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Taking a trip with a baby or toddler in tow can feel daunting, but fear not! With a little planning and these handy tips for flying with babies and toddlers, you can transform your flight from a potential meltdown into a (mostly) smooth journey.

Pre-Flight Tips

mother with child at an airport

Gone are the days of light packing. Embrace the diaper bag transformation! While you can likely find a shops wherever you land, pack enough diapers and wipes for the entire trip. A good rule of thumb is to double what you think you’ll need. Trust us, leftover diapers can become souvenir space later!

Speaking of space, ditch the window seat. Opt for the aisle for easy access during diaper changes. An extra outfit for both you and your little one is a lifesaver – spit-up explosions happen, and a clean change for everyone keeps the peace. Toss travel-sized wipes and sanitiser in every bag for on-the-go cleaning.

Don’t forget your passports! Put a different sticker on the front of each passport. It makes it WAY easier to find the right one at airports, customs, etc.

Boarding Tips

Take advantage of early boarding! This allows you to get settled without feeling rushed, and you can thoroughly wipe down your designated area – don’t forget the window shades, tray tables, and even the safety pamphlets (they double as fun crinkly toys for little hands). Keep your pram or stroller until the last minute and then check it into the hold at the gate.

Take Off and Landing Tips

If you breastfeed, do so during takeoff and landing to help ease ear pressure. If not, pack a couple of bottles or a formula dispenser. Layers are your friend – a comfy top and a loose button-down make nursing discreet and easy. If baby’s awake during take-off and landing, give them a pacifier, bottle or sippy cup. The sucking motion will stretch the ear canal and help the ears pop.

Flight Tips

Mother with child on a plane

Let’s be honest, even a short flight can feel endless with a little one on board. Here are some strategies to keep everyone sane with our tips for flying with babies and toddlers:

  • Take Turns: Divide and conquer! Take movie-length turns keeping your little one occupied, giving each other a chance to relax.
  • Embrace Exploration (Safely): New environments can be overstimulating for babies. Let them explore the (wiped-down) surroundings – it’s all part of the adventure!
  • The Magic of “Free” Entertainment: An empty water bottle, a napkin, or a snack wrapper can become a captivating toy for your little explorer. When your child can stand, the airplane window provides endless entertainment. Let them poke (harmlessly) and wave at the world below.
  • Pack Smart, Pack Quiet: Skip the noisy toys – anything can become a nuisance if banged on the tray table. Instead, pack quiet options like soft books, Sophie the Giraffe, or even Post-it notes, which are endlessly fascinating for little fingers. Surprise your child with a new toy on the plane to hold their attention for longer.
  • Snack Attack!: Babies (and toddlers) often seem to eat constantly on planes. Pack plenty of healthy snacks like pouches, cereal, or chewy bars to keep them happy and quiet. Cheerios are a great option, but be prepared for a few rogue ones to end up on the floor!
  • Diaper Duty Made Easy: Most airlines allow you to use the first-class bathroom for diaper changes. Dress your little one in an easy-access outfit like a one-piece with snaps for speedy changes when using these Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers.
  • Inflatable Footrest: Turn your airplane seat into a travel bed for kids with an inflatable footrest that lets your kids lie flat, turning their economy seat into a first-class bed.

Sleep When You Can:

Don’t stress about forcing sleep. It can backfire! Go with the flow and let your little one explore and tire themselves out naturally. If they do seem sleepy, try a bedtime routine with a sleep sack, or consider booking seats in different rows – perhaps a bulkhead with a bassinet – for undisturbed sleep stretches.

For long journeys, a SlumberPod can be a lifesaver. This portable “sleep nook” creates a blackout tent over your child’s pack and play, crib, or air mattress, giving them a familiar and cozy sleep environment. If you don’t own a SlumberPod, carry something breathable that you can use to build a ‘cave’ around your little one, blocking out disrupting light during naps

In-Flight Entertainment Tips

child entertainment on a flight

While most airlines offer in-flight entertainment, pack some of your own options too. Download movies or audio books, and bring along books, colouring books, stickers, window clings, or apps like The Parlini Land App to keep your little one occupied.

Remember, with a little planning and these handy tips for flying with babies and toddlers, you and your little one can conquer the skies and have a smooth, enjoyable flight!

Head to Booking with Kids for more tips, support and family friendly travel guides. Check out our most loved travel gear from brands we trust.