long flight with a 9 month old — The Bump
Babies: 9 - 12 Months

long flight with a 9 month old

Hi everyone. I am visiting from the 0 - 3 months board. I live abroad and have to make a decision this week about whether I will travel home to the US in the summer with my LO or stay abroad for the summer. She will be 9-10 months at this point and will have to endure a 1.5 hour flight followed by a 10 hour flight. My LO is not a super cuddly baby and she likes to be on her own but with you in sight. She does not like to be held all the time. The flight would entail me holding her on my lap, or possibly get lucky with a bassinet that attaches to the bulkhead.

Based on what I've written, would you think the flight would be a trauma or doable? Should I wait a year and go the following when she is 20 months, and able to walk? Or would that actually be harder?


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Re: long flight with a 9 month old

  • I can't say what it would be like with a 20-month old, but we moved abroad when my DD was 9 months and she seems kind of similar to yours.  She doesn't do so well being held for long periods and is very active.  We had a seat on the plane for her but she didn't use it much.  Our flight was about 6 hours and she only slept for maybe 45 minutes during that time :(  She wasn't unhappy or loud on the plane -- it can just be tiring because we had to let her climb and crawl all over us for hours.  I say go for it if you want to spend some time with your family.  It will be one not-so-fun day, but it's totally doable.
  • I don't have a 20 month old, but from what I hear and have seen it is better to travel with kids the younger they are. We have done at least 6 flights with my LO all through the ages of 4 months to 9.5 months. We haven't done any international trips, but have flow cross country. Each time, he has been okay on our laps. Sometimes he slept, sometimes he didn't. Our normal "nap schedule" totally went out of the windows. I have found that he consistently slept on all of the early morning (e.g., 6am) flights. 

    Since you said your LO is not a cuddly baby, I would perhaps purchase an extra seat and bring on the car seat. I generally don't feel that it is necessary, but my LO is supper cuddly and likes sitting on our laps. The car seat would give you the flexibility to let your LO have her own space. 

    Other flying tips are to bring some mum-mums and puffs. Take small toys that don't make much noise. Ripping up paper is a fun activity at this age. Oh and make sure she is sipping on something (breast, pacifier, bottle, finger, etc.) during landing. LO consistently has problems with the descent.

     Hope this helps. 

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  • I don't have any real advice, but we had the option of taking LO with us to CA on a 6 hour flight or leaving her at home with her grandparents. We chose the grandparents route because I can't imagine a long flight with a 9 month year old. My LO sounds like yours as well, she is very active and does not like to be held all of the time.
  • I've never flown with my child but she is very active.  I agree with pp about getting an extra seat, especially if you are flying alone, it will give you space to sit her down while you dig around in the diaper bag or prepare a bottle.

    Good Luck!  It's hard to predict how they will be.  They could be a perfect angel or h&ll on wheels!  I guess you'll just have to try it!




  • Traveling sucked with a 6 month old and will probably suck a little more with a 9 month old. I think traveling sucks until they can sit still and watch a movie, so I've just committed to crappy flying experiences for the next few years- I love traveling to see my family, so I won't be giving that up!


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  • When DS was three months old we made vacation plans that included a 4.5 hour flight each way as a lap infant for when he was 9 months old (the trip was a couple weeks ago.)  He's always been a very happy and easy baby, but at 9 months he was nothing like he was when we made the plans.  I actually got really nervous the week leading up to the trip because he was so much bigger, louder, active, etc. 

    The trip to our destination was fine.  It was a morning flight and he slept most of the way.  The return flight was in the afternoon and it was a nightmare.  He had learned how to crawl the week that we were away, so all he wanted to do was move around and that just wasn't happening.  

    It's likely that your kid will catch a bug on the plane so if you have any way of finding a pedi in the US prior to your trip I would definitely do that since you might need to go the first week you're here.  I hadn't even thought about DS getting sick, not that it would've stopped me from going on vacation, but we made our first sick visit to the pedi for an ear infection a few days after vacation and she said it's very common.  I think he caught a little something on the first leg of the flight because he had a runny nose all week but he definitely got something else the second leg of the trip.

    Overall we had a great time and I'm very glad we went.  I say go for it :)

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  • Thanks everyone for your input. I can't say Ive made a decision yet though. My husband is saying skip it and lets go next year all together (If i dont use the ticket this year my job will be me 2 next year as I get 1 per year) but I just dont think I can pass up seeing my family. Ugh ! I hate having to make a decision so early!

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  • My son was born abroad, and we started doing the 9 hour flight with him at 3 months. He has now done it numerous times, more than 12 or so. My dd just did her first overseas flight 2 weeks ago, at 8.5 months, and did awesome. She did not have a seat, and we are flying back on Monday. We stopped doing ds as a lap child at 18 months. I don't know why you wouldn't do it if not doing it means you wouldn't get to see your family for another year. If your work pays for a ticket for your baby then get her a seat, bring her car seat on, and it will be fine. Anything is doable, even for 10 hours.
    DS 02.10.2008 * DD 04.05.2011

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