Tips & Tricks For Travelling With A Baby

What I've learned from travelling to 5 different places within Théo's first 15 months of age and 4 things I recommend for a peaceful trip for the whole family...

Tips & Tricks For Travelling With A Baby

As you probably know by now, we kind of got the travel bug a few years ago and having a baby didn’t manage to get rid of it.

In fact, travelling within Europe is so easy that between Théo’s 5th and 15th month of life, we visited 5 different part of Europe with him. We went to Belgium a few times, we travelled and lived in Malta and Gozo, we spent 2 weeks in Brittany for a good friend’s wedding last year, a month in Biarritz and The Basque Country, and 5 weeks in Barcelona. As I am writing this, we are just finishing our 5-week stay in Barcelona and are about to get back to Malta.

I know many people are afraid to travel with their little ones and I totally understand why. In fact, if we weren’t parents yet, we’d probably have travelled much more than that over the past year. We wanted to go to Sri-Lanka and spend some time in Asia when Théo was 6 months. We also thought about going to New York, San Francisco and Hawaii this coming September. But we chose not to. I’ll explain why in this post.

I also know many young parents are scared to fly with their babies. They often are scared about their baby’s ability to equalise and might think this could damage their baby’s ears or something. In fact there is not much risk if you make sure your baby is swallowing regularly for take off and landing. That might mean nursing him/her, giving him/her a bottle or even some kind of food is he/she is a bit older.

Honestly the only risk about flying with a baby is him/her getting too tired and being unable falling asleep, starting screaming in the plane and having all the passengers – who are not parents – looking at you with murder eyes.

I have to admit it happened to us a couple of times. That’s why we are now paying huge attention to our flight schedules and are buying our tickets accordingly. No more late or early flights unless it’s really necessary.

So,even if every family and every child is different, here are a few rule of thumb I make sure we respect in order to keep travelling easily and peacefully:

 

Pay attention to your flight schedule

As I just mentioned, we’ve had a couple of bad flight timing – arriving too late at destination for example – and quickly realised this was not something to do!

You know your baby and his/her routine, so plan your flights accordingly. For example, Théo is going to bed between 7 and 8pm, so I make sure we get to our place (usually an Airbnb) before or by that time.

To my opinion, it’s totally worth paying a bit more to get a flight that suits your baby’s rhythm and get a peaceful flight.

Don’t forget your baby – unless he is just a couple of months old – will need a bit of time to discover his/her new environment and feel safe and confortable with it. It might sound obvious but we did one trip to Belgium where we only got in our accommodation around 11pm, got Théo asleep in the car, had to wake him up to put him in a new bed in a bedroom he didn’t know – it just wasn’t working!

Don’t worry, it took us this one time and we clearly agreed to travel differently. Also, I don’t want to sound like if travelling with babies is a nightmare. It’s not if you respect a few simple, logical rules!

Take baby’s things with you

You’ll see that your baby’s world is actually very tiny. It consists of you, your smell and a few things such as his bed, bouncing chair and a few toys.

So if you change his bed, you can imagine his whole world is turned upside down. That’s why, when we travel, I make sure to take Théo’s bedsheets with me – and I don’t wash them beforehand. I put them straight away on his new bed when arriving in our new place.

I also make sure we pack his sleeping bag (once again, not washed), his dummy, and a few toys he loves.

 

Avoid short trips

When travelling with a baby, don’t bother to plan 1-week stays. It’s not worth it.

I would recommend to travel for at least 2 weeks and avoid moving every second day. You’ll quickly realise that moving every few days does’t agree with your baby, as it’s the time he / she need to adjust to a new environment. It will take everyone too much energy and bandwidth. At the end, it’s just not worth it.

What I do and recommend is to stay at least 2 weeks at the same place. Recreate a stable environment for the whole family with your baby’s toys, habits, sleeping items, routine, etc. From that place you will be able to radiate and do what you have to do while you are there.

That’s exactly why we never go back to Belgium for less than 2 weeks, and why we stayed 5 weeks both in Barcelona and Biarritz.

 

Respect baby’s rhythm

To be perfectly honest, we didn’t try extended flights nor time difference. I know a few friends who did it but I clearly don’t envy them!

If I had to do it again, I would do the same.

In fact, we thought about going to Asia for a few months when Theo was about 6 months old. We didn’t for a few reasons…

The first one was that he was still sleeping twice per day for at least 1 to 2 hours each time. He could nap in his pram but never for that long. That means that, even if he could have one nap in his pram from time to time, this was not possible daily.

At the end, we decided that going to Asia, facing the time difference with a baby, risking viruses like Zika or Dengue, and having to vaccinate him in order to spend a big part of our time inside was not worth it. Even if it felt restricting at times, I don’t regret it.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since becoming a mum is that any challenge I have to face is just temporary. We will definitely travel to Asia with our little one, just not right now.

 

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Have you already travelled with a baby? If so what was your biggest challenge? What did you learn from it?

Do you have any tips and recommendations? If so, please share them in the comments below and let’s give each other some mama’s love!

xox

Pauline

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