12 Tips for Flying With a Baby and Making Baby Sleep on Airplane

With air travel already being a stressful and hectic experience, the thought of bringing along your baby may just be too much. It’s a common fear of parents to have their baby cry the entire flight, with the whole cabin becoming unnerved and questioning your decision to bring them along. Flying with your baby doesn’t have to be a drag though, and with a little preparation, it can often go off without a hitch!

If you’ve got a trip planned in the near future and would like to have your baby come along, educating and preparing yourself beforehand will go a long way to ensuring flying with your baby goes smoothly and without any incidences. To help you prepare for you and your baby’s next flight, we’ve brought together a few great tips to ensure you and your baby fly under the radar and make it to your destination as smoothly as possible. Continue reading to learn more:

  • Book A Night Flight If Possible

Booking a night flight is a great option, even if its departure time is later than your baby’s normal bedtime. Depending on the timing of your flight, try putting your baby to bed at their normal bedtime and only wake them just as it is time to leave. This will ensure your baby has the energy to make it through the trip to the airport, get through check-in, and await final departure. By having this little power nap before leaving, your baby will be less likely to become overtired and throw a fit in the plane or at the airport. Another added benefit of flying with your baby at night is the cabin will typically be quieter, the lights are usually dimmed, and the sound of the engines can offer a soothing effect.

  • Request A Baby Bassinet

On most long haul flights, baby bassinets are available by request but are usually in limited supply. Depending on the airline you decided to go with, they’ll have a specific weight, height, and age restrictions in place for who can have a bassinet though typically, they’ll be well suited for flying with a baby up to 8 months of age. There are airline bassinet size guides available online for you to reference to make sure your baby will fit, and it is worthy to note that besides Qantas and Virgin Atlantic, all other airlines will require that you remove your baby from its bassinet if any turbulence occurs.

  • Bring Along A Lightweight Blanket Or Bassinet Cover

Bring along a light blanket or a bassinet cover if you’re planning on flying with a baby. Either of these will make a great shade to block the light from your baby. If you’re planning on bringing some older children along as well, a blanket can be useful to use to create a tent for them as well.

  • Bring Your Baby’s Favorite Items

Flying with a baby is much easier if you bring your baby’s favorite items. Take some items along that’ll remind your baby of home. Whether it’s their favorite blanket, a toy they play with a lot, or a sleep spray you’ve often used at home, anything you can use to make the atmosphere feel familiar for your baby will do well to make flying with baby an issue-free experience.

  • Bring Along Extra Snacks

Depending on the airline you choose to go with, baby food is not always an option that is stocked. If they do have any baby food, it is usually just jars of pureed baby food which your baby might not end up liking! By providing your own food for both you, and your baby you can be sure that you’ve got something that your baby enjoys eating. Some foods, such as bananas, have a sleep-inducing effect and can be a great option to bring along for your baby.

  • Choose Your Seats Wisely

If besides your baby, you’re also planning on bringing an older child or toddler then it might be a good idea to pre-book the two aisle seats and then leave the middle one open. These single open middle seats are undesirable for many are usually the last to be booked, and if the flight ends up not being booked completely then you could end up with a free seat to stretch out on! Another option to consider is to book a separate seat just for your baby and then bring along a car seat. You’ll want to be sure the airline approves of your car seat, and it’s good to note that Iso-fix seats should not be used.

  • Book Seats Apart From Your Partner

Consider booking seats away from each other so while one of you is taking care of the baby, the other can have some much-needed rest! Flying with a baby can sometimes mean not sitting next to your adult travel companions. Cosleeping with your baby on the airplane is also an option.

  • Create A Cozy, Quiet Space

If you’ve followed some of the previous advice, you’ll hopefully have yourself an extra seat and some extra space for your baby to lay down and get to sleep. If this didn’t happen though, as is often the case, you can still try to make a nice, quiet area for your baby to sleep on the plane. When flying with a baby, it’s best to shut the window shade if you have a window seat, turn off any electronic devices, and dim any screens in your area. You’ll want to get rid as much potential distractions and stimulation as possible in order for your baby to have the best chances of falling asleep. You can also try facing your baby away from the aisle so that they do not become distracted by anyone that might walk by. If you have any baby sleep music, now would be the time to play it.

  • Build A Tent For Your Baby

If you’ve tried the previous tip but your baby isn’t able to go to sleep on the plane, you can try making a tent in order to physically stop them from seeing what is going on in the area. If you’ve brought blankets or are able to get some from the flight staff, these will be perfect. You can try creating a wall with the blankets by taking one side and tucking it into the top area of your seat and then put the other end of the blanket into the tray table. Doing this you can create a cozy, cocoon-like, environment for your baby to hunker down in for the rest of the flight.

  • Consider A Baby Pillow Spray

Consider trying a baby pillow spray in you think you might have issues putting your baby to sleep on a plane. A couple spritzes on the seat, any pillows, bassinet if you have one, and their blankets can all do wonders to put your baby to sleep.

  • Recreate The Bedtime Ritual

Babies, like most of us, typically will enjoy following a routine and their usual sleep style. A typical nighttime routine for a baby might include a bath followed by nice blankets and some milk, some singing or a short story, and then a kiss good night. Whatever routine you’ve been following with your baby at home, in order to get them to fall asleep, try to recreate it on the plane to induce sleep. You’ll likely not be able to actually bathe your baby but the rest of your baby’s bedtime routine should be repeatable while in flight. Change them into their bed clothing and give them some milk while singing to them or reading a story, which should all act to make them feel that bedtime is upon us. By following your baby’s normal bedtime routine, your baby will get the hint that it is bedtime!

  • Walk Your Baby To Sleep

Flying with your baby is much easier if you’re able to walk down the aisle to help your baby fall asleep on the airplane. If you use a carrier with a baby, consider bringing it along on your flight. Not only will you be glad you have it while going around at your destination, but it is also naturally a place where your baby likes to sleep. If you’re having issues getting your baby to sleep on the plane, place them into their carrier, facing you so they can get cozy and try to sleep.

If your carrier has a hood, use it in order to create a dark and secluded space for them. After this, take your baby for a nice walk down the aisles of the plane. The rocking sensations of being walked around in the carrier are soothing, and if you have to add a little bounce to your step, don’t be shy about it. This all will act to calm your baby and hopefully, after a few minutes of this, they should fall right asleep!

Conclusion

Flying with a baby and making your baby sleep on an airplane is much easier than it sounds. If you’ve been planning your next vacation but have worried that the flight will end up being a disaster due to baby woes, after having read this you should feel much more at ease. By simply bringing along a few familiar items, recreating the bedtime ritual, and creating a calming and soothing environment, you can ensure that your baby falls right asleep, and stays asleep, throughout the duration of your flight.

If you’re also flying with a child who is old enough to read, check out this amazing list of travel themed children books from our friends over at Roots, Wings and Travel Things.