From the time Myrah was three months old to when she was six months, she and I have been literally living out of suitcases. We travelled from Toronto to Kerala, India when she turned three months, spent two months there visiting relatives and friends. After back in Toronto for a week, we went for a two week vacation to California. Back home for three days, we packed up for a 5-day RV camping trip in two of Ontario’s provincial parks, followed by another tent-camping weekend trip. We camped outdoors, had fun on the beach and enjoyed the road trip.
Myrah has been a happy baby from the beginning, she is not generally fussy and very adaptive. This made my travels and stay in new places stress-free,and I am grateful to Myrah for being the lovely girl she was through all her new experiences!
There are lessons and tips I have gathered through my travels and would like to share them with other parents and parents-to-be. So here are ten key points, in no specific order, which might help you if you are travelling with a little baby.
- Pack enough and more for the baby. Clothes get dirty soon and in unexpected places, and laundry piles up quickly. Even if the luggage gets heavier, don’t scrounge on things to pack for the baby. And this includes packing her towels, washcloths and receiving blankets.
- But keep other luggage light. Especially if you are travelling alone and on long flights. As your carry-on item take only what is absolutely essential. A baby sling, which Myrah willingly sat in, was my lifesaver. I didn’t take a stroller, and looking at other moms travelling alone, I knew this was a good decision, as I watched them struggle to carry a crying baby in their arms and push the stroller at the same time.
- If you roughly know your baby’s routine, feed her and put her down for her naps in anticipation. This can help avoid a cranky baby at crucial junctures like when you are about to board/disembark from an airplane.
- If you are breastfeeding, don’t let the travels and new places put you off. You will get used to lifting your blouse everywhere! Seriously, you will find a private nook and corner if you persist. If not, a nice nursing wrap will easily do the job.
- Do let strangers tell you how cute your baby is and let them touch her hands or face or legs. Rather than getting upset with it, I enjoyed how much strangers enjoyed Myrah’s smiling disposition. An old man even wanted to take a picture of Myrah smile! (he looked decent, travelling with his son, so I let him!)
- What I hated most was changing her diaper in public washrooms. When there was no choice, I bit my teeth and did it. Keep plenty of disinfectant wipes with you all the time.
- You have to be prepared to let down your cleanliness standards every now and then. Circumstances are not ideal when you travel, be prepared to take a few risks. There is no point in fretting about it and getting frustrated. Again, keep those anti-bacterial wipes handy.
- You will get special treatment from the airline staff if you are on a flight with a baby. But do not depend on that alone, be ready to rough it out as it is not always that you will find a smiling willing staff at your beck and call. Know that there will be times when you are all alone with the baby, having to deal with urgent and pressing matters all by yourself. You will wish you had another pair of hands and a few minutes to just sit and breathe.
- Thankfully Myrah did not fall sick at all through all these adventures. But I did have a thermometer, baby Tylenol, and her doctor’s number handy. I am not sure if her doc would have come to the phone, but it gave me some confidence knowing it is a possibility.
- Here is a list of things I carried in her diaper bag at all times: diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a diaper changing pad, anti-bacterial wipes (for babies and for adults), a receiving blanket (you never know when you need to protect her from a cold wind or need to put her down for a brief period), a toy or two to distract her, one or two pairs of clothes, socks, a cap and mittens (especially during flights), a sweater, a few washcloths (all-purpose and very useful), a snack for me (you may not be able to eat when it is mealtime, and when you can eat, there may not be any other food!), the nursing wrap and a garbage bag to put soiled clothes in. My husband complains I carry too many things in the bag, but there have been times when I have needed to use most of these – if not all – when I least expected it.