Babies on a Plane: Diaper Bag Do's and Don'ts
When my little bambina, Beulah, was almost 7 months old, I traveled solo with her (first time) to Santa Fe, New Mexico, from our home in Chicago where we were living at the time. Packing for the trip was like outfitting Madonna for the zombie apocalypse. Beulah had A LOT OF STUFF.
My husband and I had already experienced a plane ride with her to Texas when she was 4 months old. Beulah promptly blew out her diapers as soon as we took off, both there and back. Overall, the trip wasn't bad, but I packed a bunch of stuff I didn't really need for the plane.
I learned the key to a well-packed diaper bag is to only bring what you might need in the airport and on the plane, including any disasters such as delayed or cancelled flights or getting stuck ON the airplane due to unforeseen issues — as much as you can plan for anyway.
But even more important than what goes in your diaper bag are my first two, and possibly most vital, DO's:
- DO make sure your baby is up to date on all milestone checkups and shots. Being stuck on a crowded plane with a bunch of coughers at 30,000 feet is no time to wonder if she's had her latest round of vaccinations.
- DO keep your pediatrician's contact information handy. If you have to visit an out-of-town physician or ER, they may want to check in with your baby's primary doctor. You may want to, as well.
Other notable DO's and DON'Ts:
- DO pack extra clothing. Anticipate one accident per flight, including connections. One-piece footed pajamas are easy, and if your baby has a blowout, the chances of anything getting OUT of the jammies are reduced.
- DO pack dirty clothes bags. Plastic grocery bags work really well and you can easily stuff them into a pocket of your diaper bag.
- DO pack plenty of diapers and wipes. This is a given, y'all. I packed 15 diapers and a pack of wipes, which was overkill, but can you imagine what a disaster it would have been if, by some horrible occurrence, I RAN OUT?!?! Same goes for formula. A good rule of thumb is one diaper for every 30 minutes of travel time. This includes from the time you leave your front door to the time you reach your destination.
- DO pack acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if you are the medicine-giving type like me) for hurting ears or an unforeseen fever or illness.
- DON'T mess with your baby's grub. Beulah preferred her powder formula mixed with very warm water. We made the rookie mistake of getting premixed liquid formula of the exact same brand and type and she spit more of it out than she digested. Flight attendants can be your best friends and may be able to provide warm water or heat up formula if you ask.
- DON'T overdo it with toys. Chances are everything you bring will be dropped on the floor of the airport and/or airplane multiple times. Keep it simple with one or two small favorites.
- DON'T pack a huge blanket for the plane. Not only will you want to wash it immediately upon getting to your destination, it will take up too much space. Small comfort or lovey blankets — fine and definitely a DO to alleviate baby anxiety. Big blankets for warmth — probably not needed. Baby will stay plenty warm nestled on your chest while you are nestled between seatmates.
Most importantly, try not to stress. It's good to try to prepare for every situation, but more then likely everything will be just fine. A friendly, positive attitude (and a cute baby!) will charm most people.
Above all, safe travels!
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Tara Boyd, North Texas mother of three, to Beulah ("Boo"),Lucy ("Lu") and little brother Jacob, dishes practical advice on marriage, motherhood and munchies with humor and southern charm in her blog, Boyd Meets Girl.