Airplane Travel with a Baby
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Gentle Baby Care and The No-Cry Sleep Solution
Packing your carry-on
The right carry-on bag can be a lifesaver. Make sure that your bag is easy to lift or roll, and that it falls within the airline's size limitations. Pack an organized bag that carries:
- Lots of diapers. Plan for an unexpected layover or delay.
- A baby blanket, which is good for multiple uses.
- A diaper-changing pad in case you end up changing your baby on the floor or on a dirty changing table.
Plenty of snacks. Often the only snacks on airplanes are peanuts, which are a major choking hazard for babies. Also, snacks are a great distraction for a bored or antsy child. Even if you've ordered a child's meal, it might show up when your child is asleep or isn't hungry, or your child may not like the menu. A few ideas for easy-to-tote snacks include:
- Baby food
- Dry cereal
- Bread or rolls
- Dried fruit
Drinks. Bring along favorites in a sippy cup, drink-box, or bottle. You may even want to pack these in a soft lunchbox cooler.
Infant pain reliever in case of ear pain or other discomfort. (But don't try anything new; make sure it's something your baby has tolerated well already.)
Lots of new toys, or old favorites that have been hidden for a few weeks. Avoid noisy toys that will annoy fellow passengers. Great travel toys include:
- Crayons and a small pad or sticky notes
- Stickers and sticker books (Sticker books have the advantage here; their stickers are reusable if stuck on their specially surfaced pages, whereas a sticker placed on paper is there for good - which is fine, too, but a sticker book prolongs the activity.)
- Building toys like Legos TM or Duplos TM
- Paperback books
- Tiny plastic animals, cars, or dolls
- Playing cards (Go Fish or other games that feature interesting cards)
- Tape or CD player with kid music or books on tape
- Extra pacifiers, or your baby's lovey, special blanket, or toy
- A book, magazine, or activity for you when baby is sleeping or playing, should you be lucky enough for that to occur!
- A small medical kit with bandages
- Wet wipes for diaper changes and cleaning baby's hands and face
- Empty plastic bags for soiled diapers
- If your baby uses a bottle, bring several. It's usually easier to take along premeasured powdered formula and small bottles of water for mixing.
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