We've all, at one time or another, seen mothers with infants on board and, depending on our own ages and experiences, either sympathised with her or frantically looked for an empty seat at the other end of the aircraft. Worse still, most of us have been those parents, and had our share of helplessness in pacifying a wailing infant. There is little one can do when an infant decides to howl her lungs out on a flight. But, here are a few things we can ensure for a smoother and less 'turbulent' experience while flying
Save the milk for take off
Before you board a flight with your infant, you must be calm yourself. Babies can sense stress; so if you are harried, it's not going to help. Easier said than done, I know, but try to be patient. Also, try and time their feeding right. If possible give your baby the milk bottle during takeoff and landing, because that's when the pressure will get to her and sucking will help. If you can't do that, just wash your hands and let him chew your finger (trust me, it's better than the wailing-I've tried this and it works).
Carry a brightly coloured toy the child has never seen before
I can tell you from personal experience that this works like magic. It's what I call shock therapy. On my first flight with my older daughter, I carried a set of blocks, each of which was brightly coloured and had some crystals inside for aural (audio) stimulation. I'd kept it as an arrow to be pulled out of my quiver when the need arose (the need, of course, arose more than once). However, when she saw them, her mindless bawling stopped, much to the relief of people around who'd long stopped giving us understanding looks. More importantly, while she was busy with her new toy, I managed to trick her into eating, and thus addressed the reason for the crying. Hunger and infants usually don't go well together.
Don't try health food on a flight-it's not the time
Parents want their kids to eat right, all the time. They may not do it themselves, but they try and inculcate this habit in their children. Which is all very well, except, this must not be tried on a flight. If your child likes crushed biscuits or cheeselings, for instance, then carry a box and skip the apple (unless, of course, she loves apple). It may not be the best thing for her but when she is in the middle of a bawling session, all you want is peace. Also, your baby is probably restless in the new environment, so giving her some soul-food, whatever that might be, is a good idea.
Medicines-more than the obvious ones
Everyone remembers to carry the paracetamols, the anti-vomits, and the usual first-aid kit. But there are some other extremely useful medicines that you need to put in your bag. An important one is antihistamine. You are taking your child into a new environment and that too a very public one, you never know what they may react to. It's a good idea to check with a doctor before your flight about which one you can give and the dosage. There are some limitations with very young infants, so ask your paediatrician. Equally important-carry something for an insect bite, like a caladryl lotion or something the doc recommends. You'll be surprised to know what all can get into an aircraft, even if it looks clean.
Extra clothes for yourself
Last, but not the least-make sure you have an extra set of clothes for yourself in your carry-on baggage. We get so caught up in packing for our infant that we forget about ourselves. Infants and flying can (unfortunately) make for a vomit-inducing scenario and who do you think would most likely be at the receiving end of that? You got it. That one set of clothes you carry could go a long way in saving your sanity on the flight.