Travelling with a Toddler: 9 Expert Tips for Your First Holiday with the Baby

Having a baby causes a great deal of lifestyle alterations for both parents. But what if both of you were avid travellers before you had the baby? How long would you give up your passion for? Thankfully, not long. It is possible to still travel the world with a baby, and it doesn’t even have to be a stressful experience for either the baby or you. 

1. When should you travel with your baby?

There isn’t any rule set in stone about travelling with your baby. You can even travel with infants and throughout your trip, wear your baby to make it comfortable for him. But most mothers that have tried this say that it is best to wait a little longer before going on that trip. Avoid taking your baby out on trips within the first few months - your baby is still very vulnerable to infections and feeding/changing him can be a nightmare at that age. Most mothers advise travelling with a baby only after the first year or so when he is a toddler. 

2. Where would you go?

You can really go anywhere with your toddler. From day trips to longer holidays, your baby can handle travel if you only make it comfortable and safe for him. Ideally, avoid destinations that are too hot or too cold for your baby. So if you are travelling in December in India, Goa works but Gulmarg maybe a bad idea. If you are travelling in May, go to Shimla, but avoid Chennai. 

Also avoid going to places where there is a chance of roughing it. Don’t decide to camp out with your toddler yet - and don’t go to places that have a known history of epidemics such as malaria. 

Sensible planning of the destination is all that you need for a great holiday with your baby. 

3. See your pediatrician

Before leaving, talk to your pediatrician. Tell your doctor where you are taking the baby and ask them what medicines you should carry for the baby. Essentials would be medicines for a cold, diarrhea, and rashes. The doctor might also suggest medicines to help your baby calm down on the flight or repellants to keep away insects or sunburn. 

Also, if you are planning your holiday right after your baby’s vaccination, don’t. Babies react to vaccinations strangely. For some it’s a walk in the park, for others, vaccinations can cause fever, diaper blow outs and rashes. You really don’t want to deal with that when you are travelling. Make sure there is enough time between your baby’s last vaccination and your travel dates

4. There’s no such thing as extra clothes

What applied to you earlier now applies to your baby. There’s not a scrap of cloth that your baby won’t use on a trip. From extra onesies to that really dressy shirt - there will be an occasion when you will need everything. So do the ultimate sacrifice - cut down on what you pack for yourself and pack a little extra for your baby. For yourself, stick to the basics, coordinate and accessorize. For your baby, pack what you can. Remember, toddlers can find newer ways to destroy clothes every few hours. 

5. There’s no such thing as too much food either

Babies lose interest in toys beyond a point, but food can be a great calmer. Fruits, veggies, biscuits, juices, mashes - have enough of everything in your carry-on bag. Be a supermom and pull out a new snack every time you think a meltdown is coming. 

This has another purpose. Food isn’t always on time and on point when you travel and while you can go an hour or two without food and wait for a delayed lunch, your baby can’t. Avoid bringing the roof down and have something ready for your baby each time you see his face beginning to scrunch up. 

6. Dress like a mommy

You are one, you can’t help it. It’s been forever since you put away your high heels and cool clothes, and even if this is your first holiday after the little tyke was born, you have to still wear comfy clothes that don’t necessarily spell style. 

Wear flats that you can walk about and even run in. Your toddler has learned to walk and probably thinking of himself as a little solo explorer. So you will be required to keep running after him to bring him back from wherever he was going away. You might also be required to carry him for a bit - in the aisles of the plane, on the shoulder of the road when you are in a car - just so your toddler is too distracted and refreshed to have a emergency-scream situation. 

Carry a long scarf too. If you are not comfortable wearing it on you because your toddler is going to tug on it and choke you, pack it in. There are few things as comfortable for a toddler as being swaddled in mommy’s scarf when they are sleepy, or even having a little something to put their heads or arms on. Plus, it’s a great way to keep cold drafts at bay. 

7. Pack Smart

Okay, best friends for a travelling mommy? Wet wipes, hand sanitisers, pacifiers, a million diapers and a zillion plastic bags. There is no way you will find enough water and soap when you travel, so wipes and sanitisers will come to your rescue. See if you can source paper soap strips too. These can be very useful for those emergencies. Keep stocking up on diapers if you think you are beginning to run out. Also, keep loads of plastic bags handy for soiled diapers, sudden bouts of vomiting and other panic-inducing moments. If this means cutting down on toys for your baby, so be it! 

Also carry small suckable toffees for your toddler to help with ear-aches at take-off if you are flying. Lollipops can be a great help. These can also be very helpful if you need something handy to calm down your toddler while you are checking in to your hotel. 

Pack in a lot of disposable forks and spoons. There is no way you will be able to wash your own every time you feed the baby. Food-grade plastic cutlery can do the job just as well, and later, you simply have to find a place to throw them away (plastic bags will help here too). Likewise, a thermos can be a great help if you intend to keep milk or water warm for your baby. 

Another lifesaver is a stroller. Your baby will refuse to walk beyond a point, and it will be very difficult to carry him in your arms. He’ll be happy to be pushed around in a stroller, especially if he needs to nap and you’ll not feel your back crushing under his weight. And believe us, you can explore more of your destination if your baby has his own little vehicle. 

8. Think on your feet

Sometimes, no matter how much you pack, you will run out of emergency supplies. So make use of whatever is at hand. If you find a matronly aunty selling tea, check if she will give let you boil a little water for the baby’s formula later. If you see a stall selling seasonal fruits, stock up on bananas etc. that can be turned into a mash without the use of a blender. If you are carrying your own little blender, see if a restaurant or shop will let you use their plug socket to run the blender to make your baby’s lunch. People usually don’t say no to mothers with young toddlers. Use this to your advantage. 

9. Prioritise

No one likes to lug around a heavy bag. You already have a baby so your hands are full. So when you are packing your baby’s diaper bag for travel, prioritise what you need. Diapers, wet wipes, sanitizer, fresh clothes, a few little sealable bowls of food, emergency medicines, plastic bag, the baby’s bottle, a small pouch of formula, a fresh tee for yourself (you never know when the baby throws up on you) and soap strips - this is all you need for a day out. You may also want to carry small travel-sized bottles of your baby’s lotion and sun protection cream. But leave any additional item out - your baby doesn’t need his shampoo on a day out, remember?

Travelling with a toddler isn’t as difficult as you imagine it to be. What are your tips for travelling with your own precious? Tell us in comments and help other mommies have the courage to step out too! 

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