I haven't travelled over the seas in over 2 years. I feel like a freshie. Having accustomed myself to solo travel, I'm conscious of my health, safety and welfare when in a different country. But what happens when you travel with an infant?
Before I booked my flight, I had to ask myself several questions on the practicality. The first and of course, overall question, is how am I going to do this? Well, I had to remind myself that children are born in other countries too... and guess what, they survive. So this question should never stop anyone from taking a baby abroad.
Before I had my little one, I hated travelling on the plane with babies. Why do they always scream? Why do they always kick the seat? Why don't the parents discipline their children on planes? Well, you just don't know the difficulty of children until you have them. I assure you that most parents do their best so please don't look at us with disdain when we sit in front of you. Before packing, you should be aware that most flight companies allow a foldable stroller and one other item, e.g. car seat for when you get to the other side or you can choose to take a foldable stroller and a travel cot. Children are also allowed to carry 23kg baggage so don't be too concerned if your backpack or suitcase go above your individual baggage limit because you can combine with your baby. At airport security, they will allow 2 ready-made bottles of milk and they don't mind the quantity, as long as they can open the bottles to test the milk. I also made sugar free biscuits for the plane journey to entertain my little one.
The next question I asked myself is where do I go? Because of my post natal health, I needed to stay close to home. I ran through a few countries that are on my bucket list. Iceland. Yes, but how will I climb glaciers with a baby? Santorini. Perhaps, but it's off season in November. Morocco. 3 hours away, almost off season, warm weather, road trip potential, colourful! Bingo!
How will I feed? In most countries, breastfeeding is so normal that they don't actually need to promote "Breast is best". Women in other countries don't feel pressured when they're in public. In the southern parts of Africa, women whip out their breasts to feed and nobody raises an eyebrow. That is what breasts are for. But if you feel embarrassed and would prefer to be modest, buy a nursing bib which covers you and your baby whilst you're nursing. If you are bottle feeding, the main concern is how to sterilise the bottles. I took 4 bottles and a sippy cup with me as my son drinks 3 milk bottles a day and has solid food for breakfast, lunch and at tea time. As there is no guarantee of obtaining hot water everywhere you go, cold water sterilisation is the best method to rely on. Buy sterilisation bags and Milton sterilising tablets from Amazon. I also carried a small travel kettle to boil water in the hotel room to mix porridge and with milk powder. I carried my own milk powder but when I ran out, I bought powder from pharmacies. Please ensure you check the suitability for your baby's age. It might be a good idea to know your baby's age in the official language of the country.
I calculated the amount of nappy changes I would need a day and added 10 more for emergency diarrhoea which is inevitable when travelling away from home. Remember that the hard water that we get in the UK is not the same in other countries. I chose to carry the right amount because there is no guarantee that I'll find his size in nappies, and the brands are different and some babies are more sensitive than others. Let's be honest, nappies are really not heavy. If you have to sacrifice a pair of jeans to fit nappies into your backpack, what's the big deal? I also packed Wet Wipes. If you do run out of wet wipes, there are available at pharmacies and if you become desperate, you can use wet toilet paper.
There are other things for you to consider packing, such as first aid kit and your baby's Red Book. The first aid kit is pretty obvious but I do advise taking the Red Book because if anything should happen to your baby (God forbid!), at least you can give your baby's immunisation and medical history to the hospital and doctors. Other health items to carry include baby paracetamol for aches and pains, Bonjela for unexpected teething, hand sanitiser and sunscreen.
When it comes to clothing, I kept it to a minimum - more tops than trousers, a couple of sleep suits, socks, a jumper and lots of bibs. Remember that you can turn the bibs inside out to get more use out of them.
Don't feel afraid to take your baby abroad. Make the most of your maternity leave. You'll be surprised how much your baby responds to different faces, different voices, smells, colours, sounds and organic food. Happy travels mummy! 🙂