Goodbye to the days of simple carry-on luggage packed with tablet, phone and a book or two. Nope – you’re a mom now. That means you get a tiny carry-on (or none at all) and your baby’s things take priority.
Packing a diaper bag for a long distance flight is kind of like Jenga, if Jenga included building the tower from diapers, wipes, toys and snacks all while keeping your baby occupied and quiet so the passengers on your flight don’t kill you with their death glares in the middle of your over-night flight.
diapers (see info on how many below)
pre-poured formula already in bottles (minimum 4 depending on travel time) — if formula fed
a cover shall and nursing travel pillow (so worth it!) — if breast-fed
maximum of 5 toys (if your baby has a sleepy time toy or stuffed animal… bring it!!!)
pacifier (if you use them)
change of clothes (or extra onesie) for baby
blanket (can be hung on outside of diaper bag to save space)
changing mat (or extra blanket)
baby-wrap or carrier (I would suggest wearing this even when you’re not holding your baby)
*** filter water bottle to make drinkable water for bottles just about anywhere
*** tablet with kids tv show(s) on it
*** pacifier clip and extra pacifiers (if you use them)
*** teething toy if your baby is at that age
(*** optional items)
HOW MANY DIAPERS?
A general rule of thumb that I’ve used (and that’s never failed) is pack one more diaper than the hours that you’re traveling. So, if your total travel time is 8 hours, pack 9 diapers. A diaper an hour is a bit crazy to imagine, but you just never know! In this case, better one or two more than not enough.
WHAT KIND OF TOYS DO I BRING, AND HOW MANY?
For a flight, I would suggest non-noisy toys; steer clear of rattles and musical toys. Think more squishy balls, teething toys, books, etc. I would suggest no more than 5 toys, depending on how big your diaper bag is. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a bottle through a million toys.
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH BABY FOOD – FORMULA;
Formula travel is actually a lot less daunting than it seems. The first time I flew with my son once he was on formula, I packed a whole extra (un-opened) can of formula, as well as separately poured sections of formula in a formula container. The second time around, I was smarter – I pre-poured formula into the bottles I would be filling, and then filled my formula container and left the rest behind. This was more than enough formula than I needed (6 full bottles and 3 sections in a formula container) and I didn’t have to lug around the giant formula container.
When you’re packing the formula; be aware that you will likely have to put it into a bin to go through airport security – similar to your laptop, they may ask you to take it out of your bag to scan it. Don’t pack it in the bottom of your bag!
Getting through security with your formula will probably be pretty easy – they may swab the outside of some of the containers or bottles to check it, but otherwise you should be fine!
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH BABY FOOD – SOLIDS/PUREE
Food for baby is not measured by the same rules as food for mom is. Generally, you can carry pouches of baby food or even glass containers of baby food (un-opened to be safe) through security and onto the plane. Again, same idea as the formula, they may ask to scan it outside of your diaper bag – but most of the time there will be no issues.
What kind of food should I pack and how do I feed my baby on the plane? So, my opinion is to use squeezy pouches of baby food because they take up a lot less space, and they are easier to use. I generally stuck to fruits while traveling in the plane, because they taste fine without being warmed up. Cold veggies do not sound appealing (though, if your kid is anything like my son, he’d eat it anyways because he loves food.) Feeding the baby with a squeeze pouch and spoon is easy enough, but if you want to feel a bit more comfortable, bring a container (with lid) as well as the spoon. Don’t forget a bib! 😉
How much food do I bring? This is a bit more complicated to predict and I (both times I traveled solo with my son on a long flight) tended to over-pack in this area. For a 7 hour flight, I would suggest 4 packs of food. For a 5 hour flight, I’d do maybe 3 packs. It’s all an estimate (holla to all the mom’s wingin’ it on a daily basis!) 😉 and you should do what feels right to your rhythm at home.
HOW ON EARTH DO I GET ALL OF THIS INTO A DIAPER BAG WITHOUT IT WEIGHING A MILLION POUNDS?
Good question, girl. I have NO idea. 😉 but here are some suggestions;
- pack in proper order, any food should be on top or easiest to access for passing through security
- consider a bigger diaper bag (the one I have in these photos, I found a bit too small)
- separate food or crackers in a container or bag (or else they will be squished!)
- pre-fill bottles with formula already measured so all you need to do is add water
- make use of the WHOLE diaper bag, clip things to the straps, tie blankets to handle, etc.
THINGS YOU DON’T THINK YOU’LL NEED BUT CAN BE USEFUL:
- A bib
- A filter water bottle (making water anywhere safe for baby to drink in bottles)
- A tablet (loaded with kids episodes or colorful images)
- Teething gel (also allowed through security easily)
- Ziploc bag(s) for dirty bib, diapers, clothes, dishes
- Hand sanitizer (easier than trying to wash hands in bathroom while holding baby)
- Back up soothers/pacifiers (you can never have TOO many of these, right?)
- Crackers (if your baby is at this stage, it’s a great way to
distractsoothe them) 😉
- A change of clothes for baby
- A hair tie for yourself (mom-bun is life.)
- A pacifier that closes when it falls to the ground (seriously these things are AMAZING!)
THINGS YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED THAT YOU REALLY, REALLY DON’T:
- Stuffed animal (way too big/takes up space)
- A book, because
who are you kidding.you won’t have time to read it
- Diaper cream (you likely won’t need it for the flight and can get some when you land)
- A thick blanket (again, a lot of space, and you could likely ask for one on the plane or carry a thinner one)
- A change of clothes for you (if you’re running low on space, chuck your clothes in your checked bags – you’re a mom, you likely already smell like milk and baby.) 😉
If you like this post PIN THE IMAGE BELOW and then check out some of the other baby/travel posts I have written lately: