14 things that will help you to survive a long haul flight with a baby


The thought of traveling alone with my first born to Turks and Caicos was a bit scary at first. I tried reading on several pages about tips and tricks, must haves and lot other advices from moms to prepare myself for what was coming. 

Traveling with infant it’s probably the easiest stage of traveling with children. They will sleep most of the time. 

All things listed below might not work for every baby, but from all my experiences and things I shared with other moms that travelled with their babies I tried to squeeze all in these 14 points.

  1. Pack lightly.
    I know! It’s so hard to pack light, but believe me it will be so much easier on yourself. I recommend packing few days even week in advance and check if you will be able to move around the house with the bags, stroller and a baby. That’s what I did and quickly realized that I will only need a backpack and small shoulder bag.

  2. Book the front row in the plane that has baby cot available. 
    Make sure once you book the ticket that you call the airline and reserve the front row seat and inform them that you will need the baby cot installed. I made that mistake and did not call the airline in advance, since I assumed that if I booked the front row I will automatically have the baby cot available. BUT, it turned out that the baby cot in the airplane that I flew with could only be installed in the middle row and the couple with the teenage son that was seating in the middle row refused to swap seats.

  3. Pack protein bars and snacks for yourself.
    On my longest flight my daughter slept for full 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours on my lap. I did not wanted to risk of waking her up and thanks to the kind gentleman that was sitting next to me he was able to help me with my bag whenever I needed a hand. I packed few protein bars and snacks. That was able to hold me from hunger until I reached the Dominican Republic where my husband was waiting for us.

  4. Medicine and vitamins.
    Pack medicine and vitamins required for the baby(or for you) in your hand luggage if possible. I packed all vitamins and medicine for my daughter in the check in luggage and the luggage got lost. I did got it 2 days after arriving in the Dominican Republic, but the stress and anxiety of loosing all the medicines that were required for my daughter just gave me huge panic.

  5. Diapers.
    Have enough diapers for every hour from the time you leave your home. Babies are unpredictable and since there are change of altitude, and change of temperature to which ever country you are going your baby might have multiple accidents.

  6. Ziplock bags.
    Pack a nappy, wet wipes, changing mat and one extra outfit in a small ziplock bag and have one ziplock bag available for dirty or wet clothes. In case you have to bring your baby to the bathroom for a change it’s much easier sneaking the ziplock bag in that tiny bathroom than having to bring the whole backpack inside.

  7. Pack extra change of clothes for you.
    You are traveling with baby, so It’s most likely that you might get your shirt stained from baby food or blow up, even if you don’t get your shirt stained, change of fresh t-shirt it’s always good to have after long haul flight.

  8. Baby food
    If your baby is big enough to eat, don’t bother of bringing your own food. Every airline offers baby purees/food. Some airlines even offer few choices of selecting your baby food while booking your ticket.

  9. Entertainment for you
    Download your favorite podcast, music playlist or audio books on your phone and have your earphones handy. If your baby is fast asleep on you, having your phone ready with everything you want to listen in order to relax is more than enough.

  10. Cabin Crew
    Make friends with the cabin crew or if you are lucky enough with the passengers sitting around you. These people will be an amazing help during your flight if you are traveling alone. On one of my trips from Madrid to Istanbul the lady sitting behind me was a mom of a toddler who hasn’t seen her daughter for few months and was traveling home. She offered herself to help me whenever I had to go to use the toilet or eat. Don’t be shy, you never know when you can meet a person on the plane who has been through the same struggles as you.

  11. Shoulder bag
    Have a shoulder bag/purse where you can keep all your important documents, phone/earphones, wallet. If you need them you won’t need to have to go through your packed backpack when you are holding the baby. I use this one for years and I love it!

  12. Formula/Breast milk
    Don’t be afraid of packing formula/breast milk for your baby in your cabin baggage. The airline will allow you to have milk with you as much as it’s needed for that flight. I traveled with one new can of milk of 900g with me in cabin luggage since I had multiple flights and I never encountered any problems with customs.

  13. Baby entertainment
    Pack few toys for your baby that are not making sounds since you do not want to disturb the passengers around.

  14. Baby soother toy or blanket.
    Take your baby blanket or soothing toy if has one. My daughter is 2 and a half years old and since she had her first flight at 3 months old we have never left for a trip without her “blankie”. It is like their security and makes them feel comfortable. It works wonders when they are fussy.

Expat Mama of a toddler girl, currently living in Japan.

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