After taking our first flight with Juliette when she was eight weeks old, we learned a lot about critical items to pack when flying with a baby.
Below are our must-haves. Items in PINK should be carried on. Items in GREEN can likely be bought or rented from your destination. Items with * are our absolute favorites.
For the diaper bag (carry it all on)
Fill it with similar items as you normally would but with some extra things:
- Extra diapers and wipes
- Changing pad to put down in the bathroom
- Hand sanitizer (we keep bottles in every bag) and Purell wipes for your seat/tray table etc.
- Three different baby outfits in the event of a spit-up or blowout
- Bandana bib (if your baby drools)
- Socks/hat to keep baby warm on the airplane (a hat was also nice to keep germs away from her head)
- Burp cloths
- Pacifier (pack two and have them in separate places so that when you drop one you have another clean one handy) — even if you don’t usually use pacifiers, bring one to have in case of emergency
- Nursing cover (we had never used one before our first flight — what a pain! — but great to have when she decides to cluster feed for hours)
- *Baby carrier — this is easy to forget since you usually wear it but will not when you get in the car going to the airport. Our two favorites are the Infantino (if you want something lightweight) or the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 360 carrier (if you want more back support)
- Formula and/or breastmilk — you can bring as much as you want through security
- [optional] Baby headphones to block out noise
- [encouraged] Nut mix or snacks or you — your baby has you, what do you have?
- Bottles (whatever you need for feeding and pumping)
- Pump + pump parts + pumping bra (easy to forget the bra)
- Breastmilk (you can bring as much as you need through security
- Formula. If your baby uses formula, you can often buy it wherever you are going if in the US, but check to see if they carry the brand of your choice if traveling overseas
- Pack and Play (rent or buy at destination unless you want to bring one as checked luggage)
- *Pack and Play sheet(s)— it is so nice to have your own and ones that are already clean when you arrive
- *Travel white noise machine — we love this one (and charging cord — easy to forget)
- Lightweight (or heavier weight) clothes for sleeping
For diapers, bath time and first aid
- *Diaper pad — this was great to create a diaper changing station at the apartment and have everything always set up
- Extra diapers and wipes
- Hand sanitizer (bring or buy a big one depending on how long you’ll be there)
- Small travel container of baby’s body soap (no need to buy a big thing for just a few baths)
- Any Aquaphor, Desitin or other creams you want to have for the baby
- Nail file — since we have to file her nails every day!
- Baby thermometer and small first aid kit which we didn’t need but were glad to have
- Laundry detergent — you may need to buy some there when you arrive
- [Not needed] Travel bathtub — we didn’t feel a need to bring or buy one; we just held her in the sink and washed her
- Carseat (optional to bring carseat base if yours straps into a car)
- Stroller (plus any adaptors needed to put the carseat into the stroller)
- [optional but encouraged] Travel bag for stroller and carseat
- *Sun protection — SPF sun hat, baby sunscreen (recommended for babies 6+ months but better covered than burned), baby sunglasses, SPF swim suit
- Muslin swaddle cloths — to protect against the sun when out and about
- A few cute outfits or accessories for pictures (mostly for the baby but you too!)
- *Bottle drying rack — this isn’t necessary but we loved having it and for $12, it was well worth buying it when we arrived
What are we missing? What else have you found helpful when traveling with a baby?