I heard this: traveling with a baby — famously known as a demanding tiny human being— could be quite challenging. Yet, my husband & I couldn’t leave our passion for traveling way behind with the excuse of having a baby. Although we haven’t brought her for a long-haul flight — ps. her home country is a 20h flight away from Portugal– we have been introducing her to the joy of traveling bits by bits.
12-day old A: strolling out with Yangti (Grandma)
Less-than-a-month-old A was accompanying Papa to enjoy the 25 de Abril bridge
Our first attempt taking baby A outside the house was not one of the joyous experiences, I shall note. She was born in winter and the winter stayed quite a while with its extensive rains and cold days. My husband and I struggled to cope up with the rains and low temperature, so did baby A. We dressed her in layers and winter coat, then, covered her stroller with its rain cover. As she was still counted as a newborn, she cried more than ever that made us confused: was she comfortable or not?
We were hopeless and almost gave up in taking her outside the house. But when a friend of ours — who I knew had been traveling with their daughter — visited our apartment, we asked them for advice. Knowing their experiences encouraged us to keep moving forward with taking our baby to places.
“I am not in the mood for a picture, Papa!” said baby A in Sintra, an hour by train from Lisbon
Baby A didn’t miss the free-museum Sunday
Saturday with Mama
So yeah, we didn’t stop! Each weekend (when possible), we brought her into downtown or nearby places. She mostly slept all the time and woke up when she starved (most likely, cried ’till we realized she was either hungry or pee or poo). But honestly speaking, the challenge laid more on the parents’, especially the breastfeeding mama (read more on “Is #BreastfeedingAnywhere Really OK?“).
Then after she was able to eat solid food, we had additional homework: preparing her meals when the travel occurred during her meal time. If possible, we asked for the restaurant to warm her food while we also brought other option of pre-prepared foods from the supermarket. Breastfeeding became more challenging as well. She got easily distracted by her surroundings and she moved acrobatically during breastfeeding. But the most fun part as she grew older was: she was no longer sleep all the time. She seemed like she paid attention to her surroundings, she looked for strangers’ attention at the bus with her loud coos (yes, it happened most of the times, haha), and she smiled, laughed, and coo’ed those made our travel experiences way much better than before.
A was waiting for a bus
Baby A in the (Rainy, Cloudy, & Cold) Ghent, Belgium
Fast forward to a few months after, baby A is now 10-month old and she has made two countries on her travel list. Her passport had two stamps already as she crossed the European border to Morocco. Yes, she has been to (a tiny bit) of Africa! She has been traveling with mostly public transportation, she survived 3-hour flights, she survived the chaotic medina in Fés, she managed to get calm when we ran under the rain in Tanger and many more. As a baby herself, she has successfully surprised us in many ways!
There has never been the perfect travel pattern with her, every trip has always been surprising. So when a friend asked advises for traveling with a baby, I replied, “Just enjoy the moment and be flexible.” We no longer have a fixed itinerary. There had been one day she was so happy outside and there was also one day she wasn’t feeling well so we stayed in our hotel. Both were fun with her by our side, which we cherished a lot of those precious moments with her.
Well then, have fun traveling with your tiniest travel partner(s)!!!
Ohh one more thing, don’t forget to bring medicines for the baby. Well, just in case something happens, but hopefully not.