My 8mth son will be quite a vagabond before age 1; with visits to New York, Connecticut, France (x3), Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Sweden and Argentina. Without a “global” and independent job, I probably wouldn´t have had either the thoughts or opportunity to travel so much with a baby. But even while on maternity leave, some work (especially presentations/speeches) has to be done to keep in business. And being still such a small fellow – currently extremely attached to mum – leaving him behind is of course out of the question. Travelling with babys of course leaves plenty of opportunities for stressing out a) baby b) parent c) co-passengers. So what do you do, when there are some travels you really want/need to go on, yet don´t want to jeopardise the comfort and happiness of the new family boss (or your fellow flight passengers)?
For me, I´m trying to keep things simple, and here are my rule of thumbs;
1) I always try to make sure – both for shorter and longer trips – to create/plan plenty of time and slack in both ends, so that it´s not becoming stressful and frustrating (=for him and/or me). To me, who prefers being at the airports as short as possible, this doesn´t come natural, but it sure works.
2) I always pack very light for myself, probably as a result of trying to travel efficient and without checked in luggage. It still works, even though “light” is now measured differently. With basic necessities (incl. laptop) in the nursing bag, and some toys he hasn´t seen for a while, or an extra remote control(!), we´re ready to go.
3) All papers/passports etc easily accessible, yet outside tearing apart range of baby
4) BabyBjörn One fixed under my jacket – leaving junior dangling as a baby kangaroo facing all interesting, exciting people and things to see – and making the transport slots all play, it works really well. He flirts & giggles to the people in security lines, the air stewards++
4) In case of crying baby while waiting in queues, it normally works fine to do some hip-shaking/swinging dance moves while he´s attached (even though I´d never ever imagine doing that sober, in public, during daytime..).
5) Crying baby on board; Alternatively, also while singing songs you don´t know the words of, throwing baby up in the air – in general play & have fun 😉 Or talk in a very quiet voice, almost whisper, which makes him try to hear what I´m saying. PS: And since I still nurse him that´s of course a great trick up the sleave when everything else fails.
5) My son has a great radar for whenever I´m trying to focus on something else than him while we´re alone (even when he´s apparently sleeping..), so trying to read, work or any other thought/consentration-requiring stuff is just something I´ve given up 😛
6) Extra food & beverages for baby and mom. Low blood sugar is no good for trying to stay calm, and baby also comes with a great radar for sensing your stress level (=crying baby). So most important rule is (as when meeting wild animals outdoors) stay calm and carry on… Do not awaken the beast within(!)
7) If possible, invite a friend/relative to join. Always a great recipe for success when the number of adults outnumbers the kids.
8) Before starting to walk, they´re not so independent. And quite content when mum/dad is around with the full focus on them. So enjoy while it lasts.. (I don´t expect being able to bring my guy around like this in a years´time from now). Plus, it helps having just one if traveling alone. You make a great team.
9) Don´t forget; travelling is actually a great way of spending several hours close to the little one, without no other optional activities do be occupied with, so might as well try to make the most of it!
P.S: To avoid provoking any other traveling parents out there, my advise of course don´t apply for kiddo´s with colic etc.