How To Entertain A Baby On An Airplane (and help Mom keep her sanity) 

Flying with a baby is an adventure. Flying with a mobile baby is a challenging adventure that should come with an instruction manual. My baby is 10 months old. He has flown on 10 different flights.

 At the rate he’s going, he will be the youngest member in Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards history to have become an A-list frequent flyer. We have learned a few things as he has become a traveling expert. We have watched other babies and learned from them, as well as from our own trial and error. We have figured out there are a guaranteed amount of 10 options that will provide a minimum of at least one minute of entertainment: 

1. The seatbelt. This trick can be used mostly at take off and landing. The buckle on the belt has a spring which allows baby to snap it back and forth. This one lasted about 3 minutes before a finger got pinched. Oops. 

2. Your friendly airplane neighbor. Flying solo with a baby, which I do regularly, has restored my faith in humanity. People are helpful. Friendly. And are more than willing to make funny faces at baby to make him giggle. 

3. The window.  So much entertainment in opening and closing the window shade on the plane. There are a few issues with this option. Banging on the window may irritate the earlier funny faces neighbor mentioned. But now he and your baby are buds, so rock on with the window shade trick.  

4. Aisle people watching. Depends on where you sit of course. But if you are near the bathroom, there is a plethora of people walking back and forth. Back and forth. Baby whiplash is real friends. Proceed with caution. 

5. The Ergo nap. This is by far my favorite. It’s the way this post was written. It’s the way I keep my sanity and everyone else’s sanity on the plane. The problem is that you have to time it just right otherwise everyone on the plane will swear you are torturing baby to sleep. Also spoiler alert- you and baby will be drenched in sweat by the end. But a small price to pay for sanity. 

6. Free-for-all diaper bag. You and baby will become excellent diaper bag organizers. On this past trip alone we counted all the diapers, moved every single item in and out just to make sure it fit, and found some miscellaneous items that have no business being in a diaper bag such as old pieces of aluminum foil. 

7. The Water Bottle Fascination.  I don’t know about your baby, but mine is obsessed with water bottles. Shaking them. Chewing them. Throwing them. Just make sure you buy your own. Funny faces airplane neighbor is great, but most likely doesn’t want your kids saliva all over their water bottle. 

8. The Pull Up Trick. Did you know there are at least 5 surfaces to pull up on as a baby just by sitting in an airplane seat? The back of the chair. The front of the chair. The arm rest. The tray table. And the human you are sitting on or beside. As always, be courteous to funny faces neighbor. Most people don’t like their shirt yanked down just so baby stand up. 

9. The Glorious Tray Table. Bang it. Open it. Close it. Bang it. Kick it. Lick it. Bang it. Open it. Close it. You get the picture. 

10. Bye Bye Baby. That sounds more drastic than what this actually is. The issue with this final and absolute favorite trick is that this only works if you have a traveling companion. Hand the baby off. Then act like you are going to the bathroom. But really, go find a different seat, far, far away. And when you hear baby start to be obnoxious, say to your new airplane neighbor, “can you believe that kid?”  


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