Tried and Tested tips to get your baby to sleep on the plane
These tips are based on having flown with my kids since they were newborns overseas, and having now completed dozens of long haul flights with them.
It’s ideal to get your child to sleep on a long haul flight, as it makes it a lot easier for you.
Like all of us kids form habits, so try to emulate their normal sleeping routine as much as possible.
To get them to sleep as long as possible, starting with booking night flights for several reasons.
-Your child would normally sleep at night so they will be tired if you are flying at night.
-Planes are darkened for most of a nighttime flight when flying at night. Your body releases the hormone melatonin which helps you sleep when it is dark. The darkness of the plane should help your child to sleep for this reason.
-When you fly at night they darken the plane and most people tend to sleep. The plane will be quiet with less service, chatting etc going on to stimulate your child.
These are the steps I follow to get my child to sleep.
1. If your child is under 18 months, try to reserve a bassinet. Read more here on getting a bassinet on a plane.
2. Ensure you bring your child's pajamas, sleep sack, teddy, drink bottle, bedtime story book and anything else you normally use to get them to sleep.
3. Start by telling your child they are going to sleep soon and it's time to get ready to sleep.
4. Change your child into their pajamas once you are on the plane.
5. Put them in their sleeping bag if they have one.
6. Give them their teddy/comfort item to cuddle.
7. If they have a bottle/drink at bedtime give them the bottle (or a pacifier).
8. If they usually read a book, read the same book. All along tell them its time to sleep.
9. If you have a bassinet, place your child in the bassinet when they are asleep, or almost asleep. This bassinet looks a little weird, it had transparent sides, which was actually cool because you didn't need to stand up to see your child properly.
10. If you don't have a bassinet but you have an extra seat raise the armrest between the seats and let your child lay down to sleep. If they are small but you don't have a bassinet they will likely sleep in your arms, see my son in the photo below on a flight to Vietnam.
I have always found the sound and vibration of the plane seems to work similarly to white noise to "lull" your child to sleep.
Using all these tips have helped my children sleep for the majority of flights when we fly at night.