Taking a baby on an airplane for the first time can be very intimidating. There are so many different concerns that go through one’s mind. Will the baby be comfortable, will the baby cry and scream the entire time, will his or her ears hurt from the change in altitude and so on. The worries can be enough to make you rethink the thought of taking your baby on the plane. But I’m here to tell you that taking a baby on an airplane can be easy and painless.
For starters, if you are worried your baby will cry the entire time on the plane making your life and those around you miserable- the answer would be it depends. How old is your baby? If your baby is a newborn or under the age of six months (this would be the most ideal and easy time to travel with a baby!) then chances are their usual demeanor will carry over to the airplane ride. Meaning if they are usually calm and relaxed then you can expect a calm and relaxing ride. However, if they cry all the time then you should expect it will probably be no different on the airplane. If the baby is older then they might get fussy being confined to a small space. Try to pack some favorite or new toys and books to distract the baby as well as ample food and snacks.
As for dealing with ear pressure, you will most likely be just fine doing nothing. However if you are worried about it give your baby a pacifier to suck on during take off and landing. Or better yet nurse (see our tips for nursing on an airplane) or give baby a bottle. The swallowing helps with the pain that can be associated with ears equalizing to the new altitude. It would be the same principal as if you were to chew a piece of gum. If your baby is asleep during this time don’t bother to wake them up to feed them a bottle. They should be just fine.
Some parents swear by giving their children Benadryl before an airplane ride. The only purpose for this is to make their children drowsy so they will sleep and can be dangerous. If this is the route you choose- always check with a pediatrician first. Young children and babies can react differently to Benadryl and the effects can be reversed from the desired affect making children inconsolable and crabby or even give them a little high. So be forewarned.
Make sure to bring enough food, formula, and comfort items on the plane. The goal is to make the baby as comfortable as possible to avoid crying fits and tantrums. Know your limits and take things in stride. People will inevitably make snooty comments and offer unsolicited advice, but just ignore them and do your best. I once had a lady comment loudly to the person in front of her how annoyed she was to have a screaming baby behind her, and BabyTravels never even made one peep during the whole flight. It’s best to just not give those people the time of day.
Those are just some simple tips I have for bringing a baby on board a flight for the first time. If you have any specific questions or any other advice about flying with baby leave them in the comments section!