A selection of travel gear recommendations for flying with your baby

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

If you’re preparing to take a flight with your baby for the first time, you’re most likely (and understandably) overwhelmed.

First thing to do is breathe. You have this.

In addition to the basics — diapers (lots of them), baby wipes, a few changes of clothes, and either a breastfeeding parent or bottles and milk — there are some key items you’ll want to have with you in your baby bag during your trip.

That’s why we’ve assembled this guide of first flight essentials — and a few nice-to-haves — to make your trip a little less, well, turbulent.

According to Elisa Song, MD, holistic pediatrician, the most important consideration to keep in mind when flying with your baby (aside from making friends with the strangers seated around you) is their developing immune system.

She says that the immune systems of babies under 3 months of age are less capable of handling infections than older babies. Babies are better able to manage infections by the time they are 9 months old, because their immune systems are starting to make their own antibodies.

She recommends waiting until your baby is at least 3 months old, after they have had their first set of immunizations, to fly with a baby.

To create this list of travel must-haves for new parents, we reached out to respected pediatricians to understand the needs of infants from the newborn phase to over 3 months of age.

We relied on the opinions of actual parents and real customer reviews to learn about the products that they considered essential when flying with a young infant.

We narrowed down our top picks using the criteria listed.

  • It is portable.
  • safety
  • It is durable.
  • The airline has approval.
  • convenience.

Price guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$50
  • $$$ = $50–$100
  • $$$$ = over $100

Best antibacterial wipes

Babyganics Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer Wipes

Price: $

Planes have improved their game in the last few years.

It is still a good idea to have your own sanitizing gear, as well as overhead lights and fans, to wipe down seat buttons, and anything else your baby may touch.

Babyganics has alcohol-free hand wipes.

“They are formulated without the use of harsh chemicals. They are non-allergenic and hydrating, so you can use them on baby’s hands.”

Traveling during COVID-19

While alcohol-free wipes are generally a good choice for infants, in the time of COVID-19 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

If you use alcohol wipes on babies, it is best to keep an eye out for dry skin or any sign of irritation.

Best pack of pacifiers

Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci Pacifiers (3-pack)

Price: $

Losing a pacifier can be dramatic on a good day, so when one hits the deck on an airplane, there’s no time to waste looking for it on the floor (and cleaning the pretzel crumbs off of it… ew).

It is important that there is a couple of quality pacis on hand.

“The pacifiers of this bottle brand are made out of 100 percent Silicone and have a similar nipple shape. The shield is well-shaped around the baby’s face.”

It comes in a set of three and they are dishwasher and steril safe.

Best packable blankets

Simple Joys by Carter’s Flannel Receiving Blankets

Price: $

“It doesn’t hurt to bring a lightweight blanket to cover you and your baby while you are on the plane.”

Song says that they can help them sleep and not be disturbed by the lights or people milling around.

Babies under the age of 4 months prefer to be swaddled, and these flannel blankets may be able to help.

They are in a pack of seven. They are made from 100 percent cotton and are meant to be warm for flights.

Best travel toy

Morgan Monkey Ears by Lamaze

Price: $

A brand new toy can be a distraction when your child is restless. The key is not to introduce it to your baby until you get to the airport or flight.

Lamaze has an entire line of brightly colored, infant-safe toys that have plenty of texture and sound to explore.

“The monkey toy is designed to keep baby attention and features bright colors to improve baby’s sense of touch.”

“The best part? It is relatively inexpensive so you won’t be too upset if you forget it on the plane.”

Best packable changing pad

Munchkin Portable Diaper Changing Kit

Price: $

If your diaper bag doesn’t already include one, this compact changing pad from Munchkin is designed for sliding into your carry-on bag for use in the airport bathroom.

It is 22.2 inches long by 19.5 inches wide and has mesh pockets to keep your diapering equipment.

It also has a changing pad that you can use on airport surfaces.

Best travel-friendly baby-wearing device

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

Price: $$

You will need your hands while traveling through the airport, especially going through security and the boarding process.

That’s where a baby carrier comes in handy.

The Infantino Flip 4-in-1 allows you to keep your baby safe while you travel.

“It is one of our favorite baby carrier picks because it allows you to carry multiple babies. It is suitable for infants weighing 8 to 32 pounds, which will allow you to go through your child’s first year.”

Best travel stroller

Bugaboo Ant Baby Stroller

Price: $$$$

Renting a stroller is an option. If you are planning on flying with your baby, owning a compact travel stroller might be a good investment.

This one is designed to carry you through the toddler years and can hold up to 50 lbs. It is lightweight and folds up easily so that you can carry it.

