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Tips and Activities When Flying With a Baby

Posted By: gwb
Most parents dread the prospect of bringing babies on a plane. The sound of a crying baby, especially one sitting next to you, is something that most people do not want to hear, especially during long flights that last for hours. Parents do not have it easy either, since the ire of passengers who want to get some shuteye during long flights is often directed to the parents of the noisy, crying baby. However, there are some effective baby activities on a plane to keep the baby quiet and content during the entire flight.

Play a game.
Games are perhaps your single best defense against a wailing baby or toddler. Choose games that you can do sitting down when flying with a baby. An effective game is Identity, which you can do with cards printed with photos of family members such as brothers, sisters, the baby's grandfather and grandmother, and so on. Pick out each card and have your toddler identify the person in the picture. It is best to laminate the cards so you can reuse these for subsequent trips. You can also pick from some of our best baby games page.

Bring a toy or a something to read.
You can divert your childs attention by bringing a toy he can tinker with or a fun book. Pop-up books are the best since your child can touch and flip through the pages easily. Most times, you do not even have to read, you just let your kid flip through the book until he falls asleep. There are also cute square alphabet books made of soft felt that most kids find so fun. Sticker books are also another effective alternative. If you want something less bulky, you can opt for a sock puppet that you can whip out when your baby gets restless.

Feeding Time
Keep your baby hydrated by keeping water or juice bottles ready. The constant sucking and swallowing is also useful for helping your child adjust to the varying cabin pressure, and will reduce the risk of your baby crying due to the discomfort in his ears. Sucking on a pacifier also takes up much of a baby's attention and just might help your baby fall asleep.

Other Tips
Here are some other helpful tips to consider:

  • Aim for direct flights (make sure it is non-stop - some "direct" flights still have stops enroute). That way you can ensure that you will only be spending such number of hours on a plane, and you can better prepare for the time you and your child will on the board. Some planes also do not allow infants to fly, so check with your airlines before booking.
  • Choose a flight time that coincide with your baby or toddler's naptime.
  • Choose an airline that is family (and baby) friendly. Southwest Airlines allows families to board after the A group, regardless of group assignment.
  • Remember to bring a copy of your baby's birth certification or immunization record. Some airlines can be sticklers for the "Under Two Fly Free" rule.
  • Bring a portable DVD player with baby's favorite kids or nursery show (Barney, Thomas the Train, etc).
  • Sit in front of a bulkhead where there is no seat in front of you. There is more floor space and you can let your baby or toddler stretch his legs during the flight.
  • If your baby cannot walk yet, an alternate option is to sit near the rear of the plane where the hum of engine will make it easier for baby to sleep.
  • For a toddler, consider giving her a window seat so she can look outside on takeoff and landing - pointing out objects and asking questions can be a great learning game as well.

Yes, a plane ride with baby can turn into a disaster if you're not prepared (it still can even if you are!). However, a little planning and luck will get you through a long plane ride just fine. Good luck and happy travels!