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Infants on the Plane

Posted by on October 23, 2011

The first thing people tell you about flying with an infant is to make sure they are sucking a pacifier or bottle on ascent and descent. This is not necessary. My doctor informed me that a newborn’s ears have less fluid than an older baby so there shouldn’t be a problem with pressure equalization. If your baby is uncomfortable, he will let you know. If he is sleeping soundly, there is no need to wake him in order to have him take a bottle. In the words of Dr. Marc Weissbluth, “Never wake a sleeping baby (except to preserve a schedule).” If the baby has congestion the pressure may cause some discomfort, but you can wait until he squirms to let you know before you force a bottle on him.

If your baby’s ears DO bother her and she is crying, do what you can to soothe her, but know that letting her open her mouth up to cry may be just what she needs to equalize the pressure. Most of the time other passengers understand as long as they see you are not ignoring the baby. You are more likely to get sympathy than harsh looks.
Have you ever used the toilet while holding your baby? You may need to practice this before your flight. But know that it’s okay to ask another passenger or the flight attendant to hold your baby so you can go to the bathroom.

As I’ve said before, infants normally sleep well in flight. The engine noise seems to lull them to sleep. Many advise booking your flight to coincide with the baby’s nap schedule. This worked for us untilĀ Ella was about 10 months old. After that she fought to stay awake. Luckily for most parents her behaviour is not the norm.