Carry-on packing guide for mom and baby

Friday, May 13, 2016

Packing for yourself in a carry-on bag can be tricky, but add packing for a baby into the mix and you just have a packing nightmare. My first trip with Baby ISO was a road trip with a rental car, so we for sure overpacked -- see the photo proof below.

overpacking like crazy for our first trip with Baby ISO

Our next trip together was a weekend in Frankfurt. We were only allowed a carry on each (without paying extra) and even though it was only a weekend trip, I overpacked for Baby ISO and underpacked for myself. The only pair of pants I brought was spilled on the first day and Baby ISO had several unworn onesies and pants.

Since these first two trips; however, I think I've improved with fitting my own clothes and Baby ISO's clothes/stuff into one not too overstuffed duffel bag or backpack depending on the length of the trip.

Packing is highly personal, but this is what works for us. I've tried to leave the list loose so that you could modify it to your needs.

For Baby:


  • With drool, food, milk, or some other unidentifiable substance, onesie shirts get dirty pretty quickly for us. I try to bring one shirt for each day we are traveling.
  • Bottoms don't get dirty as easily for us, so for a weekend trip we bring 2 pairs of pants, and for a week-long trip we bring 3 pairs of pants.
  • For bedtime, I generally pack 2 to 3 pajamas. Baby ISO will often wear pajamas during flights if the flights leave early in the morning.
  • Several pairs of socks
  • Outdoor clothes - now that it is summer, we don't need to pack a giant snowsuit! - We now pack a sun hat, a few light sweaters, and sunblock. 


We've been working really hard on setting up a solid bedtime, so packing the same things we use for bedtime is really important for us. Here are our bedtime packing essentials:

  • Sleeping sack or blanket (Many hotel cribs don't seem to come with safe blanket options, so we always bring our sleeping sack.)
  • Vitamin D drops, Goodnight Moon, tooth brush, and toothpaste


  • Bottles, spoons
  • Enough baby food for the first 1-2 days
  • Lots of bibs


  • We usually pack several toys, especially now that Baby ISO loves to play.
  • Carseat
  • Stroller (our carseat attaches to the stroller making it really portable)
  • Rain cover for stroller
  • Diaper changing pad, enough diapers for the first 1-2 days, diaper cream or powder. The changing pad that we have 
  • Baby medications in case of emergency (e.g., Baby Tylenol, sunblock)

It seems like a TON of stuff, but it does fit into my LeSportsac rolling duffle bag, along with all of my own clothes, a book, electronics, and necessary chargers. I still pack light for myself, but not as light as before having a baby. Even for weekend trips I now need to pack an extra pair of pants and an extra nursing bra. For now at least, gone are the days of throwing a few t-shirts in a bag and spontaneously traveling for a weekend.

What other essentials do you pack? How does packing change as baby gets older?


  1. Great tips. I always pack a sleepsac too, have been caught out too many times with blankets in hotel rooms. I wish they prescribed Vitamin D drops here, we have to crush tablets every night! :D

    1. Thank you, Emma! One hotel didn't even have sheets for their crib. I was kind of shocked (and wrapped a blanket from our bed around the mattress instead). The Vitamin D drops are so easy. Maybe you can find them online?

  2. Love this list! We're going to Germany with Baby Gypsy in August, and I know for sure I'm going to overpack/underpack. I really wish we could have a practice flight before then, but that hasn't (yet) materialized. We'll have a few regional roadtrips under our belt before then, but it's the flying part that has me stressed out already!

    1. How old will Baby Gypsy be when you fly? Baby ISO has been okay with flights so far, but now that he is mobile, I'm a bit worried about our long flight home in June.

      At least you know it will be fun when you get there though! Where are you going in Germany?