Air Travel with Baby – Keeping Everyone Calm

We all know that travelling with a baby can be no fun at times, for everyone involved. I mean, who hasn’t gotten on an airplane only to realize they’re sitting near a baby and dreaded the flight ahead before the child even has a chance to make a sound? I know I certainly have and I’m the proud mom of two, though that doesn’t make the sounds of crying babies any easier to endure. Somehow, I think it makes it worse because it ignites your inner mom who wants to comfort the little one.

For those times where you are travelling with your baby, there are some things that you can do to make the experience a little more comfortable for everyone. We will go through tips to help for Baby, parents and even the irritated passenger two seats away.


Cruising the airport

If you plan to take a stroller through the airport, you will need to gate check the item. You can get Gate check bags to put your stroller in which will keep the stroller clean and easily identifiable when you get off the plane and go to collect it. However, I have found that when travelling alone with kids, it’s not very convenient to try and stuff a stroller into one of these bags when you’re in a hurry and trying a juggle a kid or two. I often end up not using it.

I see a lot of people cruising the airport with many different types of strollers. I have found that the best ones are the oversized umbrella strollers. They are small and lightweight but still sturdy enough to hang your diaper bag on, and they usually come with an under the seat basket which regular umbrella strollers don’t often sport.

If your baby is accustomed to being carried in a carrier or sling, this is probably the best option to go with. No hassle of checking a stroller at the gate and baby will feel more at ease being close to you while navigating the busy and loud airport. But keep in mind that unless you checked a stroller in baggage, you likely wouldn’t have one with you on vacation


Prepare for the worse case scenarios

I’m sure your diaper bag is already packed exceptionally well. I have listed what I usually bring with me that will hopefully save you a lot of grief mid-flight. Pouch packing is an excellent way to keep everything organized, and you can fit much more into your bag this way depending on the style of diaper bag you’re using.What's the worst that could happen

Lots of diapers and wipes – you never know when a stomach bug might hit. It happened to me when travelling alone with my then 2-year-old and it was not pretty.

Extra blankets – In case of spit ups, food/drink spills, and any other potential accidents that may happen.

Extra Burp Pads – You may find yourself needing to use a few of these especially if your little one spits up a lot.

Medicine – I recommend taking all the medicines that you would regularly use for your baby, especially when travelling out of the country, you may not get the same ones when needed. You don’t want to spend your vacation hunting down medicines for your baby. These can include, but not limited to; Advil, Tylenol, gripe water, teething ointment, Gravol and Benadryl.

Teething Toys – These are a good idea to take these even if your child isn’t teething at the time you leave for your trip. You never know when that beast will raise its ugly head. If your child is teething while you’re in the Air and they like their chew toys cold, put them in an insulated lunch bag with a cold pack.

Extra pacifiers/pacifier clips – This probably goes without saying, if your little one uses a pacifier, make sure to pack extra. They can get lost and dropped a lot and sometimes it’s easier and faster to pull out a new one rather than try to clean a dirty one.

Outfits for Baby – I recommend bringing at least three (3) clean outfits, one that is weather appropriate for your destination and two sets of pyjamas. I like to dress my kids comfortably while travelling and they usually just end up wearing pyjamas the whole time.

Wet Bags – These are great for all kinds of things other than soiled cloth diapers. They can be used for dirty and clean clothes, pacifiers and teethers, snacks, medicines, all your liquids, electronic cord storage, you can stuff a sweater in there and make a travel pillow or even use it as a sickness bags for those who get motion sickness.

Sun Hat/Sunglasses – You never know when your flight might get delayed and you want to take your baby outside to get some fresh air

Entertainment – I like to stash some toys that my little one loves but doesn’t see all the time. It will entertain them longer when it’s a treat to have.


Food for thought

Pack. All. The. Snacks. Everything you can think of that you and your baby may want. I suggest getting reusable snack bags, super cute prints and great for the environment, win-win. It’s a great idea to pack thing you will want as well. A happy fed Mommy makes for calmer Mommy. Let’s avoid getting hangry if we can.

