room to sit and play and she could lay down to sleep with her head on my lap. Honestly that's the worst part IMO - the sleep.

    For playing - if you're in the bulkhead, a 15 month old wouldn't be so bad - as you have a lot of legroom area for them to play. But I could barely hold my 11 month old comfortably in our 1 seat when she finally fell asleep so that was the worst part.

    But it's totally doable if you really want to just go lapbaby, just prepare not to sleep as it's terribly uncomfortable! :)

  • btw I just wanted to say ditto on the CARES harness

    a carseat on the plane, in our experience, is just a PITA unless they sleep the whole time (like after our 14 hour flight, when we went on our final domestic flight I brought my sit'n'stroll on the flight cause she had passed out with exhaustion by then). But the rest of the time, the CARES was much better, less to lug on and more space in the seats for when they want to be awake, my dd wouldn't sit strapped in her carseat for 14 hours...

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