I wanted everyone to meet my friend and one of my go-to friends for any travel advice, Dejana. Dejana just became a Mom to a sweet little boy. She has always been an adventurous traveller and having a baby didn’t stop her and her husband from taking a trip to Bali this past Fall. I had Dejana tell us about her experience travelling with her baby to a place that most people wouldn’t think to travel to.
My husband and I are seasoned travellers; we’ve backpacked through Thailand, trekked through Tanzania…pretty much bounced off every continent. I truly began travelling on my own the summer I graduated University, when I decided to take off for 2 months to bounce around Europe. Since then, I’ve become hooked on that travel high ever since and keep chasing it.
Needless to say, once our little guy was born in April 2014, we had no intentions of ending our quest to quench our thirst for adventure. I, by no means claim to be an expert in travel, but I have certainly perfected the experience of it…than baby came along, and well, I certainly do not claim to be an expert on being a mama, never mind a mama who travels, I just did what I could, to the best of my abilities.
We began discussing our trip while he was in utero, with the anticipation that we would be doing it around his 6 month birthday…and sure enough, we did.
So how did we do it? Well first off, we needed to ensure that prior to us taking off on a trip to Asia-Pacific that we had our “traveling with baby” down packed, as we did packing our own luggage. We started off small, soooo….we took him to New York and see how he fared on the plane.
Our little guy was bottle fed, so there was a huge sense of anxiety of taking off and landing, like, “What if he doesn’t want to eat?” Well, as my pediatrician said to me, “You’ll be surprised how well babies do…he will surprise you.”…and you know what…he did. No issues whatsoever. It just happened to be his feeding time when we took off, so yes he did take the bottle, but 45 minutes later upon landing…well he was fast asleep without a care in the world. Bam! Done, the first leg. Needless to say the return home was just as easy. We gave him the bottle on the way up, and then the soother upon decent. So…flying no biggie right!?!
Obviously our next adventure was slightly longer than a 1 hour plane ride. We were off to Bali, Indonesia and Singapore. Yep, that’s 14 hours to get to Tokyo (for some bizarre reason the route we flew there took 2 hours longer than normal), an overnight stay in Tokyo, back to the airport the next morning than a 6 hour flight to Bali. We were in for planes, trains and automobiles…never mind the time change.
What we did…well first off, we ensured that we had the bulk head seating, (as we requested the bassinet) *TIP- bulkhead seating is free, if you request the bassinet. Did we use the bassinet? Not at all!!! It was a bizarre contraption that when we placed him in it to see how it worked, he stared at us with these eyes saying… “WTF are you guys doing to me.” So what we ended up doing was holding him in our Baby Bjorn carrier. He was very used to being slugged around town in the carrier, so it was both comforting and familiar for him that he pretty much slept 10 of the 14 hours of our flight. Clearly my husband and I took turns wearing the carrier, but it certainly was our saviour, in terms of comfort and function.
In terms of food, well, I packed it all in his carry on. When travelling with an infant you are allowed to take whatever you want, as much as you want. So I did. I packed ALL of his formula we were bringing and ALL of his solid foods in tetra packs. *I did this also because we were taking a few flights and the last thing I wanted to happen, was that the luggage with all his food had been lost/delayed somewhere, then I would be on the hunt for formula and baby food. This way I had a sense of relief, it really didn’t matter to me if my luggage got lost, I can manage, however I just didn’t want to imagine all of his food being lost.
I pre-made more than enough bottles for him, for a 48 hour period. I did this because his sleep schedule was going to be off and we anticipated that he would be waking up at random times, so we wanted to ensure that we had a bottle ready for him, if necessary, because clearly there is nowhere on the plane to properly rinse out and cleanly prepare a bottle. So yes, I packed 8, 8oz bottles of water and 8 handy packs of formula all measured out and ready to be dumped in to make his bottle.
Our little guy was also just starting solids at that point, however we did not even make an attempt of feeding him solids on the flight, as we were all getting used to this whole feeding with a spoon. *However in retrospect, we probably could have just given him one of those tetra packs that he could have easily just sucked on…which he presently seems to enjoy at 7 months. We did however end up wasting quite the bit of formula, as he would maybe eat 3-4 ounces of the bottle if he woke up, and then would fall back asleep, but we were fine with that. You could easily make smaller bottles or even have those small ready to feed bottles handy as well.
