I am writing this on our way back from our Sri Lanka vacation - my husband and I are both tired of keeping up with our energizer bunny who refuses to eat anything today so is both energetic and cranky all at once. I thought I would put this out there for all the parents planning travel soon.
We all have fears about traveling with baby - no matter how seasoned we re as travelers and parents. Here are my top 6:
- Flight tantrums: before we had Arya I was the type of person who would pray to God I was not seated within five rows of a baby. I would also say things like - "can't they just give some Nyquill to the damn baby?!" Eating my words now. As they become more mobile babies get tougher to handle on a flight. Not to mention ear drum popping that makes them uncomfortable. My tactics to handle this: of course the first one is to feed the baby - nothing keeps them more still. Singing rhymes, talking dramatically, playing air guitar and air-drums with baby in lap are other tactics that I have tried. Got more good ones?
- Poop bombs in inappropriate places: even though Arya is pretty regular with her poop times already, she has "surprised" me a few times with an unexpected poop bomb. If your baby is on solids or formula you know now their poop is very stinky! My fear is that she will poop right as we board the flight or get in a cab so it would be at least 20-30 minutes before I can find a bathroom to change her. Which means putting my fellow passengers through the stench for that long. Honestly - I have no retort for this one - maybe practice your embarrassed smiley face? Look up witty apologies.
- Baby behavior at restaurants: lets face it - everyone expects some peace and quiet, if not decorum while they are at a restaurant. And it is embarrassing when your baby is excitedly yelling away the two syllables that form her vocabulary. So here is what I do - pick more casual restaurants where there is light music and din so that the baby's sounds get drowned out. We try to not expose Arya to screens if we can avoid it, so my tactic to keep her engaged is to give her some objects - like a dessert spoon, a straw and the cloth napkin to keep her busy. And most of all she yells to get our attention. So we take turns talking to her and keeping her entertained.
- Forgetting to pack something important: you can make all the lists in the world, but there is something you need and will forget to pack. I forgot to pack the toy and bottle washing liquid this time. My strategy for this is simple - make do with substitutes where you can, or buy once you get there. And most of all - don't beat yourself up about it - this does not count as bad parenting, its just being human.
- Not being let into bars: if you were used to chilling at bars before you had the baby this may be a rude awakening. We were actually denied entry into a couple of pubs/bars because they don't allow babies. While I would have LOVED such a place when we didn't have a baby it does sadden me a little that I am outright denied entry. You just have to recalibrate you expectations for this one - for every one place that denies you that much needed beer there will be three others that will happily serve you. Don't take that rejection personally :)
- Food fears: there could be one whole separate post on food. We have so many fears when it comes to food for babies - will I find appropriate food for the baby? is the food I am giving hygienically prepared? what if my baby refuses to eat? Well..I do a combination of bringing some food from home, and giving local stuff. I pick up a few fruits like watermelon, bananas, and papaya from the breakfast spread. If its an Airbnb with a kitchen I make some cereal (like ragi or oats) and fill it in the Boon Squirt (highly recommended for non-messy travel eating). You will get rice almost anywhere - carry some taste makers like butter or ghee to prepare a quick meal at any restaurant. Most of all - I think cut a little slack on food rules while traveling. I don't regularly give processed foods to Arya - but I carry wheat puffs and other snacks for her for travel.
Alright - over to you… what are your worst fears while traveling with baby? And what are your coping tactics? I am sure you have a few we could all learn from!