So we took Miles on his first trip on an airplane! It was mid-feb when he was 4.5 months. Then I took him by myself in mid-march at 5.5 months. So between both experiences, I have some tips to share and of course my packing list!
It was definitely a doozy, both ways, but it was SO worth it. I loved seeing Miles enjoy a new place and bringing him to spend time with my in laws. For the first flight ever (with Jacob), I packed WAY too much. Legit didn’t touch 80% of the stuff. I was still fully breastfeeding at the time, but I legit brought everything possible under the sun (bottles, formula, pump, you name it!) for JUST IN CASE. In the end, I breastfed easily and I needed none of that. The second time I flew with him, I was weaning so bottles were the way to go. That made for more stuff to bring and a little more complicated. Ultimately, we did it and all was good 🙂
Traveling can be unpredictable, especially in the winter, and during times where staff shortages are rampant. I wanted to be prepared for being delayed so extra things were a must.
Both of these flights were to the same destination. We were going down to see my in laws in Florida. The flight was almost 3 hours from Detroit to West Palm Beach. There was no time difference on either end so that made things a little easier. At our destination in FL, we were only 20 minutes from where we are staying. All those things were in our favor, but it was still tough!
For the first trip (4.5 months) I was with Jacob. We both checked a bag with all our stuff we needed for us and a few things for Miles that we would not need in transit. Luckily, we had a lot of “big things” down there that my MIL had gotten (pack n play, playmat, bouncer, toys, diapers, wipes, monitor, summer clothes, nursing pillow, bottles). We used the Doona as the stroller / car seat throughout the whole trip. You can secure the Doona in any car without the base and it was great for walks too. I also ordered a sunshade and a caddy for the Doona and shipped it there. It was super convenient to have a lot of stuff down there already that we could use for both of our Florida trips. I knew I would be coming back with Miles a second time the next month too. If you are traveling to a hotel, I heard there is a company called Baby Quip that you can rent gear and they deliver it to your destination.
The second trip (5.5 months), I was alone. I knew the ropes a little better and realized that I had brought way too much stuff the first time around. He was a little older, bottle feeding and more aware so it was a different experience. I had to lean on random people to help at times, but I did it. I was so so proud of myself! I remained calm and confident as much as I could and just knew that so much was out of my control. Sure, he cried a ton.. but people get it! If anyone is rude, F that.. babies are babies and you can only do so much.
We did not buy Miles a seat mainly because it was too expensive. We just had him as an “infant in arms”. I was able to add him to my boarding pass on the the Delta app a few days before travel. It was easy! You can buy your baby a seat and just pop the car seat on top. That would have been easier overall, but it was too pricey for us this time around. We brought his birth certificate, but no one asked for it.
Here are some tips for flight:
PACK AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE: We packed WAY more than needed the first time and second time we were a little more realistic. I did a whole video on TikTok here with everything we brought on that first trip. SO much went unused, but it was all good. In the end, we just needed lots of extra bibs, birth cloths, pacifier, changing stuff, and extra shirt for me and Jake.
DO NOT BE RUSHED: Give yourself lots of time. We had to check two bags and lines were long. Security lines were also very long.
SECURITY TAKES A WHILE: Security took a while bc we had to take it all out (pumps, formula, etc), but people were accommodating. The powder formula was in a formula dispenser and pre portioned. We did have a liquid one too as a backup. They did not need to open it, but they did need to test it and removed the wrapper around it. I did not fill the bottles with water before security, although I do here that is okay. I bought a bottle of filtered water after security to bring on the plane. Also, the Doona (car seat stroller) had to go through a separate inspection because it did not fit through. That also took some time.
DO THE DOONA: The Doona was a game changer for getting through the airport. We gate checked it in a gate check bag that we bought and it was so easy. We loved having the ability to roll him through the airport and he was able to sleep in it while we did that. It was also easier to have him in Doona at the gate while we were waiting. All in all, I highly recommend using your Doona for travel if you have it. It for sure made things smoother. If you do not have one, the carrier was awesome too or you can bring your car seat with stroller to check/gate check.
