Years ago my husband and I were lazing on a fairly secluded beach in South Goa. There we witnessed a sight, which we quickly made up our minds for, was to be our parenting mantra for the future. We saw a little boy who belonged to parents from Europe. It was actually a group of some 3 families who were travelling with babies. He was dressed in nothing but plain white underwear and was frolicking freely on the beach, playing, falling, running on the sand. His parents sipped their drinks under the shade of the beach resort’s cafe. The child was living his life. He must not have been more than a year and half. He could barely walk. But he was out there, living the touristy life. And we wanted it too. We wanted to give our future child that carefree life.
Social media is ripe with photos of young babies who can barely walk or talk, sightseeing at one of the many Wonders of the World or soaking the sun in exotic beach locations. Parents are happy and content to be able to share these sights and memories with their precious little ones. No longer are new parents living in the exile of “We have a little baby.” They are packing their bags, grabbing their baby and jet-setting across the globe. And showing it off too.
It’s all in the economics of it
By far the simplest reason why many new parents are taking the step of travelling with babies is because they know that the early years are one of the best times to travel. No, really. If you discount the fact that I was washing cloth diapers in the bathtub of our hotel room on my birthday, on our first holiday with babyT, I will tell you that it was one of the easiest trips of our life.
This was a true story, by the way. Read about how you can Cloth diaper while on vacation.
Travelling with babies is cheaper because flight tickets are subsidised, you don’t need an extra bed – the hotel will only gladly provide you a cot if your baby is really young. You don’t need to make a separate itinerary and go to places which are designed for children – read expensive entry costs. Places like museums, art galleries and travel on the local transport is free for children up to a certain age/ height.
BabyT was around 9 months old then and his ticket was almost free. aI pcked no food for him. He survived on mamma’s milk and fresh fruits and boiled veggies wherever we went. Travelling with babies when they are still breastfeeding is really a boon. Its available 24-7 and wherever, whenever baby demands it.
Read this post from 2017’s #AtoZBlogging Challenge – V is for Vacations with babies.
He did not need entertainment in the form of books and toys to be carried along. He did not throw tantrums to be taken to play areas, parks etc. He was content hanging around in his baby carrier and falling in love with sunny Goa from up there. He slept when he wanted to in the carrier. He fed wherever he was hungry. Best trip ever!
I still feel we waited too long before we took our first trip. And babies today are being whisked away by their parents from the time they are as little as a few weeks old. And for pretty much the same reasons as we did. There are no school holidays to plan a trip around. Babies do benefit a lot from being out in the open and away from the familiar 4 walls of their house.
A lot of the myths about forced confinement of the new mother and her child have been broken today. Families are nuclear and need to be practical about things. If the new parents feel that the period of maternity leave is the best time to travel with baby in tow then so be it.
Read this Travel Mad Mum’s story of travelling on her Maternity Leave
Everything is baby friendly
Most places in the world are becoming more and more conscious of the needs of its people. Facilities for physically challenged people, breastfeeding rooms, baby changing rooms – all help new mothers who travel with babies to ensure their babies are comfortable and happy on the go.
Even when you are on the road i.e. away from a formal baby room, there is nothing quite like breastfeeding to soothe a hungry or cranky baby. Carry a scarf if you feel shy to breastfeed in public. But trust me when I say, it’s only the first time that’s the hardest.
Read my post on Toddler Breastfeeding.
Product innovations like strollers (for rent in most touristy places), baby carriers, car seat/ carriers, packaged but healthy and organic foods which just need to be mixed in warm water or tubes of fruit and veggie purees, all assist a travelling family with a small baby.
Also most people are more sensitive and willing to help out when there is a small baby or child around. Whether it is domestic travel or international travelling with babies has become very normal today.
Are you made for travelling with babies?
Now that you have read about how easy it is to travel with a baby, don’t book the first flight out for the remotest but most exotic destination on your bucket list. Hang on!
Your personality is of the carefree traveller or the over cautious one. And how are you as a parent? Are you going to be spending your holiday worrying about the environment and if it is safe and hygienic for your baby. If yes you will probably need to make a shorter trip somewhere close before you go the whole 9 yards with baby.
Want a chilled out, idyllic holiday or want more adventurous stuff. There is no harm in evaluating that once you go there. But do keep your schedule light and don’t over cramp your itinerary.
Consider your baby’s sleep and poop routines. This by no means you should not travel if your baby is a frequent pooper or light sleeper. However do plan your holiday destination and itinerary as per these schedules and what access you have to support stations.
Check up on access to medical care facilities at the destination you are going to. Babies are prone to fall sick and it will most likely happen on that vacation, so speak to your doctor before you travel and carry SOS medicines. Also look up a local doctor.
There will be moments when you feel tired, exhausted and sleep deprived from having a baby around when you should actually be relaxing. But you do know that now that you are a parent, stress free vacations are a thing of the past, right?
Travelling babies are showing the world that they mean business. Having a passport full of stamps is nothing new today. I think I shall fulfil my dream of travelling the world with a baby in tow. When did you first travel with your little ones? What was your best survival tip?
This blog post is part of a series for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge where my theme is
New Age Parenting: Parenting in 201x.
Read my theme reveal post here.
To read all the posts for the #AtoZChallenge go here – #AtoZ2018
You may also find this post on Influencer Moms very interesting too.