Masha! Thank you for the wonderful question on what to pack.
First I’ll tell you what I brought, and then I’ll tell you what I ended up using.
I had a backpack and a diaper bag – because my great-grandma always said – pack for 3 days if you’re going for 1. So if my flight with baby is 11 hours – I’m packing for a week ;)
First I pack all the necessities, and then I stuff in as many diapers as I can into each bag – because you never know!
1) I brought 2 changes of clothes for baby – layers, t-shirts rather than onesies. Before it would always be cold on planes, and now I’m always super hot (and then sometimes super cold) so – I’d rather be prepared ;) And I also brought a change of clothes for me – just in case, especially if your baby is still in the spit up, or baby food phase or .. alive.. =) I put each outfit into a big Ziploc bag, and I put my clothes and one baby set in the backpack (which went into the overhead bin) and one into the diaper bag.
2) I always always bring my entire set of baby medicine – because I’d rather bring a few bottles than suffer. Cough syrup, ear drops, baby Motrin etc. Things I actually use: teething tablets (the homeopathic ones), Benadryl (melatonin did not seem to work for us), Baby Saline gel, saline nasal spray, mini tub of vaseline (if his nose/face gets too dry or something). That’s all in one Ziploc bag in the diaper bag.
BTW – I haven’t checked to see how far I can push it, but with a baby none of those TSA rules really apply. You don’t need to fit all your things into one little baggie. Don’t worry. But be prepared to take however many baggies you have out. (So – I always put my baggies on top)
3) Several books – some new, some old favs.
4) Our tablet with his fav apps, a couple movies and a couple Spongebob episodes.
5) Baby headphones (if you can get those noise-blocking ones – that’s even better! Start working with your babe well before you go to get her used to them!)
7) 2 blankets – the flight attendant actually told me – Babies can sleep on the floor. Those pictures you see online – they’re not cruel parents. They’re parents that survived a flight! So bring one to lay them on, and one to cover with.
8) If you can – bring a pillow. I have a king size down pillow – and I used to always bring it with me when we traveled – you can smoosh it into a baggie when not in use and it is REALLY comfortable for baby to sleep on – and you to hold with baby sleeping on it! Now that my guy has his own pillow – I just brought his – for comfort and what not.
9) Snacks – whatever will occupy them and what they like. This is not the time to think healthy, but rather – what will have the highest success rate of going in the mouth and not on the floor. If your baby is not on solids yet then obviously – do not introduce new foods at this time!!! =) If you’re breastfeeding and pumping – bring your pump! And whatever else you need for it. I’ve pumped on planes before – nbd! Those squeezy food pouches are fantastic. And they come in single ingredients as well!
10) I had a little pouch – like an old makeup bag, with little toys, most of which I bought new so he had never seen them before. But – depending on age of baby – there’s no guaranteed interest in the toys. When N was 3-6 months, one of the few things that worked was his lightup music deal (that was actually in the Baby Einstein play thing that you, Masha, gave him from our registry! So thanks!)
11) If you’re bottle feeding – a couple extra bottles. I had a cup for milk and a cup for water (that I filled up before we left home).
12) My Ergo carrier – still using it!
13) Plenty of pacifiers.
DO NOT bring one of those sippy cups with a straw that pops open and closed. I learned the hard way, as did the poor kid next to us that got completely soaked when I opened it at 32000 feet! Oops!
There are also these cool ties for toys or cups or whatever that have snaps on them (like this) I either put a bunch of toys on those and stick it on my bag, or at least have extra ties in my bag.
Bring some snacks for yourself. And that’s basically it.
On both of my flights this last trip they changed my seats at the last minute, so I never even got to take my backpack down.
I’ve also discovered there’s 2 strategies to flying with a baby. The first one I think works best for smaller ones – get them tired to make sure they sleep on the plane. The danger in this one is that there are a million things that can wake them up, and then the new environment can make it hard to go back to sleep. That’s why now I dread sitting behind the wall of the lavatory (N woke up with every flush on one flight!), and every time there’s some announcement or a flight attendant near by – I cover his ears. I don’t depend on wearing him out to ensure sleep anymore because it is so easy for him to get overtired (which happened on our flight there) and then all of the stuff mentioned above is completely useless because – he’s just going to be upset and crying crying crying.
The second strategy is to make sure he is well rested and in a good mood. There are plenty of things to keep them entertained. And after they become comfortable in the new environment – it will be easier for them to go to sleep.
Bottom line – don’t worry about other people. Worry about making sure your baby is comfortable. If your baby is happy – that’s all you need. As a regular passenger – sharing a flight with a crying baby is a risk you take. You’ll never see them again in your life! And they’ll get to arrive at their destination and go to sleep. You won’t have that luxury, so again – DON’T WORRY ABOUT THEM!
Hope it helps! please let me know if you have any other questions!!!
Oh and the best thing you can bring is your spouse, who’s job it will be to hold a sleeping baby, and entertain an awake one ;)