CARRIER IS YOUR BESTIE: We loved the baby Björn carrier for once we gate checked the Doona and for on the flight. We used the carrier for most of the time in the air. When I was alone with him, this was the only way he slept. That and his PACI! He isn’t a paci baby at all, so I was shocked by this.
DON’T STRESS ABOUT SLEEP / SCHEDULE: He barely slept on the first trip down there and the second time he was a bit better. I think since he had been on a plane before he was less shocked by it all. Us too! Again, the only way he slept for us on the plane was in the carrier. We basically accepted that the day would be a wash with his normal schedule. He was back on track the next day. They say to try to book the flight during nap time, but at this age he didn’t sleep anyways so that did not make a difference.
PREPARE TO ENTERTAIN: When he was awake on the plane, we kept him entertained with movies, sensory toys, rattles, and passing him back and forth. He wasn’t super happy, but we got through it. People may give you stink eye if you’re baby is crying but literally we did our best. He’s a baby! He isn’t even a paci baby, but he really loved it on the plane it was the only way i got him to be calm and sleep. Otherwise, he was pretty fussy. When I was alone, I obviously couldn’t pass him back and forth so it was a little harder. I just did my best. There was also one point where I was trying to heat up his bottle (portable bottle warmer) and a really kind lady offered to hold him. She was so sweet and walked up and down the aisles with him. So helpful for me!
CHANGE DIAPERS ONLY WHEN NEEDED: I tried to change him as close to boarding time as possible. I also changed him once on the plane and it was high stress lol. Not a lot of room and bumps, but we got through it. I only changed when there was a 💩 or if he was really upset. On the way back, we also just changed him lying across our tray tables. Not sure if that is legit, but whatever the person next to us didn’t care. For any changing in public places, bring a portable changing mat you can wipe down. Some bathrooms didn’t have baby changing stations, so this was super useful. I legit changed him on the mat on the floor. Save to say we cleaned that one really well after! You just have to work with what you got.
KEEP FEEDING STUFF TOGETHER: I kept all my feeding stuff (bottles, formula, bottle warmer) in a lunch bag type thing. It made it easier going through security. I also had that separate from the diaper bag so i could easy access on the plane without taking apart my whole bag. I kept burp cloths on the sides too to easily grab.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF: The entire day was off. He didn’t really nap and was super fussy. We just accepted it and did our best. That night he slept ok and got into his groove again the following day. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re babe is off from travel. It’s a huge change of routine for them and it’s overwhelming for everyone. Just do your best!
When it was just me and Jacob, we each had a carry on (mine being the diaper bag) and then the Doona. When I travel alone, I had a big diaper bag, a little lunch bag with all the feeding stuff and the Doona. I put the carrier in the diaper bag. I put the gate check back in a little pouch and clipped it to the Doona. I hung the lunch bag on the doona too so I had my hands free when I was moving through the airport.
Here is the final list of things we actually used:
⁃ 2 extra outfits/onesies for Miles
⁃ Extra shirt for me and Jacob
⁃ 4 burp clothes
⁃ 4 bibs
⁃ 1 big muslin blanket (to cover doona when he napped and when he napped on the plane)
⁃ Feeding Stuff (you wont need if breastfeeding):
- 2 full bottles **DO NOT forget the white leak stoppers. In the dr browns they are the little white circles. I forgot them and the water spilled everywhere.
- Formula pre-portioned in this container (super helpful!). I bought a water bottle after security and poured it in. I brought enough for what we needed through the travel time and 1 extra. Three total.
- Portable bottle warmer (miles can only take warm, so this was clutch). You can also bring a thermos and ask the flight attendant for warm water.
- Plastic bags to put dirty bottles in after use to clean when you arrive at your destination
⁃ Toys: I brought a rattle, a teether and a crinkly toy
⁃ 2 pacis on a clip so it doesn’t fall on the floor
⁃ Changing pad, diapers, wipes, a+d ointment
⁃ “laundry” bag for dirty burp cloths, bibs, shirts etc
– Tylenol in case he was teething really bad or had really bad pain from their ears popping. I didn’t experience it, but brought just in case.
I think I got it all! Again, this was for babies who are just a a few months old. As I travel again with him at an older age, I will write more posts!
Hope that helped!!!!