However you travel, flying with a baby is often no picnic. But with a little preparation, you can sit back (sort of!), relax (not really!) and have a good flight. Here, we go through everything you need to know about how to fly with a baby, from how to prepare and what to pack to entertaining your little one mid-flight.
Before You Fly
If you have time, plan ahead for a less-stressful flight.
- Don’t forget to apply for your baby’s passport!
- Try to book off-peak, night-time flights. Traveling at night can help your child stick to their usual routine.
- Check the latest restrictions on hand luggage before traveling. Decant creams into small bottles. If you’re bottle-feeding, pack powdered milk – you can get hot water to make feeds on most flights.
- If you have a small baby, invest in a portable baby pod. These are great little places for your baby to rest or play in while you're travelling, and equally useful for tummy time and diaper changes once you've reached your destination. Pick one with a detachable shade, which will protect against the sun and block out glaring airport ceiling lights. We love the Dockatot Deluxe+ Getaway Tote – the perfect way to easily carry a Deluxe+ dock and all its accessories.
DockATot Deluxe+ Getaway Tote - the perfect travel companion
- A sling is an ideal travel aid. It’s comfortable, practical and packs away easily. Suitable for newborns up to toddlers, your trusty sling will keep your hands free and your baby calm and comfy. The BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One Air is a great option if you’re traveling someplace hot. Its airy 3D mesh is designed to keep both you and your baby cool.
- A lightweight buggy is your friend. We like the Joolz Aer Stroller (with neat travel pouch), which you can use in the airport then fold up to stow on the flight.
Light, compact and perfect for flights - the Joolz Aer Stroller
What Do You Need To Travel With A Baby?
A well-stocked diaper bag is a must. Make sure it’s durable with multiple compartments to maximize efficiency, like the Skip Hop Duo Weekender Diaper Bag. Here’s a handy checklist of what to pack:
- Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, diaper bags, hand sanitizer and changing mat.
- Drinks and snacks, bibs and no-spill beaker.
- Toys and books.
- Change of clothes – for both you and your baby!
- If you’re formula feeding, pack a travel sterilizer, bottles and teats and powdered formula milk.
- Pacifier (plus spares).
Ready for anything with the Skip Hop Duo Weekender Diaper Bag
At the airport
Make full use of the facilities: many airports have dedicated areas for entertaining children. But they are also large, busy and crowded so be prepared.
- Give yourself time. Children are fun but they do like to complicate matters! Schedule in extra time to accommodate nappy changes, tantrums and snack breaks.
- Dress your child in something bright and take a photo of them on your phone in case they wander off and you need help to locate them. Or you could attach a luggage label to your child’s clothing with their name and flight number on it.
- Plan for delays and fully charge your devices and bluetooth headphones. Bring a portable battery pack in case you can’t find a charging point.
On the flight
Here are some tips for flying with a baby, from coping with other travelers to keeping your little one entertained (and your sanity intact!).
Manage Your Expectations (As Well As Other Fliers)
Your baby may miraculously sleep through the flight or they may cry the entire time due to the pressure on their ears (their ears are much more sensitive than ours). Please do not feel bad when your baby behaves like a baby! Ignore the haters: you’re doing your best. Keep smiling and remind yourself that in a few hours, you’ll be on vacation.
Comfort Is Key
If you can, try to sit on an easily accessible seat. Children under two usually sit on your lap, so take a cushion as well as their favorite comforter or cuddly toy to help them sleep. Changing cabin pressure during take-off and landing can be painful for your baby, so ease the discomfort by breastfeeding or offering a bottle or dummy. Dry cabin air can cause dehydration, so remind them to drink regularly.
Snacks and Drinks
For older babies, have a supply of easy-to-grab snacks, such as granola bars, dried fruit, chips, squeezable applesauce, grapes, carrots and cheese sticks. Put child-size servings in convenient snacks pots, like these Oxo Tot ones. Pack a spill proof beaker and extras of everything in case your flight is delayed. Bring antibacterial wipes to clean hands, tray tables, arm rests and toilet door handles.
Pack reusable sticker books; magnetic drawing boards (rather than crayons, which will only get dropped); toys that stick surfaces like these Fat Brain Toys Whirly Squigz; and books with flaps. Try to exhaust all the exciting toys before you’re tempted to get out the tablet. Some little ones may find it too stimulating, leading to tantrums.