Hey there, I’m Stephanie, blogger, wife and mama to a wild toddler boy and a little girl babe on the way. Our family loves to travel, whether it be for a new adventure or to visit family and friends, so we managed to rack up quite a few frequent flyer miles for our first born well before his first trip around the sun was complete. Considering his passport was stamped for the very first time at just 4 months old, I’ve managed to learn quite a few lessons about flying with an infant (and sadly, many of them were learned the hard way) and I can’t wait to share them with you. All of the recs and tidbits below are tried and tested by yours truly, so buckle up! You can follow our current adventures on my blog, Olive and Tate, and on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
I always, always recommend that mamas plan to wear their babies on travel days. The benefits are endless: you can wear baby through security, your hands are free and baby is soothed by being snuggled up to mama. I’ve tried managing travel days in wraps and a classic Ergo but, without a doubt, the Ergo 360 is the way to go. It’s provides back support in a way that most other carriers don’t and I learned after a 3 hour flight spent in the aisle rocking a heavy baby that back support is key.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize that we needed to protect our car seat when flying. We always gate check our car seat (with the exception of one single time and our car seat was lost -as a heads up, if the airline loses your car seat, they lend you one they keep on hand…trust me, you want to gate check your car seat). Anyway, when you gate check your car seat it will be subjected to the elements, the extremely dirty luggage hold and a luggage convener belt known to rip fabric. If you travel infrequently, I highly suggest the $13 dollar bag but if you are a family that flies regularly, I would invest in this Car Seat Padded Bag.
A stroller with one hand fold, backpack straps and a weight of just 14lbs? This stroller was designed for travel and after a trip or two with another brand, I will never travel with any other stroller brand than Baby Jogger. This little baby will fit through the security x-ray when folded and will be easy enough for a parent traveling alone to fold at the gate for gate checking.
While the Dockatot may not help a girl out during the travel day, it will save you at your destination. No one wants to travel with the fear of sleepless nights hanging over their head so snag that travel bag and check the Dockatot to ensure baby sleeps like a champ in your hotel room.
First, let me say that the list of must haves for mama is small – make sure your phone is charged, your chargers are packed and you aren’t wearing anything that will set off the security alarms. Chewbeads are great option as they are plastic and baby can play and gnaw on them during the flight.
An absolute must for a travel day with a baby on board is a diaper bag with both a cross body and backpack strap option (if you prefer canvas, this is a great option). The last thing you need is to be wrangling a purse on your shoulder all day so throw a well made bag full of pockets on your back and keep your hands free.
A soft fabric car seat cover that can double as a nursing cover, scarf of blanket will serve you oh so well. Use it to nurse on the plane, shield a sleeping babe’s eyes from the sun or as a blanket for you and baby.
There cannot be a more disgusting place than an airport or airplane so plan to pack paci wipes. If your babe has an arm like mine did, you’ll be fishing pacis from underneath seats no matter how many extra you have on hand.
White noise is a baby win, no matter where you are, so keep it on hand to drown out flight attendant announcements and chatty seat mates.
I prefer Wubbanubs for travel days simply because they are easy to find in my diaper bag! When digging around blind in the bottom of my bag, snagging that stuffed animal is like hitting the jackpot.
Thin, light weight blankets like those from aden + anais that can be folded or rolled in your diaper bag will serve oh so many purposes on travel day – wiping spit up, creating a place to play on a layover and fending off cold air vents. I usually pack two – one that is only used once in the airport for playtime on a layover and one that is saved for emergencies.
Teething babes will love having a Sophie to slobber on and the squeeky sound will be drowned out by the plan so you won’t have to worry about your seat mates. I always suggest bringing along toys that can be machine washed and that you and baby are not attached to, just in case it gets lost in the shuffle of travel day. Plus, a new toy captivates even the littlest traveler’s interest.
This is a no brainer for me – I really don’t love using my changing pad on an airport bathroom changing table and then rolling it back up and sticking it in my bag. Disposable is the way to go – just stick a few in your bag (they are super flat and light) and be glad you aren’t carrying around a dirty changing pad.
Altitude can affect baby’s tummy so be prepared with a back up outfit or two.
If you’re a formula mom like me, Mixie bottles will save your sanity. I keep them in my bag, locked and loaded with formula and water (added after security), ready to help with baby’s ears or for a meal mid-flight where I don’t have room to whip up a bottle.
You can read more of my infant travel advice, including my step by step guide on a solo travel day, on my blog!