I got into a discussion recently about the age at which a young baby can fly and it got me wondering if there are any set rules governing this. The answer is that there is no standard regulation, so it entirely depends on the airline. Some airlines will allow a 2 day old to fly if you have a letter of clearance from your GP, others have a 7 day rule. Or it could even be longer if the baby was born prematurely or there were complications at birth. Mums may also require a letter of clearance from a GP especially if the baby was born via c-section, or if you had a particularly difficult labour. If you need to fly very shortly after your baby is born then the best thing to do is to check the airline’s policy and also check with your GP.
Here are some additional things that I took into consideration when I was thinking about flying with my newborn baby:
Passport – If you’re travelling internationally you’ll need to organise a passport for your baby and the reality is this can take some time to process. We needed to travel shortly after my daughter’s birth and I’d familiarised myself with the passport process before she was born so I knew what steps we’d need to take to get the document quickly. Nevertheless, it can still take a few weeks to organise as you need to register the birth, collate the application and then wait for it to be processed and approved. As both of my kids were born outside my home country, I also had to apply for citizenship before the passport could be granted – an additional 10 days to wait. Essentially, it’s difficult to fly internationally in the first 5 weeks.
Settling into Motherhood – A new baby in the household, although miraculous and a joy, does cause a big upheaval in routine. I’ve breastfed both my babies and flying across the world with a 1 week old that is still establishing a feeding routine is not my idea of fun. Depending on how you adapt to motherhood, how you feel after the labour (physically and mentally), and how your baby is coping with life on the outside (kids are all different) really does influence whether or not flying is manageable in the first few weeks.