As the holiday planner of the family and a new mum 3 years ago, I remember asking myself so many of these questions.
1) Should we go on a holiday with a newborn?
2) How old should my baby be, before I consider an overseas holiday?
3) Where should we go? Beach? City? Stay at home?
4) What should I pack? How will we sterilize the bottles?
5) Should we bring the in laws?
6) Will I be able to handle my baby on the flight?
7) What if he/she screams or cries nonstop on the plane?
Questions which I have heard many new mummy friends asking and the list definitely goes on. New mummies who were in desperate need of a holiday but too afraid or unsure to step into the unknown. Holidaying with a baby/ child/ toddler/ children. You name it, we know it doesn’t seem to get easier even as the child grows older or when 3 becomes 4 or more. If your main question is to go or not to go, my answer is a resounding YES! If you need other questions answered, here are some tips! 😉
JahBella’s Tips for Travelling with babies
1) For your first trip, choose a destination that you are comfortable with. Better yet somewhere you have been to and even stayed at. This will help take the stress off alittle. Unknowns are scary and you already have one little unknown so why make things more stressful by going to a new place.
2) Some parents and babies do fantastic on long-haul flights but the guideline in our family is to slowly increase flight time with each trip. This helped us gain confidence and slowly test the kid’s patience on each flight. We started with 1.5-3hour regional destinations (Phuket, Bali, Penang) and then ‘graduated’ to 4-5 hour destinations (Hong Kong and Perth). We are kinda going back and forth on our decision for an 8 hour flight now but we’ll see.
3) Choose a family friendly resort, there are tons out there who cater to families and who will be more than happy to provide a sterilizer, a cot, a baby tub for showering. We overcame some of these issues by renting from baby item rental companies who could deliver and collect these items to/ from your villa/ resort.
4) What to bring on the flight? You are allowed to bring your baby’s formula as well as their hot and cold water flask so don’t worry about that. Babies are the exemption when it comes to the Liquids, Aerosols and Gas rule. Bring a pacifier if your baby takes one. Bring snacks, sweets or lollipops if your kid is old enough to take them. Try to time your baby’s feed time to the take off/ landing or give your baby water then if he/she is old enough. Sucking helps to alleviate the pressure from landing and take-off.
5) We try to choose flight timings that coincides with our kids’ nap times. Trust me it is easier when the child is a baby or infant as they sleep most times. If your baby is comfortable in a carrier, bring one!!! If your child has a comfort toy, bring it! Don’t leave it in your check-in luggage.
6) If your baby cries, don’t panic! Try to find out the cause, if you can’t figure it out (not hungry, diaper not dirty, not tired), don’t stress! Babies cry. You are not a bad parent. You do not have to feel embarrassed, ignore any dirty looks anyone is giving you. You are doing your best and this will soon pass. Trust me when you think back you will barely remember the crying hysterics. We have had both kids cry and scream for at least 30 mins continuously on the flight, the longest 30 minutes of my life! But we’ve learnt that sometimes that happens and nothing you do will make it better for them so just hold them and wait. =) Oh and actually let the calmer parent at that point, do the carrying.
7) Tours or Free and Easy? We generally do not do tours as I am a serious control freak and I also happen to love planning itineraries. If you can, I would suggest doing it Free and Easy as you will have more control over your time and I’m sure you have learnt by now to unexpect the unexpected with a kid. Parents especially new parents never leave the house when we plan to, so tours would be quite a nightmare in my opinion.
You will notice that these tips apply mainly to babies or at least I have not really talked about travelling with a toddler or two kids. That’s because it’s always alittle different at each stage and perhaps that warrants another post. We are definitely still learning with each trip that we take and as each kid hits a different milestone, his/her need changes. But if there is one thing I wished I did more, it would be taking more holidays with Jah when he was a baby. Well I suppose its more challenging now with 2 but we are still determined to make those memories 😉
Until next time…