Traveling with a Toddler is difficult. I learned a lot from my recent travel to South America with my 18 month old daughter. I’m compiling it into a few blog posts. This first post addresses what to pack in your diaper bag. Unfortunately, I was traveling alone with my toddler, so this post assumes you don’t have a partner to help you.
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If you travel with a lap infant (a kid under 2yo), you get to bring a diaper bag in addition to your two carry-ons. I had to bring my work bag as my carry-on and my breast pump bag as my personal item, so what I packed in the diaper bag was of critical importance! Based on my trip, here are my Top 10 recommendations for what to pack in your diaper bag:
How many diapers, though? I brought a lot more diapers than I anticipated I would need, and I’m glad. The total travel time (with check-in) was more than 15 hours. I packed 4 diapers in my diaper bag, plus another 5 diapers in my carry-on (just in case). I would highly recommend bringing back up diapers in the event of a blow out (and just because it’s nice to keep the baby fresh on the plane… for your sake and others).
I usually carry a travel pouch with a small amount of wipes in my diaper bag. For this trip, I just brought an entire pack of Water Wipes with me, and (again) I kept another travel-sized pack in my carry-on.
3. Changing pad
These usually come with the diaper bag. This keeps your baby from getting messy. It also keeps your baby from making a mess on the airplane bathroom changing table, which doesn’t get cleaned very often.
Lots and lots of snacks are necessary. Figure out what your toddler likes, and pack a bunch of that! For my 18 month old, I like to bring snack bars, cookies, and puffs like these:
5. Travel Toiletries
The basics for airplane travel include: baby tylenol, baby motrin, tooth wipes, saline drops, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, and mommy’s toiletries (up to you). Tooth wipes save space, and they are easier to pull out of your bag. You also don’t have to worry about rinsing off (or losing) a baby toothbrush. The saline drops are great for keeping baby’s nostrils from getting dry and cracked (which can allow germs in). You can also squirt a little breast milk into baby’s nostrils if you’re still breastfeeding. As for hand sanitizer, there are a million disgusting things you and your baby probably will touch at the airport and on the plane. Plus, people on the plane are always sick, so you can never be too careful.
*I keep the baby’s non-essential toiletries (baby shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc.) in my carry-on.
Thus far, my daughter really hasn’t taken to “screen time.” So, we distract her with books. For such a long plane ride, we figured it made sense to bring her four favorite books that we read every night before bed. Right now, that means: Potty, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a couple books from this Sesame Street Set. Make sure they are board books because they’ll take quite a beating.
7. Stuffed Animals/Lovey
Yes, she is still using them. It’s not as frequent, but because we’ve got all four canines coming in, they are a must. We like to use rubber pacifiers for 12 months+ because they are purportedly orthodontic. They were a huge help, especially for napping.
9. Poop Bags
These are not just for dogs! You are expected to put ALL dirty diapers (including pee pee diapers) into an airline sickness bag before disposing of them. However, you only get one airline sickness bag per seat. Truth be told, they really do nothing about the smell, so I like to bring a bunch of these baggies as a courtesy to others using the airplane bathroom.
10. Change of Clothes/Pajamas
You definitely want to bring a change of clothes for the baby. If you are on a long flight, and you have a poopsplosion, you will thank me. Put the poopy clothes into a baggy from #9 above. Then, change the baby into a fresh outfit. Make sure it’s warm and easy to remove. I used a nice Adidas track suit, and it worked out perfectly. Also, if you are traveling overnight, you will want to bring baby’s pajamas in an effort to make things as close as possible to the bedtime routine.
Other Important Items
Some other things that I packed in my diaper bag that I found very helpful, but not necessarily essential include: a sippy cup, a bib, crayons, and travel utensils.
What Do You Think?
So, there you have it. You’ve now got my Top 10 list of essential items to take in your diaper bag on the airplane with you and your lap infant. Let me know how this list worked out for you. Please also comment if there is something you could not have lived without on a long flight with your lap infant.