Baby on board? A few words of advice to those who don’t get it.

Mogadishu to Nairobi flight via Wajir.

Mogadishu to Nairobi flight via Wajir.

Babies cry. They cry right after they’re born, they cry when hungry, they cry when they have soiled their diapers, they cry when they are teething, they cry for attention and sometimes they cry for no reason.

There’s nothing a mum or dad would want more, than a baby frolicking around in happiness, chuckles, smiles and bubbles 24/7 but that is pretty unrealistic as there will be times when even the happiest of infants will break out in a loud bawl. So naturally it gets worse when baby is on board a flight.

Happy baby

Happy baby

While adults have devised ways of easing their discomfort when flights take off; yawning to pop out ears, chewing gum, swallowing and nibbling on sticks of ginger; baby has no idea where they are or of what is transpiring..the loud noise may be frightening, the discomfort in their ears may be painful, and the fact that they are confined in a wee space for hours may be incomprehensible to their little minds.

What is doubly incomprehensible to me is folks on the same flight with little babies, who begin to moan and groan, proffering loud sighs and shooting nasty glances to the parents of a little baby who has broken out into a crying fit after take off.

This is exactly what happened on the first leg of an Amsterdam to Paris to Singapore flight. I had a window-seat next to this young French couple who seemed full of joy as we boarded the plane, with the playful little munchkin on mummy’s laps.  As the flight took off, the little baby broke out into a loud cry, and didn’t stop for most of the one-hour flight. By my observation, the couple tried everything with the kind air-hostess fluttering about trying to offer assistance or suggest ways to comfort the little one, to no avail..he/she screeched even louder to the chagrin of the passengers in close proximity. Adjacent to us was a businessman all suited up,  his annoyed frowns openly displaying that he would rather the couple parachuted off the plane, baby in tow, so he would have some peace and quiet. It’s for folks like him that I jotted down a few lines of advice:

1) Breath in deeply, and try to remember what it felt like as a baby because you were once one. You at the time had no control over things that happened around you, and had barely acclimatized to being outside the womb when you had to put up with cold, heat, noise, the sound of an engine running, ear pain and wee spaces. Be sympathetic.

2) Acknowledge that there’s no magic formula to keep little babies quiet, and that the parents have bought their tickets with their hard earned cash because airlines have made provisions for passengers of all ages to board flights. Babies don’t cry indefinitely, they stop at some point. Be patient.

3) Still moaning and rolling your eyes so much that they are in danger of falling out of their sockets? Save and get a private jet of your own, there’ll be no shared spaces, no wailing little persons. Be frugal.

Kids roller-blading in Nairobi, Kenya

Kids roller-blading in Nairobi, Kenya

How do you cope with crying babies on board?

8 replies »

  1. I sympathise with the parents! The more other passengers roll their eyes, the more nervous and anxious the parents get, and the more the baby senses this and cries on longer and harder. I’m not saying that I want to be on the same aisle but I travel a lot with my son (now 13) and I was extremely conscious of minimal distubance when he was a baby.
    Firstly, I breast-fed. In public, but discreetly of course. Secondly, when he became a toddler, I took all his games, books and favourite food and we played together. Thirdly, this is not the time to get strict. If he likes chocolates or computer games, now’s the time to give it to him LOL! Fourthly, if there’s anything I can do to help the harrassed parents, I do it especially if they have other young children too. In short, I carry the baby or sing or make funny faces!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you British can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking for parents who try to do everything to make their baby quieten down. Folks should really understand that this is a baby after all, not capable of reaching a level of understanding, and sympathy instead of harsh glares is what the parents need. When traveling with my daughter, we’ve come across crying babies and tired mums, so we try to distract the babies by making funny faces, or dangling keys or necklaces infront of him/ mostly works to the relief of the mum. When it’s a small baby on a flight there’s not so much one can do except just being supportive of the parents who are trying to make the little one comfortable enough to stop crying. Certainly offering to carry the little one is of help.


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