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Packing for Onboard the Plane–Infants

Posted by on October 13, 2011
Ella as a happy 3 month old frequent flier

The packing can be the hardest part, so here is my advice on how/what to pack:

Many people advise to pack minimally. I don’t agree. You should *concisely* pack everything you need for worst case scenarios like lengthy delays, unplanned overnights, spit up, and diaper blowouts. Illnesses creep up at the least convenient times. On one flight I was working a child vomited on his mom. She was soaked and had no change of clothes. It was just the start of a 7 hour flight. I have learned it’s best to always have at least one complete change of clothes for everyone traveling, down to socks and underwear. Bring at least 2 spare outfits for baby. Always bring some kind of fever reducer just in case.

I pack the following in the diaper bag:

  • Small blanket
  • 6 diapers
  • Travel size diaper wipes case
  • At least 3 small trash bags (for dirty diapers, soiled clothes, or trash–I reuse grocery sacks)
  • 3 burp cloths
  • 3 bibs if your baby is a drooler
  • 2-3 NOISELESS toys (No need to annoy other passengers with anything more than baby crying.)
Bright Starts Buzzin Around Bee
  • Pacifier (multiple ones if baby loves paci)
  • Teething tablets
  • 1 change of clothes for baby including socks
  • Baby sweater
  • Snack for me such as Luna Bar, Mixed Nuts
  • Your purse or wallet (With experience you’ll be able to blend this with your diaper bag always.)
  • Nursing cover (if nursing)
  • 3 empty 4 oz. bottles (if bottle feeding)
  • Formula (if using)
    Both Enfamil and Similac have formula packets. I love these for traveling!

Then I pack my backpack:

  • 1 change of clothes for me (including underwear and socks–put in Gallon size Ziploc bag)
  • Sweater for me
  • Additional change of clothes for baby (pack in ziploc bag)
  • Additional diapers and wipes (I like to bring 8-12 diapers for a 10 hour travel day.)
  • Small magazine for me (Don’t bother with a heavy book. Even if baby sleeps you’ll find it difficult to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time.)
  • Any prescription medicines for me or baby
  • Glasses/Contacts/Phone Charger/Other Essentials
  • Ear bud headphones
  • Additional snacks for me (maybe an apple and peanut butter and jelly)
  • Quart size Ziploc bag with baby medicines (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Teething gel), hand sanitizer, any other liquids you need such as contact solution/lotion/etc.
  • Thermometer
Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer–so easy to use and very accurate!

In the airport you can buy water. If you’re nursing you’re going to be REALLY thirsty on the airplane. Plan on at least 1 liter up to 6 hours. Buy more water if you’ll be using it for the baby’s formula. You CAN bring water for bottles/mixed formula/breast milk through security, but if you’re able to just buy the water in the airport it will be a much simpler process getting through security.

*Buy at least 1 liter of water for the airplane trip

You could fit all these items in just a backpack, but I find it tends to get too heavy and things become difficult to find. For me it helps keep things organized when using 2 bags. The list looks long, but almost everything is small and will fit easily in 2 easy-to-manage bags. Once it’s all organized and packed you’ll know where everything is and you won’t have the stress of needing something you don’t have while away from home.

(This post was first published at The Third Boob. Special thanks to them for asking me to write it and also for allowing me to use the post here. If you haven’t checked out the third boob…and other adventures in mommyhood, go now! They are a great resource!)


11 Responses to Packing for Onboard the Plane–Infants

  1. Elizabeth@doievenlikethis

    Awesome advice. Thanks for starting this blog. You have seen everything from the point of view of a flight attendant and mom. Keep up the great work.

  2. Cloud Surfing With Kids (Surviving air travel with children)

    Thank you, Elizabeth!

  3. Elizabeth

    Thanks for being so on top of this. We will be having our first flying experience in April – so this list has been a great resource for me already. I am a lot more confident that I will have all my ducks in a row for the trip.

    • BethHenry

      We’re excited for you in your first flying trip with baby! Let us know if we can help any further. Send any questions at all; and let us know how it goes! Feel free to share photos of baby’s first flight on our Facebook wall.

  4. Eclipsepearl

    Don’t forget a bonnet for a small baby, especially a bald one. Airplanes can be drafty.

    I only needed a second backpack when I had more than one child in diapers (I once flew from Europe to California and back with three different sizes). One bag, what you will need. The other filled with back-up supplies that initially goes in the overhead. Works much better than splitting “mine” and “baby” stuff.

    Small bum bag or string purse for wallet, cell phone and passports so you don’t have to dig in the backpack. But lose the full-sized purse and everything goes in the backpack(s).

    I found it easier to use bottles with plastic liners than those fiddly individual packets. I premeasured the powder ahead of time, put the rolled up liners in a ziplock and I could take plenty to cover for delays. Only had to add water. Of course, this could mean changing your bottle system, worth it for a really long flight but not necessary for a short hop.

    Most important item BABY CARRIER!!! How to get a sleeping child off and still take your gear? How to calm a crying baby? Perfect for a breastfeeding coverup. Draws less attention than those obvious covers. I had a ring sling but wraps are good too (avoid front packs like the Bjorn). A good carrier should go to age 2 or 3. I see to many parents trying to carry crying babies or shove unhappy toddlers into stroller. I popped them in my sling and away I went…

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