Air travel with a baby can be a stressful situation, especially for new parents, because there’s always that fear of your baby crying during the flight and disturbing other passengers. A sob or shriek may be difficult to avoid, but there are ways to help you prepare for a calm and smooth ride through the skies for you and your baby. To help you prepare for your upcoming trips, here are some tips and tricks you can try out!
We all know how altitude changes can affect our ears painfully. But as adults, this is something we can easily manage with the usual swallowing, gum-chewing, and yawning techniques we’ve already mastered. Unfortunately, babies don’t know how to deal with ear pain on their own just yet.
So, to take away some of that discomfort, you can feed or nurse your baby during takeoff and landing and until the plane reaches a comfortable cruising altitude. Letting them suck on a bottle (or a pacifier if your baby doesn’t want to eat) helps neutralize air pressure. Packing extra snacks and drinks for the rest of the flight will be helpful too, so you’ll be ready to offer your baby a yummy distraction, especially when s/he suddenly gets fussy or hungry.
Try to keep your baby’s schedule as normal as possible by minimizing any changes to it. Instead of delaying nap time and bringing a tired, cranky baby on board, it would be great to book a flight during the time they usually nap so they can fall asleep on the plane. If it’s a short flight, they might be able to sleep right through it. Flying after their usual nap time works, too. This will give you a better chance of avoiding a meltdown while travelling.
Plane rides tend to get boring, and sometimes a crying baby just needs to be distracted or entertained. Bring one or two favorite toys which you know will surely calm them down. If that doesn’t work, you can surprise your baby with a brand new toy or activity to keep them delighted and interested. Now’s a great time to think outside of the box, as well, and make up activities with items that you have around you, such as the in-flight magazines which you can use to practice naming objects or to tell stories.
Having a packing list to make sure you won’t forget anything will definitely make the flight less stressful. It’s also better to pack more than what you think is necessary in your carry-on so that you’re prepared for accidents like spills or wet diapers. And be ready with extra baby wipes in case of spit-ups, instead of asking the flight attendant for tons of napkins.
The reality is sometimes, no matter what you do, nothing will work. Babies can get tired and overstimulated in new environments like airplanes. They may cry and accidentally kick the seat in front of you or have unpredictable diaper blowouts and tantrums. But preparing everything you need and planning ahead is the best thing to do and will already be a great deal of help.
Plus, there’s no need to pay attention to the other passengers. You’ll get to your destination either way and you’ll probably never see those people again! Just remember, everything is going to be okay and these flights can only get better over time. The more experience you have flying with your baby and the older they get, the more well-equipped you’ll both be. So don’t worry, Mom. We know you’re doing your best!