Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Traveling with Your Baby/Toddler: Prepping for the Flight (1)

Post 2 of 6 on Traveling with Your Baby/Toddler

Dressing baby for flights:
Layers are key! Some planes are hot, some are cold. The first few flights, we dressed her in a fleece sleeper, but that turned out to be a bad idea when the plane got hot. She woke up totally drenched in sweat and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Now, we dress her in a light-weight track suit with a short-sleeve onesie underneath. We dress her on the light side and use a blankets if it gets cold.

Carry on pack list:
There is an obvious balance to packing light, yet not forgetting any essential items. Packing light can not be underestimated. You are already lugging a baby and stroller through the terminal, you don’t want to be burdened by too much other stuff.

We like to pack enough for the traveling time plus the possibility of a long delay (3-4 hours). If you end up getting stuck overnight, you will have the chance to go to a drugstore to buy extra diapers, food, and milk. So, don’t overdo the amount you bring for contingencies.

For me, the key is to have only one carry-on bag. When trying to keep track of a baby in the terminal, the last thing you want is to leave behind your purse or second bag. Yet, unless you have a very large diaper bag, I find you want more room to expand than your regular diaper bag allows. So, we use a large nylon tote bag that holds the diaper bag plus extra stuff.

Here is our carry-on pack list for HB at 18mo.:

Stocked diaper bag
- change of clothes in ziplock
- snack box – small tupperware filled with a variety of crackers/snacks
- formula packs (4) – pre-measured packs of formula to use instead of milk in a pinch
- one bottle full of milk in insulator in ziplock - they will let you through security with milk as long as it's in a bottle. But they will not let you through with a bottle of water. You have to buy water in the terminal.
- diapers (6)
- wipes (fill wipes holder as full as possible)
- sanitizing wipes
- fruit cup in ziplock
- orange
- cheese stick
- sippy cup (empty) – they will not let you through security with a full one

Carry-on tote (put diaper bag inside)
- Toys for plane – coloring book + crayons, book, magnadoodle, “My quiet book” activity book, stickers, small stuffed animal
- Blanket (2) – one small fleece, one standard cotton baby blanket

I also put my purse and any other carry on items in the tote bag. If I have to bring my computer on the trip, I put it in a laptop sleeve and toss it in the tote bag too.

Airplane milk is the ultra-pasteurized/non-refrigerated version – Yuck!. Go to Starbucks in the terminal to fill the bottles before you leave and bring formula packs in case you can’t find milk in the terminal.

The single piece of gear that I wouldn’t travel without is the Sit N’ Stroll – carseat and stroller in one. You can wheel it right up the jetway, collapse the stroller mechanism and carry the seat right on the plane without unstrapping the baby**. When you are at your destination, you never have to worry about the car seat and stroller separately, they are all in one. Also, the sit n’ stroll can be put on a chair and used as a booster seat. It’s great for restaurants that don’t have highchairs.

** note, I’ve read many reviews of the Sit n’ Stroll where women say that they don’t have the strength to collapse the stroller with the baby strapped in nor carry them together onto the plane to their seat. I’m 5’10” and reasonably strong. So, I don’t have a problem doing this. YMMV.


  1. The best thing I packed for my almost-2-yo on a flight from Newark to Maui was a DVD player. Hey, it's vacation, let the rules slide a little, right? I could have left 20 lbs of other diversions at home...she never looked at them.

  2. Great suggestion. HB is old enough now that she will sit still for a DVD. We take our computers with us everywhere, so we play DVDs for her on our computers if she is awake in-flight (rather than taking a separate DVD player). Make sure to bring headphones that are comfy for a child.


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