When travelling with a little one, you can never be truly prepared for what would actually happen, says a frequent traveller mom, Aakanksha Bhargava, as she hands out tips on how to make the experience comfortable for you and the baby
Being a mother comes in with a lot of responsibilities, add to that being a full-fledged entrepreneur handling one of the most erratic and unorganised service business in the country and you can imagine the intensity of work, time, serious commitment and mental presence required to being both a mother and an entrepreneur.
Relocations being an exciting industry often gives one the opportunity to move around the world, explore new service process and bring in new industry knowledge from around the world. Not just this, I am an ardent traveller who loves to take time out from my business schedule to enjoy, explore and catch the vibes of various places. At the start of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a severe cervix issue and had to undergo a mid-pregnancy surgery with a prognosis of being on complete bed rest without even sitting up to work for the rest of my pregnancy! This situation led me to being extra cautious with my baby, Samaira. When Samaira was born last year, I knew I had to get back to work and soon travel for work since I had booked myself for a conference in Goa. The reality of actually travelling when she was just 4 months old slowly set-in. It was a daunting experience, not just because you are travelling with a baby but also because you can never truly be prepared for what would actually happen.
After 36 flights, 18 trips and 6 countries, there have been countless experiences, reactions, precautions and hacks which have helped me and Samaira enjoy all those trips in such a short span of time.
Plan the flight timings around your baby’s sleep schedule
Hands down one of the most crucial tips out there is planning your flights keeping your baby’s sleep schedule in mind. When you are first travelling with toddlers it important for them to sleep through the journey to avoid being cranky.
Carry her comfort toy/food/item to make them comfortable
It’s important to always keep your baby’s comfort toy/food/item with you. Whenever we were travelling, the two things which have accompanied us all those places were her stroller and her feeding pillow. Ever since the time she was just a day old, she has been accustomed to her feeding pillow and hence always found comfort in being wrapped with it. Carrying the same along with their favourite toys help them stay engrossed while at the hotel/places you visit. Toys also make in for a similar play environment the child is used to.
Take a comfortable stroller with you
One of the biggest agitators that can make you stress is the absence of a comfortable stroller. Having a comfortable stroller with ample of space for you to place things is essential. A good stroller helps you walk with your baby with ease. Not only will you be stress-free, but you will also have all your important baby stuff stashed at one place for those short/long flights.
Breastfeeding is the key
I feel there is a lot of stigma attached to breastfeeding in the public. However, if there is this one thing which is essential for a child then it is being breastfed. Not only is breast milk important for a child’s growth but it also helps soothe and calm the baby on long flights. If your toddler is older, you could choose to carry his/her favourite fruit/food on the go. Having a well fed/hydrated baby helps them to be happy during flights.
It’s Important to follow the daily routine
A lot of new parents, feel they need to design/plan a new routine for the child to feel comfortable during flight and while travelling. However, it actually has to be the opposite. I remember my doctor telling me during a follow-up that a child is as good as a grown up and should be treated and taught like-wise. Hence, with Samaira, I have always followed her same daily routines during her travels. This so far has helped me even during our trip to the USA this last month. It’s also necessary to carry your baby’s towel, soaps and other utilities to avoid making them feel foreign in a new setup.
Stock up on Extra Utility
Parenthood is a very messy job. If you have a toddler then you know what I am talking about. Travelling with a baby can turn into a disaster specially if you are not carrying all the right things with you. This doesn’t mean that you go on a paranoia and carry six or seven sets of everything you might need. However, pack smart. At the beginning, it becomes very difficult to judge how much would be enough, but one good place to start is by understanding and learning from your child’s pattern. And then add two to four sets from the usual utility to be safe during travels.
Prepare the baby before the flight
Which means that cleaning and changing diapers just before boarding the flight is essential to save yourself from those smelly/wet situations while on the flight. While travelling it’s important to be cautious and change the diapers as wet diapers on long haul flights can make the baby cranky and sore.
Book a child-friendly hotel with spacious rooms
While travelling is one big challenge, staying with a child outside your city/and country can end up being a disaster if you don’t book hotel rooms keeping your baby in mind. It important to feel free while moving around specially if you have a toddler which can crawl and walk. Small spaces and pulled-up furniture setting in hotel rooms could be problematic for your child. Hence, always opt for spacious rooms with child-friendly facilities.
After all these tours and flights, Samaira is not just my soul but my partner in every endeavour. We may not find success at every destination but I have promised to make the journey worth it, always.
The writer is an entrepreneur