Some great snacks that travel well are;

  • Sugar-free lollypops. These are fantastic for older children during take off and landing to help with their ears popping.
  • Cheerios
  • Granola bars
  • Freeze dried yogurt
  • Fruit snacks
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Puffed rice treats
  • Trail mix

You’ll also want to bring some water and formula if your baby is formula fed. You can use formula stackers with the appropriate amount measured out for each bottle.  You can also transfer it to a smaller sealed container and pack the scoop from the formula tub. The number of bottles you need to take with you will depend on how long your trip is and how often you feed, about 1 for every 3 hours of travel time. If this is not feasible, you can always rinse the bottle with your bottled water and toss the dirty water in the bathroom sink and reuse it if need be. I don’t recommend doing this if you can avoid it but it will do the trick in a pinch.


What’s the Big Surprise?

Gift BagOne way to keep baby occupied is to give them something new to play with. It doesn’t have to be super spectacular things, a trip to your local dollar store should be sufficient. I recommend putting the new item in reusable bags with zippers, these alone can keep baby busy. They also work great for packing the toys back up to leave the plane, and you don’t have to worry about scraps of loose paper everywhere. Make sure to choose age-appropriate toys.

Another thing you can do, which will help keep the peace with all of the other passengers, is bring little gifts bags for everyone on the flight. Again, this does not have to be expensive. You can get loot bags at the dollar store and put a couple of the items in each one along with a note apologizing for any inconvenience your little one may cause if they end up being cranky the whole trip.

Here are some ideas of what to put in the bags;

  • Personal note to passenger
  • Earplugs
  • Salty snack
  • Sweet snack
  • Gum

You can also get a variety bag of loot bag games and add some to them as well. Why not add some entertainment? It might just help ward off the cranky passengers.


Peek-A-Boo anyone?

Depending on the age of your baby, some games will potentially keep them occupied for a long time.

Here are just a few age-appropriate games you can break out to turn that frown upside down;


  • Talking to baby
  • Counting fingers and toes
  • Making faces at the baby

1-3 months

  • Dangling toys in front of them while they practice reaching
  • Showing them different textures
  • Walking the Aisle and letting them look around

4-6 Months

  • Peek-A-Boo
  • Baby Airplane
  • This Little Piggy

7-9 Months

  • Show baby pictures
  • Bring some blocks for baby to play with. I recommend using foam ones so that you don’t disrupt the other passengers too much
  • Read nursery rhyme books

10-12 MonthsBlocks

  • Clothes Pins – stick them all over baby’s clothes and watch them try to take them off.
  • Copycat
  • Hand over hand

We’re all in this Together

Whether you’re the parent or the passenger, please have some patience and understanding that your baby, or the one two seats away, is not out to make your trip miserable. If we all come together to help this poor little being have a fun trip, then we all benefit in the end.

And who knows, your outing may even go much better than you anticipated. No matter where you’re going always remember to travel safe and take everything in stride. I find that I am much less stressed when I know I’m prepared and I hope that you find my tips helpful.

Do you have any helpful tips for travelling with babies? Let me know below in the comments.

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  1. David says:

    Hi Stephanie, that is some good information that you have there in your post. I can see how it would help people who are travelling with a baby on a plane. I would assume that if the baby needs a passport or other travel documentation that this is obtained as soon as possible. Getting a new passport or other travel documentation might take longer than expected. I can see how having baby’s favourite toys would help, and see that you have this included in your article.

    Travelling with a baby who is over tired is not a good idea at all. If you can travel at a time which allows the baby to sleep, that can be a good idea, for the baby, you and the other passengers.

    1. Yes, you are absolutely correct. Travel documentation should be obtained when travelling out of the country as soon as possible. I also like the idea of travelling during a sleeping time for baby. Great tip! Thank you.

  2. MelanieP72 says:

    Hi Steph,
    I love this post! You have some really fantastic ideas here and there are loads of new parents out there who could really do with your great advice! It can be so hard travelling with little ones and every parent cringes when their baby doesn’t settle or the kids are so bored they have to start annoying everyone around them to amuse themselves. I am going to pass this link onto all my young/new parent clients who are looking to travel with their children. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for passing along my article. I hope that your readers find it useful.

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