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We were like free birds, flying out to different destinations at will. Our friends had stopped checking on us during long weekends as they knew we will be tucked somewhere in the hills.
While she was within me:
The first signs of our slowing came when I was advised complete bed rest in the first trimester. This, however, did not deter my spirits and as soon as I was declared fit to travel, I was off to Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) for an official workshop for 3 days by train. There an intellectually stimulating environment during the day and sound & light shows in evenings made it a memorable trip. This experience encouraged us to plan a baby mooning trip to Goa by flight. When in Goa, minus my mood swings and hunger pangs, everything went well. The long beach walks, afternoon sun and jazzy evenings….
• In overnight trains and in advance stages of pregnancy, your tummy will shake. Don’t expect a peaceful night.
• Flight journeys are comfortable, don’t forget to check your BP before leaving and take a fit to travel note by your doctor.
• During pregnancy travel episodes, you will be forever hungry and people around you may not be able to fathom your appetite so fetch your own goody bag.
When she travelled the first time
We didn’t follow most advises given by our last generation but religiously stuck to one on not stepping out in public spaces for nearly 3 months. The reason was purely scientific for we wanted her to be immunized.
Thus, as soon as she completed her course of vaccination, we packed our bags went to stay with my in-laws for a while and later took a trip to Pangot, a beautiful birding hill station above Nainital in Uttrakhand. She was breastfed baby and it was by far the easiest road trip to manage. Travel time- 9-10hrs from Delhi
Take all trips you wish to between 4-6 months of baby age. The baby enjoys the peace and needs a break too.
Till you are ‘mother dairy’ (pun intended! - meaning breastfed baby) there is no need to worry. If your baby is not breastfed don't worry, you only need boiled water and ample Nan supply.
There could be possible ‘potty issues’ like constipation (child also feels stressed during the journey) or loosies (since the baby touches and feels all kinds of surfaces. So keep both kinds of basic medication handy.
Road Trips and She:
Looking back, I find that we have undertaken several road trips stretching up to 9-10hrs daily drive in both hilly and as well as plain regions.
Delhi has an advantage that it is closer to the Himalayas and as well as to dry states like Rajasthan. Hence, many of our vacations were planned in these regions. Some things we keep in mind when on roads are-
• With a child, you cannot be as spontaneous as you were, so pre-booking of hotels is a must.
• A list of pit stops is important- not only for loo breaks but also for making your toddler walk a bit.
• A peaceful long journey is one in which there is a night break in between, so plan your travel that you stop in between.
• Keep basic medications (fever, vomit, stomach ache, loosie, bad throat etc) handy.
• Keep loads of tissue papers and wet tissues
• Hand Sanitizers
• At least 4 pairs of baby clothes change handy
• Lots of books, favourite toys, her favourite songs, rhymes in pen drive. Some friends even take downloaded videos (I won’t recommend that, though)
• Funny games to play when on the way: Spot the black car, count the buses, look for cows, horses, ox, dogs, tear the toilet paper in bits and pieces, peel the orange…basically allow the child to be messy while sitting behind and don’t expect disciple.
• Last but most important, you need a good car seat. Brace the child in it and feel free. The child enjoys best when someone sits next, so join the child in the back seat.
Just to encourage you here comes our road trips lists so far : Pangot, Jim Corbett (Uttrakhand); Mashobara , Shimla, Chamba, Dalhousie, Bharmour, (Himachal Pradesh); Jaipur, Sambhar, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh (Rajasthan); Fremont- Las Vegas- Los Angles (California, US)
Train vs Flight
I feel flight journeys are a comfort. Not only they end quickly but are safer hygiene wise. Our first train endeavor from Delhi to Lucknow was a day journey. We booked a Shatabdi thinking she will enjoy the ride but it ended up being a harrowing experience for us.
She did not sleep at all, we were roaming with her in the compartment during the entire journey. When on lap she was licking everything from back seat covers to paper plates. Woof, by the end of it, we were the exhausted couple with a cranky, overtired baby having a loose stomach. We still avoid trains if budget permits.
But that doesn’t mean we didn’t travel by train, we have taken trains several times but only overnight ones. She sleeps through the night but, of course, takes the time to doze off.
• When in train, avoid giving any outside food during the journey to the child
• Home cooked is best, but ideally, avoid giving that too. Keep cookies etc handy.
• Change of clothes is important don’t forget
• Lots of safe drinking water
• Tissue papers and paper plates
• Hand Sanitizers
• Nothing to over-stimulate the child. Take care NOT to carry any of favorite book or toy handy in overnight train journey. Keep it in a suitcase.
• When going by flight, keep something to engage the child, may be a favourite book, toy, colouring book is another idea
• The child suffers from ear pain during flying so to avoid it, generally make her suck her own thumb or back of her hand. You can think of other options.
Hmm, so I got you thinking, right? Don’t hesitate, just make a plan and get going. There are several portals offering vacation discounts right now. Have a look and pre-book timely. You and your child both need a break.
Mine wants to go to Disneyland. Where does yours want to go?