The All-Time Best Tips for Flying with a Baby
Flying with a baby or young kids is never easy, especially on those long-haul flights. So we turned to some experts for their best tips: our readers! No one knows better how to keep parents from losing their minds as the baby wails for the third straight hour than real parents who have been there, done that. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and read on for some of our all-time favorite tricks and tips for flying with a baby and getting them to sleep.
“Start them flying as young as possible. Our daughter seems to be used to the plane. We let her look around and take everything in until she seems less curious, then we make sure we have enough toys and distractions for her to last the flight. She usually falls asleep early into the flight. One thing I’ve noticed is that our baby crying on the plane is harder on us than the other passengers. I think everyone is used to screaming babies on flights, so they tune it out. And other parents will offer help if things ever get too tough, like you’re all part of this club, where you’ve got to get from A to B, and not every flight is gonna be completely smooth.”
“Travel during nap time, feed them and change the diaper before you go on board. My girl turns 1 year next month. Travel on 6 plane trips. Slept through all of them!”
“I always had to focus on being as calm and chill as possible, heightened anxiety only seemed to make things worse. I always tried to feed them during take off and landing to help their ears pop. With older kids or toddlers I would give them a sucker to suck on to help with that.”
“Benadryl! 😂Kidding! I let them run around before the airport so they tire out.”
“We make sure our airport experience is as chilled as possible. Plenty of time to have something to eat and burn off as much steam as possible. Then by the time we get on the plane, a bit of milk and some screen time and she’s usually zonked out pretty quickly.”
“Warm milk or formula, and a sleep routine (diaper change, PJs, sleep sack, and books) similar to what we do at home. Long haul flights are actually easier because they dim the cabin lights as well.”
“When we flew with our 8 month old, we noticed that if she managed to sleep a little before boarding the plane, she was calmer during the take off and fell asleep easier than when we boarded her being sleepy. We also breastfed her during the take off so her ears didn’t get blocked, but this could be replaced with bottle as well. Main thing is for yourself to stay calm and forget the people around you. And at least in our case, better choose earlier flights if possible.”
“We try to work their sleep schedule according to flight times. Since they are 4 & 7 now, they also love TV time on flights, so we negotiate between rest time and TV time, works most of the time.”
“We’ve [given our kid melatonin for flights]… We wedge it in the straw of a smoothie so he unknowingly sucks it up. Works like a charm.”
–@lostbells (FT note: While melatonin has been shown to be relatively safe for kids, always check with your doctor first).
“When my kids were little I would walk baby up and down the aisle until they fell asleep.”
“We take only evening flights so the kids will sleep (most of the time it works).”
For older toddlers, try out Fly-Tot. It’s easy to blow up on the plane and lets kiddos lie down flat with their legs up so they can sleep.
“Book the flight during nap time! And have a sound machine app on your phone.”