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Got a Flight Planned? Here’s What You Need for the Travel Diaper Bag

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We’ve all been there.  It’s time for your summer vacation.  You’ve made all the arrangements; the hotel is booked and the plane tickets have been purchased.  You have everything packed (you hope) and are ready to go.  Or are you? What is in your travel diaper bag?

what you need in your diaper bag

I don’t know about you, but I never seem to know just what I’m supposed to pack in Little Bud’s diaper bag.  I will inevitably end up taking my teensy weensy diaper bag, not wanting to over pack and have to deal with more stuff than I will need.  Either that or I end up lugging my giant weekender along with me on the plane, struggling with it the entire time, only to realize that it doesn’t fit in the overhead bin, whereas I will have to finish my flight with it crammed under my feet. 

So what’s a mom to do?  How do you know how much of what to take along with you on your trip?  Take a look at this checklist of travel diaper bag items to pack, and leave the rest at home.  Believe me, you will be glad that you did!

The first thing to consider when planning for any kind of plane trip with a small child is your flight.  How long will you be on the plane?  Will you have any layovers?  Just be sure to pack enough supplies to last you the entire duration of your anticipated flight, plus a little extra, just in case your baggage doesn’t meet you at the airport (I speak from experience!). 


This might seem like a given, but the kind of diaper bag you choose to take on the plane can make all the difference in the world.  Consider a messenger style bag or backpack/sling pack diaper bag (we love the Ju-Ju-Be BFF).  They allow you to keep your hands free in order to deal with other children or baggage. 

I personally like a backpack style myself.  It allows me enough room to pack for Little Bud while still having the extra space for my wallet, cell phone, keys, and plane tickets.  I can wear it on my back while pushing the stroller through the airport, or leave it hanging on the handles.  Whichever kind you opt for, just make sure it has lots of pockets for organization. 


Diapers, diapers, diapers – You can never be too careful.  A good rule of thumb is to pack 2 diapers for every hour of your trip.  You may not need them, but if you do, you will be glad you have them!  This is one item you DO NOT want to skimp on when packing your travel diaper bag.

Wipes – Wipes are a staple in every mom’s go-to bag, but pack extras.  They are great for cleaning dirty faces and hands, and you can use them to wipe down just about any surface.  I have even used them to remove stains from my clothes.  Hey, it works! 

Hand Sanitizer – Thousands of people pass through airports everyday, and they bring their germs with them.  Protect yourself and your baby by taking along a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it often.  This is also helpful for those cramped, airplane restroom diaper changes.  If you can’t wash your hands, sanitizer will get you by in a pinch. 

Medications – Make sure to pack Tylenol, gas relief drops, a small tube of diaper rash ointment, and some Orajel (if your baby is teething).  Keep in mind that Murphy’s Law will prevail.  Your baby has no idea that a plane is not the greatest place to come down with a tummy ache, so be prepared. 

Extra Clothes – Always make sure to pack of change of clothes for your little one, and throw them into a zip-top baggie before putting them in the diaper bag.  In the event that your little one has a blowout, you can swap the clothes out and store the dirty duds in the bag.  The sealed baggie is great for keeping that poopy smell to a minimum.

Food – If your baby bottle feeds, bring enough formula and bottles for the trip.  Consider using a bottle system with pre-sterilized, disposable liners.  This way, you can simply toss the liner when the baby is through, instead of having to worry about carting around a dirty bottle.  If your child is older, make sure to pack enough juice and snacks to keep them happy during the flight.  Consider using disposable bibs and take-n-toss utensils to make it as easy on yourself as possible. 

Receiving Blankets – This is one of the best things I brought on our last trip.  They can be rolled down quite small for easy storage, but serve several needs;  burp cloths, nursing covers, and changing station liners.  Instead of sanitizing that icky airport changing table each time, try throwing down a receiving blanket.  They cover much more than a traditional changing pad, and are easier to tote in the bag (just make sure to designate it as the “changing table blanket”, so as not use the germy one as your nursing cover or burp cloth).

Distractions – Bring along a few small toys or other distractions to keep your older toddler busy.  Most children will be well-behaved on a plane as long as they are occupied, so keep them engaged with a fun coloring book and some non-toxic crayons.  I like to include a brand new “surprise” toy in our bag.  When Big Bud gets antsy, I can whip it out.  By the time the novelty of the new toy wears off, we’ve reached our destination. 

Comfort Items – Does your baby take a pacifier?  Bring it!  The sucking action will help ease the dreaded ear-popping.  Make sure to bring along anything that comforts your child.  An airplane can be scary, so anything familiar will help.  A favorite lovie or stuffed animal might also do the trick.


Tip #1; Pre-warm a bottle and have it ready to go when you get on the plane, just in case.  It takes a while for the cabin crew to boil the water needed to warm a bottle, so have one ready in case you need it.

Tip #2; Dress your child in layers.  Planes can often be chilly, so dress your child in a light jacket and pants.  You can always remove them if it gets too warm.

Tip #3; Try to bring along items that will serve multiple purposes.  Less items in the bag means less you have to deal with.

Tip #4; Overnight or extra-absorbency diapers work great for plane trips.  In case you do have to change a diaper on the plane, ask the cabin crew for assistance.  They will usually set the fold-away changing table up for you if you let them know you need it.

The most important thing to remember when traveling with children is to not let yourself get stressed out.  If you need help, ask for it.  Flight personnel are there to assist you, so take advantage.  Go here to double check the TSA guidelines for traveling with children

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Wednesday 2nd of July 2014

This is a wonderful checklist to follow, esp for first time moms like me who are flying with the baby for the first time. I am travelling tomorrow with my 10 months old baby boy. And this list is of really a great help to ease my packing. Thanks a ton!


Wednesday 22nd of June 2011

I always pack a change of clothes & underwear, contact solution, medication, etc. in my carry-on in case the checked luggage gets lost. That way at least you have a clean change of clothes and your other necessities until you can get your bags back.


Tuesday 21st of June 2011

Anything liquid that has to do with a baby/toddler is allowed. This includes medications, milk/formula, and snacks. We got away with a couple things of yogurt once b/c we said it was a snack for our, then, 7 month old. Just put it in a different zip-lock/bag so that it is easy for them to separate for their security checks. On a different trip with out daughter, when she was about 16 months, we put a lot of her toys and a few snacks in her little backpack (making sure it wasn't too heavy) and she carried it. 1.) it was fun for her and 2.) it made the security people smile (which is a feat in itself).


Tuesday 21st of June 2011

You need snacks, formula/breast, wipe and diapers, toys, one changing outfit for baby, ziplock bags for goodness knows what. That is it. Don't overpack because that causes exhaustion on all ends (packing, lugging, and unpacking)


Tuesday 21st of June 2011

Overall, this is a great list. I would add:

Crayola makes a triangular toddler crayon - they won't roll off the tray table!

A roll of blue painters tape - it takes up little room, and does MANY things (stick down a piece of paper to the tray table, make car "tracks" or "stickers", double-close a zip-top bag..the list is endless)

Pack "bundles" in zip-top bags. One for diaper changes, one for toys/distractions, one of food. It makes finding things in your bag much simpler - and you have extra bags if you need them.

A change of clothes/shirt for YOU. Sometimes those blow-outs effect more than the baby! Plus, if you luggage is lost, you at least have a clean shirt....

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