“Just take what you need”…easier said than done when you have a 12 week old baby. I definitely over-packed for our first long haul flight to Singapore, but I learnt, adapted and by the next flight I had it down. In this post I’ll share some practical tips to help make the process easier.

I always embark upon the packing process a few days before we fly. This allows time to add anything I have missed or think of randomly in my sleep in the early hours of the morning. It is easier to lay out your items in piles and then ‘look’ at them before walking away and deciding whether you actually need them. This method works wonders when packing for a baby. To an extent you must be ruthless, however there is a difference between what you choose to place in carry-on luggage and your backpack. For a complete list of essentials click HERE.

What you will need: 

  • 2 x change of clothes (sleepsuit and vest)
  • Blanket or swaddle cloth
  • 3 x Muslin cloths
  • 3 x Bibs
  • 5 x Nappies and nappy bags
  • Baby wipes
  • Thermos flask
  • Sterilised bottles
  • Ready to drink milk or milk powder dispensers
  • Calpol (baby paracetamol)
  • 2 x Dummies (with clips)
  • Sterilising water spray 
  • Toys
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Hand sanitiser

I am a keen advocate of zip seal bags and I use them for everything baby related. The last thing you want is to be playing ‘find the dummy’ at 31,000 feet. Having items and feed together in clear bags saves time, and makes like easier. They are also a amazing for keeping dirty clothes away from other items in your bag. At some point your baby will have a poo explosion and they help to keep the smell under wraps! They also work great for bibs/muslin cloths that are covered in stale milk and for your own clothes, when your precious one decides to vomit on you.

Let’s start with the bag itself. I use a sports bag with two side pockets and one small front pocket. Nothing fancy and you can purchase similar styles for a reasonable price. It has a shoulder strap so I can easily throw it over my shoulder whilst navigating unfamiliar airports with a baby. The hand strap helps you to push and pull the bag from the overhead storage on flights and from underneath the pram when going through security. It isn’t fashionable but it is practical.

Next important item to consider is your changing mat. We all know how small and compact airplane toilets are, changing your baby in a confined space whilst experiencing turbulence is really something! Most planes have a very simple and flat table that drops down. Once down, you have only the sink area to place your changing equipment. At 12 weeks old, George was attempting to roll and I couldn’t afford to take my eyes off him for a seocnd for fear of him rolling off. Therefore I recommend a changing mat that has side pockets, purely for ease and practicality. I use a Mia Tui changing mat but for our latest adventure I have swapped to a Mothercare ‘clutch bag’ as it is smaller and easier to store/carry.

If bottle feeding you will need a thermos flask, milk powder dispensers (or expressed milk) and bottles. I sterilise the bottles the morning of the flight (or as near to leaving for the airport as possible). Then transfer them immediately into their own zip sealed bag, along with the required amount of milk powder. As soon as we get on the plan I make friends with an air hostess and ask them to fill the thermos flask with boiling water. That way I can be independent for at least the first four hours.

Either disperse the water into a sterilised bottle to cool down or use the water to heat up ‘ready to feed’ milk. Remember on long haul flights they serve food first, so moving up and down the aisles can be tricky and the air hostess’ are preoccupied. When travelling with babies or infants you usually get to board first so whilst the plane is quiet, request the water as soon as you can.

Everyone is different and you need to find a routine, methods and products that work best for you and your baby. These are practical tips and small details that we experienced during our first trip. Gemma and George aims to make travelling easier – we suffer so you don’t have to! For a more detailed ‘what to pack’ list click HERE.