Posted by: Josey | February 9, 2009

Tips for Making Your Baby’s First Airplane Trip a Success (This Time I’m Serious)

A while ago I wrote a post called “Tips for Making Your Baby’s First Airplane Trip a Success.” But it wasn’t a real post; it was just an excuse to show you a cute photo of my baby nephew. All in good fun.

Only one problem: Many new parents who really needed tips for taking their baby on an airplane were directed to the post from search engines. As cute as the photo of my baby nephew might have been, they were probably a tad annoyed that there were no real baby/airplane tips. And I felt equally guilty. So I polled some of the wisest moms and dads I know for their tips for taking a baby on an airplane for real. (Please note how I’m repeating the phrases baby and airplane over and over in hopes that those people will search again and find this post instead.) Here goes:

“Take along lots of different interesting colorful small toys or baby-friendly items to keep the baby occupied.”

“Take a bottle because drinking from a nipple will help your baby’s ears pop.” Another mom concurred: “I suggest feeding either a bottle or food on the way up and down to help with this/her ears.”

“If the baby has been ill with respiratory issues, ask the doctor which decongestant would be best and when to administer it—most likely before descent.”

“Take walks in the aisle on and off.”

Upon telling one mom that my parents always used sleep-inducing Triaminic cold medicine to keep me and my brothers quiet on flights, she responded, “Countless numbers of parents drug their kids on airplanes. It’s really for the best.” [Editor’s note: She said it, not me!] She added: “However, if you must drug your child, try the drug of choice before the first airplane flight. I heard one story where Benedryl made the child hyperactive instead of sleepy.”

“Take along cookies or, better yet, earplugs for passengers in neighboring seats (only kidding).” [Editor’s note: She may be kidding, but it’s not a bad idea!]

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share them in the comments section below.


  1. In addition to the toy suggestion….it’s helpful if they are toys new to the child and if you wrap up each one it makes the fun last even longer. Since our kids are bigger now the portable DVD player with headphones is a big help. One more suggestion would be the standard crayons and paper along with stickers. The special crayola paper and markers ensures your child won’t make a mess on the tray or seats.

  2. Pick up a new, quiet toy and give it to your child once on the plane to keep them entertained.

    Bring along their “comfort” item as a carry on (i.e. their favorite blanket, teddy bear, pacifier, you name it–if it’s a sure bet to comfort them at bedtime, make sure you can get to it on the plane).

  3. I still think my initial recipe is a good one.

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