I call it the arsenal bag. And it is a must-have for anyone flying with an infant. A well-prepared parent must be able to cover all bases when in the enclosed confines of an airplane cabin. Believe me, your fellow passengers will thank you. Having been on more than 50 flights with our baby, I’ve learned what is necessary and what isn’t. Here’s a look at our top carry-on essentials for a baby.
Carry-on essentials for a baby
Always travel with more diapers and wipes than you think may be necessary for the duration of your flight. You definitely don’t want to run out if there is an unexpected layover or flight cancellation.
Formula/bottles (if not breastfeeding)
Same rule applies. Always travel with more than you expect to need. Feeding on take off and landing will also help your baby with the pressure changes that can cause their ears to hurt. Click here to find out what you need to know about going through security with liquid formula or expressed breastmilk.
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Puffs, Cheerios, wafers, whatever your baby likes to snack on – bring it. Our daughter constantly snacks on the plane. It distracts her and keeps her busy during the flight. I don’t typically let her have a lot of these foods when we are home because they lack nutritional value, but when we are traveling, especially when on a plane – I’m not as strict.
Chances are if you are traveling with a baby over the age of 6 months old, at least once while in route to your destination, your child will need to eat a solid meal. Food pouches are much more convenient that jars of baby food, especially when traveling solo with your baby. (The link above is a great deal I found on Amazon. It saves you about 50 cents a pouch.) My infant daughter can even hold the and suck the food out herself.
I always pack a new toy that she’s never seen or played with before. The newness of the toy can often keep her short attention span much longer than one of her old toys that she won’t find as interesting. However, I also bring a few of her favorite toys from home, as well as a book or two. That way if she gets bored with her new toy she will have several more options available.
Wet bag and change of clothes
Have you ever experienced a diaper blow out on a plane? We have. Fortunately, we had a wet bag but we didn’t have a change of clothes! I know, parent fail… Our baby spend the rest of the flight wearing nothing but a diaper. Don’t be like us. Your baby could throw up, spit up, poop, or spill something. An extra outfit is a necessity. And the wet bag will prevent the nasty clothes from touching everything else in your carry-on.
An extra shirt for you
Babies have a way of projecting their bodily fluids. So if any are released while in flight, there is a really good chance you and your baby will need to change.
Airports and planes are gross. You never quite realize that until you have a kid who wants to lick the window, chew on the laminated insert in the seat back pocket, or crawl around on the floor at the gate. I wipe down everything with disinfectant wipes when we get in the plane and I wipe my daughters hands routinely while traveling.
Medicine and Safety Kit
For a comprehensive list of items that should be in your traveling safety kit, check out this post from Trip Gourmets.
An iPad or tablet
Have a couple shows your baby likes downloaded and stored on a tablet (Baby Einstein, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, etc.). The older your child gets, the more beneficial this will become. As with the snacks, I am also less strict with screen time when we are traveling.
A comfort item from home
If your baby has a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or lovey, do not forget to bring it. This item will also help sleeping in an unfamiliar place feel a little more like home.
A receiving blanket
Whether the plane is cold or your baby wants to lay down or crawl in the airport floor, a blanket will come in handy. These lightweight swaddle blankets are larger and thinner than typical receiving blankets, and make great nursing covers, too.
Other carry-on essentials for a baby
Of course, don’t forget your typical diaper bag essentials.
A travel diaper changing mat
Pacifiers (if your baby uses one)
Diaper rash cream
Nursing pads (if nursing)
Travel-sized baby shampoo and lotion
Infant wash cloth
Usually these carry-on essentials for a baby have helped me through almost any difficult or trying flight. The best advice is to be prepared for anything and try not to stress when things don’t go as planned.