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I just got back from my first trip with Caroline (8 months old). I wanted to share what I packed in the carry-on bag for the plane ride. This system worked so well, and I am glad I packed the way I did.

One important decision is figuring out what bag to bring. I decided to baby-wear instead of bringing the stroller to the airport with me, so I wanted a light carry-on option so I wouldn’t be carrying too much. Right before my trip, I invested in a rolling duffel bag. Such a good investment! This bag was easy to maneuver in the airport and fit under my seat on the plane. It was big enough to accommodate all of my baby essentials!

One important detail that you’ll notice as I go through what I brought, is that I decided to package everything in individual bags. This made finding something while I was on the plane very easy. I was not having to dig through the entire duffel bag to find a tiny toy or diaper. Remember that you will have a baby on your lap, so you want things as easy to find as possible. Therefore, all like items were placed in gallon ziploc bags. This made a world of difference when it came to actually using the contents of the bag.

Items I brought with me:

Diapers and wipes- I packed these together in one bag. I would also recommend bringing a foldable changing pad along (something I didn’t think to bring). I thought we could get by without it, but the reality is that airports don’t seem to have changing tables. They have counter space. I had to change Caroline on marble counter tops and was wishing I had a pad for her. I ended up using a blanket instead, but in the future will bring a pad. Bring extra diapers (double or triple what you think you’ll need under the worst case scenario). You never know if you will get delayed or encounter a poop catastrophe, etc. Plan for the worst so you are prepared for anything!

Toys- Bring your baby’s favorite toys along. I packed them away a couple of days before the trip. I wanted her to be extra excited to see them! Bring lots of small options that will keep your little one entertained.

Books- My little one loves holding on and chewing board books. She also really likes the soft books that “crunch” and make noise when you grab at the pages. I brought a couple of these to keep her distracted as well.

Clothes- Assume that you will need a change of clothes for baby. I brought a onesie and a sleeper (in case it was chilly on the plane or in the airport).

Misc- Bring your phone charger and a sippy cup for baby. Don’t fill it with water until after you get through security, though. I just went and purchased a water bottle and filled hers up a bit, but you could also go to a coffee shop and ask them to give you some water for free.

Blanket- The temperature is never right- it’s either too hot or too cold on the plane and in the airport. So, plan accordingly by bringing a blanket along. Temperature is something that can cause your baby to be uncomfortable, so this is an easy way to help out.

Food- Again, bring extra. Bring double or triple what you’ll actually need. Snacks are a great way to distract your baby, and you want easy, mess free options. We brought food pouches and dry snacks. This included yogurt melts, puffs, Hawaiian rolls, graham crackers, cheerios, applesauce, and a variety of flavors of food pouches. I taught her how to use the pouches a couple of days before the trip.


Cloths and bibs- There will be a mess at some point. Be prepared to clean it up. I brought a couple of burp cloths, 2 bibs, some Johnson’s hand and face wipes and some tissues.  There were side pockets on the inside of the duffel bag that I kept these in for easy access.

Nursing cover- Sucking helps a baby to pop her ears, so I was planning on nursing on the plane. I nursed after takeoff and as we were making our descent. This helped her a lot and she was never in any pain from her ears needing to be popped. If you aren’t nursing, bring formula and bottles to use instead. 

Sound machine- I never ended up needing this, but I know that the airport can be loud. If Caroline needed to sleep in the airport, I wanted to be able to create a nice environment for her to sleep in. I am glad I had this with me as a just in case scenario.

Emergency options- Imagine your baby screaming on the plane. You want an emergency backup plan that you know will distract her well. For us, those items were a Tupperware, a spatula, and a toy book that plays music. I also threw in a stuffed animal at the last second. These are some of her absolute favorites, so I knew they’d get the job done if I needed to bring them out. Luckily, we never needed them.

Additional items- In addition to all of the above, you may want to consider bringing baby Tylenol and some Orajel. I put these in the bag that I checked, because I knew I wasn’t going to need them for my 2 hours of traveling. If you are on a long trip, however, I’d suggest bringing them along.

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