Q: My daughter will be 2 months old when my sister gets married. Is it safe to take her on the five-hour flight?
A: I get asked this type of question a lot and always want to know how important the trip is before weighing in. Here's why: During the winter months, babies--and everyone else, for that matter--catch the flu and colds on planes. Even in summer, there are a few sneezing, coughing passengers on any given flight. Needless to say, you don't want your baby to catch what they have.
This sounds like an important trip, so here are my tips to help keep your infant healthy midair. First, nurse or give a bottle during takeoff and landing to equalize pressure in the ears and avoid pain. Second, using an eyedropper, put a few drops of breast milk or saline solution in each nostril every half-hour or so. This will do three things: kill viruses on contact; loosen any mucus present; and make your child sneeze, which is the body's very efficient way of ejecting any lingering viruses or mucus.
By the way, my advice for the November wedding of your second cousin what's-her-name--the one you haven't seen in 10 years? Skip the flight and send a lovely gift.