MOTHERHOOD, TRAVEL TIPS

Traveling with a Baby: Packing List

Moms are always terrified about a baby’s first flight, because we all know how disastrous it can be. If you follow me on Instagram (@thetravelingred) then you’ve noticed that my 1 year-old has traveled quite a bit. I get asked about traveling with her all the time. By 14 months old my daughter had been to 4 continents (yes, continents) and on a total of 16 flights… so I would say she’s a fairly experienced traveler. Being properly prepared for a flight is crucial if you want it to go well.

Here is my packing list, split into 2 categories: what I carry on and what I check in.  Even if you don’t check in a bag, I would suggest keeping the carry on items separate, so you can put that bag under the seat in front of you. You want these items to be accessible during the flight.

WHAT TO PACK

Carry On Bag:

  • Entertainment: small toys & iPad
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Changing Pad
  • Disposable Bags
  • Food & Snacks
  • Feeding Essentials: bib, nursing cover, bottle/formula, baby spoon, etc.
  • Drinks: bottle and/or sippy cups
  • Change of Clothes (for everyone)
  • Swaddle or Blanket
  • Medical Items: medications, thermometer, nose aspirator, diaper rash cream, saline nose drops, Boogie Wipes, Tylenol, Motrin, etc.
  • Comfort Items (favorite lovey, a pacifier, etc.)
  • Antibacterial Wipes

Checked Bag:

  • Clothes (2-3 outfits per day)
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Accessories (bows, hats, bibs, jewelry, etc.)
  • Bath towel
  • Wash cloth
  • Baby soap/shampoo
  • Any lotions or creams your baby uses
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Sunscreen & bug spray

More Details:

The packing list is simple, but if you need more details, here is everything you need to know for each category.

For entertainment, I pack 1 large ziplock bag full of small, not super noisy toys (so we don’t drive the people around us nuts) and she gets them 1 at a time, so there’s always something new to bring out. Kids get bored easily, so this strategy helps. Then her iPad is fully charged and has her favorite cartoons and nursery rhymes downloaded so they’ll work without WiFi. I know screen time isn’t great for a 1 year old, but neither is a hysterical baby on a flight.

I always carry on my travel diaper pad (this one) that has compartments for all the essentials. I usually end up changing her diaper at our seat because it tends to be easier than the tiny airplane bathrooms with a fidgety toddler. I have disposable diaper bags that are the best at masking odor for the poopy diapers (here’s a link to buy them on Amazon: Diaper Bags). I only bring like 5-8 more diapers than I think I will need for the flight (depending on the length of the flight). Upon landing, our first stop is always at a pharmacy or grocery store to buy diapers and wipes to get us through the rest of the trip. This really helps you avoid overweight baggage fees at the airport.

I do the same with baby food and snacks. I only bring enough for the flight and buy for the rest of the trip at a pharmacy or grocery store when I land. However, flights are unpredictable and delays happen, so be prepared for several hours longer than expected. I take pouches, since they’re filling and not super messy, as well as several of her favorite snacks and 2 sippy cups, one with water and another with juice. You can carry on liquids if they’re baby items, so bring the sippy cup already full. My daughter still breastfeeds, so I don’t have to worry about milk, instead I just pack my nursing cover. Remember to always keep a drink handy when you get on the plane. Sucking helps little ones pop their ears when you take off (and land). It can be a bottle, a sippy cup, breastfeeding, or even a pacifier… just make sure they have something to suck on, so their ears don’t hurt.

Here’s a super important one that everyone seems to forget. Bring a change of clothes for EVERYONE, you included! We always remember a change of clothes for the baby, but what happens when you get thrown up on? Then you will spend the entire flight smelling like vomit, or worse, if you know what I mean. I always have a top and bottom for my husband and I, as well as all of my daughter’s extras. For her, I bring an extra outfit, as well as just a onesie in case it’s hot, and a sweater and socks in case it’s cold. (Note: She always wears pajamas on flights. I try to keep her as comfortable as possible.) For long flights, I bring more outfits, because we all know how quickly they can ruin a clean outfit. Another extra that comes in handy is a swaddle or blanket. It can serve many purposes: to cover a cold baby on the plane, to put down on the chair before they lay down, and even as a bed sheet to cover the crib mattress at the hotel (the cribs come with sheets but I’d rather my daughter put her face on a swaddle I washed with her baby detergent… I know clean freak mom issues!).

Just in case, carry medications with you as well. I have a small pouch (called my “Oh Shit Kit”) and it has everything I might need. It is normally in my diaper bag, and when I travel it goes in the carry on. Mine consists of Tylenol, Motrin, a thermometer, diaper rash cream, nose frida, saline nose drops, Boogie Wipes, breastfeeding pads and nail clippers. Obviously, this can be adjusted for your child, but make sure you’re prepared. I made the mistake of traveling without saline nose drops or an aspirator on one of our first trips. My daughter got super congested during the night and was struggling to breathe and there was nowhere open at that time. It was horrible and will never happen to me again! Learn from me, be prepared.

If your baby has a comfort item that they love, then you should bring that as well. Maybe they use a pacifier or have a favorite lovey. Whatever it is, bring it.

I always take antibacterial wipes with me. I have a travel size pack of Clorox wipes and I literally wipe down everything she might touch during the flight. Sorry, crazy OCD mom here, but you don’t want your little one getting sick.

For your checked bag, it’s relatively simple, but here are some of my recommendations.

I tend to pack 2-3 outfits per day for my daughter. Remember, items can be mixed and matched so take that into account. Make sure you have enough clothes because kids get dirty quite easily. Luckily their clothes don’t take up much space.

Always pack extra shoes. I don’t know about your kid, but mine loves to take her shoes off, so I always worry that she will lose a shoe along the way.

As you know by now, I am a clean freak, so I pack my daughter’s bath towel and wash cloth to avoid using hotel towels. You absolutely don’t need to, but I always do.

My last recommendation is RELAX MOM (or dad)! Your baby will do great and even if they don’t, it’ll be ok. Remember that they feel our stress, so the best thing you can do is relax (a glass of wine at their airport helps).

If you have any questions, concerns or even suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment below. I promise to answer them all.  Happy Travels!

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