How to stop babies crying on plane, according to pilot

June 10, 2024
3,423 Views

A pilot shared his top tips for preventing babies crying on flights, with one suggestion being a “bit out there”.

Travelling with infants or toddlers on planes can be a nerve-wracking ordeal, particularly when they start crying and parents are at a loss on how to comfort them.

Takeoff and landing could cause discomfort due to the pressure changes, and while adults and older children can chew gum or swallow to alleviate the discomfort, babies aren’t able to. As a result, they often cry in response to the pain, causing distress for both them and their parents.

However, according to Jimmy Nicholson, a pilot from Sydney, Australia, who also starred in The Bachelor Australia in 2021, there are ways to “stop your baby crying on a plane”. In a recent TikTok video, he claimed to have “done the research for you” by consulting “a ton of mums”, and discovered two methods that “work” – although he cautioned the second one was a bit “out there”.

Explaining why it’s uncomfortable, Jimmy said: “Aircraft increases altitude, gases in the body expand like when you release a balloon. Descend, the gases need to leave your body. Leaves through your ears, your nose, or your bum. Us adults, we can swallow, chew gum, do the Valsava [a breathing technique that can unclog your ears], that helps get rid of the bases inside your body.”

Parents can assist their babies in relieving the pressure. “Number one, breastfeed on descent. Apparently it works. It helps the baby do a Valsava. The sucking and swallowing motion gets rid of trapped gases in their ears and sinuses” said Jimmy.

In the comments section of the video, parents agreed this method worked for them. One person shared: “Bottle on take-off and landing every time! About one-to-two minutes after take-off I find.”

Another chimed in: “Mine had a bottle up and down. They were fine each time.”

For the second hack, Jimmy suggested something “a bit out there”. He explained some mums had found success with getting the child to suck on an ice cube.

He added: “Ask your flight attendant for an ice cube, give it to your baby, and try to get them to suck on the ice cube, and this will help unclog their ears.”

However, experts have previously warned against giving small children ice cubes. Nikki Jurcutz, owner of Tiny Hearts Foundation and former paramedic, stated there’s a misconception that ice melts quickly so therefore it’s safe, but according to her, it takes seconds for a child to potentially choke.

In the comments section, one mum suggested using “a dummy if your bub uses one” as “ice can be an obstruction risk”. Another simply added: “Ice cube causes choking, so that one is a no.”

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