What to Bring When Flying with a Baby

Many parents are in the midst of Spring Break right now, at least here in the midwest, so what better time to revisit all the necessities you’ll want to have when flying with your little one. Any type of travel with a baby can feel like an overwhelming affair, but worry not, we’re here to put your mind at ease with an easy checklist for you to reference before enjoying your vacation.

First Things First:

Before you book a flight, first consider waiting until your baby is at least a few weeks old. Mayo Clinic doesn’t give a specific recommended wait time, but they do suggest consulting a doctor before air travel.

You’ll also need to check rules with the airline of your choice. Some airlines allow babies to fly at two weeks old, while others won’t admit newborns younger than two months. Check all of these details before you book your flight.

Must Haves for Flying with Baby:

I.D. Many parents wonder, do I need to bring my baby’s birth certificate when flying? The answer is yes and no. You can bring an alternate form of ID like a passport, but not every baby has his or her own passport already! 

You’ll need proof of baby’s age when flying with an infant in your lap, so a birth certificate is probably the handiest form of ID to bring. Depending on the airline, you might be able to bring a copy of baby’s birth certificate, though some carriers require an original.

If you are flying internationally however, a passport is required. 

Milk and/or Formula. TSA allows breastmilk and formula in quantities greater than the 3.4 ounce limit, and you don’t need to fit these into a quart-sized bag, either. Additionally you may bring a cooler and ice packs to store breastmilk while traveling.

Diapers, Wipes, and Diaper Cream. Bring as many as you’ll need for the length of travel, knowing that you’ll likely have access to a store when you reach your destination. We recommend at least 1 diaper for every hour you’ll be traveling from the time you leave your house until you arrive at your final destination, plus the equivalent in wipes (and cream based on your normal usage).

Baby Clothes. Many moms recommend putting baby in pajamas during a flight to keep him or her warm on the cold plane. Pack an extra pair in case baby has a blowout during takeoff.

For your destination, bear in mind the climate when you pack baby clothing items. Consider layers; where you’re staying might have the A/C or the heat turned up higher than baby is used to.

Extra Shirt (for you). You never know if baby’s going to spit up on you in the middle of a flight! Alternatively, a zip-up sweater or cardigan would be a good substitute, plus keep you cozy during the flight.

Blankets. You only need one blanket in your carry on bag, preferably a light muslin one since they fold so compactly. This blanket will keep baby warm, be used to wipe spit up, and can even serve as a nursing cover.

Baby Medicine and Grooming Items. These include infant acetaminophen, nail clippers (if you’ll be gone more than a week), a snot sucker, hairbrush, bandages, and thermometer, just in case. These can be packed in your suitcase for arrival at your destination.

A way to transport your baby once you reach your destination. This could be a baby carrier or lightweight stroller. One mom recommends carrying baby because it’s easier to maneuver through crowds. Don’t forget the need for a car seat as well, to get you to your final destination after leaving the arrival airport – more on that below.

Optional Items for Flying with Baby:

Toys. Toys are “optional” because the amount you bring (if any) will depend on baby’s age. Newborns probably don’t need many toys.

Breast Pump, if you think you’ll be expressing milk. A smaller hand pump might be more convenient to travel with, but you can bring your electric pump on the plane, too. This is a medical device which does not count towards your carry on bag allowance. 

Car Seat, if you’re renting a car. Most domestic flights won’t charge you to check a car seat. If you’d prefer not to lug yours from home, you can pay to rent one from the car rental company.

Pacifiers and pacifier clips. Not every baby uses pacifiers, but if yours does, clip them in a convenient place so you aren’t constantly retrieving them from the dirty ground.

Baby Flying Checklist:

  • Baby’s birth certificate or passport
  • Breastmilk or formula
  • Bottles
  • Breast pump
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • An extra outfit for baby during the flight
  • Blanket
  • Infant medicine
  • Baby toiletries
  • Baby hairbrush/comb
  • Thermometer
  • Toys
  • Car seat
  • Baby carrier and/or lightweight stroller
  • Pacifiers + pacifier clips

We hope this list makes it easy for you in preparation for your trip. As they say, happiness is not a state to arrive at, but rather a manner of travel.

Advice shared on this blog cannot substitute the guidance of a doctor or healthcare provider.