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Flying with an Infant on an International Trip

Our first flight outside of North America was when we went to Paris for Graeme’s medical conference when Madi was 6 months old. We packed far more extensively than our weekend trips to Vancouver. Although we knew we could buy baby products when we got to France, we wanted to be as prepared as possible. Here is our packing list:

Bring a Baby carrier and stroller

We did lots of walking in Paris and would switch between the baby carrier and the stroller. In the airports we used the baby carrier and checked in our stroller.

Bring your Breastfeeding supplies

We packed our breast pump, bottles, breastfeeding cover, and dish soap/cloth for cleaning bottles. I put the breast pump, breastfeeding cover and 1 bottle in my carry-on in case my luggage got lost or there was a delay.

Bring a Cozy Blanket:

One that fits in the carry-on easily, in case baby gets cold.

Bring a few sleepers for your little one

These are Madi’s and my favourite outfits for her; they are comfortable and I think she looks so cute in them. I put one extra sleeper in my carry-on in case she were to have a diaper explosion on the plane.

Bring some fancy/cute baby outfits

For longer vacations I pack 1-2 dressy outfits so that we can take a few nice family photos when we are away.

Bring your babies favourite stuffy (or blankie)

Madi has a blankie called Sophie that she brings with her everywhere. Just be careful not to lose it in a foreign country!

Bring a small bag that contains your passport and money.

It’s super easy to lose important items in the black hole that is a diaper bag. Carrying a purse AND a diaper bag sucks, but I found it necessary for airport travel. Otherwise, having a specific pouch in the bag that is easier to find for those important items or even a fanny pack works just as well.

Bring some food that your baby likes

Madi was eating solids already and although I knew there were many safe and delicious food options in France, I packed all of Madi’s favourite snacks so that I wouldn’t have to worry in case she was picky about new foods.

And of course, Diapers and wipes

Some of you will probably think I went a little overboard, but I ended up packing enough diapers and wipes for the full 2 week trip instead of buying any there. I do have a reason though! I often shop on trips and the space that was used for the diapers was replaced with souvenirs on the way back.

Bring a swimsuit and sunscreen! Sunscreen can be expensive when your abroad.

Sunscreen use in babies isn’t as straight forward as you would think! I reviewed the evidence so here are some tips for using sunscreen with your baby.

Hand sanitizer and Plastic Bags

I never really used Ziplock bags until I had Madi. Now I know how great they are for packing snacks for the day and keeping organized. I use plastic bags to keep my diaper bag reasonably organized with 1 large Ziplock containing all of the snacks, another containing the wipes and diapers, and the a third for small toys.

You will very likely need a car seat

You can rent car seats in many countries, but we brought our own, as we know Madi was comfortable in it and we checked it at the airport. If you purchase a separate ticket for your child, you can put the car seat on the plane.

And don’t forget a soother/ pacifier

If your infant uses it, these are handy for keeping them quiet on the plane.

This post was authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc.

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