As you know we love travelling and agreed that this love will not go away once we have a baby. Trips with little ones are doable and worth it. The time together spent as a family and memories created will last for a long time. But travelling with a small baby may seem challenging and overwhelming but it does not have to be a struggle.
I am sure you will want to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Packing well and having everything the baby may need is key. You will be surprised how much stuff little travellers need! It will be very tempting to overpack but the less stuff you have the easier it will be to travel.
To save the hassle of planning for future trips I have noted down a baby packing checklist (0-6 months) of essential items to pack. This baby packing checklist is based on our experience from several trips with our baby boy (note our first trips were not summer holidays). When he was nearly 3 months, we took the first road trip (380 km one-way). Then soon after it, we were on a flight to Malta. Now, after couple more road trips, I am packing for another holiday.
To pack well for trips is not easy as it may look at the first glance. I still sometimes manage to over-pack, under-pack, forget something… So, when I became a new mum, I really wanted to get it right. After several successful and less so attempts, I think I found the golden middle. I pulled together this checklist for packing for infant to 6 months old baby to ensure I do not over-pack but also have all the essential baby items for the trip. No more worrying about missing something. I just tick the items of the list as I pack. The packing is finally made easy and stress free!
Of course, not all of my suggestions will be applicable to you and your baby. This will give you some ideas to think about when packing. I divide the list in the following categories and try to keep it simple: getting around, baby clothes, diaper change time, sleeping time, bath time, feeding time, play time, first aid kit, and travel documents.
First, you need to decide how you will be travelling around at the destination. Most of the time, we rent a car, so we definitely need a baby car seat. In the last couple trips, we took our own baby car seat. You can take two baby equipment items for free on a flight (check with your flight provider website for details). We always check in the car seat so we have less items to carry with us at the airport. Alternatively, when renting a car rent a baby car seat as well. Also, I suggest to have a car shade or blind or alternatively a blanket that can be used to block sun rays, if needed.
Once at the location, you will certainly be walking on foot or use a public transport. For instance, we did lots of walking in Malta and used a baby carrier/sling. It worked very well as our baby boy liked to be in the carrier. It was also perfect to walk around in the airport. I even kept him in the sling during the flight when he was sleeping. This was more convenient than to hold him on my lap or on hands. Also, some destinations like places with steps and uneven surfaces, e.g. in nature, may not be suitable for pushchair so a baby sling is a good alternative.
Your baby or you may not like a baby carrier and you will want a pushchair. For our next trip, we decided to take a lightweight travel pushchair with us. We found a lightweight one that fully reclines and is very compact once it folds. A rain cover is also a good thing to have but depends on your destination, if it is essential or not.
Last item in this category is a small backpack to carry baby items that you may need (e.g. diaper changing items, toys, muslin) while exploring places.
- Baby car seat (optional: car shade/blind or blanket)
- Baby carrier/sling
- Lightweight travel pushchair (optional: rain cover)
- Small backpack
This category is probably the trickiest one to get it right. The amount and type of baby clothes with hugely depend on the destination. Obviously, warm destinations will require less baby clothes than colder ones. The trips we had with our baby boy were to places with temperatures between 6°C and 16°C degrees, so not very warm. On our first trip I over-packed, on the second trip under-packed but on the third one I think I found the sweet middle. Yes!
Baby clothes that I pack:
- Short sleeve vests (long sleeve vests, if using)
- Outfits appropriate for the weather (e.g. mix & match trousers and tops, socks)
- Bibs (optional)
- Hat (appropriate for the weather)
- Weather specific clothes (e.g. snowsuit, warmer jacket, swimming neoprene nappy or swimsuit)
How many to pack?
Well, I can tell you my rough guide for a one week’s holiday. You can decide if that will work for you and adjust accordingly. I take five short sleeve vests and three to five sleepsuits. I plan to use some of them for more than one day but also anticipate some leaky diapers. I use sleepsuits only for night sleep.
