How To Stop Baby Ears From Popping On A Plane Journey? (6 Practical Tips To Ease Your Baby’s Discomfort)

How To Stop Baby Ears From Popping On A Plane Journey - Babe in Dreamland

Have you ever experienced this unpleasant sensation of ear-popping and muffled sound when travelling by plane?

These symptoms typically occur when the plane ascends and descends. Because that’s when the rapid change in the air pressure occurs, and the ears need to adjust to it.

So, when you realize how disturbing it is for adults, you can only imagine what it would be like for helpless babies.

What’s more, babies will often experience even more intense pain in their ears than adults!

Thankfully, there are a few ways to ensure your baby is relatively comfortable during the flight.

Read on to find out 6 practical tips to help you quickly equalize pressure in your baby’s ears.

How To Stop Baby Ears From Popping On A Plane Journey?

To prevent your baby’s ears from popping on the flight, you need to prompt sucking, swallowing, and chewing motions. Therefore, give your baby a dummy, snack, drink, or breastfeed your little one during take-off and landing. Because these actions will balance the air pressure changes in the ear. For that matter, crying can help with that too. So, although quite distressing for a parent, crying is actually soothing for babies during flight. If your baby suffers from nasal congestion, clear it before the flight. You can also try to use earmuffs to protect your little one’s ears from changes in air pressure. Alternatively, give your baby’s ears a gentle massage during take-off and landing.

1. Remember to take the dummy!

Not all babies like sucking on dummies. In fact, many babies just won’t take it or may even develop an aversion to it.

However, if your baby loves using the binky for comfort, you simply cannot forget to bring it for the plane journey.

And the reason is that sucking motion is very effective in balancing ear pressure. That’s because sucking helps open the Eustachian tube so outside air can enter the middle ear to regulate the pressure difference between the two.

If your baby doesn’t take a dummy but uses a sucking toy or her fingers for soothing – this will work as well. Provided, your baby can suck on her thumb on-demand…

It is worth mentioning that the Eustachian tube (a narrow passage connecting the middle ear with the throat) is still immature in infants.

This means it is shorter, narrower, less rigid, and not as effective at balancing air pressure in comparison to adult ones.

And because of that, babies are particularly vulnerable to ear pain during take-offs and landings.

2. Feed Your Baby During Take-off and Landing

If your baby hates dummies, then a bottle or breastfeeding your tot is your best bet!

The reason is the same as for dummies – to encourage swallowing to help equalize the air pressure in the middle ear.

Thus, it is a good idea to plan your baby’s feeds around the flight.

Additionally, your baby will benefit from drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, which helps her stay hydrated. This is particularly important during flight, where the air is dry.

For older babies, who are on solids, giving them their favourite snack to munch on is a good alternative to drinks and does the same job.

3. Crying Can Actually Help Too!

It may come as a surprise but crying or even screaming may soothe the earache in your baby too!

Because that’s yet another way for the Eustachian tube to open and equalize the air pressure.

So, if your baby has a little sob during take-off or landing, let it be. As it is indeed a remedy for the painful ears.

4. Decongest the Blocked Sinuses

Flying may not be pleasant for babies if they have a common cold, sinus infection, nasal congestion, ear infection, or allergy.

Basically, any condition that affects the functionality of the Eustachian tube or blocks it can increase the chance of ear pain in babies during flight.

Therefore, always remember to clear out any mucus from your baby’s nose.

Saline water spray is a great option and may just do the trick!

Additionally, you may want to give your baby a dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen 30 minutes before take-off and landing. This may help alleviate the ear pain.

However, if your baby has an ear infection, you should check with the doctor whether it’s safe to fly. That’s because there is an increased risk of eardrum rupture during flight.

How To Clear Your Baby’s Blocked Nose

5. Ear Defenders

Another, perhaps not so conventional method to make your baby’s plane travel more comfortable is to use earmuffs. Not earplugs or cotton wool balls – a potential choking hazard, but earmuffs designed specifically for babies for plane travel.

These will protect from earaches related to rapid changes in air pressure and reduce the noise level.

*** As a side note, plane travel can be a rather noisy experience. This won’t be a problem for many babies. On the contrary. Babies may perceive it as a soothing white noise.

However, if you are on a long flight of 8 hours or more, this noise can be potentially damaging.

Therefore, you may want to avoid sitting near the windows and near the engines, which are at the back of the plane.

You are better off choosing the aisle seats and closer to the front for a quieter journey.

6. Ear Massage

If the earmuffs are no-go for you and your baby, you can try to gently rub your little one’s ear to relieve some of the discomforts caused by air pressure during take-off and landing.

Final Few Lines

There you have it!

The 6 practical tips to prevent ear popping during the flight that will make your baby’s plane trip more enjoyable.

So, all you need to do is encourage sucking, swallowing, and chewing motions in your baby. That’s how she’ll effectively stabilize the air pressure in her ears.

So, sucking on a dummy, taking a bottle or a snack, and even a little crying will do the trick.

You can also try earmuffs or an ear massage during ascent and descent.

If your baby is a bit under the weather, remember to clear their noses before take-off and landing, or give them a dose of pain relief. But, if your baby suffers from an ear infection, check with the GP if the plane journey is safe.

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  1. Hi, great article. For older children I would recommend: chewing gum, sucking candy or even licking a lollipop. For my 5year-old daughter it was working perfectly.

    1. Thanks Mary! Yes indeed, lollies or sweets are great bribes for older kiddies. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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