Between 6 months and a year babies become mobile and therefore a bit tricker to contain on the plane. The upside; they are still small, fit nicely into a carrier, and you still get the benefit of nursing or bottle feeding for take-off and landing. You don’t need much to distract or occupy them, but you do need to be prepared with all the other necessities (feeding, diapering, etc). These are my carry-on must-haves for babies. (some of these are the same as Infant essentials, it really doesn’t take anything different to feed or diaper an infant compared to a baby!). Keep reading to find out what to pack when flying with a baby.
1. A Comfortable Baby Carrier
A comfortable carrier is the key to your happiness, especially if you are traveling alone with your baby. A carrier allows you to be hands free while on the plane and in the airport, making boarding, eating, reading, bathroom breaks, really everything, easier! My favourite carrier for babies is the Ergo Performance Baby Carrier.
2. Destination appropriate Stroller
This can be a small umbrella stroller if you’re going to Disneyland, or a larger stroller if you’re going to Cobblestone streets in Europe. If you’re in the market, you’re bound to find the perfect stroller on this extensive list. Regardless of what stroller you bring, check it! If you have a good carrier then there is no reason to have your stroller in the airport. The only exception is if you have a long layover and baby will sleep in the stroller. Then, and only then is it worth gate-checking a stroller. (When you gate-check you just leave the stroller at the door of the plane. Someone will put it away in the plane, and bring it back up to the gate when you land. It is a wonderful service if you need to use it!!)
3. Feeding Items
Baby is wiggly at this age, so a good nursing cover will be your best friend. For an older baby the Bays Nursing Cover is a must. It offers full coverage around the front and back, and doubles as a scarf that is easy to wear and use as needed. It can also be used as a blanket for baby.
b. Bottle Feeding – Bottles and Formula
Make sure you bring bottles, formula and EXTRA formula. By this age you should be okay to use warm water from the plane, just pick up a bottle of water once your through security so that you can ensure the bottle is the right temperature. The extra formula is very important. Anything can happen, especially when flying long distances, and it’s better to be over-prepared when it comes to keeping baby fed!
Baby is just starting on solid foods at this point, and it is a great entertainment tactic for the plane. Little Dole squish’em packs are nutritious, easy to pack and easy to feed. Younger babies will need your help, where older babies can often feed themselves. Mum-mums are also a must, every baby likes these!
Thankfully babies are starting to use less diapers by this age, which is nice for packing light! I recommend keeping track of the number of diapers baby uses on a normal day and then doubling this for your carry-on.
6. Diaper Disposal
Diaper disposal is the same for babies as infants; these cute little disposable diaper bag dispensers are wonderful for containing a used diaper. If you missed this in the infant post, a good trick is to take the “barf bags” from the airplane. These are lined on the inside so they tend not to leak (too badly), and are compact so you can tuck them just about anywhere.
Pack lots of wipes, especially now that baby is eating solid foods! They can be used for cleaning just about every body part, on anybody, if needed.
8. Change Pad
I am not really a germ-a-phobe, but the thought of changing my baby on a change table that has been used by other people, and likely doesn’t get cleaned frequently, grosses me out. I pack a Kushies Change pad everywhere I go. They are small and compact, wash and dry easily, and can be pulled out quickly to use on a change table, the floor in the airport, or the seat beside you.
9. Extra clothes
I learned this one the hard way…I always pack a spare set of stretchy pants and a t-shirt for the girls, but never do for myself. On a flight across Canada, connecting to our trans-atlantic flight, Calais threw up all over herself and me, twice! She left the plane in her sister’s spare clothes, and I left the plane wearing my friend’s t-shirt (thankfully we were traveling with friends!). This is not really something I’d like to repeat! I now will throw an extra shirt in the carry-on for myself. It doesn’t take up much space, and if you need it, it’s worth it!
a. Bring a few toys
Toys should be compact, easy to pack and baby’s favourites. My toys of choice were a Nuby ring and Sophie. Every baby loves Sophie! These both can be chewed on for teething, and provide a small amount of distraction when needed. We have shared our Sophie with other babies on many flights.
b. Touch and Feel Book
A book is always a nice distraction and can calm baby down if she is upset. I like touch and feel books because they keep baby entertained for longer. My girls’ loved the “That’s not my monster” and other Usborne touchy-feely books.
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Check out my Tips on Flying with a Baby for some great advice for the plane!
What else is essential to pack onboard when flying with a baby?