How was the feeling when you held your little peanut for the first time? It sure must have been surreal! That was the moment you and your partner have been waiting for since you came to know you were pregnant. It is safe to say that your life has changed forever (of course, in a better way!) and will never ever be the same.
When we say your life has changed, we also mean your trips and travel plans. Yes, your travels will never be the same either, especially when they are with a newborn.
Let’s say it’s the last few days of your maternity leave, your baby is just a few weeks old, and you would love to spend those days vacationing on the beach, get some well-deserved massages, and enjoy great meals by the ocean. One thing that will probably make you hesitate is the thought of traveling with your newborn.
Perhaps the biggest few that most new moms have about traveling is how the baby would do. Would he/she scream the entire road trip or flight? Is the destination baby-friendly and safe? Would he/she get sick, and if it happens, how would I find a doctor there? Would he/she be bitten by an insect? And hundreds of other questions.
Now, being this nervous about taking your first trip with your newborn is natural, because it certainly is a big deal. However, traveling with a newborn is not as scary as you think; all that’s required to make your travel smooth is proper and extra planning.
So, here are some important things you should know when it comes to traveling with a newborn:
Traveling by Air
If your travel with your newborn is going to be by air, your baby must be at least two days old, because this is the minimum age of travel for newborns allowed by most airlines. You wouldn’t have to worry about the various policies or regulations if your little one has already crossed this mark. If it isn’t a hurry, it is also best to wait a few more days to make sure that your baby can handle the travel, because you will by then have established a feeding and changing routine.
Regardless, check with your airlines, before booking your tickets, about their travel rules for newborns, because many airlines require that you obtain a medical certificate authorizing your child’s travel. It is wise to get the all-clear for you as well and be sure to check the type of medical facilities available at your destination.
When it comes to booking your seats on an airplane, it is best to request for an aisle seat, close to the front of the plane. This is because this seating option makes boarding and getting off the plane easy and quick, and also provides you with sufficient room to move around when your baby is crying and needs to be soothed. In case of a long flight, you can also go with a seat in the back rows for easier access to the bathrooms.
With a newborn on a long-haul flight, you can use an infant bassinet (having it attached to the wall after take-off) or a car seat specifically designed for air travel. If you prefer holding your baby throughout the flight, you will be able to find airlines that offer infant tickets at just a fraction of your ticket price, which also comes with luggage allowances for your baby gear.
On the other hand, if you prefer to have your child in their own seat, then you can book a child seat, which usually costs around 75% of a regular adult ticket price, and take with you an approved infant air travel seat. You also have the option to use an infant seat belt attachment, at an extra cost.
Health and Safety
First off, make sure that there is no outbreak of diseases at your destination; if so, you may have to change your destination (if it’s a vacation) or delay your travel. Make sure that your newborn has had his/her first round of vaccinations.
In some cases, depending on your travel destination, your baby might require additional vaccinations; however, since not all vaccines are suitable for a newborn, your medical practitioner would want you to wait until your baby reaches a certain age before administering those vaccines, which again will require you to delay your trip.
On your phone, tablet, or diary, write down all the information regarding your newborn’s health. This should include the medicines he/she takes, contact names and numbers of your medical practitioners, and any other relevant information. This is to make it easy for you to access all the necessary information from one place, in case of need.
Traveling by Road
Some new moms might feel that traveling with a newborn by road is a better alternative to flying. Well, this is true considering the fact that your baby will be exposed to a lot less people, and therefore you need not be highly concerned about your little one’s health and safety. However, road travel would be equally stressful, if not more, for both you and your baby, especially if it is a long road trip. You will have to halt every couple of hours for feeding, comforting your baby, changing diapers, etc. Also, road travel may not be suitable for some babies and could make them sick.
Remember, no one is an expert on parenting. There will be people around you discouraging you from doing anything they are not doing. Stop listening to other people’s fears, plan right, and explore your parenting abilities. Yes, traveling with a newborn can be tough and all sorts of crazy; but, this new craziness is something you will love as a parent for the rest of their childhood.