Tips for Traveling with Baby

With another trip right around the corner, I thought this was a great time to share my tips for traveling with a baby with you all. These generally apply to babies from 4 months to 24 months of age. We have taken three multi-state (i.e. over 6 hours) road trips and three flights with baby. I even did the solo flight with baby-  it was totally fine!

I know these won't work for everyone, but here's what has worked for us...

(this post contains Affiliate Links)

Getting to the Airport: 
I pack one suitcase for baby and me. I use Rick Steves Packing Cubes to keep our clothes organized. I also pack a giant pack of diapers and wipes. I put our secondary convertible carseat in a JJ Childress Ultimate Carseat Travel Bag.

On travel day, we drive our car with our primary carseat (Peg Perego) to the airport and put the secondary carseat, a Britax Roundabout Convertible Carseat, in the trunk so its ready to go. The suitcase and carseat immediately gets checked (at the curb) when I get to the airport.

To get from the car to the curb, I wear baby on the front on a Boba 3G Carrier, and wear the JJ Childress Ultimate Carseat Travel Bag on my back. I put my diaper bag on top of my suitcase (like a laptop bag) and roll that to security. If you have a stroller, you are going to need an extra person or will have to rent a cart.

Once the carseat and suitcase (and possibly stroller) are checked, I wear baby in a Boba carrier on the front and I put my diaper bag in the backpack configuration (we have the JuJuBe BFF).  So now I am completely hands free through the airport- so nice!

After Security, But Before Boarding:
A well-fed baby (and mom) is a happy baby, so first stop is to get some food. Eat, eat, eat.

Then of course, bathroom time. I can use the bathroom with baby in the Boba 3G Carrier, mom first, then I take baby to the changing station and get her a nice fresh and clean diaper (if you are currently approaching the next size, SIZE UP!). Go walk around and point out fun things like magazines (that you used to read) and the airport bar (which you will obviously be skipping). Now, repeat- I always do two bathroom trips before take-off. 

Now it's time to pace back and forth in front of your gate. If baby gets antsy, let her run around a bit. Here is where the backpack diaper bag is awesome, you can run after baby without having to put it down anywhere and TSA confiscate it!

Anytime now they will be announcing the pre-boarding for those with small children. This is a major game-time decision. If baby is getting cranky and tired, you can go get settled in and starting nursing to sleep, maybe they will fall asleep before the flight even takes off! (Yes, it is possible!)

Or maybe you just let them continue to run around and burn off energy until they around about to close the door to the plane... this is recommended for toddlers.

On The Plane:

There are small "tray style" changing tables that fold down over the toilet in the plane bathrooms. I found them to work fine, and actually killed a few minutes if baby gets fussy.

I read somewhere that the whole ears popping thing was actually an urban legend. I tried to nurse during takeoff but I didn't stress about her being latched on at the exact moment that we took off. She didn't cry at all during take off or landing.

In My Diaper Bag:

Diapers (possibly size up)
Baby Wipes
Sanitizing Wipes
Swaddle blanket (multi-purpose)
Activity Cosmetic Case 
Snack Bag 

A swaddle blanket can be a scarf for mom, a peek a boo game for baby, a blanket for baby, a makeshift changing pad, or a nursing cover (if you feel more comfortable).

I packed a cosmetic case full of stickers, and more stickers, ribbons, anything that would be fun to play with and new! (If you have a partner traveling with you, have them "carry on" a tote bag full of soft/light books, magazines, iPad loaded with kids Apps).

My "Snack Bag" was a gallon bag filled with "Snack" size ziploc bag of every little non-perishable food I could think of- Goldfish, banana poofs, cinnamon poofs, cereal, different cereal, dried corn, dried peas... get creative!

For an infant (under 9 months) 
I wore her through the airport in a Baby KTanWe brought her car seat but didn't use it on the plane. My baby prefers to be worn vs carseat so we just checked it (in the same JJ Childress bag mentioned above- it works for Infant or Convertible Carseats).

I found that installing the car seat base in a rental or family car was SO easy. I definitely recommend bringing the base. I didn't use a stroller much at that age but during the car seat click on days you might as well bring your regular stroller. If you have the Britax B-Agile or CityMini strollers, they weighs about the same as most less expensive umbrella strollers.

Air travel (for me) was FAR easier than driving and not as bad as I imagined it would be. 

