When my husband suggested we go to Arizona to visit him while he was training there, back in November 2014, I was excited and scared all at the same time. I went back and forth between yes and no for weeks. Of course I wanted to see him, and more importantly I wanted our son to continue to bond with his father, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for a coast to coast flight with an almost six month old. One thing was for sure, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. And I was right, there is no way I could have lugged Jimmie, plus all of our stuff, through airports, all by lonesome. Along with the help of Jimmie’s grandparents and a few must-have items, we survived our first big trip, to and from Arizona. I’ll even admit, I’d would have done it over and over, in a heartbeat, to see Jimmie and his daddy fall in love again.
Here are few (okay more than a few) items you NEED (besides a few extra pair of hands) to survive airports and plane rides with an infant:
1. Munchkin Formula Dispenser Combo Pack (two) – I recommend this combo pack so that you can pack various proportions of formula. For example, you may want to try to give your baby a small bottle when you’re taking off and landing, therefore you should keep small proportions in the single serve formula container. I also recommend two sets because you will want to have more than enough formula for your entire flight plus extra in case of delays.
2. JL Childress Gate Check Bag for Umbrella Strollers – I didn’t want to bother with our big stroller on vacation, therefore, I opted to bring an umbrella stroller. This bag was great for storing the stroller during flights. We would put the stroller in the bag right before the flight and then leave it at the end of the walkway as we entered the plane. The bag kept the stroller from getting dirty and scratched, it also made it easier to spot after deboarding the plane. The bag has a handle that makes it easy to carry if you don’t want to put your baby in it right after getting off the plane. (I kept Jimmie in the Ergo when getting on and off the plane.)
3. JL Childress 6 Bottle Cooler – I want to start off by saying I used glass bottles and this bag only held four. With that being said, I also stored one single serve formula container; two, three servings formula containers (mentioned above), and a bib in the bag. This bag was perfect because it kept all of my feeding items together in one spot. Another thing to remember is that you can fill your bottles with water (or breast milk) prior to security, but they must be checked in a special machine after you go through the metal detectors. The bottle bag made it easier to hand over the water filled bottles without having to dig through any other bags. (The cooler also comes with a ice pack.)
4. Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag – Jimmie sat on my lap or his grandparents’ laps during the entire flight. We checked his car seat in as soon as we arrived at the airport. I’ve heard they will give you a trash bag (sometimes?) but I really didn’t think a trash bag was enough protection for our car seat. I ended up buying this bag and I was really happy with it. I even ended up throwing random stuff in with the cars eat on the way home because we somehow accumulated a few things in Arizona that were not going to fit in my suitcase. It has a shoulder strap and a handle for carrying purposes.
5. My Little Seat – This travel high chair is a must have! I know it isn’t for the plane, but I figured I would put it on my list because it is just that awesome. I honestly think everyone who travels with kids should own one of these. It comes in a tiny carrying case that is easy to throw into any bag. We used it at our kitchen table in the house we rented for the week. It was great to have Jimmie sitting with us at the table instead of in his car seat low on the ground. You can’t just lug around a full size high chair when you are flying somewhere. This is the perfect solution. This could be used in an airport if you have long layovers and have time to eat in the food courts.
6. The First Years Pacifier Gumdrop Wipes – Pacifier wipes are a waste of money, except when you’re flying. Little did I know until right before flying, that you can’t wash things (besides your hands) in the airplane bathroom sink. Every time Jimmie dropped a toy or pacifier, I used these wipes to clean it.
7. MAM Phase 2 Teether – This teether kept Jimmie entertained while flying. I hooked it onto a MAM pacifier clip and it was pretty much all he played with while we were in the air because he couldn’t throw it on the ground. Plus, he was teething, so it was kinda perfect. I also hooked a MAM pacifier on the other end which kept his ears from popping.
8. Clorox Travel Wipes – I was the crazy mom that cloroxed my seat, tray, arm rests, etc. Sorry, not sorry. Buy them at the dollar store, not Amazon. This price is crazy!
9. Skip Hop Duo Special Edition Diaper Bag – This bag was perfect for the airport and for the duration of our trip. It wasn’t too big, or too small, it was just right.
10. Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier – Do not go through security with your baby in a stroller. I repeat DO NOT go through security with your baby in your stroller. TSA will make you take your baby out of the stroller, fold up the stroller, and then carry your baby through the metal detector. Instead of all of this craziness, just carry your baby in a baby carrier. Taking off your shoes, taking your tablet out of your bag, while trying to fold a stroller is not an easy task!
Jimmie was perfect on all four of our flights. I downloaded a few TV shows and FREE Fisher Price apps for him, but he really didn’t seem interested in them on the plane. (The apps are awesome and are worth downloading and checking out.) He was just content cuddling. I only ended up feeding him on one takeoff. During all of the other takeoffs and landings he just sucked on his pacifier, or slept. (He literally slept during one takeoff).
I hope my list helps you and encourages you to travel with your baby. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly somewhere else with Jimmie in the near future. I really want to show him the world.