The thought of flying with an infant gave me SO much anxiety until I actually did it. And you can do it too. It just takes some special planning, a detailed packing list, and a little patience (or maybe a lot lol). I think the one thing that you have to fully acknowledge and plan for is that travel days and schedules can be completely “off” for babies AND you. This was a little harder for me to wrap my brain around because we usually stick to our Moms on Call schedule pretty closely.
I will say – this first trip was very exhausting for me. Constantly making sure that the bags were packed with the necessary items each day before we left the hotel, constantly checking the time to adhere to some sort of schedule, make sure we were both dressed in clean clothes, finding a spot to change a dirty diaper… it’s a lot. I’m not going to downplay it at all, and say it was a walk in the park. When we got home, I wanted to sleep for three days. BUT, it was such a special experience for us as a family, and we will 100% do it again – as soon as I rest up for it haha. Keep reading for everything I learned and packed for our trip to Vermont!
In the packing list, I’ve linked everything from Walmart because they literally have EVERYTHING baby in one place, so if you’re trying to plan for an upcoming trip, you’ll just have one place to check out instead of five! Trust me, I now understand the luxury of finding everything you need in one place instead of shopping around + you can schedule it for a pick up or have it delivered in two days. Time is a luxury y’all.
Keep Reading Baby’s First Flight Packing List
What We Packed:
Tips for Surviving Baby’s First Flight
This is probably super obvious, but if at all possible, book a direct flight. Unfortunately for us, a direct flight to Albany, NY was not an option, so we were faced with a connecting flight situation. (Had it been a direct flight, I would have been far less stressed.) We flew Southwest because they had a favorable baby carrier scenario without having to buy an extra seat. Not to mention the free checked bags because I knew we would have more luggage than usual. I also called Southwest to hear more about their baby policies, and the person was SO incredibly helpful. I love Southwest.
As soon as we got to each gate, I would head to the desk to see if the flight was full. Luckily for us 3 out of our 4 total flights for the trip had open seats. Family boarding happens right after Group A, so on flights that were not full, we were able to snag a full row of seats at the front of the plane so that Bennett could sit in his carrier. For the flight that was full, we pulled our carrier/stroller gate check bag out of the carry-on bag and checked the bag at the gate. Bennett sat on our laps for that flight and did fine.
At take-off, I’d make sure he was either drinking a bottle or had his pacifier in so that the air pressure change didn’t hurt his ears. Normally, the hum of the plane would have him drift off to sleep. We only had one hiccup and that was when he needed a diaper change right in the middle of take off… I had to wait until they turned off the seatbelt sign until I could change him in the bathroom. Changing in the bathroom was not an issue for us though.
Make sure to have toys to distract with if your baby starts acting agitated. And they will because it’s a long day sitting in a carrier/plane/car etc. Heck, I get agitated on planes too. One other call out, I’m so used to being able to nap on a plane, but I literally was wide-eyed the entire flights making sure nothing went awry. I think our second time around, I’ll be a little less crazy and will try to take a nap to get some rest. Maybe.
MUST PACK IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG
Diapers for the entire day + extras in Ziploc bag
Full pack of baby wipes
Pacifiers + Extra pacifiers
Bottles for the entire travel day + extras (I used these)
Baby food + spoons for the entire travel day + extras
Bottle Nipples in Ziploc bag labeled “Clean”
Ziploc bag labeled “DIRTY” for bottle parts, pacifiers, spoons that need to be sanitized
Extra sleepysuit or pajamas in labeled Ziploc bag
Extra shirt for yourself in labeled Ziploc bag
MUST PACK IN THE CHECKED LUGGAGE
Bennett had one entire suitcase for himself + one rolling carry-on bag + diaper bag.
I put Bennett’s clothes and formula bottles inside the folded bassinet inside of a large suitcase. In our first room, the pack and play did not fit inside the bathroom, so we used the travel bassinet on the ground with the white noise machine and baby monitor. He slept great and didn’t wake up! Really impressed with the quality of this one and the fact that it was incredibly easy to wash when we got home. The entire outside fabric cover comes off of two metal frames.
Bath time is a huge part of our nighttime routine (I’ve written about this in my Baby Sleeping Tips post), so it was really important to me that Bennett did not miss out on this part of his schedule. I did some research and found inflatable bathtubs! This is the exact one that we brought, and he actually fits better in this one than his normal plastic one. Thank goodness we had this because in our second room, there was a shower only and no bath tub, so this was PERFECT. Didn’t take up much room at all and was easy to deflate and pack back up in a gallon Ziploc.
TBH, the monitor wasn’t actually that necessary bc we were never far away to not hear him if he cried. But I did like having it to make sure that he was sleeping fine in his travel bassinet and then later in the Pack and Play since he isn’t used to those things.
I did a lot of reading about how to travel with bottles and formula/milk. I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would be able to wash and sterilize things without a dishwasher or a microwave. Bottle options were either the bottles with drop-in bottle liners or bringing the pre-made formula bottles. With drop-in liners, you don’t have to necessarily wash full bottles, but you do have to still somehow clean and sterilize the bottle nipples.
Since I’d need to wash and sterilize things no matter what, I read that a lot of people will use sterilization tablets. I found these exact ones and decided that I would bring a medium to large tupperware bowl to sterilize everything at the end of each day. I kept all the dirty items in the Ziploc bag labeled “Dirty” and at the end of the day, wash everything in the bag in the bathroom sink and then sterilize with the tablets overnight. In the morning, we would dump the water and rinse everything in the bowl a few times.
There are a few different baby travel kits offered with mini baby shampoo and bath wash. It’s also great to bring a mini diaper rash cream rather than a full size. Plus, bring a little bottle of bottle soap for any bottle parts, pacifiers, etc.
Probably a given by now that Ziplocs are an important part of my packing routine haha.
Formula and Food per day in Ziploc bags labeled by day
Outfits in Ziploc bags labeled by day
Pajamas in Ziploc bags labeled by day
*Dirty clothes, pajamas, bibs and burp cloth will be put back into the same Ziploc for that day to make packing up easy.*
Once we got to our destination, I started to relax a little bit. Plus, unpacking also helped me feel a little bit more at ease. I think the part I worried about most was him screaming on the plane – which he only did once out of four flights. It’s one of those life events that you’ll be anxious about until you do it, and then you’ll realize – OKAY I CAN DO IT.
One thing that also really helped is that I tend to over prepare and over pack… I mean did you see my hospital bag packing post? There was never a time during our trip where we ran out of anything for Bennett. (Although I had already looked up the nearest Walmart in Vermont just in case.)
If you have any questions about our experience traveling for the first time with a six month old, shoot me an email!
Thank you to Walmart for partnering on today’s post. As always, all thoughts and styling are my own.
Photos by Lainey Reed