Another more budget-friendly option that parents love for travel is the Colugo Compact Stroller, which folds up for when you have to stow it under the plane. It also has a 5-point harness for safety, and a full-seat recline for when baby gets sleepy.

Best car seat protector bag

J.L. Childress Ultimate Backpack Padded Car Seat Travel Bag

Price: $$$

A car seat travel bag is a must have for new parents who are going to take their baby on a flight.

These handy devices help protect your car seat from damage, it is going to get thrown into the belly of the plane with a bunch of luggage.

“Since you won’t be able to follow exactly where your car seat goes when you check it in with the rest of your luggage, these handy protectors bags give you some peace of mind.”

“This one is fully padded so that it won’t be damaged in an impact. The brand has a compatibility guide on their website that can help you determine if it fits your car seat.”

Want wheels? This alternative option from Chicco comes with wheels and fits other car seats beside the Chicco brand (double-check dimensions).

Best carry-all diaper backpack

UPPAbaby Changing Backpack

Price: $$$$

A diaper bag is one of the first things people tell you to register for, it packs everything you need to care for your baby on the go.

You need one of these for a variety of reasons, from taking a flight across the country to visiting a mall.

It is best to have a diaper bag on your back in the airport so you can hold your baby and other things.

The diaper bag from UPPAbaby is stylish and neutral, but it is also changeable, with nine different colors.

It comes with a changing pad, insulated bottle pockets, and stroller attachment straps, all of which make diaper changing on the go much easier.

Best baby bottle cooler

nanobebe Breastmilk Baby Bottle Cooler & Travel Bag

Price: $

If you feed your baby pumped breastmilk, you need to travel with a cooler to store the goods on the go.

This helps keep your baby safe from getting sick by keeping your milk safe.

“The cooler has an insulated lining that should keep milk bags and bottles cold for hours. The strap is easy to attach to a diaper bag or stroller so you don’t have to worry about carrying it separately.”

Best travel sound machine

Wavhello™ Soundbub™ Ollie The Owl Bluetooth Speaker and Soother

Price: $$

The sound machine is about the size of your palm.

“It has all of the key features of any other sound machine, so don’t let its small stature fool you.”

The device has the ability to record messages and lullabies from family members, it has a built-in timer for 30-, 60- or 90-minute intervals, and it has over 12 sounds and songs.

It is compatible with your stroller or bag.

Best travel-friendly car seat

Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat & Base

Price: $$$$

Safety should always be top priority when it comes to a car seat, and this one gets stellar reviews. It’s also one of the lighter options on the market, weighing in at only 7.9 lbs., so it’s easier than most to lug around an airport.

Nuna has a True Lock safety system that helps ensure proper installation. It has a European belt path that allows you to install it into a car without a base, which is a huge plus for times of travel.

Perhaps the best part is that it’s adaptable with most strollers — you just have to purchase the Nuna ring adapter, which is sold separately.

The thought of flying with an infant can be frightening, but with the right products and the right know-how, you can handle it.

Here are some important tidbits to know to keep your child happy.

Buy baby their own seat

Babies under 2 years old are free on most airlines in the United States, so you might be tempted to save money by having your baby sit on your lap.

Veteran parents agree that you might regret this decision.

Also, when baby has their own seat, you can actually bring their car seat on board and strap them right in, which is much safer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Review TSA recommendations for milk beforehand

It is a good idea to know the regulations for carrying liquids on a plane. The 3.4 ounce rule is not applicable to formula and breastmilk.

You can bring ice packs and freezer packs to keep the milk cold. Make sure the agents at the airport know that you are carrying milk for your child so that they can screen it properly.

Feed baby before you go on the plane

If you can, try to nurse or bottle-feed your baby while you wait for the plane to board to avoid having a hangry baby who is desperate for milk before takeoff.

The feeding position is not the best for takeoff, and you and your partner might be a little uneasy if there are bumps on the way.

When can my baby start flying?

The 2 month mark is a reasonable time to ensure that your baby has had time to adjust to the outside world and to rule out any health issues after birth, and most pediatricians agree that this is a reasonable time to do.

The most optimal age is 6 months or older, as this is the time when your child has received many of their vaccines.

Is it safe for my baby to fly?

Yes. Babies with full-term pregnancies are safe to fly on an airplane.

Does my baby need their own seat?

It is up to you whether you want your baby to sit on your lap or not.

The FAA and the APL recommend that infants have their own seat so you can use a car seat or airplane harness device.

When flying with your baby, prioritize the essentials to make your life a little easier. With the right tools, your baby’s first flight might even be — dare we say — fun.

For further guidance, be sure to check out our list of additional tips for flying with your little one for the first time. And remember: You’ve got this!