It can be tempting to bring as little as possible when flying with babies. After all, in addition to your own bags you’re most likely carrying your child! But a few carefully chosen items in your baby’s carry-on can make or break a trip. Remember that flying itself is unpredictable; you never know when you may get stuck on a runway for an extra hour or two. Having extra treats and tricks in your baby’s carry-on can make long flights more bearable, plus give you something to pull out when all else fails.
When flying with a baby, the best carry-on is a bag with lots of different compartments to segregate items in. Having an organized carry-on allows you to find things quickly, and hopefully prevent a baby meltdown. What to pack in your baby’s carry-on?
Diapers- Pack one diaper for every hour of flying, plus a few extras.
Wipes- Store them in a Ziploc
A changing pad
2 extra baby outfits- One piece outfits take up less space.
Diaper rash cream- It can double as emergency sunscreen.
Liquid hand sanitizer- Current FAA rules allow you a 3 oz bottle.
A small towel/burp cloth- Stick it in a plastic bag for air sickness/spit up emergencies.
A favorite blanket- Keeps baby warm, makes a great play tent, can be used for impromptu peek-a-boo games.
Toys- A small stuffed animal, toys with moving parts, teething toys, an old magazine for tearing up, board books.
Favorite non-toys- Think about what your child always seems to get into at home: Mine liked spoons for some reason. Other ideas: a necklace they can take on and off, a small flashlight, or a child’s toothbrush. In a pinch, your keys and wallet are also great distractions.
A sippy cup of water/formula- Sucking eases ear pain during take-off and landing, breastfeeding works too. If you have an upcoming trip and haven’t yet introduced your baby to sippy cups, let her have her first experience on board. It may buy you a few precious moments of entertainment.
Pacifiers- If your baby likes pacifiers, bring along a case of them. My kids never took them but I once watched a couple board a plane with a fussy child. Shortly before take-off they discovered her favorite pacifier had gone missing. Not pretty.
Snacks- For older babies, bring along teething biscuits, a Cheerios necklace (use dental floss), cut up grapes, or crackers.
Picture album- Here’s an easy idea all of our babies loved. Fill a small photo album with pictures of baby, mom, dad, siblings, and pets for them to look at during the flight.