The moment you have a baby in your life, you have to re-define your travel itinerary. No longer is it possible to climb every mountain and fjord every stream even if you have a trusty baby bjorn or even an efficient nanny to look after baby while you do so. Frankly speaking, the only way to travel when you have a baby is to travel without the baby. That way you can do exactly what you want while baby can do exactly what he wants in the comfort of his home where everything is exactly the way it always is. Babies are not really interested in stimulating environments contrary to what people may tell you. Little ones actually like peace and quiet and whatever little stimulation they get in their little worlds is literally blowing their minds away. Imaging being in a dark place for nine months and then suddenly coming out into the big bad world. Isn’t every day and every moment a new experience? Why then would you imagine that the baby needs any more stimulating by the sea-side or in a mountain resort? Or even at a family wedding where he’ll be the centre of everyone’s attention and possibly even upstage the bride!
While the best way to travel with baby is to actually travel without baby, the flip side is that every time you see a cute tyke, it will be hard to keep those tears away. And sometimes it is essential absolutely to travel with the baby – if you are going back home with a baby, if you are relocating with a baby or if there is an event you just have to attend with the baby.
No matter how well prepared you are with the formula, the pacifier, the baby food, the disposable nappies and a hundred other things that the little ones just can’t do without, there are some of my own personal experiences I’d like to share.
1) It may sound strange but travelling with a baby when you’re nursing is quite possibly the easiest way to travel. Baby has a constant supply of milk on the move and unless you are attending a very formal function, baby can be fed almost anywhere. It is advisable to always carry a shawl or stole for the sake of modesty (surprisingly little children are the most curious and will stare fixedly at an infant being fed)
2)If your baby is on solids, always remember to carry enough supply of food that he needs. You may try new foods but in the event that he doesn’t like them at least your baby won’t starve.
3) Always carry standard medicines for your baby. Different countries have different laws regarding OTC medication and besides the formulation may be different in different countries. So travel with medicines that your baby needs and more importantly, if possible, carry the names of some reliable medical help in the place you are visiting.I remember once we travelled internally to another part of the country but still couldn’t make the hotel staff understand that we needed to see a doctor because our three-month old was wailing incessantly. We cut short our stay and came home ; if we’d taken the name of a doctor known to our own doctor at home, we’d probably have enjoyed a few more days of holiday.
4) There are always a few seats reserved for infants in aeroplanes. But in my experience the person accompanying the mother and infant doesn’t always get the seat nearby! I experienced this twice while I was accompanying my daughter and her infant on their overseas trips. It practically made no sense for me because essentially I wanted to help her while in flight! Luckily the flight attendants were helpful and made room for me near my daughter and grandchild.
5) Everyone knows about keeping the child warm and air pressure etc so it helps to give the baby a pacifier while taking off and landing. Or if baby is bottle fed, that’s all it needs to keep the ear pressure all right.
6) Someone presented us with a strange-looking garment – it looked like a pillow case with sleeves and a neck. But this proved the best garment of all because it zipped down the front and the baby was encased in this snug little cocoon which made it easy to carry around. Multiple blankets can get cumbersome especially with restricted movement in a plane.
7) Wet wipes and sanitizers are a given but many people forget about disposal bags for the diaper. Dirty diapers don’t smell nice and it is only common courtesy that you don’t leave the washroom a stinky mess