You know that sinking feeling you get when you realize you are seated behind a parent and baby on a long haul flight. But what happens when you are that parent? The thought of handling a baby on a flight is even more stressful than the annoyance the other passenger feels at what they think will be a sleepless flight. Fortunately babies do tend to fly well, and with some good preparation you can avoid the stress of a noisy and uncomfortable flight with your young one.
Assume that your baby will cry at some point during the flight. Babies cry for all reasons when they are on land so being in a plane will make no difference. If you keep calm you will find it much easier to soothe your baby so ignore any annoyed looks from other passengers and remember that the noise of the aircraft means your baby’s cries won’t be heard a long way away. Check the usual reasons for crying – hungry, wet, cold, bored? Don’t worry too much about any dirty looks from fellow passengers. Many people are sympathetic to a parent and anyway, you are unlikely to see any of these people again.
Baby’s ears are sensitive to changes in pressure, especially if they have a head cold or a blocked nose. Not all babies suffer pain in the ears when flying but when it happens it can be difficult to deal with. Many experts suggest that having your baby suck on a bottle, pacifier or breast makes it easier for them to equalize their ear pressure, making the pain fade away.
There are certain times when changes in pressure are more noticeable, such as during takeoff and the initial descent. During takeoff you can give your baby a bottle and try putting small cotton buds or ear plugs in their ears to lessen the noise they are exposed to. During the initial descent takes place up to half an hour before you land so it is a good idea to check with the flight attendant when it is best to start your baby sucking. If your baby is suffering from ear pain, rest assured that it will go once you have reached land.