Flying with Your Baby?

Must-Haves for Flying with Your Baby

July 18, 2016

Must-Haves for Flying with Your Baby

Must-Haves for Flying with Your Baby
After taking my twin boys on many planes before they turned one, I can say that traveling with infants is fun.Must-Haves for Flying with Your Baby

As someone who took twin boys on several flights before their first birthday, I can honestly say that traveling with infants can be a fun, minimally stressful experience. The key is… plan ahead. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Most people will say, “I always plan ahead, my middle name is plan ahead!” But the reality is they only “plan” to plan ahead, and their middle name is Joe or Anne. They get busy with work and taking care of the babies. Before they know it, it’s the night before the flight and they’re frantically trying to pack while arguing over whether or not they’ll need two pacifiers or three. So when I say plan ahead, what I mean is actually plan ahead!

After we book a trip, my wife and I immediately sit down and make a list of everything we’re going to need to take for our boys. As we check items off the list we lay them out on a packing station (for us it’s the dining room table) so we can see what we have and what we still need to get. Two days before the flight we pack everything we can, leaving out only the items for the diaper bag, which we finally pack the night before.

We break down our packing list into two categories:

  1. What we’ll need on the vacation (to be packed in the boys’ suitcase)
  2. What we’ll need to get to our vacation (diaper bag, stroller, car seats, etc.)

Now every vacation is different (Hawaii vs. Tahoe?), so I’ll discuss what I’ve found extremely helpful for the plane ride. ***

Car Seat Bag

The airlines allow you to carry your babies onto the plane in the car seats. Once you are safely situated on the plane, if you have not purchased an extra seat to strap the car seat into, the flight attendants will store the car seats for you. To keep them safe from damage, I recommend car seat bags.

I prefer the Prince Lionheart car seat bag: a durable 90% nylon bag that fits almost every car seat on the market. Plus, it folds up neatly into a small pouch while not in use. It has a handle that aids in carrying the car seat and is machine washable. It also has a place for you to write your name and address just in case the airline might lose it (which, of course, never happens, right?). You paid a lot of money for your car seat; why not give them a little extra protection?


Diaper Bag

Because my wife and I are traveling with twins the airlines allow two diaper bags in addition to our own personal carry-on luggage. My wife uses the Petunia Pickle Bottom City Carryall. The Carryall’s large interior space, with three organizational pockets and two bottle pockets, is easily accessible. It comes with a detachable changing pad, handles, and backpack straps. The Petunia Pickle Bottom City Carryall is not only extremely user friendly but also fashionable.

Now dads may not feel comfortable hauling around a bag with an eye-catching floral design so for those with a more masculine taste I suggest the Diaper Dude Messenger II Diaper Bag. It features one large compartment with a mesh pocket for baby’s items, three outer compartments with Velcro closures, an insulated bottle holder, and an additional compartment for dad’s personal items.

The trick to packing a diaper bag for air travel is take only what you know you’ll need plus a few extra “just in cases.” The wipe warmer is not going to fit. Inside your diaper bag of choice you will need to pack these essential items:

  1. At least one change of clothes.
  2. Diapers
  3. Hand sanitizer
  4. Baby wipes
  5. Blankets (it gets very cold on planes)
  6. Toys
  7. Changing pad

Changing Pad

Changing a baby on an airplane can be tricky because most airplane bathrooms don’t have a baby changing station so make sure you have a sturdy fold-up changing mat. I recommend the BULA BABY Changing Mat. It has a large wipe-clean vinyl pad with an ultra-soft side for your baby to lie on that won’t irritate sensitive skin and is small enough to be stored in the diaper bag. It has a handy zip pocket for used napkins, plus internal pockets for all your diaper essentials.


Carrier

If you are not buying an extra seat for your baby’s car seat, you will be required to hold your baby on your lap the entire flight so you might want to consider taking a baby carrier. It allows you some hands-free time and (in the case of my boys) helps comfort them enough to sleep. My wife and I use the Boba Air Baby Carrier. This lightweight carrier is made out of nylon material and can be easily cleaned. It folds up in seconds into self-storing pouch that can fit into the overhead compartment or your diaper bag. The carrier allows me and my wife to read or have a snack why our sons sleep peacefully.


What about the things you can’t buy? Here are some helpful travel tips to cover everything else.

How to soothe ear popping?

Just like adults, babies feel some discomfort in their ears during takeoff and landing due to air pressure changes. Feeding your baby (either nursing or with a bottle) releases the pressure and keeps them comfortable. There are no airline restrictions for baby formula, expressed breast milk, or cow’s milk, so take whatever you need.

Where to sit?

Buy your tickets early and select aisle seats to give you a little extra elbow room. All babies under the age of two fly for free (they have to be held or sit in your lap), but on longer flights it is sometimes smart to buy them a seat of their own. This allows you to bring their car seat and strap it in which can be a big help if your babies get a little too squirmy sitting on your lap. Not to mention it’s safer to have your babies in car seats if the plane runs into some turbulence. I also try to schedule flights that take place as close to our sons’ nap times as possible that way (hopefully) they will sleep for part or the majority of the flight (crossed fingers).

Is your baby old enough to fly?

Each airline sets its own requirements and they can range from two days to 14 days old. For premature babies (which my sons were), this is usually counted from the due date, not the day they were born. Some airlines even insist a newborn baby and mom have a note from their pediatrician to say they are fit to fly before they will allow them on board, so check with the airline you plan on using to find out what their restrictions are.

Traveling with multiples?

By law, two babies cannot sit in the same row so (if you have twins) you need to book your tickets early enough so you can pick seats either right in front of each other or across the aisle.

Once you’ve checked with the airlines to make sure you qualify to fly, purchase the perfect seats, make out your list of essentials and pack your bags, just remember to relax. You’ll do great!


I am a veteran film and television writer from Los Angeles. My wife and I were blessed with twin boys who turned our lives upside down (in a great way). With lofty ambitions of becoming the greatest father this world has ever known, I attempted to learn anything and everything there is to know about raising twins. During my quest for knowledge I discovered that although most information and products are targeted towards mothers (which for obvious reasons is very wise), the market is starting to develop more and more products geared towards men with more fathers wanting to be involved with raising their children. My quest to become the greatest father is ongoing, and as my journey continues I feel it is my duty and my privilege to pass on any and all helpful information I can to other parents to help keep our children healthy and happy.

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