A: Dear Parents of Airborn Newborn:
Most pediatricians believe that a baby of 4 to 6 weeks can handle air flights, although perhaps it would be best to postpone air travel with an infant this young if it can be avoided. A significant problem is the chance that contagious illnesses carried by other passengers will infect the tiny traveler because of the constant re-circulation of cabin air. Another difficulty is that ordinary cabin pressurization usually causes intense pain to infants' ears (helped, somewhat, by having the baby suck or drink during ascent and descent).
The wisest route is to ask the baby's own doctor, who may be aware of certain issues which would be important in making the best decision here.
Elizabeth Berger MD
Child Psychiatrist and author of "Raising Kids with Character"