Traveling with a baby for the first time? Hear me out!

My husband and I travel often ( he, more than myself) but I tag along whenever I can. Even when I was two months pregnant I hopped on a flight to the US (everyone said a long flight would be a bad idea😐). I was anxious at the start but then I just eased into it gradually.

This year when my baby turned six months we decided to travel to   Vienna(Austria). I had to make it work despite how difficult it was going be. For all those who are wondering, the flight journey from Colombo to Europe is a long one and there is so much to be anxious about. Though my husband kept assuring me that it will be fine, I kept thinking of all the stares I could get incase the little one starts crying.

Actually it was not so bad but it’s always best to know these things to make your life easier…so mommies and daddies please take note🙂

Packing

1.   Take with you a baby backpack or a carry-on

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Once when we were traveling, my husband’s luggage got misplaced and oh boy the trouble we had to go through. Trust me when I say it is not something you want to be hassled with especially when traveling with your little one. So I suggest you take a carry-on or a backpack to store all your baby essentials. You cannot be running around looking for that specific diaper cream or brand of diapers or wipes or anything that you think is really important, like her binkie or favorite soft toy. This is very useful even if you have to take her to the washroom for a diaper change. Flight washrooms are tiny so you can’t really ask your partner to bring the changing kit and walk with you in there. So having a carry-on or a backpack really helps.

2. Make yourself a check list

Ohhh this is really important and it helps me tremendously every time we travel with her (even locally). I am one of those people who needs it all written down or it just tends to slip my mind. So what I now do is start on my check list about a week (or two😉)ahead so I have enough time to think things through and jot down. Even if there are a few things on the list that needs to be bought like extra diapers or baby winter clothes or if you are going to a tropical island and you need to buy her sunscreen, waterproof diapers or even her first swimsuit, you have enough time to get all these things done.

At the airport

3. I thought this would be my worst nightmare. Especially getting through security. One rule you should live by when traveling with a baby is TAKE YOUR TIME. Being a mom or dad is hard enough do not let anyone rush you. There is no reason to get stressed out, most people are genuinely nice and will offer you a helping hand ( especially if you are traveling alone with the baby). When I was at Vienna airport boarding gate, there was a long queue and I was getting a little agitated my baby had just woken up and was crying. Then like an answered prayer a staff personnel came and asked me to come to the front of the line. She said when you are traveling with a baby you do not have to follow the long line at the gate.

Just check with a TSA worker if they have a line designated for mommies or daddies with their baby on a stroller. Usually they do.

Just get to the airport a little early and make sure your online check-in is done.

4. Having baby’s prescription medicines at hand is top priority for me. Especially  when we are transiting somewhere and our luggages are interlined. Incase she runs a temperature or get a food allergy or even if the cold gets her breathing heavily, I do not want to get all franatic.

Always remember the international regulations permit only 100ml or lesser when caring any liquids.

5. Get yourself an age appropriate baby carrier

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Most airports have baby strollers at the premises and some allow you to take your own up until the point you get into your flight. However it would be ideal to have some sort of a baby carrier or a wrap to help you maneuver through the airport with the baby and your luggage etc. I did not have one when I was traveling and I kept wishing I did. But I did have my husband with me and he had to do the heavy lifting.

6. Try to book your flights around their nap times and avoid trips that takes longer than 6-7 hours at a stretch. If that is not an option, just make sure to break journey. On our way to Vienna we had a long layover in Doha so we booked a hotel in the souq. It was quite refreshing. We managed to get some good sleep and so did the little one.

Read about my Souq experience here.

On board the flight

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7. We prefer booking seats that has a bassinet connection. If you’re lucky your baby will sleep through the entire journey but even if she doesn’t, it is nice to have the option of putting her in the bassinet even during her brief naps. It really came in handy when I wanted to have my meals on the flight. 

8. Dress your little one in layers so in case it’s too warm you can take the extras off and put it back on if it gets too cold at some point. Also it is always best to have one or two extra kits for any emergencies.

Accommodation

9. Try to sort out your accommodation at a nice hotel room that runs on an apartment concept like with a small pantry area. This is best if you prefer making your own baby food as opposed to the store bought packeted or bottled food… Not having to interrupt her food routine and pattern even though you are on a holiday in some foreign country is something I really appreciate. It’s just personal preference I guess.

10. If there is a binkie, a toy or even a cozy blanket your little one associates with sleeping, bring it along. Maria (my little one) doesn’t have anything like that. Well I guess for her it is me that she associates with sleep (lol) So all she needs is to snuggle with me and then she feeds till she falls asleep. But most of my friends say their babies need that favorite pillow or toy. So if your baby is one of them, don’t forget to pack them. It will make them feel secure and comfortable to hold on to something familiar.

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11. Request a crib when making a reservation or you might not be able to secure one if you request at the time of checking in. If you are traveling locally, and staying over at a villa, boutique hotel or a  bungalow you can even take with you a portable travel cot.

Touring

12. I know how difficult it must have been to sleep train your baby. Sometimes I feel like I still haven’t got that right with Maria. Anyhow, assuming you do not want to completely interrupt the progress you have made, I suggest you book your flights out during evening hours so the baby could get some sleep on board. Atleast that is how we did. We arrived in Doha during day time, we checked in to the hotel and then did a city tour. By night time she was quite tired so I gave her a wash and put her to sleep.

We planned our tours around her nap times. Most indoor activities were scheduled while she was napping and outdoor activities like going to the park was done when she was wide awake 😁

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