Oh, Parents! Take a deep breath and stay calm! Traveling with an infant is not as daunting as we all imagine. Although my mini has pretty much been a perfect angel on every flight we have been on, I find it easier to travel with an infant than a toddler. I have compiled a guide based on my personal experiences and preferences. We have been flying internationally with my daughter since she was 6 months old. My husband grew up in Italy so our first flying experience as parents was to meet Nonna and Nonno. I was petrified of all of the possibilities that we could endure. I was an exclusive pumper and my new baby girl was just entering the world of solids. Talk about anxiety! We persevered and conquered and you will too! I have also included links to my favorite items to make it easier for you to find.
- Apply for the infants passport – Click here to learn how to apply in the US. A passport is only needed for international travel. We took the infant passport picture at Walgreens. Most major drug stores offer this service. The infant passport pictures are so cute!
- Doctors Advice – Most doctors recommend to wait until the infant is 3-6 months. Consult your pediatrician before booking.
- Reserve a bassinet! When purchasing your airline tickets, ask for bassinet availability. Most international flights offer bassinets for infants. Check with the airline for size restrictions. We flew Alitalia for our maiden voyage and were able to utilize a bassinet. It was a lifesaver! I was able to change her diaper in there as well. The airline sat us in the front row and the bassinet clicked into the wall in front of us. My daughter slept most of the flight and we were able to sleep too. If bassinets are unavailable, try to choose an aisle seat in the front row so you have more space. Most airlines charge a fee for the infant on lap option.
- Diapers – Do not bring enough diapers for the whole trip! Only pack enough for 1-2 days as you can purchase diapers at your destination. Some resorts and cruise lines can supply diapers upon request.
- Breastfeeding Mamas – Most airports have designated nursing areas. Where you want to have a private area to breastfeed or need an outlet to pump. These come in handy. Check the airports to locate these areas. I was an exclusive pumper so I packed my electric pump in my checked suitcase and used a manual pump for the flight. The Medela Manual Breast Pump was perfect! I pumped discreetly on the plane and in the car during our trip. For those mamas who are lucky enough to have a baby who latches, you may want to invest in a nursing cover, if you haven’t done so already. You ARE allowed to go through security with breast milk, in reasonable amounts. Alert the TSA agents as they perform a special screening.
- Formula feeding mamas – If you have powder formula, it will be easier to purchase water at the airport or ask the flight attendant for a bottle on the plane. If you are traveling with liquid formula, just alert the TSA agents at the security checkpoint as they perform special screening.
- Clogged ears – The pressure change in the cabin during take-off and landing often cause clogged ears. While we can simply unclog our ears by holding our nose and blowing to release the pressure, infants can not. I always packed 2 Dr. Brown’s pacifiers and a clip in our bag. During take-off and landing, try to either breastfeed, bottle feed or give a pacifier to help alleviate the pressure in their ears.
- Bottles – The change in pressure can also cause gas pains. My daughter was a very gaseous baby and Dr. Brown’s bottles helped immensely! The do have an extra part to clean but id rather take the extra few seconds of cleaning then hours of screaming from my gassy baby.
- Travel chair seat – The travel chair seat is a portable, washable, and easy to use travel high chair. You simply attach it to the chair and it envelopes your baby in for meal time. Its very easy and compact as it fits in a tiny travel bag.
- Wear your baby – I wore my baby while navigating through the airport and boarding the plane. This frees your hands and saves time while checking the stroller. We were able to stroll our backpacks in the stroller so we did not have to lug them around. I used the Ergobaby Original Carrier but, in my opinion, the Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier is more ideal. With the Omni 360, your baby can face out to take in the surrounds. My daughter kept trying to look to see where we were going with the original. Both feature built-in breastfeeding covers that are easy to use.
- Blanket and/or lovey – Infants take comfort in their favorite blanket or stuffed animal/lovey. Make sure to pack 1-2 comforting items for them.
- Backpack – A backpack is perfect for traveling because your hands are still free, if needed. This large capacity waterproof Kaome diaper bag backpack can hold bottles and has a bottom opening in the back for easier access to your belongings.
- Lightweight stroller – Invest in a lightweight stroller! A lightweight stroller or umbrella stroller is easier to maneuver through the airport and fold-up to check at the gate. We used the Summer Infant stroller and it was perfect.
- Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize! – Planes are the perfect incubator for germs! I always keep a package of sanitizing wipes with me wherever I go. Upon boarding the plane, make sure to clean your seat handles, tray table, seat backs in front of you, and anything that you or your family may touch. I also keep hand sanitizer with me in case I need to change a diaper and I don’t have access to a sink.
- SNACKS! – Always bring snacks! Healthy snacks will keep everyone full and happy. Happy Baby Puffs and Teethers are the perfect snacks for infants and help with hand/eye coordination as well.
- Extra Clothes – Bring extra clothes in case of diaper blowouts! Anyone can become a casualty to that disaster so pack extra for you too! I recommend packing 2 sets of extra clothes for your child.
- Ziplock bags – Ziplock bags are great for soiled clothing and to pack dirty diapers in case you can not make it to a garbage at that moment.
- Toys – Do not bring a plethora of toys. Infants play with anything so an empty cup on the plane will keep them entertained.
- Car seats – If you plan on renting a car, the car company can usually provide car seats. Inquire upon booking.
- Other baby gear – Most hotels provide cribs upon request. Do not feel obligated to bring your own playard or portable crib.
- Time zone changes – If there is a significant time zone difference, I recommend trying to stay as close to their schedule as possible while trying to get them accustomed to the new time zone as well. If the baby can sleep at night, it is easier to optimize your time during the day.
- Don’t do too much – As you know, everything takes longer with children. Do not overbook yourself and try to give yourself enough time through out the day.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comment section! Good luck and happy vacationing!
Carry-on/Diaper bag Packing List
- Diapers 1-2 days worth
- Wipes 1 package
- Manual breast pump
- Nursing cover
- Tot seat
- 2 Pacifier and clip
- Baby carrier
- Lightweight stroller
- Sanitizing wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Stuffed animal/lovey
- Change of clothes – 2 sets
- Ziplock bags
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