Travelling with a baby Checklist.
If you are going on a vacation or visiting friends or family or even on a business trip with your baby, you will need a bunch of stuff listed below.
1. A backpack diaper bag with required diaper bag items. (Check out the diaper bag checklist section for the list of items)
2. Nurser bottles with disposable liners or feeding bottles that you can get rid of after use. It’s important to travel light as far as possible. I use Playtex bottles at home and Playtex disposable liner nursers on the go. The Playtex nurser bottle nipple is similar to Playtex regular bottle nipple so my baby doesn’t feel the difference.
3. Foldable stroller to carry your baby around.
4. A baby sling carrier.
5. Diapers and wipes. Take extra diapers than the estimated amount. I had a bad experience of baby diarrhea on a 9 hour plane journey where I ran out of all the diapers i was carrying. The airplane had only 2 diapers in their stock which I ended up using. I also ran out of wipes and I had to use the bathroom paper towels. It was really a bad experience. So pack extra than your estimated amount.
6. Disposable changing pads.
7. Baby hand sanitizing wipes.
8. First aid kit & basic medicines like diaper rash cream, baby ibuprofen, saline drops, pedialyte, etc. in your cabin luggage. (Diaper bag)
9. Some warm clothes. It gets cold in the airplane at a high altitude.
10. Sippy cup/ bottle or something to suck on during altitude change – takeoff and landing. Especially landing. Feed your baby through bottle or breast. If your baby is not ready for a meal at the time of takeoff or landing give him a pacifier or if the baby is old enough to have water, then give him water. It’s good to have water on a plane even for an adult.
12. Blankets/ toys/books: It’s uncomfortable for a baby to travel. Take his favorite toy, blanket on the journey to make him feel a little comfortable. Carry some extra blankets for accidental spills or just for an extra cover.
13. A mat to spread on the floor to let your baby play if he sits. Helpful in layovers or waiting areas.
14. Plastic bags of different sizes to store food, used bottles/ nipples/ diapers/ clothes. There are some diaper trash bags of handy size which help lock the smell of diapers for sometime.
15. Enough baby food / formula.
16. Disposable bibs.
17. Paper napkins/ tissues.
18. Feeding set – spoon, plates, cups, fork etc.
19. If nursing, then breast pump with batteries if you are on a long flight.
20. If you are planning to stay in a hotel and if your baby also eats solids then its good idea to carry a small rice cooker to cook quick meals for your baby. This can fit easily in your check-in luggage. You can also try the instant cereal mixes in the market or shelf baby food containers or our own homemade frozen food in an ice bag. Avocados or bananas are also good options to serve fresh and healthy food to your baby on the go. Both can be peeled and mashed to desired consistency easily. Checkout the ‘baby food checklists’ tab on this blog for some ideas on baby food.
21. Inflatable bath tub in check-in luggage.
22. A portable crib/playmat in check in luggage if needed.
23. If your baby crawls, then its a good idea to carry a couple of hand gloves and socks with you. Put them on and let your baby wander around and explore the waiting area. You can quickly take off the dirty ones and put on the new ones and worry less about sanitizing all the time.
24. Pack extra baby food, formula, extra diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets etc in your check-in luggage. The destination you are visiting may or may not have the exact brands or items you need for your baby.
25. Do research before visiting a place on the availability of things you need for your baby. Call the hotel in advance and let them know if you need a crib and a high chair in your room.
26. Call the airline and ask for a bassinet seat in advance for your baby. Most of the airlines allow baby up to 6 months of age or baby weighing less than 22 lbs to sleep in a bassinet seat. But check with your airline carrier.
27. You can also carry your car seat for free on most of the airlines. It becomes easier to rock a baby to sleep in a car seat than carrying her around in your arms back and forth in the plane aisles.
28. Strollers can be checked for free at luggage check in or at the terminal gate. Its better to have a stroller until you reach your terminal gate because at security clearance, you have to take off your shoes, take out the baby food, formula for testing and do other bunch of stuff and it becomes easier to keep your baby in the strollers while you are juggling with so many things.
29. Most of the airlines also allow a free cabin bag and one free check-in bag for the baby, so you don’t have to worry about paying for additional luggage. [But if you are like me, you will pack a lot of things and end up paying for an extra bag :)]
30. ‘Infant in lap fly free’ is not always true. If you are buying a ticket for yourself and select ‘infant in lap under two’, be aware that most of the airlines do charge some percentage of your airfare towards your baby’s ticket.
31. Some airlines also carry baby food on the board. You have to ask for it in advance.
32. Remember that being with a baby gives you privilege to board the airplane first so that you can settle down with your luggage and baby. The seat for passengers with baby is usually the middle seat in the front row facing the wall. The bassinets are hung on this wall.
I recently visited my family in India, and so I have some tips for parents who are flying with their babies to India for the first time.
1. Pack enough baby formula for your stay in india. I use Similac for my baby. If you run out of formula, do not panic. Abbott nutrition (Similac & Enfamil’s parent brand) has got an office in Mumbai (contact no. 91 22 67978888). I called them when I ran out of Similac Advance. They gave me my city’s local distributor’s number and list of stores where I can get the formula. I got Similac in a local medical store. I compared the box with the one I had got from the US and the only difference I notice was the manufacturing facility’s location. The Indian Similac was manufactured in Singapore, whereas the one from US was manufactured in Cleveland, Ohio. Rest all the ingredients were same. I have also heard that you can get Enfamil in most of the baby stores in India.
2. Indian “Mom & Me” baby store has a lot of things that you find at ‘Babies R US’.
3. Since direct flight to India is a 14 to 16 hour flight, I believe that it is a good idea to have a break journey with enough layover time so that you can feed your baby and lets her crawl around for sometime. On the other hand, some believe that it is good to fly on a direct flight and not to worry about boarding another flight with the heavy cabin luggage and baby and go through the security once again. Whatever you choose, good luck travelling with a baby.