The Best Advice for Airplane Travel with Baby

There are certain things that you learn when you have your own children… the practical things that four years of medical school and three years of family medicine residency never touched upon. Traveling with a baby is one of them. I traveled solo with my baby a few too many times to count. Plus, my friends gave me the best advice ever. So I’m an expert now and ready for baby #2!

This is my best advice for traveling with a baby…

  • Wear your baby! I prefer the Ergo, as the Moby wrap is too cumbersome. Plus, the Ergo has pockets. You can wear baby through security. For me, bringing a car seat and stroller through security was way too cumbersome.
  • Bring a copy of baby’s birth certificate. I stashed mine in the Ergo.
  • Check your bags curbside if you can.
  • Check your car seat and stroller for free. You may want to confirm this with your airline carrier first, but it’s always worked for me. Invest in a protective car seat bag (and stuff it with extra diapers!).
  • If you need a crib on the other end, the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib worked really well for us. Hotel cribs were never very appealing, and sometimes seemed unsafe.
  • Carry a backpack instead of a diaper bag. Baby in the front, bag in the back.
  • Wear comfortable pants with an elastic waist band and zippered pockets. You’ll want to pull them up and down with one hand because you’ll be holding a baby and using the bathroom at some point! I wear my favorite yoga pants and a yoga jacket with zip pockets so I can keep my ID, credit card/cash, tickets and iPhone easily accessible.
  • Wear slip on shoes. It makes getting through security easier.
  • Dress baby in footed pajamas so their feet stay clean and you don’t have to worry about loosing shoes.
  • Bring extra clothes for you and baby.
  • Pack a few Ziploc baggies or disposable diaper bags in case of wet or dirty clothes.
  • Don’t forget baby wipes for diaper changes and easy clean up. My favorite are Earth’s Best Chlorine-free Wipes.
  • Bring natural hand sanitizer spray and wipes. I’m not usually a fan of hand sanitizer, but travel is a different story. The EO and CleanWell brands are all-natural and triclosan free. I’m in the habit of wiping down my tray table and arm rests once we board.
  • Bring an age-appropriate new toy to surprise them with halfway through the flight.
  • It’s ideal to feed during take off and landing. If you’re breastfeeding, try to hold off until you’re on board and ready for take off (don’t forget to stash your nursing cover under the seat in front of you). If you’re not able to do that, sucking on a pacifier or a bottle will help their ears to adjust to the pressure changes. If you start to feel it in your ears, give them something to suck on!
  • If you can get away with it, save nap time for flight time.
  • Stash essentials under the seat in front of you: nursing cover, baby carrier, toys, water, snacks, etc
  • Travel with an empty water bottle. I always travel with my Kleen Kanteen and fill up at the free filtered water station prior to boarding (in Austin, these are located next to the bathrooms near gates 7 and 17).
  • Bring your own healthy snacks. Some of my favorites that travel well are: RealSticks, Gimme Organic Roasted Seaweed, homemade trail mix, Dang Toasted Coconut Chips, Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate, Go Raw Sprouted Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds, toasted hemp seeds, Mama Chia Squeezes, and KIND Bars. We usually pack some fresh food as well, like organic apples, oranges, baby carrots and celery sticks. LunchBots has some nice stainless steel containers to hold snacks.
  • Take care of your immune system. Load up on some extra Vitamin C and D, stay hydrated, and schedule your trip so that your sleep isn’t compromised.

Don’t worry about traveling with a baby. Your fellow passengers are usually understanding and fellow parents are willing to help. As your baby gets more mobile during the toddler phase, things get a little tricky. That’s when technology might come in handy.

Did I miss anything? Please share your tips in the comments section below.

Safe travels!

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Welcome!

I'm Dr. Christine Maren, a board-certified functional medicine physician and mother of three. I advocate for real food, healthy living, and clean beauty. I think physicians should be role models when it comes to nutrition and healthy living. This is where I share that passion. Thanks for joining me!

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