By the time Maddie turned one, she had been on about three trips to Texas, one trip to Mexico, and one road trip (8 hours going and 12 hours coming home…YIKES!). Along the way, I’ve picked up a few tidbits that can help make flying with a baby a little smoother.
The two most important rules to remember:
- ORGANIZATION is key
- MINIMIZATION – take only the essentials!
Let’s start with organization! (one of my favorite things…although you’d never know by the look of my house haha)
I carry baby in a baby carrier until we get into our seats on the plane (even through security), my carrier has a small zipper pocket in the front where I keep Maddie’s passport (or birth certificate if you don’t have a passport for baby yet), my driver’s license, boarding passes, and an extra pacifier. I also clip a pacifier to baby so I’m not scrambling for something to help her fall asleep or ears pop on the plane.
My carry-on bag is organized based on accessibility and necessity.
- Thin baby blanket (use as a changing pad, if plane is cold, or even as a napkin when baby spills drinks all over you and hubby)
- 5-6 diapers and a pack of wipes (seriously no need to go overboard! They take up a lot of room. Calculate how long you will be traveling – from the time you leave your house to the time you’re in your hotel room, diapers need to be changed about every 2 hours, plus 1 or 2 extra diapers for the oh so fun blowout you may experience or flight delays)
- 2 clean bottles
- Formula, if that’s what you’re using (enough for 2 or 3 bottles – plan on feeding baby at take off and landing, however if baby is sleeping at landing DO NOT wake…Maddie used to sleep through the landings…made life real easy!)
- Nursing cover if breastfeeding
- Change of clothes for baby and extra shirt for myself
- Depending on age, Snacks (raisins, squeezable fruit and veggie pouches, Cheerios or Chex cereal, and string cheese are all good options)
- Small quite toys (coloring book, baby reading book, stuffed animal…that sort of thing, even a baby tooth-brush keeps them entertained and helps with teething)
- 2 Plastic grocery bags – for diaper disposal if needed, vomit, trash, dirty clothes, or whatever
- Infant Tylenol….JUST in case! (and Tylenol for yourself for that matter)
- Book or magazine for me (but that’s wishful thinking)
What is considered a baby “essential” is different for everyone. I debated adding a list but I know I will inevitable forget quite a few items on the list. I’ll just say use your best judgement. Ask yourself “do we REALLY need to take this?” (baby will survive without his bumbo chair and play mat for a few days)
Things I would tell my future self NOT to bring unless absolutely necessary:
- Changing pad (the hotel bed will work just fine…what was I thinking?!)
- Pack n play – call ahead, most hotels will provide you with a crib (if you’re staying with relatives and have a newborn you can always use a laundry basket…just sayin’)
- Stroller –unless you know you’ll be doing a lot of walking and exploring. We were with family and doing meals together and hanging around the house, in Mexico we stayed at the resort mostly. If you can, save yourself the trouble and just bring a good baby carrier. I LOVE our Ergo carrier! If you must take a stroller keep in mind a few things when flying with a stroller:
- You can take it up to the gate and have it checked there OR you can check it with your luggage (in which case, I would recommend then taking your car seat to the gate….this way both big items get checked without having to pay for “extra” luggage)
- It must be all one piece when collapsed (uppa baby and baby jogger city select are out…also they weigh too much. This also means your stroller with car seat adapter and infant seat cannot go up to the gate to be checked there)
- Must weigh less than 20lb
- I recommend a baby jogger city mini stroller, its light weight and can collapse with one hand, and weighs less than 20lbs (I believe it clocks in around 16lbs) or a Chicco stroller. Of course the cheap-o umbrella strollers ($20 at target) are always an option, I think they’re too flimsy but to each their own.
Looking back, traveling with a newborn was much easier than traveling with a toddler. Don’t be intimidated flying with a baby. You will survive, and to the people who give you dirty looks when your sweet angel is screaming on a level that only dogs can hear, just apologize and maybe offer to buy them a drink if it’s really bad.