Additional Travel Tips:
(passed down to me from other experienced mother-travelers)
The car seat fit OK in the plane, though it was definitely snug. We used it rear facing. My husband is a large man, and my only complaint was that between him and the car seat, there was almost no room for me to nurse - very cramped. 

The car seat has to go by the window - it can't "obstruct" anyone from getting out of the plane in an emergency.

Make sure you look up how to install the car seat on the plane as the flight attendants likely won't help you. 

The stoller was awesome - just gate checked it, and then popped the car seat on it when we got off the plane.

Bring a few new toys you can introduce for a distraction, every 30 minutes or so. 

Some airlines allow a diaper bag without it counting towards your carry-on.

For any milk you are carrying, TSA says that as long as an ice pack is frozen solid then they don't have to check it because it is not a liquid. Others opt to bring an empty ziploc bag and just get ice from a vendor after going through security. 

Give in a just let baby watch as much Baby Einstein as they want. 

We kept an Ergo with us and the stroller. 

Try to travel when the flights aren't full and you might get lucky and get three seats empty! My husband and I usually book the window and aisle seats and just hope no-one wants the middle seat. Then baby can have more space to sit calmly and read! (this only lasts a few minutes)

Wear your easiest nursing clothes, you dont want to be fussing with buttons. 

Practice disassembling and packing your stroller in the gate check bag (if you have one) before you leave. Most bags require you to take the rear wheels off to fit the stroller. 

Have a plan for who carries what through security. 

Let baby crawl around the gate area before takeoff to burn some energy before being cooped up. 

Wear baby through security, with a non-metal carrier (ring sling NOT a good choice here). 

Set your expectations low!

Best plan is to have her ready to nurse when you get on, but hold out (if you can) until you start taxiing and are about to take off, to make sure she is still sucking. If she will use a pacifier, definitely have one there, but I think that the swallowing is what helps the most (think of how you pop your own ears - I have to swallow to get them to pop). 

Yes, there are changing tables in the bathrooms on the plane. Cozy, for sure! 

Some plans do not have changing tables, an extra blanket and a changing pad on the floor made a makeshift changing table. 

Get the window seat, it's an always changing view!

We didn't get him a seat because I knew he would just want to be held. During take off and landing I nursed him so he would be swallowing and that would help with the air pressure changes. 

Wipe your seat area down 7 months he wanted to touch everything! 

We actually checked our base (it was free) and gate checked our stroller and carseat. Southwest sells Huge canvas bags that fit both. We have used it on 3 flights now. We even stuffed the diapers in the stroller basket so we wouldn't have to use luggage space. (NOTE: Some airlines will check your FREE checked items for additional "Stuff". This is not allowed and you may be asked to remove those extra diapers, baby clothes, etc).

Put some wipes and a diaper in a plastic bag do that inflight change. That way you don't have to mess with your diaper bag/clutch in the bathroom...just lie him on your portable changing pad and go!

I also wore him through security and the gate while my husband took care of the stroller. And just go to the gate early so you can get a gate check ticket thing. Also bring a change of clothes for Baby and a shirt change for you!

I would highly recommend nursing during takeoff and landing if you decide to fly. 

I would recommend taking a direct flight (if possible). It's exhausting lugging all the baby gear on and off different planes.
Once You Arrive to Your Destination:

If you head to a city, find somewhere to stay that you can have access to a grocery store or something so you can pick up some food for in the room (yogurt, cheese sticks, fresh fruit, etc). 

Always request a fridge, crib and high chair when you make your reservation. If they give you a hard time about the high chair, if they have a restaurant in the hotel ask them to get it for you from there (they seriously will not consider this themselves!). In a few particularly stubborn hotels, I said, "That's fine, I will let my 9-12mo old have a picnic on your floor."...usually got me a highchair pretty quick! 

Request rooms away from elevators so you don't get disturbed by too many loud people at night who may wake baby up after a night on the time. 

If you can afford a suite, it will be worth your money so you and hubby can relax together after baby goes to sleep at night or during naps. 

Research restaurants around your hotel that open early (especially if you head west/different time zones) so you can get up and grab coffee and breakfast whenever works for your family.

Try to relax and enjoy the wonder of seeing a new place through your child's eyes. And most of all, have fun!

ExpectingHappiness is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you purchase items through the links above, it is no additional cost to you, but the author of this blog makes a small amount of money as compensation for her referrals. 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...