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Q+A: What If Baby Cries on a Plane?

Q. My husband and I are going to Florida, and it'll be the first time our son, 3 1/2 months, is on a plane. I'm having such anxiety about how others will react if he cries. What do I say to people if he cries uncontrollably?

A. Good news: I doubt you have as much to worry about as you think; you've likely built this up into a bigger deal than it needs to be. Your son is only 3 1/2 months old. I've got a 5- and a 3-year-old to corral in airports and entertain and feed on flights, so from my perspective flying with an infant is a relative piece of cake. Nine times out of 10, they either nurse or take a bottle, then fall asleep for the duration of the flight, or at least a huge chunk of it. Maybe it's the thrum of the engines. I flew with my older son when he was your son's age. The only problem I had was that he slept in my arms for four straight hours and cut off my circulation! And even if your son does act up (if the pressure gets to his ears and the breast or bottle doesn't do the trick), people tend to be much more forgiving of a crying infant than they might be of an older child raising a ruckus. If they do shoot eye daggers at you? Smile warmly, apologize once, then turn your attention back to soothing your child. Getting up and walking up and down the aisle with him can help, especially if he seems bored and understimulated. But don't get flustered -- this will only make things worse. If it gets really bad, you can offer to buy your seatmate a drink.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the April 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.