Traveling with a 9 Month Old: What to Pack

IMG_5256Tomorrow my husband and I and our nine month old son will be on a plane flying from Prague to Los Angeles. Of course, I’ve been panicking about packing for the past three weeks. How do you pack for a six week trip overseas with a nine month old?? What will we need? How do I still pack light and manageable? I’ve been trying to reach back into my brain for all of the travel tips I’ve received over the many years I’ve been flying and for all of the best practices I’ve used myself over the years. Of course this trip would be different, this would only be our second long hull flight with a baby, and our first trip with a mobile 9 month old.

So, first, I made a plan.

I sat down and wrote out everything I need to do and pack before we go. Maybe this won’t help others, but I am definitely a list person so this helps me. After making my massive list I made my own little calendar and divided up all of my tasks by days. This enabled me to have small manageable lists for each day before we left.

One of the hardest things was figuring out what to pack for my 9 month old baby. So, here’s the check list I finally put together.

Packing Check List for Baby:

  • Diapers and wipes - we normally use cloth diapers, but when we are traveling and staying in hotels and other people’s homes we definitely use disposables – it makes things so much easier.
  • Blankets – I plan on bringing a few blankets, some that I can put on the floor so our little one can sit on the ground no matter where we are and others for wrapping him up in if it’s chilly in the evening.
  • Toys –I packed up the toys we are packing a week before we left, in the hopes that they will then seem new to my son and more interesting. I’m not bringing a lot of toys though, instead I plan on getting creative. For example, an empty water bottle with a pen inside, a hotel key, or a baby’s shoe, can become fascinating toys for a 9 month old.
  • Clothing and Pajamas – what you pack in this category will depend upon where you are going and how long you will be there as well as whether or not you will be able to do laundry where you are staying. We will be spending a good deal of time at the beach so I will pack light weight cloths and a swim suit for my son.
  • Hats and a Natural Sunscreen – Since we will be in warm places and often in the sun and at the beach these will be important.
  • Bath Stuff – I plan on bringing a little bit of natural baby soap and the frog water thermometer we have which is also my son’s favorite bath toy. If I have room I’ll pack one of his hooded towels, if not then we will just use regular towels from the hotel or our guests home.
  • Thermometer – just in case.
  • Feeding Items – We just started giving Thaddeus goats milk (to fatten him up) so I will bring a sippy cup. Other than that we are mostly giving him finger foods so I probably won’t bother with bringing a baby spoon (he does ok with a regular teaspoon sometimes anyhow if I want to feed him something while we’re traveling). I still breastfeed and we don’t give formula so I don’t have to think about packing that. Oh, I’ll also bring a bib or two cause this kid can get messy!
  • Car seat – we will be driving at our destination so we will bring a car seat and check it at the airport.
  • Stroller – We have a great travel bag for our stroller so we will check it at the airport and just carry Thad in my Sleepy Wrap through security and while actually traveling.
  • Travel Cot/Pack n’ Play – Ok, so we won’t actually be bringing this since the hotel we will be at provides one and the rest of the time we will be with family who also have Pack n’ Plays. We sleep with Thad at night right now so I’m not too worried if there is an occasional night between destinations when we don’t have one. But, if you aren’t staying somewhere with a place for your baby to sleep it might be a good idea to pack this as well.

Carry-on/Diaper Bag Check List:

  • Diapers – double the amount I would normally use during the time period (just in case)IMG_5265
  • Changing Mat – I have a great mat built into my diaper bag, which makes it so easy for traveling and changing my son anywhere.
  • Pajamas – we will be traveling an overnight red eye flight so I’ll want him to sleep
  • Cloths – I plan on bringing at least three outfits for him (again just in case)
  • Cloths for my Husband and I – one outfit change each (again just in case)
  • A few plastic bags – for soiled clothing or other dirties
  • Snacks for Thaddeus and my husband and I – Often airplane food isn’t real food, so I like to bring plenty of healthy real food snacks with us when traveling. Plus a finger food snack can be a great thing to keep a kid entertained for a while.
  • WIPES – lots of them. They come in handy for a lot of things besides diaper changes, like cleaning up after eating, or wiping down the tray table in front of your seat.
  • Toys and books – my son is only 9 months old but he loves it when we read books to him. Since reading is a fairly quiet activity I will definitely be bringing some books on the plane as well as just a few of his favorite toys.
  • Blanket – It can be cold on planes so best to be prepared
  • Nasal Saline spray – It can be very dry on the plan and this can help keep your baby’s nasal passages comfortable.
  • Anti-bacteria Hand Sanitizer – Ok, so I’m generally against this stuff, and I don’t ever use it on a regular basis, but on long haul flights with a baby it just seems like a good idea to me to have it on hand and use it if necessary.
  • Pacifier – Thaddeus hasn’t really taken a pacifier, but lately he does like to chew on one now and then, which might help with his ears on the plan if he doesn’t want to nurse during takeoff or landing.
  • Baby Carrier – I’ll bring my Sleepy Wrap and carry my son in that through the airport and security. We did that last time we flew with him when he was 4 months old and it was great.
  • Passports – This is very important since we are traveling abroad. As a side note: Babies need a passport to travel outside of the US, but usually not on domestic flights.
  • Camera and Video camera – I’m sure there will be plenty to capture during our travels as well as once we reach our destination.
  • Books/Magazines – All of the airlines we fly for long haul flights have little TV’s built in the seat in front of you, so we often bring books and magazines and then never end up looking at them because we just watch a movie and then fall asleep. This time I probably won’t bring a book or anything for on the plane, I’m sure I’ll have enough to do dealing with Thaddeus. But, my husband will probably want to read, so I will pack a bit of reading material.

What do you pack for your baby/toddler on long trips? Is there anything that is on my list that you wouldn’t include?

What’s the most stressful part of packing for you? What do you always forget or wish you had packed? Do you ever end up with things that you regret bringing?

Rejoicing in the journey- Bethany Stedman