Flying with a baby… A lot of parents start hyperventilating by the thought of it. Being cooped up for several hours in a long metal tube with a mini person doesn’t seem like a great way to spend their time.
I view it differently. Floris and Lotte were both 7 months old when they took their longest flight. Floris’s flight went to Los Angeles and Lotte’s was to Bangkok. Both flights, taking more than 12 hours, went very smoothly. No crying, inconsolable baby’s or unhappy parents.
Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. But I’m certain your baby is more at ease if you feel the same. But how do you make sure you enter the plane as relaxed as possible? On one hand it’s just a mindset and you tell yourself “it’ll work out”. On the other hand it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself as much as possible for the trip. Preparing consists of a lot of things: from choosing the right time of flying, getting your baby adjusted to being in a carrier for instance, taking the best travel toys for babies with you and certainly having the right items in your hand luggage. A well packed diaper bag can give you peace of mind. This way you know you have everything you could possibly need within reach so things can hardly go wrong.
I’ve listed 10 items for your hand luggage that make sure we are as relaxed as possible when we are flying with a baby.
TOP 10 indispensable items for your hand luggage when you go flying with a baby
Baby’s need to eat on the plane and nothing is more of a hassle than clumsily preparing powdered formula on a plane. You can get a stackable formula dispenser to make things easier, perhaps you already use one at home. You can measure the exact amount of formula you need for each bottle at home and add them to each tray. Always make sure you take twice the amount of formula with you. When we unexpectedly needed to stop in Houston and had to wait 12 hours until our next flight I was very glad I brought extra formula.
2# Extra bottles
Make sure you put at least two bottles in the diaper bag. On our flight to LA we found out there was a crack in one of Floris’s bottles I hadn’t seen earlier. It started leaking and I couldn’t use it anymore. Luckily I brought another, unscathed, bottle with me!
3# Thermosbottle with boiled water
Picture this: you’re just seated on the plane, time for take off! You want to give your baby a quick bottle during takeoff so it doesn’t get bothered by the pressure in its ears while ascending. The stewardesses are busy doing what they need to do during takeoff but you manage to grab one’s attention only to find out it’s not possible at this moment to give you the hot water you need to make the bottle. They tell you you’re the first in line after takeoff. I always took a thermos bottle of boiled water with me and bought a sealed bottle of flat mineral water after customs.
This way I could always make a bottle at the right temperature, even in the night when one of the kids would wake up crying. And I didn’t have to wait on anyone to bring me some hot water. And are you planning on taking a really looooooooooong flight and your water is not as warm as you’d hoped? You can always ask the stewardess to fill your thermos bottle with hot water when they have the time.
4# Changing mat
I may be a bit of a germaphobe but I don’t think plane toilets are the most hygienic of places. Because of this I use my own changing mat. It’s foldable and that way it fits easily in the diaper bag. And when you arrive at your destination it’s nice to know your baby will be in a clean place when it’s time for a diaper change.
5# Enough diapers
And I really mean; more than enough! Lotte had a bit of a tummy ache on our first flight. I think I may have changed her diaper every hour in the course of 12 hours. So extra diapers is advised if you go flying with a baby.
6# A set of clean clothing
Or two, and don’t forget to bring a clean shirt for yourself along too. Kev, Floris and me had to wait for 12 hours straight on our way back home during our first long distance trip. Floris was 7 months old at the time. We were broken (not Floris) when we finally boarded the plane to Amsterdam and Kev grabbed Floris’ bottle. I took it from him and put it in Floris’ mouth… and next we were all covered in milk. The lid wasn’t tightened properly. We felt very fortunate not having to spend another 11 hours flying in clothes drenched in sour, smelly milk.
When I got these after Floris was born I thought to myself, what on earth do I need this for?! But it turned out to be a great gift! I use these cloths for everything on a flight; to wipe spit, as a bib, a blanket, you name it! This is really an indispensable item for in your hand luggage if you go flying with a baby. And it comes in handy while travelling too. You can use it as a cloth on the ground if you want to lay your baby down for a bit or you can use it to create a little shade.
On our first flight with Floris we didn’t have this. But we made sure we had one for every flight after: A pacifier cord! Indispensable for flying with a baby. You attach the pacifier at the end of the cord and you fasten the cord on the other end to the clothing of the baby with a clip. You’ll never lose the pacifier again and you won’t have to clean it after it falls on the floor in the plane for the tenth time either.
This is a true lifesaver for me: the baby carrier. During the flight as well as at the airport, during boarding, when leaving the plane or waiting in line at customs, this item is absolutely indispensable to me. I like to use it while flying so I can keep my hands free and both kids enjoyed sleeping in it during the flight. It is important that your child is used to the carrier though. If you have never used a carrier with your baby before and you want to do so for the first time on a crowded flight it may not turn out the way you hoped. If you cant or rather wont take a carrier you can always take a stroller. This is one of the best strollers for travelling.
10# Bottle of mineral water
Mentioned earlier, in combination with the thermos bottle. After customs you are allowed to buy a sealed bottle of water you can take aboard with you. This way you can always make your little one a fresh bottle, together with your thermos bottle of warm water and your stackable formula dispenser.
I can make this list so much longer: enough wet tissues, special plastic bags (with a nice smell) for used diapers, saline nasal spray for babies, pacifiers (if you use them), thermometer, children’s paracetamol, solid baby food, several spoons and a neck pillow for yourself, to make sure you can sleep when the baby does. Enjoy your flight!