How to Calm a Baby on an Airplane


You'll likely make lots of memories when traveling to far away destinations with your baby. However, to cut down on the “crying baby on a plane” memories that you'll want to forget, have a plan in place for calming your little one during the flight and keeping her that way. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t so you can refine your strategy for your flight back and subsequent flights.

Things You'll Need

  • Breast milk or formula
  • Bottle
  • Pacifier
  • Baby blanket
  • Baby toys and books
  • Carry-on bag
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Cotton balls or earplugs
  • Feed your baby as the plane is taking off. A full baby is less fussy than a hungry little guy. A pacifier can be a source of comfort as well. Sucking on a bottle, breast or pacifier can also help relieve pressure in your baby's ears, according to, a website of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep in mind that pressure changes, which can cause ear discomfort for some babies, are likely to be greatest during takeoff and initial descent. Breast milk and formula are allowed on an airplane as long as you notify the transportation security officers that you have “medically required liquids” when you reach security check points. They may examine the liquids.

  • Grab your child's favorite stuffed animal or blanket to comfort her. Also pack some of your baby’s small toys and books and have them ready in a carry-on bag for easy access during your flight. Once she gets bored with one item, swap it for another.

  • Change your baby's diaper if it's dirty. A baby with a wet and/or soiled diaper is an uncomfortable baby and he’ll probably let you know it. Ensure that your baby is wearing a fresh, clean diaper when you board the plane.

  • Pull out your old bag of tricks to calm her down. Sing softly in her ear. Gently bouncer her in your arms. Play peek-a-boo or patty cake. If you think she's warm, remove some clothing, or if she's chilled, put on a sweater. Pull down the shade if the light is bothering her eyes. If it's safe to unfasten your seat belt, get up and take a walk to the restroom with her hugged against your body.

  • Place some cotton balls or small earplugs in your baby’s ears to cut down on the noise level that may be bothering him. Loud, unfamiliar noises can may a baby nervous, agitated or scared.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to schedule your flight around the time that your baby normally sleeps. You might get lucky and have him sleep through most of the flight.
  • Don't be tempted to give your baby medicine to make him sleepy, unless your doctor prescribes it.
  • Having a stuffy nose or a head cold can increase a child's chances of ear problems, according to If your baby has a cold or infection, you might want to postpone the flight if possible, or consult your pediatrician before flying.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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