26 hour drive or 5 hour flight with a two week old?
We keep going back and forth on the pros and cons and while we still have six months before this is an issue, I was curious to hear other opinions. The main pro for flying is obviously the traveling time. The main pros for driving for us is not exposing our two week old to a plane full of germs and possible diseases, having a car on hand for the entire trip and not having to mail whatever gifts people will inevitably give us for the baby because we'll have plenty of room in the car, and just the fact that DH and I enjoy road trips.
I would love to hear thoughts on other pros and cons that we may not have considered yet. I also know this has been discussed previously on the boards but from my glance through, nothing was specifically for such a young newborn so I figured I'd bring it up
papaya / 10560 posts
The trip will be easy either way because they baby will likely sleep a lot. I would not fly with a two week old and expose them to so many germs.
GOLD / pomelo / 5737 posts
I would fly but be pretty crazy with the cleaning wipes and clean hands and not letting anyone touch baby. Driving that long would have been very hard with my LO. Heck flying that log would have been too. But at least it would be faster. (My LO did/does NOT sleep a lot on airplanes like some people say babies do, and until she was 3-4 months she didn't sleep in her carseat either.)
pomegranate / 3601 posts
I'd say fly and if possible get a rental car at your destination. Just make sure to nurse or give a bottle at take off and landing so LO's ear don't hurt/pop. I also heard that putting a drop of BM in the nose helps with fighting of germs. But I never tried that myself.
Also make sure to check airline policies they all have different rules as to how old a LO needs to be in order to be allowed onboard.
cherry / 128 posts
I'm sorry I don;t have an answer but I am really intrested in this post as we are planning to return home to the UK from the Middle East at Christmas and our baby will be only six weeks old. I assured that the 10 hour flight should have no negative effects (I was really only thinking about ear pressure etc) but now I am concerned about germs. Eeek. Anyone else have experience of flying so soon with a newborn?
eggplant / 11714 posts
@Lolo: I think every doctor has different advice about this. Our pediatrician said absolutely no flying until after the first round of shots (including pertussis) at three months. So we took our first flight 2 days after LOs 3 month shots.
She was fine in the flight, but she did SCREAM for almost an hour straight a couple of hours after the flight, both coming and going. I don't know if it was an issue with ear pain or overstimulation. She's never cried like that before or after. Just that one trip.
cherry / 128 posts
@ANAGRAM thank you for sharing. I will need to bring this up with my doctor. This is pretty sad news for me, Christmas time in the Middle East is not much fun! It is not really worth travelling if there is a high risk before the baby has his/her shots though
nectarine / 2152 posts
My co-worker flew with her 5-day-old baby that she adopted. Sometimes you have to fly with a young one, I think if you keep them in a wrap, like the Moby or K'Tan or whatever and really minimize exposure so others, it will be fine!
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
Are you flying domestically? If you're going to be international, I am not sure you'd even be able to get all your documents together in that time. eta: duh, yeah, if you're driving, it's probably a domestic flight? Unless it's Canada/US?
I'd choose flying over driving any day, unless there was another person that could make the trip with you. I'd expect one person to be on baby duty and you'd need at least a relief driver for your husband.
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
Will you be nursing? Newborns nurse a lot. This is pretty easy on a plane, bring a cover and your husband can help shield too. It will make a car trip a lot longer because it's not safe to nurse while the car is moving - baby needs to be in a seat - so you have to stop every time you nurse. Could make driving hard.
I think a 2 week old will be pretty easy but I'd second asking your doctor. I first flew at 2 months but have total sympathy for the timing you will end up with! Can someone come to you and make it fun that way?
pomelo / 5678 posts
I voted to fly initially then realized what @Anagram: said so I changed my mind. I would drive!
pear / 1614 posts
My first instinct was fly but you are so right about the germ exposure... As PPs have said, baby will probably sleep a lot at 2 weeks. Anything older than that will probably be pushing it, I know most babies love their carseats and sleep in the car but both of my DS hated being in the seat even when the car started moving from an early age. It is hard to predict. Honestly though, a big trip with a newborn sounds rough either way.
pear / 1698 posts
At 2 weeks old, it's not like the baby would be touching anything herself, so as long as you and your husband keep your hands sanitized it should be a lower risk of germ exposure.
cherry / 249 posts
Okay, to clarify, this is not a vacation. This is a one-way trip bringing the baby from where the surrogate will be giving birth to our home. Taking a vacation or visiting family that far away with a two week old stresses me out just thinking about it
@Pumuckl: Thanks for bringing up different airline policies. I had completely forgotten about that.
