I have written about traveling with an infant here. And I am writing about it again.
Mothers, please do not try it (air travel or long distance journey with a baby) unless really required and only after you have made sure that you have daddy, grandparents and all sorts of help to support you mentally and physically.
In his 9-months, my baby has traveled back-forth from Singapore to India and many miles within India too. And each time we make a journey (short or long), I’m left with new bunch of grey hair and physically drained. Mind you, the mental exhaustion is not even being listed here.
I wont deny that there are loads of happy days in parenthood, but it is not unusual to be overwhelmed with anxiety, confusion, frustration, depression on not-so-happy-days. After all moms are humans too.
Growing a thick skin and ignoring the irate glances of fellow travelers works for me. I adopted this approach last time, when my baby started to bawl in a night flight for no reason. Night flights, we know, is meant for those busy executives and frequent flyers wishing to catch up on some shut eye. Sorry people, baby on-board and mommy is clueless.
There’s practically very little any mother (or father, if you wish) can do to soothe a baby who’s been fed, burped and diaper changed. Babies are fussy creatures who do as they want, when they want and however they want. And we all should know that before giving that dirty look to the sheepish mother/father on flight.
I thought I had packed all essentials of baby to keep him entertained in case he decides that flight was too boring. Thanks to great Lord, this time around my boy ji decided to sleep for 2.5 hours in a 5.5 hours journey. The remaining 50 per cent of the time was spent in feeding, singing some muted poems, iPad apps that boy ji loves (sweet kisses to Steve Jobs and his vision).
But there are a few things that have worked for me and so I am sharing them below. Perhaps, they may help some other hassled mom/dad to be prepared better when traveling with an active toddler.
- Most toys (yea, those BPA-free, branded, and really costly toys that we research for hours) are pretty much overrated. A crunchy bag of airplane peanuts is far more entertaining than any colorful toy you would bring along.
- Mommies do yourself a favor and pack some energy bars as back-up food. In case, your baby decides to act up and you have to decline airplane food since you have hands full of an irritated, fussy child then energy bars will keep you going.
- It’s very important to try and maintain your poise (read Don’t Panic) even when your baby cries for more than 10 minutes on the plane. It’s natural to worry that you’re disturbing other passengers, but by getting upset your baby may fuss even more. Sing, cradle, or offer a pacifier to your baby if he’s upset. And shut out those angry glances.
- Double check that you have everything you need for baby in a bag closer to your feet. (What if, say, turbulence were to force you to stay seated? This has happened to us a surprising number of times)
- Don’t even think of traveling in light colored clothes. Airplane journeys can be messy when you have a baby along (and no help). Carry a change for yourself too because bodily fluids do do not discriminate when they spew.