The number of different outfits appropriate for the weather is five. You may want to pack different outfit for each day you are there but I found it was too much for a little baby. I usually pack trousers and tops. Tops get soiled quicker, so I pack more tops and less trousers (mix & match). Don’t forget socks- two pairs should be enough.
I also pack couple bibs, usually two, as our boy is currently teething and posseting a lot. They are small and help to keep the clothes unsoiled for longer. One hat appropriate for the weather (e.g. warm hat in winter or sun-hat) is another essential for me.
There are also some weather specific clothing that you may need. Our next trip is to a destination with temperature of 6°C degrees, so I am packing a snowsuit, a blanket, and a warmer jacket. A blanket is a very versatile item to have. You can use it to lay your baby on to have a kick or change diaper, shade your baby, cover yourself if you're nursing, protect your clothes from messy burps, and more. In the summer you may want to pack a swimsuit.
To cut down on the amount of clothes to pack, you can wash them at the destination. You will be able to wash them by hand everywhere, if needed. If travelling for longer than a week, I would pack for a week and then just wash what is needed.
I like to use luggage organiser bags or simple bags when packing baby clothes. For instance, I pack sleepsuits and vests in one bag, which I can quickly grab when needed. This is especially useful when you want to re-dress the baby at night due to a leaky diaper 😭 I just grab that bag and do not need to rummage through the suitcase full of baby items and clothes. Also, I roll clothes when packing (aka Marie Kondo method) and noticed that you can fit even more clothes when using the organiser bags.
DIAPER CHANGING TIME
There are two main must have items that you need: diapers and baby wipes. Although other items may not look to be essential, I like to have them with me.
Depending on the duration of your trip, you may want to take only enough diapers for couple days and buy the rest at the destination. Or you may pack the number of diapers that you will need for the whole trip. On our first trips I took enough diapers to last the trip (a week or less) but they take a lot of space in the luggage. Thus, for the next trip I am only packing enough to last couple days and buying the rest at the destination.
Regarding baby wet wipes, I just take the regular ones I use at home. I tried travel baby wipes and just did not like them. I estimate that 1 pack (60wipes) will roughly last me a week. I use them for nappy changes and also any spills etc.
I do not routinely use diaper rash cream but like to have it just in case. I have couple small sample size (30g) pots and they are perfect for travel. Takes very little space.
Changing mat is probably not an essential but good to have item. However, when we were in Malta, I did not find many restrooms with baby changing facilities so the changing mat was very handy. Alternatively, you can just use a blanket to lay the baby for the diaper change. Also, I was changing diapers anywhere: on the restroom floor, on the toilet seat, on the car seat, on the floor...Baby needs diaper changing, I am changing it. Simple. You may also want to have some diaper or ordinary small bags to pack the dirty nappy, if a bin is not readily available. Bags can also be used to store soiled clothes. A travel size hand sanitiser is a must in these situations.
- Diapers (if planning to swim, will need swimming diapers)
- Baby wet wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Travel changing mat (optional; alternative-you can use a blanket)
- Diaper bags or ordinary small bags
- Hand sanitiser
If you have a baby, you know that a good night sleep with a baby is priceless. Thus, I want to replicate the home sleeping routine and environment on the trip as much as possible.
The first thing you will need to sort is where your baby will sleep. Most accommodations will provide a cot, which is great. Alternatively, you may need to get a travel cot. Travel cot is also classed as baby equipment and can be taken on the flight for free (check your flight provider website). Our baby uses a sleeping bag, so I pack it but it is a bulky item. I love using sleeping bag. It is a great way to keep your baby to the familiar and I do not need extra blankets.
We use a camera to monitor our sleeping baby while we are in another room. We don’t have a special baby monitor, just a simple camera, which connects to WI-FI and our phone or other device. I also pack an external battery and charger for the camera.
