You've got your carry-on and suitcase open and ready to be filled up with items for your precious baby. What should you pack for baby and what needs to go where. I first pull everything that baby will need for the trip and lay it out on the bed. I then separate it into carry-on and suitcase before zipping everything up.
Here's what you'll need to pack for baby:
Baby's First Aid Kit
The health and safety of your little guy or gal is number 1. Many babies catch a variety of germs while traveling, so make sure that your first aid kit is easily accessible and packed with all the basic items. Here's a list of the 15 Essential Items for Baby's First Aid Kit.
- 4 daytime outfits and 4 pajama/loungewear outfits - Since babies go through clothing like it’s going out of style (I guess they have to since they outgrow them in 3 months), I pack 2 outfits per day for 4 days. Usually one daytime outfit and one pj/loungewear type getup. Be sure to pack layers since you never want a cold or overheating baby. I never pack for more than 5 days because if the trip is longer, we’ll plan to find a nearby washer/dryer to freshen everything up. (Pack 6 outfits in the suitcase. Pack one in the carry-on and leave the other one for baby to wear)
- 4 days worth of bibs and burp clothes. Depending on the drooling capacity of your baby, you'll need more or none of these. My son's been teething for about 24 months straight, so we never leave home without these.
- 4 pairs of socks. Less if you’re headed for the beach and baby will be barefoot most of the time.
- A hat or beanie if you’re headed somewhere cold. A wide brimmed sunhat if you’re going somewhere sunny.
- 0-2 pairs of shoes depending on if you want to dress those little toes up and what he/she wears on the plane
Hygiene and more
- Baby toothbrush and toothpaste (not a biggie if you forget it since your baby probably only has a couple of pearly whites right now.
- Baby bath soap and lotion. Since you’ll want a "no tears" baby in the bath, be sure to pack a little bottle of baby body wash and shampoo. The sample sizes typically last 2-3 weeks.
- Laundry detergent – This is optional unless your baby has sensitive skin and prefers brands like Dreft or Baby Ivory. You don't need much, so just pack what you need.
Mealtime: Bottles, formula, food and more
- Bring our own bottles and sippy cups since cleanliness is often key to keeping baby’s tummy happy. Depending on what your baby's using, you’ll bring about 4-5 bottles and/or sippy cups. I typically pack a bottle cleaning brush for those narrow neck bottles and a small sample of dish detergent if we’re headed to a hotel versus a vacation rental.
- Food is tough. If you have a picky eater, you’ll probably have to pack more in order to guarantee brands and quantities. We order most things ahead of time through a baby supply company or buy it at the destination. Just pack enough fruit, vegetables, protein and carbs for about 2-3 days and buy the rest upon arrival. Gerber is available almost everywhere in the world although not always in your usual flavors if you're out of the country. It's a great way to expand your little one's gourmet palate. If you don’t have an adventurous eater, you might want to pack more in your suitcase.
Formula is also easy to find domestically, so we never packed that. If you're headed international, you might want to pack your own formula since it's often to find the brand your trust in foreign countries. You'll also want to make sure that you’re not packing anything that won’t pass through customs.
- When I was breastfeeding, I typically took a cover-up and a hand pump in case I needed it. If you're planning on pumping a lot, then bring your own breast pump.
To monitor or not to monitor?
We always bring the monitor because babies sleep a lot more than adults. Baby monitor technology is absolutely amazing these days and can give you the freedom to play cards with friends in a hotel room down the hall while watching and listening to your sleeping baby on the video monitor.
Diapers and wipes
- Why can’t we have children who are potty trained by the time they are 1? Depending on where you go, diapers are a dime a dozen or completely unavailable. For example, in Asia, babies are potty trained a lot earlier so you’ll be hard pressed to find diapers size 4 and up. Everywhere that we’ve gone, diapers can be easily purchased or shipped in advance, so we rarely pack diapers in our suitcase. (Click here for a list of baby supply companies who deliver things like diapers and wipes to your destination)
- If you're shipping diapers, throw in a pack of wipes and lighten your load further. If you’re gone for more than 3 weeks, you’ll probably want to buy two packs.
We will often pack a couple of toys just in case for entertaining purposes. We typically bring an inflatable or collapsible ball, a couple of books and a lovie. Here's a full list of travel toy recommendations for babies and toddlers.
Baby proofing stuff
Depending on where we’re going, we typically bring some a small bag of baby proofing gear. This handy plastic bag will have about 10 electrical socket covers and 2 sliding locks for the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Now that everything's ready, we load up our carry-ons. We basically pack everything that we'll need to survive if baby's suitcase gets lost or we're stuck traveling with baby for the entire day. Toys are critical for the carry-on in case baby doesn't sleep on the plane and needs to be entertained.
Click here for a quick checklist of what to put in your carry-on versus the suitcase.
Once the carry-ons are packed with baby's stuff along with an extra shirt for mom/dad in case of an accident, we pack up the suitcase and zip them both up. The last thing to take care of are the big bulky items. You're almost set to head off to bed!
Go to Pack for Baby: The Big Stuff.
updated: December 03 2009 by thelees3