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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Travelling with an Infant

The blogger and her sweet li'l travel buddy
We just recently concluded a 3-day trip in Puerto Princesa, Palawan with our 4-month old baby when I got this message from a blog reader - “Missy, what are the tips you can share about travelling with infant/s, especially during plane ride?”

I am elated to learn that somehow, I am able to inspire others to travel, and the fact that they reach out to me asking for advice about travelling makes me feel “useful” as a travel blogger. So instead of having a private conversation with her detailing the do’s and don’ts about travelling with infant/s, I decided to write an article instead.

Below are the FAQs with my answers.

When did you decide to travel with your kid? Is there something that you would like her to learn?

I’ve already decided to travel with my kid/s way before their conception. I promised myself that I will let my future children to experience the essence of life through travelling.

I travel with my kid for her to better appreciate the world which is way bigger than our neighborhood. Travelling is the best way to teach children how to get along with diverse kinds of people. The travel experiences are opportunities for us, as parents, to teach our children the similarities and differences that are existent in the world they live in. We can teach them first-hand how to appreciate what they have, why not to fear differences, and to celebrate life through various color of people they encounter and the depth and beauty of nature. Travelling provides vast teaching opportunity for our children and there's no substitute for it.

How did you manage your first travel with your child?

PREPARATION AND PLANNING is on top of my list. I make sure I know about the place we are travelling to; the weather, the culture, the food, the availability of medical aid, bank, etc. in order to manage my expectations. This way, I would be able to bring and have necessary things handy should the need arise.  It’s always better safe than sorry.

After preparing and planning, I GET ORGANIZED. I make sure I have essentials stored in easy-to-access places so I do not have to squander so much time looking for things I (or my child) need.

Do you want your kid to be an avid traveler like you as well when she grows up?

Definitely! In fact I wish when the time comes that she’s grown up and we’re already gray haired, she will still be excited to tag us (me and my husband) along when she travels.

How do you manage to overcome the hassle that comes with travelling with infant?

Touch. I and my husband make our baby feel secured all the time. We keep her near us, carrying her most of the time.
Father playing with our 4-month old daughter during her first boat ride. (left)
Carrying my child for her to see the vast sea water during her first beach trip. (right)
Also, we talk to her before, during, and even after our trip as if she’s a consenting adult and not a helpless 4 months old. We describe to her the experience of riding a plane or going through a road trip. It’s like making her feel that she is really part of the activity and some things are expected of her. Maybe she cannot understand yet what we are telling her but we tell her anyway. Guess what, we get rumblings in reply! Hahaha, she loves talking! J

What are your techniques or life hacks you have learned/researched to make your life easier when traveling with your kid? Any specific tips you can give?

Keep them busy. Cuddle them. Talk to them.
Our child, busy with her fingers, on her first plane ride.
I am a breastfeeding mother and I think I have a very great advantage since I can easily comfort my baby during flight or travel. Breastfeeding my baby during take-off or landing can help her equalize her eardrums since she cannot do it naturally. Since I am a healthy human pacifier, I do not worry about my baby feeling hungry or fussy. I can easily offer my bosom and presto! She calms up so quickly.

Bring a cloth carrier or a sling. It does not take up much room in your luggage yet it is very useful as you can keep your baby with you and still free your hands to do some stuff.

Babywearing while travelling
Until when do you plan to travel with your kid/s?

As long as they want. As long as we can.

Don't you think bringing your will spoil your moment as husband and wife?

Not at all. Travelling with our child actually provides us more quality time with each other as it sets us in a good and comfortable mood to freely discuss our plans. We are not worrying of anything because our precious child is with us, sharing the moment.

I think when we travel with our Anak we do one of the most important parenting activities. Traveling as a family is the best way to strengthen our relationship as husband and wife; parents and kids. It inevitably provides a host of many teachable moments. And since kids easily get tired when travelling (much more infant/s), I and hubby take advantage of her nap time to have quality time

How does traveling with infant change your perception about traveling? 

Travelling used to be so easy, smooth, and time efficient. Now, I have a child strapped to my chest while roaming around a foreign land or conversing with a stranger, or eating alien food. 
With our little one in tow, travel has become difficult, rough, time consuming, and uncomfortable but guess what, IT’S WAY HAPPIER than before!!!

Happiness is written all over this photo right?
My baby serves as great ambassador who can easily act as magnet for strangers. I have never known that starting a conversation with strangers whilst carrying a cute little munchkin on my lap can be this easy! Now, I can easily ask for help anywhere and everywhere with my adorable lucky charm.

So parents, go travel with your kids. There’s really a BIG world out there they ought to see. Someday, they will thank you for not containing their learnings within just 4 corners of a room. 


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