Sometimes we need to play white noise. At home he has a toy which plays white noise but on the trips we just use YouTube and a phone. We also use a pacifier during sleeping time, so I pack that too. The pacifier with a clip was also great during take-off and landing to help relieving pressure in his ears as he did not want to feed.
- Sleeping or Grow bag
- Travel cot and cot sheet (if not provided at the accommodation)
- Baby camera (+battery and charger) OR equivalent
- Pacifier/ dummy (optional: pacifier clip)
There is not much that we take for the bath time. The towels are usually provided at the accommodation. The only thing we pack are travel size baby lotion/oil, bath wash, and a thermometer (shows water and room temperature). The latter is probably not essential. But with a small baby and in colder locations, I want to ensure we have the right water and room temperature. If travelling for longer than a week, I also pack a baby nail clipper.
- Towel (if not provided)
- Travel size baby lotion/oil and baby wash (if using)
- Thermometer (optional)
- Infant nail clippers (if away for longer than a week)
I am breastfeeding, so I barely needed anything to pack for this category. I took only couple muslins, which I used cover myself while breastfeeding. If you are not comfortable with a muslin square, you can always pack a scarf or a nursing cover. Muslin squares similar to blankets are versatile-you can use them cover the baby and yourself, clean messes, provide shade, or it can even be a toy.
- Muslin squares
In couple months, our baby will start weaning, so this category will certainly expand. Also, if you are bottle-feeding, you will need more items to pack than me.
I take two or three of his favourite toys. At this age (up to 6 months) it is usually a book, a rattle or a teething toy, and a soft toy. If you have a long-haul flight, it could be worth getting a new toy to keep baby’s interest for longer.
- Two or three favourite toys
FIRST AID KIT & TOILETRIES
Yes, the first aid kit for your baby will be different from yours. There are quite a few items under this category that I pack. Firstly, I take some baby paracetamol and a thermometer. A baby sunscreen (+50 SPF) is needed not only for hot destinations. For instance, we went to Malta in winter but had couple very sunny days. I also pack some drops for runny or blocked nose like sea water nasal spray or nasal saline drops. Vitamin D also goes into bag as I am currently breastfeeding. Other items in this category depend on the growing stage: colic drops, teething gel. Also, you would pack any other medicines that your baby takes.
- Baby paracetamol liquid
- Drops for blocked or runny nose (e.g. sea water nasal spray or nasal saline drops)
- Colic drops
- Teething gel (if already past teething, you will need toothbrush and toothpaste)
- Vitamin D drops
For this age (0-6 months) I do not take any plasters as I find them useless. My boy had a scratch/small cut on his finger, which was getting worse with continuous chewing (thank you teething!). I tried a plaster and it was just useless...Instead, I found that a small amount of Lanolin cream (cream for sore and cracked nipples) applied to the area worked wonders. It basically protected the area by providing waterproof cover and the scratch/cut healed within few days.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS and BABY’S CARRY ON BAG (usually up to 5kg)
There are few travel documents that you need to have for your baby.
- Baby’s passport
- Boarding pass (if flying)
- Travel insurance details
I do not have a special baby carry on bag, I just use a small backpack. I pack items for diapers changing for the transit, couple toys, and a muslin square.
As the baby (up-to 2 years and if sitting on your lap, i.e. no seat booked for the baby) usually has an allowance of carry-on up-to 5kg bag and two baby equipment items, you will need extra luggage for the baby stuff. We tend to get one 10kg luggage in addition to the free personal bags (Ryanair, Wizzair). It fits our and baby's stuff. We go for check-in rather than cabin luggage. This way we have less stuff to carry with us at the airport.
If you think I have missed some essential items from my baby packing checklist, please let me know in the comments below🙂 I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. I am putting all this in an easy to read printable baby packing checklist that you could tick off as you pack. If you like to receive a free copy, comment below and message me on FB or Instagram. Happy Travelling & Adventures with little ones!🌏