Air Travel is a convenient, fast, and economical way to get where you are going. However, there’s nothing worse than being trapped in an airplane for several hours with a screaming baby, especially if that baby is your own! Flying with your baby can be a stressful experience if you do not know what to expect and are not properly prepared. Babies have certain needs that they expect to be met upon demand and can become fussy and irritable during long flights and delays. And we all know when the baby’s not happy, nobody is happy! Although you cannot prepare for every unforeseen circumstance, making sure these five items are in your carry-on can significantly reduce stress and make air travel smoother for you, your child, and the other passengers, especially those that are trying to fall asleep on longer flights.

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1. Extra Diapers

Many first-time parents make the critical mistake of sticking only one or two diapers and a small container of wipes in their carry-on. They pack the rest of the baby’s things in the checked baggage. After all, it’s only a twenty-minute flight, right? This is a disaster waiting to happen. While one or two diapers might get you to your destination if everything goes as expected, it will become your worst nightmare if things go awry. Airlines are notorious for unexpected delays and flight cancellations.

When traveling with your baby, you should expect the unexpected! Unfortunately, airport stores do not typically stock diapers or wipes. Packing enough diapers and wipes in your carry-on to cover 24 hours will help ensure that you do not find yourself stuck in a stinky predicament!

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2. A Change of Clothes for Baby and You

Babies randomly do disgusting things like poop and throw up. Sometimes they do those things on mom and dad. As a parent, there’s nothing quite like the embarrassment of an all-out diaper blowout while sitting in the middle seat between two young men in business attire. Unless that blowout happens to be on you during a 3-hour flight and every piece of clothing you own is stuck somewhere far below in the cargo bay. Having a spare set of clothes won’t change the odds of occurrence, but it will ensure that you don’t have to spend the next 2 hours and 59 minutes as the recipient of contemptuous glares while smelling like a walking septic tank. You will also find yourself grateful for those extra diapers and wipes.

3. Empty Zipper Storage Bags

Odor travels. Being in an airplane is equivalent to being stuck indefinitely in a compact tin can of recycled air. Sitting there with a stinky baby and a hundred other people is not fun. If your baby produces a dirty diaper or has a spit-up episode while in flight, you can simply place the offensive item in the zipper bag and seal it before throwing away in the lavatory (diapers) trash or placing back in your carry-on (soiled clothing) for future laundering. This will help control the odor and help everyone around you breathe just a little bit easier. For more tips read: How to Change a Diaper on a Plane.

4. Something to Suck

Changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing as well as episodes of turbulence can hurt your baby’s ears and be distressing to the child. Your child’s inconsolable screaming can, in turn, hurt everyone’s ears and be distressing to those around you! Planning ahead and providing something for your baby to suck during times of cabin pressure changes will help greatly reduce the pain and popping in his or her ears. A timely bottle of formula, breastfeeding, pacifiers and teething rings are all good options to help your child equalize the pressure behind the eardrums and relieve the discomfort.

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5. Food and Snacks

Babies eat a lot. If you breastfeed, all you need to bring is yourself. If you choose to express milk beforehand, be aware that you will need to place it in a container that is less than 3.4 ounces. Tell the TSA agent at the beginning of the process that you have the child’s milk in your carry-on and follow all instructions. Usually, it will simply be passed through an x-ray, though on rare occasions you can also expect the possibility of additional delays if your TSA agent decides to investigate the liquid further.

Though formula can be carried similarly in clear, 3.4-ounce containers, it is easiest to transport through security in powdered form. You can purchase bottled water on the other side of security to add to the powder for formula mixing. However, do not wait until the flight attendant serves drinks to ask for water because there could be an unexpected delay or time-lapse, and a hungry baby is a fussy baby. For older babies, be sure to pack plenty of age-appropriate snacks to keep them occupied in case of long delays and flight cancellations.

Bonus: Treat Bags for the Neighbors

If you are a real go-getter and want to keep your neighbors happy, try this trick. Pack several small zipper bags of treats such as small candies, gum, and a set of earplugs with a note that reads, “My name is _____! I am ____ months old, and today is my first flight! I’ll try to be on my best behavior, but I apologize in advance if I lose my cool, get scared, or my ears hurt. My mommy and daddy hope we all have a nice quiet flight, but they prepared this goody bag for you just in case! Thank you for your patience and understanding. Enjoy!”

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Flying is a fast and convenient way to travel. Air travel with your baby can be harrowing, but it can also be a pleasant experience if you know what to expect and are properly prepared. By packing these five essential items in your carry-on, you will help ensure that your flight with your baby is smooth and enjoyable for everyone aboard.

Guest Author: Jennifer Hardy from SleepingBetter.co. Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom with 2 kids, who is an active contributor to SleepingBetter.co. She has been researching sleep science for years and is all about creating the perfect sleep sanctuary for herself because she knows how powerful good sleep can be on your health and beauty. She loves reviewing everything from comfortable pillows to the best mattresses.

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