Family & Social Child Developement
8 tips for traveling with a baby
I've done a lot of road trips ever since my daughter was less than a year old. When she was barely 8 -10 months old we took our first road trip together crossing three Indian states in an SUV. This experience gave me a lot of confidence that I can travel with her sooner than expected. As a parent who loves to travel, I make sure that my daughter is comfortable and equally looks forward to these trips as much as I do.
It was through the passage of time, that as she started growing up, did she become comfortable with traveling. I realised that the sooner I get her used to traveling with me, the better it would be for the both of us.
Here are some tips that I would like to share with fellow parents that will help you plan your travels with your baby or toddler.
1. Carry Medical Records: This is the first thing that I do when Im packing my bags for my daughter. Especially for international travels, I make sure I carry a copy of her medical records, prescriptions and medicines. Personally, I have seen that having a medical record of my child during international trips helps a lot, just in case I have to visit a paediatrician. The file has a record of all her vaccines, the dosage of medications and her medical history that helps a doctor to assess the medical requirements of my child should the need arise.
2. Pack a First Aid Kit:
The second most important thing on my list is to carry a first aid kit. Children are bound to run around and jump, fall and get hurt. Carrying a basic first aid kit with antiseptic creams, Band-Aids and carsickness bags is very important. My daughter is terribly carsick and sometimes, even medication does not seem to help especially when were driving down curvy mountain roads. In such cases, she knows that her carsickness bag is within reach, which she promptly pulls out if she's feeling nauseous while traveling.
3. Bring a Comforter:
My daughter was gifted a beautiful blanket the day she was born. Until date, she loves it a lot, and refuses to part with it. Since it is so cute, soft, pink, light and fluffy (I love it too), instead of giving it away, Ive made it a travel blanket for her as it fits perfectly in her bag. Anindita is almost 5-years-old, and she packs her little haversack with her favourite soft toy and her travel blanket, which promptly comes out during flights. The best part is the moment she sees the pink blanket out from the cupboard, she knows that were soon going to travel and she's all excited about it. Ive noticed how peacefully she has slept through long international flights with her travel blanket and a soft toy by her side.
4. Bring along a Stroller:
Carrying a stroller is, without doubt, one of the most sensible things to do especially when travelling with babies and toddlers. I don't need to stress how convenient it makes life for our little ones and us. I take my daughters stroller during our trips as it helps me a lot when we have to walk a lot at airports, malls and tourist spots. If the child feels sleepy or tired, she has her own personal stroller to rest. In fact, during my recent trip to Maldives and Colombo, I tucked in Anindita with her stuffed toy and her favourite blanket and she slept through the long airport haul, while I worked on my laptop over a cup of coffee at a coffee shop.
5. Have Art & Storybooks Handy:
I have made a conscious decision to keep any kind of gadgets away from my daughter. When we travel, I make it a point to carry her colouring books, crayons, her favourite storybooks and toys, which become her travel companions. Whether its a long haul at the airport, a dinner at a cafe or a flight my daughter is busy colouring and reading her imaginary stories from her storybooks and entertaining me.
6. Generate Interest for the Trip:
Now that my daughter is almost 5-years-old, we have been traveling quite a bit both domestically and internationally. Now I make it a point to tell her about the trips were going to embark upon. We look up the map, I tell her how were traveling, how long it will take by moving our finger from point A to B on the map. As she's growing up, I have started informing her about the trips. I tell her where were going, how long it will take, whom we are meeting and more. If I can, I make her talk to family and friends on Skype and share pictures and videos on Whatsapp. The idea is to make the child look forward to a trip and this helps a lot especially when there are delays in the flights or long journeys.
7. Teach Safety Tips and Rules:
Now that Anindita is old enough to understand, I explain to her how important it is to be safe and stay close to me while traveling. It usually starts with not talking to strangers or accepting anything from them at airports, railway or bus stations. She also knows that if Im trying to dig out our tickets and passports from my bag, she has to hold on to my t-shirt or my leg so that we both stay connected.
8. Be Flexible About Food:
Yes, food can become an issue when traveling with kids. When she was a baby I used to carry milk formula and ask the hotel to give me warm water for the same. Anindita started teething when she was 2.5 months old and by the time she was eight months old, she had five teeth. What came handy during my trips were breadsticks from the local bakery. The cumin in the breadsticks added to the flavour, which she loved nibbling on. Ive always made it a point that she should learn to eat everything thats permissible at her age. Now she's almost five, and I know if she's hungry, she will munch on an apple, a slice of toast with peanut butter and honey or pancakes. Sometimes she's too excited to eat anything when were traveling, so I ensure that she has at least one proper meal.
Theres a fun quote doing the rounds on social media, which says, for a mum it is never a vacation, but a change of location. While to a certain extent it is true, but the only way to derive the best out of the situation is heading out on a trip with proper planning. And the planning includes carrying her medical record, first aid kit, comforter, books and toys, food and of course making her aware.
Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai and a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Womens University in Mumbai. She started her career 16 years ago by writing childrens books, e-learning, content management for international websites and magazines and writing lifestyle and feature articles. She's the founder of The Lifestyle Portal an e-publishing platform that focuses primarily on entrepreneur profiling, entrepreneur directory listing, workshop reviews, feature stories and more. Shes also a Certified Parent-Child Play Practitioner and a Certified Story Teller.
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