@looch: @bhbee: Definitely staying domestic, yes. Do you think, since I'm not going to be breast feeding, we could get away with bottle feeding while driving for some of the feedings just to cut down on the number of stops? I'm sure it would depend on the baby but in my mind I just figured we'd trade off driving and baby duty and it wouldn't be that big of a deal but maybe that's wishful thinking
@LemonLong: This is actually what we keep coming back to in the end just as we think we've decided to just brave the long drive. I do agree that if the baby is kept wrapped up, exposure would be minimal but we have very well-intentioned (and nosy) family who are very adamant we will be putting the baby through unneeded risk and yeah. Difficult to deal with. I am definitely leaning towards flying though just to get it over with, especially since that five hour flight is including a layover.
Thanks everyone! I'm feeling a bit more mentally organized about this now.
squash / 13208 posts
@however briefly: I would talk to your PED and get a medical opinion.
Flying would be sooo much easier!!
cantaloupe / 6085 posts
@however briefly: I think you can probably bottle feed in the car, but it's all going to depend on the baby, temperament, if you're having any feeding issues (reflux, etc). and you might need to take the baby out to burp etc but that would at least be faster than the whole feeding. I'm no expert on this though as we never did it.
I think the really hard question is what if you have a baby who needs to be held and will scream the WHOLE time in the car seat. those babies totally exist. in which case you'd be much better off on the plane. I mean I get the germs thing, but 26 hours of screaming baby will be SO stressful for everyone in the car and probably dangerous (distracted/tired driver) so I'd still vote the shorter trip if at all possible.
cantaloupe / 6885 posts
@however briefly: how exciting! Congratulations on your LO
I personally would fly, because a 26 hour drive newborn or not, OMG .
I would wear her and keep her close, disinfect as much as possible, etc. Is it a direct flight?
I have bottle fed during road trips which definitely cuts down on stops if you decide to drive. I would feed her , then dh would pull over and Id take her out to burp. She was a bit older than 2 weeks (2 months when we did a 5 hr road trip) but doable. Like others said , since they sleep a lot it makes it easier!
grapefruit / 4862 posts
You may talk to your ped. I planned a trip with my LO around 6 weeks and she strongly advised me not to. She said, "if you are asking me, I'm telling you no." So maybe chat with them about what is best. Family ended up coming to us- much easier.
I don't think I would choose either. That long of a car ride is horrendous for anyone, let alone with a baby who needs to eat so often (think about how much you'd have to stop!!!!!!!!!!!! omg, no way) but I would not feel comfortable at 2 weeks on a plane and I think your ped might not be ok with it. I also know some airlines require a doctor's note for babies to fly that young. (I think JetBlue requires it for 2 weeks or under... I saw something like that when reading "rules" on their website when flying with my LO at almost 4 months.)
pomegranate / 3275 posts
26 hours is a LONG time. I have flown with two of my kids when they were 10 weeks old, and it went really well. The baby just slept the whole way. Even though you won't be nursing you can still cover the baby up (I just kept mine covered up with the nursing cover the whole time).
My husband and I had to make a similar decision, but our baby was going to be 10 weeks old at the time, and we ultimately decided to fly because of the need to be fed so frequently, the ability to hold the baby if (when) he would get fussy, and to cut down the amount of time we would actually be traveling.
grapefruit / 4862 posts
OK just reading comments saw you were bringing baby from surrogate's home area to your home. So it IS necessary. I would say fly. I was adopted and flew at 10 days old myself It was "medically necesssary" and not "travel". So that would cover what the doctor's note would say- baby born in X state, traveling home to Y state. One way. Easy peasy. I think due to the amoutn of time you'd stop to feed baby (not safe to feed in car seat) I would say fly. But still ask your ped, they will tell you their preference based on baby's specific health (if they are possible a preemie might be different, etc) as well as the seasons in those areas, etc. YAY! Good luck.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
Given your clarifications, I would probably fly. My baby hated the car seat really early on, but would happily fall asleep in my arms while eating, so five hours of holding her would be preferable to 26 hours of sleeping and crying alternately. Get a good wrap so you can keep her in there most of the time.
Will the birth be a scheduled c section? Otherwise it seems like it might be difficult to schedule the flights, which adds one more wrinkle.
Either way, it will be difficult but you will be so happy to be bringing your baby home that it will be worth it a hundred times over!
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
The thing that's hard for me about flying isn't the germs, its the recycled air in the cabin. If you have someone on that plane that has whooping cough or pneumonia, then you're all breathing in that air.