That pretty much sums up any tips I have for being on the plane with an inf
ant, sure we bought some toys for him to play, but for the most part we kept it simple. We played with him while he was awake, we walked around with him for a bit, we made sure he was in a clean diaper and we made sure that we did not seem stressed. We are really fortunate to have an amazing little guy, who does seem to go with the flow for the most part, but I do think that is partially due to the fact that we are pretty easy going people as well.
Basically we took two carry-ons, on the plane, and both were filled with his stuff, one with all his food and the other with all his clothes and diapers, so we were ready for any baby disaster. Explosion of the diaper, no problem, we had a change of clothes, enough diapers to last us 2 weeks and I also carried Zip Lock bags to seal any soiled clothes that way ensuring the smell and the soil was contained and wouldn’t get on anything else. *Luckily we did not have to deal with this until we were one hour away from landing in Toronto at the end of the trip…I feel as though it was his way of saying, “…hey, I let you guys off too easy on this vacation, here’s one for the road.”
The rest really, was easy peasy. We ensured that we had a great umbrella stroller with us, we actually spent a decent amount of money on it, it’s our backup stroller for home/leaving it at Grandma and Grandpa’s house stroller, so we wanted it to be good quality and light enough for Grandma to use, but durable enough for our travel purposes. We ended up buying the Hauck Torro Stroller, which is great because it has 3 levels of adjustment from sitting to sleeping* and a great sunshade. *Which is key when your kid is jetlag and ready for his long nights sleep, as you’re just heading out to go for dinner…YES, we are those parents!!! The beauty about it really, is that nowhere other than in North America do people look strangely at you having dinner with friends and your baby at 8pm. The rest of the world seems to function marvellously and has found a great balance and understanding of family, food, fun and entertainment.
What else did we bring? I did bring my bottle sterilizer, which was really important. Many of these places do not have potable water, so washing the bottle with tap water and dish soap still left me a little anxious. Since, I’m super paranoid about parasites, once I washed out the bottle (I brought my own dish soap, bottle brush, sponge and travel kettle), I would then give them a quick run through water I had boiled and then I would place them in the Sterilzer with bottled water into the microwave. This perhaps is over and above one would need to do, but I slept soundly knowing that his bottles were sterilized.
I clearly went above and beyond in bathing him as well. I purchased Milton Tablets, which are sterilizing tablets. We rented an Infant bath (which is great about Bali, there is a brilliant women who started up a company called Bali Baby www.balibaby.com, basically you can rent anything from her), I would place a couple of Milton Tablets in and sterilize the water prior to bathing him. Clearly, the older the child l would not be as concerned, but he was a 6 month old at that time, and was yet to receive all the vaccines we have, and yet to build his immunity up. Again, it gave me peace of mind. Perhaps these extra steps were not necessary, but in the end it took 10-15 extra minutes of my day, so it was worth it to me.
In the end, the only thing your baby needs is food, clean diapers and your love; yes it’s really as simple as that. We faced so many questions and comments prior to leaving, especially from my parents, saying that we were crazy, what are we going to do if X or Y happens, what if he doesn’t want to eat…sleep…poop…etc. Here is a little secret…babies are extremely resilient, and for the most part he was kept on the EXACT same schedule as we had him at home (with a 12 hour difference of course)…ok and dinners out when he should be in bed…but that was really the only difference.
Here are is a list of things that made life easier and gave me piece of mind:
-Enough food and diapers for 17 day vacay. *These were easily found in Bali, you should definitely do your research first to see how accessible these things are. I did, and I knew they were easy to get, however I also read that the quality of the diapers was poor and that the solid food jars, if you wanted the imported ones from Australia (that had similar standards to ours in North America), cost $5 a jar. Needless to say, I clearly felt more secure bringing food and formula made in Canada.
Our next trip he will be 11 months old, I’m guessing my list will not change that much at this point; thankfully I’ll only need to take 7 days worth, the bonus is, that he will be able to eat small pieces of local cuisine as well. I guess the next challenge will be travelling with Toddler, I hear that’s a whole different experience.
Have baby. Will travel…forever and ever.
Thanks Dejana! I love this!! It is great to hear about your travel experience with baby and I hope other travel lovers find comfort in this post.