How to Pack Light for a Baby

How to Pack Light For a Baby

1. Striped Short Sleeve Onesie / 2. Long Sleeve Lightening Onesie / 3. Long Sleeve Star Top / 4. Aloha Short Sleeve Tee / 5. Straight Leg Jeans / 6. Relaxed Black Pants / 7. Washed Linen Pants / 8. Glow-in-the-Dark Leggings / 9. Chambray Jumpsuit / 10. Chambray Romper / 11. Pull-On Shorts / 12. Star Sweater / 13. Striped Rash Guard / 14. Floral Swim Trunks / 15. Striped Swim Bloomers / 16. Chambray Hat (or White) / 17. Warm Blanket / 18. Soft Toy / 19. Pajamas / 20. Teething Ring / 21. Mini Backpack / 22. Light Muslin Swaddle Blanket / 23. JuJuBe BeNeat Reversible Bib / 24. Sippy Cup / 25. Freshly Picked Moccasins / 26. Saltwater Sandals / 27. Socks / 28. Striped Tights

We’ve taken more than our fair share of trips with the kids and while I feel like I have packing light down to a science now, packing for the kids has not always been easy. The baby stage was one of the hardest for me to pack during, I felt so compelled to overpack. Above is an easy example of a packing list to follow, and below are my go-to tips for how to pack light when traveling with a baby.

Assorted Tops and Bottoms
Tops and bottoms are what I feel like gets most dirty with a baby. They are either drooling or crawling around, so clothes are under constant wear and tear. I always find that dark clothing, or clothing with a print are able to hide dirt the best. For tops it is nice to have a couple of onesie style for travel since they don’t ride up, and the rest should be normal tops because they take up less space and effort to clean. For a 10 day trip, I’d bring a selection of 8 tops, sleeve length pending weather. For bottoms, I always start with my more structured pair, jeans. Then I move on to more unstructured and comfortable wear, fabric weight pending weather. I especially like the linen pants above because they are relaxed enough to play in, but nice enough to pass for a nicer dinner. I also am very fond of packing leggings (for girls or boys) because they take up so little space in a suitcase, and can be layered under clothing in cooler weather as well. For a 10 day trip, I’d bring a selection of 6 assorted bottoms for baby, again pending weather. These numbers are not set in stone either, and can be easily tailored depending on your babies age and habits. Obviously if your baby stays cleaner, you need less clothing.

Specialty Wear
These clothing items are packed if you have special plans during your trip. Do you have an event to attend or a nice dinner? I’d pack a chambray jumpsuit or romper if I could, and dress it up with a pair of cute shoes. I find that unless it’s a black tie event, babies get away with a lot regarding dress code. I love this jumpsuit and romper because they are chambray and transition easily to the play ground. If it is warmer or cooler you may want to swap out some of your pants for some shorts, or if it is cooler you may want to add a warmer jacket in addition to the sweatshirt.

Swim or Sun Wear
Are you headed somewhere tropical? Even if you are not, the place you are staying may have a pool to use, so I always plan ahead regarding swimwear. My boys love to be in the water, so it’s a nice calm down for us to use a hotel pool or hot tub before bed. Don’t forget a hat, and sunscreen! This handled wet bag could come in handy as well for transporting wet swimwear back to the hotel or home from your trip.

Comforting Goodies
I bring this sort of stuff along to help Søren get settled at night. He’s older now and doesn’t need a teether, but a warm blanket (never leaves the hotel bed), his kitty, and familiar pajamas are a must. We also always had a wubbanub handy because it was harder to lose in a purse or bed. There are also lots of great white noise apps for your phone to help with sleeping in an unfamiliar place. I know some of this takes up extra space, but for our sanity it makes travel easier and is worth it to bring along. You might want to tailor this list more to your baby’s needs, but this is a good start.

Travel Goodies
As you may have noticed in my Road Trip Packing List for kids, our mini Kanken backpack is a go-to for travel with littles. Søren loves to carry it around and it is just his size. When we travel I always bring a light muslin swaddle blanket. As a baby it helped keep Søren warm on flights, worked as a nursing cover, laid down as a changing pad, and rolled up as a neck pillow. It also goes over the hood of the stroller well to block out the sunlight during naps. I love bibs with a pocket to help catch the crumbs and drops that can happen during on-the-go snack time. And lastly, we never, ever, ever, leave the house without a drink of water via a water bottle or sippy cup. It has come in handy to have spare water more than once during our travels.

Good footwear during travel is essential, even for non-walkers. Shoes help keep baby warm and their little feet protected from the elements. I’ve found that two seems to be the magic number when it comes to shoes. If the weather is warmer, I bring one pair of light shoes and one pair of shoes that can get wet. If the weather is cooler I bring one pair of light shoes and one pair of boots (or rain boots if we’re in Seattle!) Ninety-nine percent of the time, I follow this rule for myself as well. Socks might not be as important for warmer trips, but they are great for keeping tiny feet warm in cold airplanes or airports. I find that tights are even better because they can’t fall off and get lost as easily.

I think that one of the biggest things to remember when packing for kids is to be flexible. Think about your trip from a different angle and improvise. Pack a travel pouch of detergent and do a small load of clothes in the sink if you need to. If somehow the baby goes through all of their pants, you can still use pajama bottoms while the others wash and dry. Don’t be tempted to overpack because you’re buying into a “What If” scenario. Remember that there is always the option to buy in case of an emergency, but I’ve found that most disaster scenarios I try to pack for never happen.


Do you have any tips for packing light for a baby? I’d love to hear them below. Happy travels!

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Responses to “How to Pack Light for a Baby”

  1. These are great tips! And they sure would make cute outfits. We are going on vacation soon so I can’t wait to use them.

    1. Thanks! Let me know how they work out for you. I know all babies are different so it’s so hard!

  2. Great tips! And i love those little moccasins! 🙂


    1. Thanks! And aren’t they the cutest? They look cute in photos, but my favorite part is that when Søren walks in his, it leaves an imprint of his foot on the bottom. I can never bring myself to donate/sell his old pairs. I think I might frame them one day.

  3. I wish I read this before my last trip. I definitely overpacked for the little ones and was stuck lugging around a heavy suitcase.

    1. Oh no! Well hopefully you still had a great time and can use it next time you travel. 🙂

  4. […] a baby list, Jessica over at Hej Doll has some great tips on How to Pack Light for a Baby as well as a sample capsule wardrobe and extra items to […]

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