Tips for the Globe-Trotting Toddler

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Travelling with a baby or young children can leave you frustrated if you’re not well prepared. Luckily for me, it has been mostly a good experience. Being prepared for the worst possible scenarios helped me through a few not-so-comfortable journeys with my baby. Packing light is the key to comfortable travel with or without a baby. I have noticed that young kids mostly cling to their moms during travel. Hence as a mom, the lighter the luggage the more comfortable your journey will be.

1. When travelling with an infant, my baby bag (doubled up as my hand bag and thus the only hand luggage I carried) used to be generally packed with the most essential stuff which included diapers, wet wipes, changing mat, spare outfit(s), disposable bags (for soiled diapers), few soft cloth (works as bib/burp cloth), sterilizer and small boxes of baby meals (with spoon/fork). I also carry a bottle with boiled cooled water and a baby cup. I have never bottle fed my daughter, hence never carried feeding bottles. However I remember my friends who bottle fed their babies carried 2-3 bottles along with the formula.

2. Now that my daughter is 2, I always carry a regular pack of wet wipes (what an amazing invention this is!) instead of the small travel friendly one. I carry enough diapers with me during my journey irrespective of the mode of travel (1 diaper for 1 hour travel time ratio – worst case scenario). I got this tip from one of my friends who had a tough time with her kid, who soiled the diaper every hour because of an upset stomach on a long flight and they ran short of diapers on board!

3. I always made sure that I breast fed my baby during takeoff and landing of a plane. Most airlines encourage this as it’s good for baby’s ear pressure (sucking or swallowing prevents ear pain) during ascent and descent. Surprisingly, a couple of times during my domestic travel in India, the flight attendant asked me not to breast feed the baby on board. I still went ahead and fed the baby because I knew it was not illegal and I was doing what was right for my baby. These days I give her a lollipop during takeoff and landing if she is awake.

4. I carry enough food in small boxes, mostly the ones high in protein and fibre, including her favorite fruits, nuts. I avoid sugary snacks, though I hide a few chocolates and lollipops in the bag which are rewards for good behavior. During air travel, I always opt for the child meal and my daughter has enjoyed it most of the time.

5. I carry my daughter’s basic medicines (paracetamol, cough syrup, cetirizine, nasal drops and anti-nausea/vomiting syrup). Once, I decided to skip carrying cetirizine and carried a steamer instead. I thought that if my kid gets a runny nose, I would train her to inhale steam and treat her without medicine. It was a huge bummer because she fell ill in a foreign country 24 hours before our trip to Switzerland. We ended up buying Cetirizine that cost us ten times what we would’ve paid in India. Today I carry all her medicines along with the prescriptions. I also carry her baby book which has her vaccination details (a softcopy in the laptop too) and her pediatrician’s contact details.

My daughter never had motion sickness till she turned two. I observed that polluted and stuffy/stale air made her throw up. The anti-nausea/vomiting syrup has been a late addition to the medicine list along with oral rehydration sachets. During road travel, we stop multiple times to breathe in some fresh air and break her boredom.

6. Easily foldable baby stroller (with waterproof screen) is another must-carry item. Using public transport eliminates the need of a car seat. However, these days there are many brands that sell stroller-cum-car-seat, which is a great product.

7. Irrespective of which part of the world we are travelling to, I try to keep my daughter’s bed time routine the same as much as possible. There is never a compromise on her nap time. Luckily she is as comfortable sleeping in the stroller as on my lap. Whenever our upcoming travel involves change in time zone(s), I start adjusting my kid’s sleeping time (I generally begin a week or more in advance). This helps a lot when we reach the destination. She adjusts quickly which helps us to take enough rest and get set in the new place.

8. I used to carry a couple of her favorite toys and books to keep her entertained during the journey. Now that she’s an active toddler, I pack colouring books, crayons and videos (loaded in the laptop/tablet) in addition to those. We also play little family games to kill time. During flight travel, we make full use of the in-house entertainment.

9. We always introduce our little one to local cuisine wherever we go. Most of the time, she enjoys it but sometimes she doesn’t. We never force feed her and avoid raw/street food and non-bottled water.

Life is never easy with a baby but it’s not that hard either. Kids are the best conversation starters when you are in a new place. After all, who doesn’t want to smile back at a smiling child?

Travelling with a baby is not easy but it’s worth it… every bit!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sheethal Thappa Deniz is 33 and currently lives in Bangalore. She is a software consultant who has taken a break from paid work to enjoy motherhood. Sheethal loves travelling, cooking, interior decoration, reading and listening to music. She believes in keeping life simple and enjoys the little things in life!

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