Traveling with kids can be a challenge and even more challenging with an infant on a plane. What if they have a blow-out…will I have enough diapers…how many changes of clothes do I need? What if they cry on the plane…how do I entertain them? Can I bring snacks with me…how many snacks should I bring? Can I bring my milk through security…will they make me dump it out? Can I breastfeed on the plane?
With so many questions and unknowns it is easy to over pack your carry-on. I have been traveling with my boys since they were a few months old and overtime I have streamlined my carry-on to a few simple items to make your journey easier.
The bag is KEY!!! Imagine standing at the TSA security check-point with a crying infant, no shoes, a long line of antsy travelers behind you and a bulky hand bag getting in the way, taking up your spare hand and the contents are all falling out! I’ve been there…DON’T DO IT!!! I have one word…BACKPACK.
I love a great backpack, one with a ton of pockets and compartments. Backpacks are easy to throw over your shoulder and they allow you to have two free hands. I also love that a backpack can be zippered allowing all of the contents to stay put.
What to Wear
What to wear is always such a hard one for me but over the years I think that simplicity is best. I’m always looking for something comfortable that is warm in case the plane is too cold but not too warm if we are going to a hot destination. It has to be easy to get on and off in case of a mid-flight, tiny bathroom change or a speedy changing between layovers.
I use to layer clothes with a onsie on bottom, pants, socks and some type of jacket or cover-up. Each layer meant one extra step, one extra thing to stuff in a bag and one less minute if you were running late. Now, my go to travel outfit is a thin, cotton, zip-up and footed one piece. Minimal layers, minimal effort, maximum comfort and cuteness!
Snack, Snack, Snack Attack!!! Oh man, I can go so overboard on snacks because snacks are life! Snacks can be a source of entertainment or a quick meal on the run. I now tend to only pack a few simple snacks that are self sufficient (meaning that they don’t need additional utensils or plates) and easily accessible.
Make sure that your snacks are also prepackaged for easier passage through security. I love a simple prepackaged teething wafer, this can be fed whole or broken apart to last a bit longer. Food pouches are also so easy, they don’t take up too much room and don’t require additional utensils. My biggest tip would not to be try something new, go with tried and true!
Tip:Put all of your prepackaged snacks in a clear zipped back for easy of access and to help you better go through TSA security.
To Liquid or Not to Liquid
If you have flown in he past few years, you will know the limitations about liquid. So what do you do about bringing your babies milk? No matter if it is breast milk or formula, the idea of how to bring liquid on the plane is always a cause for worry when flying.
I have faced all of the issues of breast feeding a baby on a plane, bringing on pumped milk and I have also had the issue of needing premade bottles of formula.
For the breastfed baby, breast feed them on the flight. This will actually help them regulate their ears during takeoff and landing. I love using a thin muslin scarf as a cover-up. You can stylishly wear it around our neck and easily take it off to feed.
For the formula fed baby my tip would be not to bring any premade bottles. All liquid bottles more than 3oz are subject to being swabbed. I have found that the individually wrapped, pre-portioned packets are so easy. I carry a handful of them with me and I bring one empty bottle (your baby can only drink one bottle at a time, so why bring 5 bottles?). I wait until we get plane side to buy a bottle of water. Now you can make your bottles on demand with little to no effort.
Note: This is based on my personal experiences and this is what has worked for my family. When traveling, make sure to keep sanitation a priority
I keep entertainment to a minimum. I typically bring one or two of their favorite small toys and I look for ones with dual purposes. On our last flight I purchased a few small rattles, one with wheels in the shape of a car. He could use it as a noise maker/rattle or zoom it around like a car. My son also loves to use it as a teeter.
I also use my layovers to my advantage and let them be free to crawl around (yeah germs, I know…keep them in the full length onsie mentioned above and use antibacterial wipes to clean their hands). I bring a large thin muslin blanket that I can spread out on the floor to use as a play mat. They need to release energy just as much as our older kids.
Keep it Clean
Lastly, the shitty truth about diapers. It is our natural instinct to pack a bazillion diapers. The “what if’s” are endless…what if we have a blowout, what if we have a delay and I run out of them, what if… I am here to tell you to pack only a handful. Think of how many hours you will be traveling, bring one an hour and then a few for accidentals. That’s it. They will have diapers at your destination, I can almost guarantee it.
For wipes I carry a small travel pack because larger ones are soooo heavy and I also carry WetOne antibacterial wipes to wipe down EVERYTHING and everyone.
Please know that this is what works for me and my family. What works for us may not work for you. This is a general framework and suggestions that work for us. Please check with your airline carrier for their rules and regulations)