26 hours in a car, on the other hand, sounds like my worst nightmare, in all honesty. My son at 2 weeks was still in his sleepy stage, but there would have been no way I could have fed him while he was strapped into his car seat given his spit up situation.
cherry / 249 posts
@Foodnerd81: This! This is my other stress! I mean, we're only at 13 weeks right now so lots of things can change but our surrogate has chosen a birthing center so planned c-section is not in the cards unless absolutely needed. We are hoping to literally drop everything at the first sign of labor and get a last minute flight but there are so many unknown variables when it comes to babies and birth that I feel like my head is going to explode any time I try to plan out all the contingencies. But at least we'll be living in the same country by then! Right now, we're halfway around the world!
pomegranate / 3227 posts
If your baby is anything like my 25-day-old son, then every three hours the feed cycle will correspond to at least two diaper changes. So I would not expect bottle feeding in the car to actually allow you to skip that many stops because you'll need to take your baby out of the car seat to change his/her diaper anyway.
We just drove from NY to Boston for one night so that we could attend a funeral. We managed the four hour drive -- which luckily was traffic-free -- with one stop in each direction. We are lucky that our son usually sleeps in the car. He only fussed for about 10 minutes of the entire trip, and that's because he hates having a wet diaper.
I think I would pick the 5-hr flight unless you could break up the drive A LOT and stretch it across multiple days. I can't imagine trying to drive more than 6 or maaaaaaaybe max 8 hours in one day with a newborn.
watermelon / 14467 posts
@however briefly: I definitely bottle feed while driving, and I am breastfeeding. I just pump before she's ready and give her the bottle while my husband drives. I've only done it on a four-hour drive though, and she wasn't a newborn.
I would fly if possible. I've been in a car for 26 hours, and even with stops to stretch it's miserable.
pomegranate / 3904 posts
If you asked me 6 months ago I would have said fly, but after losing my 5 week old son to a virus that he caught when no one was seemingly sick, I would say drive. That is a crazy long drive, but I'm super paranoid now.
GOLD / wonderful coconut / 33402 posts
There is no way in hell R would have been in the car for 26 hours. She hated the car seat. I would just fly. I would wear LO so no one touches her and even put a blanket over LO to keep germs out.
eggplant / 11824 posts
I would definitely fly. 26 hours is a loooong time; 5 is very manageable. If you drive, I think you'll probably need to break the trip into 3 days, because even though newborns sleep a lot (well, some of them); they also eat and poop a lot so every few hours you'll need to stop. I don't know how comfortable it would be to bottle feed a newborn sitting up in a car seat.
coconut / 8472 posts
I think you absolutely need to fly. It's not good for the baby to spend that much time in the carseat. Plus, as others have pointed out it'll take MUCH longer than you think it will. And your baby may not tolerate the car seat that much. My son had no issues with the carseat as a newborn, he pretty much always fell asleep. So the first time we took a 3 hour trip I expected him to sleep the whole time. Wrong. He woke up 1.5 hours into and SCREAMED until we stopped. Then proceeded to have a poopy blowout from the constriction of the carseat.
cherry / 179 posts
Don't really have an opinion
one way or another, but we drove 16 hours with our DD when she was a week old (bringing her home after adoption). It actually went really well because as others have said, she slept a lot. We found hotel lobbies to be very helpful to stop at and us the bathrooms for changing and the lobby for feeding (all were very accomodating even though we were not staying there). They are much cleaner than other options. I would say an anticipated 26 hour drive will actually be MUCH longer with the numerous stops that you'll have to do.
pomegranate / 3601 posts
@however briefly: Ohhh that is such a sweet reason to travel! Congrats on the baby!!! I guess you could always buy a flex ticket. With these you are allowed to rebook without an additional fee. I have no idea what the cost would be compared to a semi/non-flexible ticket though. But maybe such a ticket option would be worth it to just give you peace of mind.
GOLD / wonderful apricot / 22646 posts
I would say fly!
persimmon / 1363 posts
Young babies aren't supposed to be in carseats for long periods of time, even less so if they're born before 38 weeks. I would maybe hold off on the decision for a long time and see how the pregnancy progresses. My inclination is to fly with baby in a wrap and make sure everyone keeps their germs away. But I would get a ped you really trust and go with the recommendation.
pomelo / 5220 posts
I would fly, 26 hours would definitely be most likely translate into 4 days of driving plus a lot of hotel rooms, fast food, gas stations and other germy places. (not that I am saying planes are clean!) I would just rather be home ASAP.
cantaloupe / 6669 posts
Man, I don't know. Flying is SO much easier. But 2 weeks is LITTLE. Honestly, I know this is not what you're asking, but I would not travel that early on either way. Like @psw27: said, you will have to stop at germy places driving. We drove 7 hours with a 5 week old & it was really hard & I was a nervous wreck about the germy gas stations & fast food places we had to go. But I don't think flying is recommended at that early age - our pediatrician said no flying until 2 months.
If I had to do one, I guess I would fly.
clementine / 878 posts
Fly. You will all be too sleep deprived to drive such a long time. Get home quick!
pineapple / 12053 posts
i would absolutely fly. driving that far with a baby of any age sounds so so so not fun. and 26 hours would turn into 3 days!