Last updated on November 16th, 2023 at 08:13 pm
New parents often get anxious even thinking about taking their baby on his or her first flight. When it comes to air travel, how easy or difficult it will be depends on your baby’s age and how comfortable they are in their surroundings.
Before you make any ticket purchases, check out these tips for your first flight with baby. You might be surprised at how much you can do to make the experience easier for both of you! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Tips for Your First Flight with Baby
Packing too much is easy to do when you’re preparing for your first flight with baby in tow. It seems like you have to bring at least one “just-in-case” item for every outfit you pack, plus all of their accessories, extra outfits, diapers, snacks…and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
When choosing what to pack for your first flight with baby, stick to lightweight items that are versatile, so you can use them multiple ways on your trip. The less space they take up in your bag, the more room there will be for essentials—like diapers!
That said, an extra pair of pants and a shirt (or onesie) in your carry-on bag are a good idea in case of a diaper leak or spit-up on the plane. And, a pair of baby socks takes up almost no space, but could come in handy too. If you’re a mom, you know babies are known for kicking off those little socks!
However, don’t overpack. Your baby likely won’t need multiple outfit changes every day. And, overpacking can cost you an extra fee for items you probably won’t need.
Just bring the essentials that your baby can’t live without for the length of the trip. And, keep in mind, wherever you’re going will almost certainly have stores that carry baby supplies if there’s an “extra” that you decide you need later.
Whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, it’s important to be prepared with a baby travel bag that includes everything you might need for your trip. You’ll also need an infant car seat and an extra set of batteries for anything electronic.
If you’re staying in a hotel, pack plenty of diapers, wipes, and changing pads to prevent stains and accidents.
As far as other necessities go, think about what kind of weather might greet you at your destination—it may rain or snow—and bring clothing accordingly. In addition to these basics for clothing and accessories, think about what types of activities will keep your baby busy throughout your trip.
Don’t pack expensive accessories that your baby can do without during your trip. They may get damaged or forgotten. Stick to only the basics you’ll need while you’re away.
Carry-on Bag Tips
Whether you’re flying with a baby or your entire family, packing for airplane travel can be overwhelming. To keep everything under control, think about what you need at your destination before you leave home. This will help reduce stress considerably.
And remember: TSA security rules prohibit baby formula in carry-on bags; however, they will allow you to carry a reasonable quantity. It must go through security screening though.
The same applies to breast milk: If traveling with breast milk in a carry-on bag, consider having another bottle on hand once on board in case anything spills during security checks. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to go through TSA in case they take longer to screen your baby items.
While traveling with baby, you can opt out of the full-body scanners. If you do decide to skip the scanner, you will get patted down. This is another reason you’ll want to get to the airport in plenty of time.
If traveling with a stroller, you’ll need to place it on the belt while you and your things get patted down and screened. The airline won’t count it as a carry-on but will allow you to check it at the gate. For all of the information on traveling with a stroller, check out this guide.
And, of course, don’t use a heavy stroller. You’ll want to take one with you that folds easily and can be lifted with minimal effort.
Flying With Baby Food
You can buy or make baby food for your trip. If you’re planning to use jarred baby food, don’t forget spoons! Make sure you know what your airline’s policy is regarding warm food—it may be best to pack unheated jars so they don’t get too cold while traveling.
And remember that keeping baby food cool is just as important during air travel as it is on the ground, so take time before leaving home to prep any refrigerated foods with frozen gel or ice packs.
Don’t pack your baby food with the rest of your gear. TSA will need to screen your baby food individually. To make it easier on everyone, it’s best to carry baby food in a small insulated cooler bag.
Keeping Diapers Handy on Board
Having a bag with baby essentials close at hand is smart during any flight. In case you need to make a diaper change, or if your little one gets hungry, make sure you have everything you need.
Pack a lightweight muslin blanket for swaddling, diapers, burp cloths, a sweater or jacket for extra warmth (temperatures can be quite chilly on board), a few toys, and books to keep baby entertained.
Skip those big diaper bags as they don’t fit under airplane seats very well—and they’re bulky. Opt instead for an easy-to-carry messenger bag or over-the-shoulder tote that has storage compartments inside as well as out.
It is important to remember that as a parent, you know your baby best. While we can offer advice on airplane travel with baby based on our own experiences, we know each baby is different. We’re all unique, and you and your child will experience your first flight togther in your own way–hopefully one that leads to many more exciting journeys!
Do you have any more tips for a first flight with baby? Leave us a comment below.